Albany is so much more than a city-it is a county full of adventures waiting to be had. Explore the outdoors in Albany County and experience outdoor adventure and the beauty of nature like never before with the help of this itinerary!
Where to stay:
Whether you'd prefer camping, a stay in a bed & breakfast, or a simple hotel room, we have what you're looking for!
Stay outdoorsy at John Boyd Thacher State Park and Thompson's Lake Campground. Nestled in the mountains a mere four miles from the Helderberg Escarpment, this campground offers 140 wooded campsites and is comprised of a sandy beach, mixed hardwood and conifer forests, limestone outcroppings and open fields.
Enjoy the comforts of home at The Inn at Deer Meadow Bed & Breakfast. This quaint property is situated in a country setting on nearly 40 acres of private land. Enjoy the well maintained trails of the environmental center adjacent to The Inn and see if you can spot wildlife along the way! The Inn is also minutes away from two of our exploration sites: Thacher Park and the Pine Hollow Arboretum.
Places for exploration:
Whether you're staying right near John Boyd Thacher State Park or you're a few miles away, the trip into the "Hilltowns" region of Albany County is worth the drive. Activities range from biking, jogging, and hunting to geocaching, hiking, horseback riding, and more! See our Hilltowns Guide for details on each attraction and the permitted activities at each.
Go for a hike through the National Natural Landmark, the Albany Pine Bush. Year round events at the Discovery Center will keep you occupied and educate you on the importance of this inland pine barren. Or perhaps walk through the 25 acres of the Pine Hollow Arboretum in Slingerlands. Wander through the 3,300 unique trees, shrubs, and other woody plants form around the world in this completely natural setting easily accessible by a network of trails and bridges.
Take in another one of Albany County's natural assets at Cohoes Falls. From Falls View and Overlook parks, you can catch views of the falls that will simply take your breath away. Bring food with you and enjoy a picnic with a view or just wander the grounds and appreciate the beauty of the water falls.
The underground caves of Howe Caverns are another bit of nature that you will not want to miss. Though an hour from Albany, once you get there you won't mind one bit. Learn the story and take a tour of the limestone corridors through passages and corridors under massive boulders. After you've been bewildered by the caverns, come back above the ground and take advantage of Howe High Adventure: zip lines, ropes courses, rock walls, and the H2OGO Ball! New this year at Howe Caverns, a 2.5 hour exploration "Signature Rock Discovery Tour" that reveals the mysteries of portions of the caverns that have not been open to the public for over 100 years!
Come back into Albany and explore the history of the area with an outdoor walking tour that will take you around some of the city's oldest buildings and most important stories.
Energize & Imbibe
Albany being a metropolitan city doesn't stop it from having one of the most beautiful parks in the Capital Region. Within the parks are infinite ways to enjoy a bit of greenery and offerings of some of the most sought after spring and summer events throughout the community.
Washington Park is the city's premier park and the site of many festivals and gatherings, like the annual Tulip Fest held in early May. A celebration of the thousands of beautiful tulips that bloom throughout the park, honoring our rich Dutch heritage and roots. The fest also features dozens of local food trucks and vendors that offer a variety of tasty treats. Washington Park is also home to Park Playhouse, a musical theater company who presents two musicals at the Washington Park Lakehouse each summer that are free for the public to attend.
The park is about 81 acres in size with the Washington Park Lake at its center. As public property it dates back to the city charter in 1686, and has seen many uses including that of gunpowder storage, square/parade grounds, and a cemetery. Not only is the park historic, but so is the mostly residential surrounding neighborhood. Many architectural works line the streets facing the park, designed by some of the most famous architects of the late 19th century, including Henry Hobson Richardson. At least two governors of New York lived in buildings facing Washington Park outside of their term in office.
Besides the homes that surround the park, adjacent to it is Lark Street, a hot spot for restaurant and bar goers alike. With several of the city's favorite night life spots, Lark has something for everyone to enjoy, day or night!