When you think of New York, the bright lights and skyscrapers of the Big Apple come to mind. But, there is plenty of natural beauty in and around New York State. 

One of the best ways to explore this is via road trip. You can start with the Taconic State Parkway. This parkway runs just over 100 miles from Westchester County (one of the most populated suburbs of New York City) to Chatham. This is not far south from Albany and intersects with Interstate 90 just past the Massachusetts border. 

This route is frequently taken by people who are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. In just under 2 hours driving time, you can be driving along the woods, valleys, lakes, and mountains of beautiful Upstate New York. 

In this post, we want to highlight some of the great sightseeing on the Taconic State Parkway. If you love a road trip or are just looking for a quick day trip from New York City, Albany, or Western Massachusetts, this is the perfect place to start. 

Van Cortlandt Manor

Only six miles off the Taconic State Parkway is the Van Cortlandt Manor. The brick manor is a National Historic Landmark. It was built in the mid-1700s and served as the home of a prominent New York family. Today, visitors can step back in time and see people living as they did in the late 1700s. There is also a tavern and a number of events held there year round.

Innisfree Garden

A serene environment, overlooking the lake, in Innisfree Gardens, NY.

The Innisfree Garden is a mid-century modern style garden with a Chinese inspired flair. It has frequently been cited as a favorite among garden enthusiasts around the country, as well as Martha Stewart. The garden is open from April through October. Visitors will enjoy beautiful flowers, waterfalls, terraces, and plants based on Chinese landscape design.

Dutchess County Wine Trail

purple grapes hanging in a wine vineyard

Just past Clinton Corner, NY, you’ll be able to stop and enjoy the incredible scenery. This area is the start of the wine rich Upstate area (especially out by the Finger Lakes region). If you love trying out different types of wine, consider stopping at the two vineyards that are right off the parkway in this part of the Dutchess Country Wine Trail.

Lake Taghkanic State Park

If you’re looking for unspoiled nature with a clean family friendly lake, you can’t do better than Lake Taghkanic State Park. Located in Ancram, NY, you’ll find year-round activities here. In the winter, there’s the opportunity for sledding, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing. While in the summer, visitors can camp, grill, rent boats, or launch their boats.

Taste NY at Todd Hill Rest Area

Glass jars with different kinds of jam and berries on wooden table, Homemade jars of fruits jam on rustic wooden background

While you might think a rest area isn’t the most exciting scenic spot, this one is very different. As a project of the New York State Government, Taste NY was created to give motorists the opportunity to enjoy all sorts of local foods and goods year round. This is the perfect place to stop on your drive on the Taconic State Parkway to stock up on delicious food for the rest of the trip. 

These are a few of our favorite sightseeing spots along the Taconic State Parkway. But there are plenty more to take in on your own road trip. Enjoy! No matter what side you finish up on, you’re going to need someplace to stay. Take a look at our sister site, HotelCoupons.com, for the best last-minute rates on hotels.