An Upstate New York motorhome camping trip should be on just about everyone’s rental RV itinerary. Far from America’s largest metropolis, going Upstate is all about enjoying the outdoors and kicking back away from the crowds. Most visitors head to the Finger Lakes region, which does have fantastic recreational opportunities and fascinating towns like Ithaca (home to Cornell) and Seneca Falls (the birthplace of the Women’s Rights movement). But go a little farther north to New York’s Great Lakes shore, and you’ll find even fewer crowds and more chances for peace and quiet.Lake Bluff Campground is located in Wolcott, about an hour’s drive to the east of Rochester, near the southern shore of Lake Ontario in a spectacular rural setting. Campsites at Lake Bluff Campground have full hookups for your RV rental, and there are clean restrooms and hot showers on-site. The campground is full-service, complete with a well-stocked convenience store for all your camping needs.Lake Bluff is also one of the most family-friendly Upstate New York campgrounds, with tons of activities to keep everyone entertained. For the little ones, there’s a playground and jump pad (similar to a bouncy house), along with horseshoe pits, a swimming pool, miniature golf, shuffleboard courts, and a stocked fishing pond (no state license required). If you fancy yourself a campground chef, there’s a campground farm stand selling fresh produce that would make a wonderful addition to your nightly meals around the campfire.
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The Finger Lakes and Great Lakes regions of New York are all about outdoor adventure, and you’ll likely spend the majority of your time outside when you rent a camper near Lake Bluff Campground. Chimney Bluffs State Park is a favorite with Wolcott locals and never seems to be crowded. The park sits on the shore of Lake Ontario and is populated with sand dunes, driftwood, and picturesque beaches. Most visitors just walk along its shoreline, but kayak rentals are available in Rochester and Oswego, and seeing the tall dunes from the water is a completely different experience.Running between Buffalo and Albany, and through Rochester, is the Erie Canal Trail, a 350-mile-long path that is the envy of cyclists around the country. The trail utilizes the old towpath that ran alongside the canal and allowed horses, and later, automobiles to pull barge traffic through it. If you need to rent a set of wheels, there are a couple of shops in Rochester that can hook you up for the day or the week.If you’re just looking for a place to hang out with the family or have a picnic, there’s nowhere better than Rochester’s Highland Park. It was designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and is one of the country’s oldest arboretums. It also hosts the annual Lilac Festival every May, but for most visitors, it’s simply a comfortable place to stroll or sit in the shade.
Wolcott doesn’t make it onto many Upstate New York itineraries, but the small town just off Highway 104 has all the amenities you could need for an RV camping trip. A few grocery and convenience stores near the intersection of Main Street and Mill Street stock all the food and supplies you could need for an excursion. There are also a couple of restaurants selling pizza, Chinese, and basic diner food if you don’t feel like cooking back at the campsite. For entertainment, there’s a single-screen movie theater. To see any attractions, though, you’ll have to hit the road.History buffs should definitely make the half-hour drive down to Seneca Falls to check out the Women’s Rights National Historical Park. It includes the church where the famous Seneca Falls Convention took place, the M’Clintock House where the Declaration of Sentiments was drawn up, the home of movement leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and the home of activist Jane C. Hunt. Each is filled with artifacts, documents, and photos depicting the struggle for women’s rights. Also, if you’re a fan of the classic Christmas film It’s a Wonderful Life, which is set in Seneca Falls but referred to as Bedford Falls in the movie, you’ll surely want to see the museum based on it. Exhibits focus on the actors and the making of the film with all kinds of memorabilia to excite its true fans.There’s also Rochester, one of the most underrated tourist destinations in New York. If you’ve got kids in tow, your first stop should be the Strong National Museum of Play - a world-renowned children’s museum. With exhibits like the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, and the World Video Game Hall of Fame, you know the little ones will never be bored here. For the adults, there’s the George Eastman Museum, which chronicles the life and work of its namesake photography pioneer. It’s the oldest photography museum in the world and is filled with classic cameras, film stock, and exhibits showing how the craft has evolved over the past 150 years.