Editor’s Note: This is part of an ongoing series that features things to do in Upstate New York while we still experience the Covid-19 pandemic. Before venturing out, please take proper precautions and check for any changed business hours, park hours or availability. Safe travels!
Upstate New York is full of picturesque locations, from waterfalls and castles to gorgeous lakes and impressive architecture. All throughout the state there are incredible spots to view colorful sunsets, capturing the landscapes through photography. Here are 15 of our favorite locations to get stellar sunset photos.
Hamburg Beach/Town Park (Erie County)
Hamburg is such a quaint area with its own small beach where you can go swimming, launch boats and relax while snapping photos of their stunning sunset views over the water. The beach even has beach volleyball, basketball courts and snack bars, among other amenities. The area itself is full of cute shops in the village like Molly & Kate and great places to eat like the Grange.
The High Peaks (Essex County)
The high peaks in the Adirondacks near Lake Placid are absolutely stunning. Even just the drive is incredible, with every turn on the mountain roads revealing another scene suitable for a postcard. For a unique way to view the peaks, check out the Skyride. Take the short gondola ride up to the ski jumps to get stunning views of the high peaks at sunset.
Kaaterskill Falls (Greene County)
This cascading, two-tiered 260 foot waterfall in the Catskills makes you feel like you’re in Bali. Even driving out to the park, you can see some incredible views on the side of the road.
Seneca Lake Pier (Schuyler County)
This historical pier is a notable landmark near Watkins Glen. Take in stunning views of the sunset over Seneca Lake before heading into town. While in the area, check out Watkins Glen State Park just down the street.
Belhurst Castle and Winery (Ontario and Seneca Counties)
The stunning stone castle is a landmark from the 1880s right on Seneca Lake, full of history and charm. The grounds of the castle are perfect for taking stunning photographs at sunset. After, enjoy a wine tasting at their in-house winery.
Canalside in Buffalo (Erie County)
Canalside has a plethora of unique sunset photo opportunities. Along the outer harbor, you have the lighthouse at the end of the pier and a row of brightly colored little huts that belong to the sailing school. They even have military ships that you can go on and explore, and even take photos from the top deck.
Hart Island (Jefferson County)
Hart Island in the Thousand Islands is home to Boldt Castle where you’re surrounded by water. There are so many stunning details throughout this castle and the grounds including hidden hearts, secret passageways, beautiful gardens and more.
Canandaigua City Pier (Ontario County)
Check out Canandaigua Boathouse Row that attracts photographers and artists from all over due to its rustic, moody nature. The colorful, weathered boat houses reflect shades of red, teen, and blue into the water.
Niagara Falls State Park (Niagara County)
Known for being the oldest park in the US, Niagara Falls State Park has nearly 435 acres of forestry, beautiful landscapes, and waterfront views displaying one of the natural wonders of the world. In the surrounding area, you can explore art alley or even get your stress out by visiting the smash room.
Saratoga Lake (Saratoga County)
Along Saratoga Lake you can get some really amazing sunset photography. Take an extreme angle with your sunset photos by signing up to try hydroflying through Extreme Hydro Flight. They also have tubing rentals, kayaks, wakeboarding and more for you to enjoy the water.
Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse (Westchester County)
Sleepy Hollow isn’t just known for the headless horseman. The village is actually home to the Kingsland Point Lighthouse from the 1880s. You can park in the lot and take a short stroll to the end of the park to get a better view.
Mount Utsayantha Fire Tower (Delaware County)
The Fire Towers seem to be a growing trend, with people trying to hunt them down like a scavenger hunt during a hike. You can climb to the top and get extremely beautiful views if you can conquer your fear of heights.
The Wild Center (Franklin County)
At The Wild Center, you can explore and play among the treetops, high up in the air on the wild walk. Through trees and bridges, you can practice taking beautiful sunset photos from new heights, and even climb inside the giant bird nest.
The Richardson Olmsted Campus (Erie County)
Despite Hotel Henry’s unfortunate forced closure during the pandemic, it’s still a gorgeous location to take photos. When it was sitting vacant for years after previously being an insane asylum before they turned the massive building into a luxury boutique hotel, I’d come here to take photos of this incredible building.
Letchworth State Park (Livingston County)
Letchworth, also known as the Grand Canyon of the east, is full of sunset photo opportunities, including a plunging waterfall with a train track bridge above it. The lower and middle falls are stunning at sunset, too, with the mist from the falls reflecting the natural light to create rainbows.
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