9 day self drive itinerary

New York State in Nine Days

Uncover the real New York

New York State has so much to explore and discover and is so much more than its biggest and most famous city. Skip the Big Apple and truly get to know the real New York.

Begin with a drive through the picturesque scenery as you follow the Hudson River to the Hudson Valley region – just a two hour drive from New York City. Discover the valley’s fascinating history and culture, breath taking natural beauty and its burgeoning food and farmer's market scene.

From the Hudson Valley, head north to Syracuse where you’ll use the city as a base to further explore the incredible Finger Lakes region. Drive between the tranquil villages and small towns and sample the world renowned wines produced here, while also taking in its culture and even First Nations history.

Then journey further north to New York’s second largest city – Buffalo. Located on Lake Erie, stroll along the city’s new Canalside neighbourhood on the lake for fantastic restaurants and entertainment as well as breath taking sunsets and light shows. From Buffalo, you’ll be able to visit one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders – Niagara Falls.

Our Experts Recommend:
  • Take a foodie tour of The Culinary Institute of America in Hudson Valley
  • Tour Vanderbilt Mansion - a preserved gilded-age country palace
  • Sample wines from the award-winning vineyards of the Finger Lakes region
  • Discover Buffalo's incredible craft breweries and authentic Buffalo hot wings
  • Experience the thundering cascades of Niagara Falls by boat or helicopter

Sample Itinerary Summary

We can tailor any part of this itinerary or create a new one just for you.

Duration
9 days
Destination Breakdown
  • Central New York
    3 nights
  • Fingerlakes
    3 nights
  • Greater Niagara
    3 nights
Options
Private basis, Self-Guided
Included
  • International Flights
  • 9 nights accommodation (Room only)
  • Car hire
  • Holiday prices are in £'s per person based on twin occupancy
Not included
  • Car Hire: any applicable one way drop off fees
  • Meals or excursions unless specified
  • Park entrance fees (if applicable)
  • Toll free and charges

Itinerary Breakdown

This morning, pick-up your rental car and begin your exploration of New York State with a 90 minute drive to the spectacular Hudson Valley. Designated as a National Heritage Area, the valley is steeped in history, natural beauty, culture, a burgeoning food and farmer's market scene and great shopping. Treat yourself with a visit to the world's premier culinary college - The Culinary Institute of America. While here, join a student guided tour, do a little shopping and be sure to enjoy the campus' award-winning restaurants and cafes.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Hampton Inn Fishkill or similar

Begin your day with a casual stroll along the longest pedestrian bridge in the world. Standing 212 feet above water and 1.28 miles in length, Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park offers hikers, bikers and strollers spectacular views of the Hudson River Valley. Today is also a perfect day to visit the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites - a remarkable example of a gilded-age country palace, the Home of FDR and Presidential Library & Museum, and his wife Eleanor's private cottage. Save time to visit the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. This "living" museum presents one of the largest collections of early aeroplanes in the world, as well as automobiles, motorcycles, early engines and memorabilia spanning the period from 1900-1939. If you're travelling in June-October, consider taking to the skies with a thrilling biplane ride any day of the week and enjoy the magnificent weekend airshows.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Hampton Inn Fishkill or similar

This morning head out on a scenic drive and visit Madava Farms, the largest sugarhouse producing some of the purest maple syrup on Earth - Crown Maple. Go behind the scenes with a tour and enjoy gourmet culinary experiences along with breathtaking views of countryside. Following your morning at the farm, visit Innisfree Garden - recognized as one of the 'world's ten best gardens'. Take in the garden's sublime composition of rock, water, wood and sky before visiting historic Rhinebeck for some evening dining - make sure to sample some wine along the fmaous Dutchess County Wine Trail.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Hampton Inn Fishkill or similar

Today, make your way east from the Hudson Valley through the picturesque scenery to the middle of the state and eastern gateway to the stunning Finger Lakes region - Syracuse. This afternoon and evening explore downtown's Armory Square. This old neighborhood with a new attitude boasts specialty restaurants, boutique shops and entertainment venues to be enjoyed - perfect after a day travelling.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Jefferson Clinton Hotel or similar

Take a break from sightseeing today and relax as you enjoy some fantastic shopping. Visit Destiny USA, the 6th largest shopping center in the United States, for premier shopping, dining and entertainment. You'll find well-known branded stores, unique shopping and everything in between from Go Karts at Pole Position to bowling and high ropes courses. Following your shopping time, spend the late afternoon and evening in the close by village of Skaneateles. This quintessential Finger Lakes village offers fine boutique shopping, fascinating art galleries, world-renowned wineries and a scenic boat tour on Mid-Lakes Navigation. Spend time perusing shops and wandering this picture perfect area and enjoying dinner before heading back to your hotel to finish out the evening.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Jefferson Clinton Hotel or similar

