Dreaming of all the places you can turn into a weekend getaway within New York State? You’re not the only one. Here’s our guide to some of the most charming small towns perfect for a quick trip from Buffalo and WNY without leaving New York. Enjoy!
1. Cooperstown, NY
Distance from Buffalo: 3 hours 45 min
Located at the southern tip of Otsego Lake, Cooperstown is well known for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. You’ll also find The Farmers’ Museum, one of the country’s oldest outdoor living history museums which showcases rural life in 1845 in its village of historic trade and craft shops and The Fenimore House Museum, home to one of the country’s premier folk art collections. The small town is full of rural traditions and restored historic buildings.
2. Corning, NY
Distance from Buffalo: 2 hours 15 min
Situated in the southern Finger Lakes region, the main attraction here is the Corning Museum of Glass, the world’s largest museum of glass art and artifacts. Enjoy a stroll through Corning’s Historic Market Street to find antique shops, galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. Did we mention you’ll be right by the Keuka Lake Wine Trail?
3. Ellicottville, NY
Distance from Buffalo: 1 hour
Western New Yorkers need no introduction to Ellicottville, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love any excuse to sing its praises. Visit Ellicottville for a variety of seasonal adventures including zip lining, skiing and snowboarding, hiking, and more. Plus stroll up and down Washington Street to find shopping, eating and plenty of places to enjoy a beverage to two.
4. Hudson, NY
Distance from Buffalo: 5 hours
Possibly a lesser-known town to us from the west (best?) part of New York State, Hudson is a likely retreat for New York City residents. Take that however you like, but it means you’re sure to find quality shopping, dining, and lodging. According to visithuddsonny.com, the town offers more than 100 one-of-a-kind shops run by artists, makers and local proprietors; 90 antique shops and art galleries; 50 restaurants, bakeries, cafes, pubs and specialty food shops; and 15 unique lodging possibilities.
5. Ithaca, NY
Distance from Buffalo: 2 hours 45 min
If you want nature, hiking, and waterfalls, Ithaca, NY should be your next weekend getaway. Just a stones throw away from a long list of stunning waterfall views and a hop, skip and a jump from Finger Lakes wineries in every direction, Ithaca is uniquely situated for a certain kind of adventurer. Did we mention they have a killer farmers market?
6. Jamestown, NY
Distance from Buffalo: 1.5 hours
Jamestown can be done as a quicker trip than most on this list due to its close proximity to Buffalo. Visit the National Comedy Center for your culture fix and head out to Panama Rocks if you have a craving to feel Mother Nature beneath your feet.
7. Lake George, NY
Distance from Buffalo: 4 hours 45 min
If you’re looking to deep dive into New York’s northern mountain range, the Adirondacks, start with Lake George. With tons to see and do in almost any category, there’s something for everyone and every age – during every season no less.
8. Lake Placid, NY
Distance from Buffalo: 5 hours 45 min
If you’re up for venturing even further into the Adirondacks, head up to Lake Placid to experience a combination of stellar views and small town charm you can’t get anywhere else in New York State.
9. Rhinebeck, NY
Distance from Buffalo: 5 hours 15 min
A getaway to Rhinebeck will lead you to the southeast part of New York, nestled in the Hudson Valley where you’ll encounter farm to table restaurants, a flourishing arts and culture scene, a collection of specialty shops, and boutique places to stay. To top if off, expect beautiful views of the Catskill Mountains.
10. Watkins Glen, NY
Distance from Buffalo: 2.5 hours
Watkins Glen is the perfect quick getaway from WNY to experience what New York State does so well, nature trails and wine trails. Plus, do yourself a favor and make a point to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner while in Watkins Glen. From coffee and donuts to pizza and more, there’s lots to taste.
11. Woodstock, NY
Distance from Buffalo: 5 hours
This list wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Catskills and the small NYS town of Woodstock has a lot to offer. This famous “hippie town”offers restaurants and shops along with Opus 40 Sculpture Park & Museum, a 6.5 acre earthwork sculpture park surrounded by more than 60 acres of meadows, forested paths and bluestone quarries. Additionally, head to Overlook Mountain Trail for a moderate hike complete with a peek at some old hotel ruins and lockout points along the way.
This post was originally published in October 2020 and has been updated.