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Budget-Friendly Capital Region Day Trips

 

Ah, summer! The weather is great, the kids are out of school, and it’s the perfect time for a family adventure. Capital Region residents are also lucky enough to live where there are so many budget friendly destinations close by, whether you’re seeking peaceful solitude or just someplace to take the neighborhood kids who have chosen to hang out at your place.

Here are ten sure-fire, wallet-friendly adventures, all less than 90 minutes’ drive from downtown Albany. A few you may have heard of before, but others are guaranteed to be new and surprising.

Albany Pine Bush Preserve Discovery Center

Address: 195 New Karner Road, Albany, NY 12205

More Information: https://www.albanypinebush.org/index.php?section=visit-the-discovery-center

Cost: Free

Distance from Downtown Albany: 11 miles, 16 minutes

It’s hard to go wrong with this free nature center right in the middle of the metro area. It’s filled with interactive exhibits and activities connected with the area’s unique environment and history. The center also serves as the hub of a trail network that provides opportunities for hiking, bird watching, nature study, cross-country skiing, and more. Plus, there’s an ongoing schedule of events ranging from full moon hikes to environmentalist training.

Amy’s Park

Address: 887 Padanarum Rd. Bolton Landing, NY

More information: http://www.lglc.org/preserves/amys-park/

Cost: Free

Distance from downtown Albany:  81.5 miles, 82 minutes

If you’re looking for something different to do in the Lake George region, try this secluded and relatively new preserve in the hills above Bolton Landing, owned by the Lake George Land Conservancy. Amy’s Park is a beautiful property of ponds, marshes, and forests with well-marked trails. Enjoy the quiet, or take the kids to see the beaver dam or hike to the top of the (small) mountain that overlooks South Pond.

Art Omi

Address: 1405 Co. Route 22, Ghent NY 12075

More information: http://artomi.org/

Cost: Free

Distance from Downtown Albany: 27 miles, 33 minutes

This 120-acre sculpture and architectural park features constantly changing sculpture and architectural installations displayed along trails in its fields and forests. You never know what you-or the kids-will find around the next corner. Dogs are welcome, and there are also several fat bikes you can borrow to ride on the trails. After your outdoor adventure, check out the indoor gallery and talk over your experience in the café.

FASNY Museum of Firefighting

Address: 117 Harry Howard Ave., Hudson NY 12534

More information: https://www.fasnyfiremuseum.com/

Cost: Adults $10, Kids 3 and older $5, Family $25

Distance from Downtown Albany:  35 miles, 44 minutes

This museum houses a huge collection of firefighting equipment and memorabilia, some almost three hundred years old. Adults will be fascinated by the connections of firefighting to New York history, and there are lots of hand-on activities to teach kids fire safety. If that’s not enough, wait for Columbus Day weekend this fall when the museum will host it’s annual Dalmatian Day. Fire engines and friendly dogs-how can you lose?

Hannacroix Ravine Preserve

Address: 1235 Cass Hill Rd., Voorheesville, NY 12186

More information: https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/places-we-protect/eny-hannacroix-ravine/

Cost: Free

Distance from Downtown Albany: 16 miles, 33 minutes

This 415-acre preserve administered by the Nature Conservancy is one of Albany County’s best kept secrets. From the small parking area on Cass Hill Road, the well-marked 2.5 mile trail meanders under old growth trees and crosses the Hanncroix Creek. Check out the historic building foundations or walk up the ravine to the waterfall. There’s plenty to keep the kids fascinated on this easy forest walk.

Norman Rockwell Museum

Address: 9 Glendale Road, Stockbridge, MA 01262

More information: https://www.nrm.org/

Cost: Adults, $20, kids 18 and under Free

Distance from Downtown Albany: 41 miles, 46 minutes

Rockwell’s groundbreaking art was often dismissed by critics. But his iconic, realistic, and often sentimental portraits of American Life have become part of the indelible fabric of our American culture. It would be hard to find any American who doesn’t recognize a Rockwell painting, and this museum houses some of his best-known works. The facility offers guided tours or listen to the digital tour on your smartphone or a rented iPad. You can even visit Rockwell’s own studio that was moved from downtown Stockbridge to the museum grounds in 1986.

NY State Museum

Address: 222 Madison Ave., Albany, NY 12230

More information: http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/

Cost: Free (Suggested donation of $5.00 per person or $10.00 per family

Your tax dollars at work have put together ongoing exhibitions of New York State history and culture that stretch all the way from the Ice Age to the present day. Couple that with a constantly updated schedule of special exhibits, and the museum takes its place as one of the top attractions in Upstate New York. It’s a great way to spend an entire weekend day, when the adjacent public parking is free.

Old Fort Johnson

Address: 2 Mergner Road, Fort Johnson, NY (Intersection of Routes 5 & 67)

More information: https://www.oldfortjohnson.org/

Cost: $5.00 for adults, kids under 12 Free

Distance from Downtown Albany: 38 miles, 44 minutes

Fort Johnson is the 1749 limestone house of William Johnson, who was the British Superintendent of Indian Affairs in the mid-1700’s. Originally surrounded by fortifications, the house today is a museum run by the Montgomery County Historical Society that serves as a window into the colonial frontier period in the Mohawk Valley. There are guided tours and a regular schedule of historical events.

Saratoga Automobile Museum

Address: 110 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

More information: http://www.saratogaautomuseum.org/

Cost: Adults $8.50, Kids 6-16 $4.00, Under 6 Free

Distance from Downtown Albany: 34 miles, 38 minutes

Who doesn’t like looking at bright, shiny, glamorous cars? The Saratoga Automobile Museum features a constantly changing roster of all kinds of historic and interesting automobiles and car-related paraphernalia. Whether you like Model T’s, muscle cars, or racing rigs, there’s something to see. Plus, a regular schedule of participatory events brings in even more vehicles that are sure to entertain.