Build Your Upstate New York Summer Bucket List

COVID note: Be sure to check with our local businesses for up-to-date hours and visiting information as COVID-19 precautions change.

summer bucket list

With so much to do this summer in Washington County, a summer bucket list is the only way to go! Here are a few unique stops to get you started, as well as great events you don’t want to miss!


Only in Washington County

Our area is historically significant for a number of reasons. From pre-colonial times through the Civil War era and beyond, there are dozens of relics to our area’s past if you’re looking to add some history to your summer adventures!

If you’re not so much of a history buff, you can still enjoy some unique historical structures in passing. There are four incredible covered bridges in Washington County, some dating as far back as the mid-1800s!

For a nod to a different time in the past, don’t miss MacDaddy’s Car Hop & Diner in Granville for great burgers, ice cream, and more. Enjoy the 1950’s Americana vibes on their large outdoor deck, inside the diner, or to-go!

There’s no shortage of incredible food near Saratoga Springs, but another spot you won’t find anywhere else is King’s Donut Cart in Cambridge. Open only on Sunday mornings, locals and visitors flock to the roadside cart for freshly baked pastries, desserts, and more. Be sure to get there early: favorites go fast!

One last recommendation for the foodies: Yushak’s Market. Dennis Yushak’s beef, bacon, and sausages are preferred by locals and restaurant owners alike. The Shushan, NY institution has been in business now for 80 years, since Denny’s parents opened the market in 1941.

Lastly, the Washington County Grasslands Important Bird Area is a mass of grassland habitat, covering 13,000 acres throughout the county. Part of that area is the Wildlife Management Area, which offers two viewing platforms you can find here.

Go for the Instagram, Stay for the Experience

Everyone loves to share their new favorite places, and these next few summer bucket list spots in Washington County make it easy!

Set against rolling hills in the rural countryside of the county is Salem Art Works’ sculpture park. Making up an impressive 119.4 acres, Cary Hill Sculpture Park is home to a rotating roster of sculptures by regional, national, and international artists. Explore the public space from dawn to dusk daily, and find your favorite!

Another great and Instagram-worthy experience near Saratoga Springs, NY is the beloved Batten Kill. Known nation-wide for incredible fishing, the river is also a great place to enjoy a leisurely paddle or float along the beautiful backdrop of the county. And don’t miss your chance for a photo under one of the covered bridges!

Kick back and enjoy great, locally-brewed beer with a side of awesome decor at Slickfin Brewing Company in Fort Edward. Their always rotating selection of beers brewed on-premise is served with incredible tap handles made with a number of items only a retired Marine Bomb Tech could dream up: think decommissioned grenades, canisters, and more.

Prefer to spend the day outside? Lavenlair Farm is the ultimate backdrop for an epic photoshoot. Stroll the fields and explore the 30 different cultivars and many colors of lavender during their UPick days. Rolling purple hills and their 1820s farmhouse make for a perfect photo! (Lavenlair Farm is planning to reopen the lavender fields in mid-June to ticketed guests. Please check with them before visiting and book your specific date and time slot online!)

What’s a photo-friendly trip without an equally photogenic place to stay? From incredible lakeside campsites to fun and funky Airbnb’s like The Magic Glamp, you’ll have no problem taking in the sights.

And while you’re making summer plans, be sure to consider a visit in the fall to take in the Pumpkin Stand at Tiashoke Farm in Easton!  

Make a Weekend of It

Get the most of your summer bucket list when you plan it around Washington County’s great summer events. From weekly “Food Truck Fridays” at the fairgrounds and the hot air balloon festivals, to the Artisan Trails, there’s always something fun to discover.

Plus,  August 23 to 29, 2021 marks the return of the Washington County Fair! You won’t want to miss “New York’s #1 Agricultural County Fair.” Learn more and buy your tickets here!