Our Adventure to Watkins Glen State Park in New York

by Crystal Carder
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I cannot believe it’s taken me so long to write this post, but I’m finally writing it! (Sorry guys, but the pictures in this post will make the wait worthwhile, you’ll see).

You know how things just keep happening; the kids go to school, your husband goes to work, and you do the same thing – day in and day out. Yeah, that’s how we were beginning to feel. We were on the verge of complete burnout and we all just all needed a break. That’s when I suggested that we head on a small road trip for the weekend. 

I really wanted to go to Asheville, North Carolina because it is supposed to be gorgeous there and the highest mountain in North Carolina, Mount Mitchell, is there. But, my husband just couldn’t stand the thought of driving 8 hours one way and, to be honest, neither could I. That’s when my husband suggested another place that had been on my bucket list – Watkins Glen, New York. 

I had been wanting to visit Watkins Glen since a beautiful picture popped up on my Facebook feed months back, but I didn’t realize it was so close to home, just 5 hours away.
Adventure to Watkins Glen State Park, NY

The Trip

Our trip started out like any ordinary trip, except, our oldest son had the worse case of strep throat he had ever had. (I mean blisters and all)! We had felt bad about leaving while he was still getting over being sick, but my son has always been a trooper and insisted he wanted to go, so we did.

My son slept a good bit of the way and the medicine seemed to help him, so we just had to make sure he stayed hydrated for the course of the trip.

By the time we left the house, it was already late, so we knew that stopping halfway in our trip in Williamsport, Pennsylvania would be the best thing for us.

Before leaving, we literally checked and double checked that we had everything. We thought we were good, but then, 15 miles up the road, we realized we had forgot my husband’s insulin supplies and we had to turn around.

When we finally got back on the road again, we were lucky to only have to stop once before making it to Williamsport. Since we had a room booked and ready for us at the Holiday Inn in Williamsport, we decided to go straight there.

After checking into the hotel, the kids insisted we go swimming right away. While, the pool was nice, swimming only lasted a few minutes. By the time we got back to the room, the kids were still energetic, so we decided to explore downtown Williamsport.

My husband has always been a baseball guy, so he knew Williamsport was the birthplace of the little league World Series  Me, on the other hand, would have never known Williamsport was anything more than another little city if it weren’t for the excessive signage and statues of baseball guys. 

Of course, we had to find one of the most famous baseball fields in the world. Unfortunately, it was closed, but that didn’t stop us from snapping a few photos. 

Back at the hotel, later that night, we all got bathed and ready for our big adventure the next day. Somehow, though, that night I never slept a dime. As much as I tried, I just couldn’t fall asleep. I literally had the worst night sleep of my life.

The Next Morning

The next morning, we woke up pretty early. We knew we would still have to drive 2 more hours to get to Watkins Glen and we were hoping to beat the large crowds. 

The two hours to Watkins Glen seemed to drag. The only bits of towns we saw were little gas stations.

Once we hit New York, we didn’t even pass signs that pointed to Watkins Glen. It was like it was New York’s own little secret spot.

When we finally got to the state park, the parking lot was still pretty empty, so we decided to explore the town and come back a little later.

Where in the World is Watkins Glen, New York?

Located in Schuyler county, New York, Watkins Glen lies on the southern tip of Seneca Lake.

Just hours away from major cities like; Harrisburg, Rochester, Hershey and Baltimore, Watkins Glen hides in a small town boating town.

In fact, if you were traveling past Watkins Glen State Park, you might not even know the beauty that lies above the park entrance.

Adventure to Watkins Glen State Park, NY

Things to Do

The town of Watkins Glen, may not be packed with shopping malls, but it is home to one of the world’s premiere on-road NASCAR racetracks, the Watkins Glen International.

Of course, my family had to find this track before going to the park. And, since it was only a 3-mile drive from the state park, we even had time to snap a few photos.

This speedway is literally in the middle of farm fields, it’s absolutely huge!

Admission to Watkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen State Park does not cost to get in, but there is an $8 charge for parking*.

Tip # 1 Get there early because the large parking lot fills up fast!

Watkins Glen State Park

Although, I’m not sure if I will ever go back to Watkins Glen, I am so glad we made the trip there. Watkins Glen State Park is so gorgeous, peaceful, and mesmerizing.

Adventure to Watkins Glen State Park, NYEverything at Watkins Glen looks completely untouched.Adventure to Watkins Glen State Park, NY

There are 32 waterfalls and some of them, you even walk under! (I’ll admit, this scared me a little bit)

Watkins Glen has over 832 steps! So, taking 3 little kids, was a bit unheard of while we were there – but, my kids did amazing!

Tip #2: Don’t expect to take a stroller because there is absolutely no way you can push one.  

There are a few spots at Watkins Glen that are narrow, steep, or just scary looking for kids, but we were sure to keep our eyes and hands with the kids at all times.

Adventure to Watkins Glen State Park, NY

My family almost walked the entire state park, but before we got to the end the kids started to get tired. Although, we were kind of disappointed to leave before seeing the top of the park, we didn’t want to risk having to carry three kids back down the steps, so we turned around.

Tip #3 Pack snacks or a lunch because Watkins Glen has no indoor vending. 

While my family didn’t get to see all that Watkins Glen had to offer like the; swimming area, camping area or picnic area, our family enjoyed every minute that we were there. Although, I highly doubt we be back (at least for a few years) I would say it should be a top priority on any travel enthusiasts’ bucket list.

If you would like to visit Watkins Glen State Park, check out the park’s website for more information.

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Tips for Visiting Watkins Glen State Park in New York

*subject to change, call ahead.

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