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Best Day Trips In and Around the 518

Updated: Oct 17, 2019

You don’t have to go far from home to hit up some great destinations this summer. There are plenty of places to visit within just a couple hours of the Capital District area. From camping to kid-friendly fun, you’ll find something for the whole family when you take one of these five fantastic day trips.

Ausable Chasm

Travel up to Ausable by Lake Champlain to check out Ausable Chasm. This “Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks” boasts beautiful natural stone formations you can explore to your heart’s content. Go for a day to take a tour, or plan to stay for a few nights at one of the onsite camping spots. Try the classic walking tour, hop on a raft or climb in a tube to get up close and personal with the depths of the chasm. Nighttime lantern tours give a whole new perspective to the area’s natural beauty. If you’re feeling more adventurous, check out the Adventure Trail for a unique rock climbing experience!

Cherry Plain State Park

Nestled in rural Petersburg, Cherry Plain State Park is everything you love about classic summer trips. It’s just the place to take the family for a day or weekend to get off the grid and enjoy the outdoors. Walk or bike your way around the onsite trails, or spend a sunny afternoon swimming in the lake. The kids can visit the playground to burn off some of their endless energy, or you can teach them to catch their very first fish. Cap off the day with a campfire for some truly cozy summer memories.

Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

Step into the imaginative world of Eric Carle, author and illustrator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and over 70 other children’s books, at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts. Rotating exhibits feature works by other picture book illustrators, highlighting the best of both classic and modern children’s literature. Bring your kids for one of the museum’s events, or browse the galleries yourself and get drawn into lands of imagination and wonder you haven’t visited since you were young.

Fort Ticonderoga

Lovers of history will get a kick out of visiting Fort Ticonderoga for special events, living exhibits, reenactments and more. Explore history with the series of lectures, seminars and workshops held at the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center, or take a tour of the fort itself. Visit a collection of related museum exhibits to get even more out of your experience, then spend some time exploring the many trails and other outdoor activities around the fort. For a behind-the-scenes experience, try one of the special tours highlighting the details and drama of the historical period when the fort was active.

Thacher Park and Nature Center

Thacher Park in Voorheesville is just what you’re looking for if you want to spend a summer day hiking through the mountains while you gaze out at beautiful natural vistas. Over 25 miles of hiking trails offer views of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys, the Adirondack Mountains and the Green Mountains. The nearby Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center gives kids plenty to explore with educational programs and exhibits, including hands-on collections, bird watching and a honeybee observation hive. New to the park is the Wild Play Adventure course with 15 ziplines and 60 aerial activities for kids who like to explore new heights – literally.

All these places are so close by, why limit yourself to just one? Pack up the kids or grab your friends, and get ready for a summer of fun in and around the local area.

About the Author

Theresa “Sam” Houghton is a writer, speaker and health coach from Troy, NY. She’s a regular contributor to, and her work has appeared in the Honest Weight Food Co-Op Coop Scoop, Natural Awakenings Magazine and the 2017 Daily Dozen calendar. She has been a featured guest on Focus on Albany, WMAC’s Food Friday and the Just Ask David podcast. When she's not writing or cooking, Sam likes to read and study the Bible, cook tasty plant-based food and knit socks.You can find out more about Sam at

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