Two worthwhile day trips for you to take with your family in the Western New York area. Get up, get outside, and explore your own backyard!
A few years back I started a series on the blog called Explore Your Own Backyard. In each post, I shared a fun way excursion in and around the greater Buffalo area to enjoy with family and friends.
I, for one, LOVE travel, but when you think about it, some of the best times can be had exploring your very own hometown. I recently posted about this thought on my IG stories (are we friends there yet?). The fact that when I was a teenager, I always thought I’d grow up and move out of Buffalo as soon as I was able. I planned on going to college in Boston or California and up until fall of senior year in high school that seemed pretty set in stone. But once I was offered a full scholarship to a private university right in Buffalo, I couldn’t really pass up the opportunity to get my degree debt-free.
The older I got and the more Buffalo continued to experience a modern renaissance, I realized how much my hometown had to offer and that it really does serve as a great home base.
Sure, I still LOVE to travel and there are a TON of places on my travel bucket list, but I never again will underestimate all that Western New York has to offer all on its own.
Buffalo is a treasure trove of festivals, activities, and fun things to do anytime of year, but when you consider the WNY area as a whole, the possibilities of places of explore are ENDLESS.
Today I am sharing two fun day trips I’ve had the chance to take this summer. Both are within an hour to and hour and a half drive from the city and both promise experiences in nature that would make you believe you’re far away from civilization.
Stony Brook State Park
Known for: its swimming pool and waterfall studded hiking trails
Best time to visit: late spring or summer
Just an hour and half drive from Buffalo, Stony Brook State Park is home to a hidden OASIS; a natural pool set in between two waterfalls that is perfect for diving into and swimming in during the peak of summer heat. The water is crisp, cold, and CRYSTAL clear….and the surroundings can’t get anymore beautiful.
Work up a sweat before diving in the natural pool carved out from rock formations in the canyon, by hiking on one of the trails around the park. Trails of varying distance and intensity are available and you can even bring your pup along! I highly suggest wearing water-friendly shoes and your bathing suit in case an impromptu chance to wade into one of the waterfalls comes along.
Make it a day by inviting friends and family and sharing a fun outdoor meal at one of the many picnic tables available to park goers. There is also an AWESOME playground for the little ones…or the young at heart!
This place is a CAN’T MISS spot for summer adventuring and a great way to beat the heat!
Holiday Valley Hiking Trails in Ellicottville
Known for: steep up and down hiking trails and great scenic views
Best time to visit: all year round (note: in winter the trails will be used for skiing and snowboarding)
Holiday Valley is typically known for its ski slopes and winter sports, but in the summer and spring, it’s just as lively! In just 45 minutes to an hour (depending on traffic), you can find yourself in the quaint village of Ellicottville with miles and miles of trails to explore. If you ever wanted to climb up the mountains you usually ski down, now’s your chance!
Whether you choose to hike or bike, the Holiday Valley trails are well-kept and well-marked for ease of access and navigation. But that doesn’t mean you’re in for an easy hike! Talk about elevation and incline. Definitely a great lower body and cardio workout if you’re looking to break a sweat.
You’re sure to see lots of furry friends as well! Foxes, deer, and chipmunks galore!
After your time out in nature, be sure to head back into town to patronize a local eatery. I love Dina’s! And Cupcaked for dessert (for gourmet cupcakes…my faves are: carrot, Snickers, PB & chocolate, and cookies n’ cream) is the perfect sweet way to end your day.
Do you like exploring your city?
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