Being a local, I get asked a lot by my fellow students where they can go to entertain themselves while they are here for the summer. Maybe you’re taking a summer class, maybe you’ve just gotten an apartment here, or maybe you’re just stuck here because of a job. Either way, you’ll need something to keep yourself busy until classes start up again in the fall.
The Great Outdoors
One of my favorite things to do during the summer is camping, and luckily upstate New York has a plethora of great spots for camping all within a few hours of Utica. By far one of my favorite spots is Limemkiln Lake Campground located in Inlet, NY. Limekiln Lake Campground comes closest to what I like to call “true camping.” What makes Limekiln unique is that you are, quite literally, in the middle of the woods. Although Limekiln has predetermined campsites, they don’t manicure the land. Rather, your campsite is surrounded by thick trees, flowing rivers, and active wildlife; and to reach your campsite you must navigate a series of rough dirt roads that snake through the campground.
By far the best thing about Limekiln Lake is the lake itself. I have been fortunate enough a few times to get a campsite right on the edge of the water, and there is nothing better than sitting by the fire and looking out over the serene lake to really relax. Likewise, the lake is great for kayaking and canoeing, or even sailing if you can afford it. The lake is dotted with a number of small islands and peninsulas that you can stop off on during your journey.
If being out on the water isn’t your thing then try the beach, complete with a picnic area and hibachis for grilling. Or try their “Old Dam Nature Trail” that brings you through the woods and past the dam. The trail is a pretty good hike, but I would recommend you tread lightly as the trail isn’t manicured; there are a lot of roots and rocks sticking up out of the ground along the way, so bring a pair of hiking shoes to save yourself from a twisted ankle.
If the “rustic” experience isn’t necessarily your cup of tea, you can try Chenango Valley State Park, located right outside of Binghamton. This state park offers a family friendly camping experience that is even enjoyable for those who hate the outdoors. Chenango Valley Offers a number of Camping Cabins for those opposed to tents, and has a number of campsites designated for RV’s and pop-up campers.
Also, you’re never far from a picnic area or playground to keep those little ones busy. If your the adventurous type, you can try their walking trail, just make sure to bring your bug-spray. The trails are well kept, and markers help guide you throughout the forest and around the bog.
Or if you prefer you can try the swimming area, with lifeguards on hand to keep the kids safe. Chenango Valley also provides a number of events for campers including Ice-cream socials every Friday night, Bingo nights, and even movie nights. The best part is that you aren’t too far out of the city, so you can easily pick-up any supplies you forgot right in town.
You really can’t go wrong with any of the campgrounds in the area, and if a day trip is more your speed any number of the campsites in the area offer day passes where you can get in for the day and set up on a site to grill and sit around the fire. Or if your looking for a way to burn just a few hours outside you can try any of the walking trails right here in Central New York. My favorite is Erie Canalway Trail in Whitesboro, that takes you along the historic Erie Canal and past a working lock. I used to spend several days a week on the trail taking walks with friends and family enjoying the outdoors.
Where is your favorite place to enjoy the great outdoors?