World Atlas names 8 of New York's most charming small towns. See the list

If you’re wondering what to do in upstate New York this spring, don’t overlook a simple day trip to an off-the-path locale. Small towns in upstate New York and around the Finger Lakes Region afford beautiful views, arts, food and shopping. World Atlas, a website publishing content about resources and entertainment on geography, published a list of eight charming small towns to visit in upstate New York.

Ithaca NY

Located on the southern edge of Cayuga Lake, it’s considered an ideal upstate New York spot for outdoorsy types with more than 100 waterfalls within 10 miles of downtown. Tourists are allowed to swim in the gorge at Robert Treman State Park and the natural pool below Buttermilk Falls. But the campus at prestigious Cornell University is worth a look too, World Atlas notes, with public attractions such as The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell Botanic Gardens, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

More: World Atlas names 9 of New York's most picturesque small towns. See the list

Lake Placid NY

Don’t confuse this gorgeous village with the 1999 fictional creature movie that borrowed its name. Lake Placid sits between Mirror Lake and Lake Placid in the Adirondacks. Sports fans will enjoy learning about the two Olympic Winter Games that took place there — the Lake Placid Olympic Museum houses the second-largest collection of Winter Olympic artifacts in North America, according to World Atlas. American history buffs can visit the home and grave of abolitionist John Brown, who is part of the area’s anti-slave heritage.

New Paltz NY

The town in southeastern Ulster County is good for upstate New York climbing at the nearby Shawangunks, and the fountains and sculpture garden at Water Street Market offer something for those who want to keep their feet on the ground. World Atlas singled out the Denizen Theatre: “Like many black box theaters, it is devoid of cosmetic pretension but provides an unmatched intimate experience. Advocates of such a design believe it represents the purest form of theater, connecting the audience and the actors in an indescribable way.”

Old Forge NY

Located on the shores of Fourth Lake, Old Forge is a place to cool off in the summer or ski in the winter. Families will enjoy the Enchanted Forest Water Safari, which is New York’s largest waterpark and has been open since 1956. It has more than 50 rides and attractions, according to World Atlas, and 32 rides include heated water. The McCauley Mountain Ski Center provides skiers picturesque views with 21 slopes and trails. Tony Harper’s Pizza and Clam Shack is highly recommended and the View Arts Center is a haven for local artists.

Saratoga Springs NY

The natural springs here are known for “healing” properties, according to World Atlas, and attracted historic figures like George Washington and Alexander Hamilton to what is known as one of America’s first resort towns. The springs are accessible in High Rock Park just a quick walk from Maple Avenue. Saratoga Race Course was featured in the Hollywood horse racing movie “Seabiscuit.” Fans of the supernatural will enjoy the Olde Bryan Inn, an architectural gem rich in ghost stories.

Skaneateles NY

Sharing a name with the lake that it borders, Skaneateles was once No. 1 on Oprah Magazine's list of “60 Charming American Towns You Haven't Heard of But Should Visit ASAP,” according to World Atlas. Skaneateles Lake is renowned for its clear and serene waters. World Atlas recommends local eat-and-drink spots Anyela's Vineyards and Doug's Fish Fry.

Watkins Glen NY

Go to the Graft Wine + Cider Bar and order a steak, or cook your own dinner after fishing in trout-rich Seneca Lake. Hikers will enjoy the gorge of Watkins Glen State Park, which contains 19 cascades in a 1.5-mile span. September visitors can watch the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival, where the town is celebrated as the Birthplace of American Road Racing. “For those seeking a pampered stay where luxury and refinement are paramount, the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, a Four-Diamond AAA-rated establishment, is an excellent choice,” according to World Atlas.

Woodstock NY

The iconic 1960s Woodstock music festival was actually held about an hour away on a Bethel dairy farm, but the town of Woodstock still has an arts history for visitors to enjoy. The nearby Byrdcliffe Arts Colony is one of America’s oldest operating arts and crafts colonies, World Atlas Notes, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Tinker Street is an ideal shopping spot for rare vintage finds and has good restaurants too.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: World Atlas names New York's most charming small towns. See the list