This morning take some time out to visit the Ska-nonh - Great Law of Peace Center, a fascinating Heritage Center focused on telling the story of the native peoples of central New York. Here, history is told through the lens of the Onondaga Nation who remain among the last sovereign Indigenous peoples in the US. Spend the afternoon at the Erie Canal Museum. Committed to preserving the only existing weighlock building in the US, this 1850 structure features a full size replica of a canal boat and many hands on exhibits. This evening, plan for a feast at the original Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. Home to bikers and businessmen alike, this Syracuse legend offers critically acclaimed barbeque and weekly lineups of blues musicians

Overnight Accommodation

  • Jefferson Clinton Hotel or similar

Today, hit the road once more and journey to Buffalo, the second largest city in New York State. Upon arrival, discover the jewel in Buffalo's crown - Canalside. This beautiful new destination located on the shore of Lake Erie boasts free scheduled events nearly every day from Memorial Day through Labor Day and plenty of everyday activities. Dine along the water, walk along the boardwalk, take a historical boat tour, rent kayaks or water bikes, or visit the Naval & Military Park museum, home to several decommissioned US Naval vessels. Take in the spectacular sunset and once dusk hits, see one of Buffalo's historic grain elevators transform into a spectacular light sculpture. This evolving light show can be enjoyed from the boardwalk and Outer Harbor. Should you wish to explore a little further, make your way to nearby Riverworks Restaurant & Brewery for another beautiful view of the lake before returning to your hotel.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Adam's Mark Hotel or similar

Spend today discovering the incredible history of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright through his residential, recreational and monumental designs. Start with a visit and tour of the famous Martin House. This multi-structure estate designed for Darwin D. Martin is a masterpiece of 20th century architecture and is widely considered one of Wright's finest Prairie Houses - a signature work from the early years of his celebrated career. Later, embark on Buffalo Bites Food Tours three-hour guided walking and dining tour of Elmwood Village. It's the perfect combo - eat delicious samples from local eateries, explore the neighborhood and enjoy entertaining history. Continue to enjoy the outdoors this evening by visiting one or more of Buffalo's craft breweries. In fact, pick up Buffalo's Brewcation Passport to guide you through the city's brewery landscape. 

Overnight Accommodation

  • Adam's Mark Hotel or similar

This morning, lose yourself without getting lost during a self-guided walking tour of Buffalo as you enjoy beautiful buildings and splashes of public art within the city's neighborhoods while building up an appetite for Buffalo Style Wings at Anchor Bar - home of the original chicken wing. Mild, medium, hot or suicidal (if you dare) - all are served with Bleu cheese and celery. After lunch, be captivated by the sheer beauty and power of Niagara Falls. See this legendary force of nature from every angle at Niagara Falls State Park. Witness the intensity of the falls from inches away at the Cave of the Winds, or meet the legends and marvel at the myths at the Niagara Legends of Adventure Theater. Cruise the churning waters near the base during a Maid of the Mist boat ride, or photograph both the American and Horseshoe Falls from the 230-foot Observation Tower. Every evening beginning at dusk watch the falls transform into a multicolored water and light masterpiece, and enjoy a spectacular display of fireworks every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evening May-October. 

Overnight Accommodation

  • Adam's Mark Hotel or similar

After breakfast, return your rental car at nearby Buffalo Niagara International Airport prior to your departure.

  • Central New York

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Discover in the breath taking scenery of the Hudson Valley
    • Take a foodie tour of The Culinary Institute of America
    • Stroll across the world's longest pedestrian walkway at Hudson State Historic Park
    • Visit the Home of FDR and Presidential Library & Museum
    • Head to Madava Farms and see the purest maple syrup on earth - Crown Maple
  • Fingerlakes

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Visit Armory Square's specialty restaurants, boutique shops and entertainment venues in Syracuse
    • Hit the shops at Destiny USA - the 6th largest shopping center in the United States
    • Explore the incredible Finger Lakes region with its quaint towns and picturesque canals
    • Tour any one of the award-winning wineries and sample farm-to-table cuisine
    • Learn about the fascinating First Nations history of the Onondaga Nation
  • Greater Niagara

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Explore Buffalo - New York's second largest city on Lake Erie
    • Dine along the water in Buffalo's new Canalside neighbourhood
    • View the incredible sunsets and evening light shows across the lake.
    • Tour nearby Niagara Falls - one of the world's most famous natural wonders
    • Get up close to the Falls on a boat tour or a bird's eye view by helicopter