A trip to a National Park can be a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. They can also be crowded, and nearby lodging can be expensive.
With growing concerns of the delta variant, we’ve pinpointed incredible state parks from New York to California, for families who want a getaway that’s (hopefully) not too far away. Here are 10 picks ahead of Labor Day Weekend.
Lake Superior State Park in Bethel, New York
Head to picture-perfect Sullivan County, where about 20 miles west of Monticello, lies this bucolic state park, spread over more than 1,000 acres with two bodies of water, Lake Superior and Chestnut Hill Pond enclosed within. There are beaches, boat launches and picnic areas, volleyball courts and a playground. In the winter, this year-round park is a mecca for ice fishing, hiking and sleigh riding.
When the time is right, book a stay at Villa Roma Resort, about nine miles from the park’s entrance, or Kenoza Hall, which sits at the location of the early twentieth century Catskills boarding house, Armbrust House, just eight miles away. There’s also YO1 Health Resort — 10 miles away — a veritable wellness paradise with naturopathic treatments, ayurvedic cuisine and yoga galore. If vacation rentals are more your speed, opt for Bush Kill Park or Crosslands Monticello, both through Red Cottage Inc., a portfolio of handsomely appointed cottages, cabin and luxury homes in the Catskills and Hudson Valley.
Fun fact: Bethel is where the 1969 Woodstock festival took place, and you can now catch a show at the sprawling outdoor arena Bethel Woods Performing Arts Center, or relive 1960s history at the Bethel Woods Museum.
Patapsco Valley State Park in Ellicott City, Maryland
Maryland’s oldest state park, extends along 32 miles of the Patapsco River with some 16,043 acres and eight developed recreational areas ripe for exploration.
On your visit look for a stone marker for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, which follows the path of Smith and his fellow explorers as they surveyed a large part of the Northeast. The park is also the site of some of the state’s first mills and factories, America’s first common-carrier railroad and the world’s first underwater hydroelectric plant.
Anglers, bring your fishing rods, and aqua babies can also enjoy some great canoeing here. Or, opt for overnight camping followed by a lazy breakfast spread in a picnic area before taking a short ride to Baltimore the next day to chase your rural escape with some city frolicking. Our vote is the Hotel Revival in the historic Mount Vernon neighborhood or a splurge-worthy night at The Ivy Hotel, Maryland’s only Relais & Chateaux property.
State Forest State Park Walden, Colorado
Located in Jackson and Larimer counties, just east of Walden proper, 360-degrees of breathtaking views