Explore the great outdoors with the whole family this summer. The Syracuse region and Onondaga County feature over 50 parks and outdoor spaces to enjoy. There’s no better time to get going so read on for our family-friendly outdoor adventure itinerary!


Friday Evening:


Stay: If city dwelling is your thing bring the family to the Treehouse Loft Suite at Hotel Skyler. Inspired by the tree house at the nearby Golisano Children’s Hospital a percentage of the revenues generated are donated to the hospital. Looking for a more relaxed vibe, with a pool? Check into the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Syracuse.


Dine: Start your weekend off at one of Syracuse’s several seafood inspired restaurants. Take a drive out to Skaneateles to experience an area mainstay at Doug’s Fish Fry. With daily seafood deliveries and quality food stop by this lakeside favorite. Looking to stay closer to the city? The Fish Friar offers fresh, wild-caught seafood from Maine along with curated wines and exclusive craft beers.


Dessert: We all scream for ice cream! Don’t head to bed without a sweet treat from The Ice Cream Stand. Featuring soft serve, shakes, floats and even gluten free and vegan ice cream, the whole family will scream for this ice cream.




Breakfast:  The adults will enjoy Water Street Bagels, a wood fired bagel shop with options galore. Choose one of their rotating flavors of bagels (French Toast…yes!) and made in-house cream cheeses (Honey Walnut – #sweetyes) or just a classic breakfast sandwich to start the morning off right. Put a smile on the younger faces (or treat yourself!) with a visit to Glazed and Confused. Try the Lemon Drop w/ Blueberry Pop donut or the fan favorite Dizzy Pig, made with maple, bacon, sugar…need we say more?


Morning Hike:  Take a short drive to Green Lakes State Park to view one of the two glacial, meromictic lakes. Formed by glaciers, both Round and Green Lakes are unimaginable green-blue waters. Walk any of the 15 miles of trails, lounge on the beach or rent one of their crystal kayaks and view the lake through the bottom of your kayak.


Lunch:  Take the short drive from Green Lakes over to King David’s Restaurant and let the whole family enjoy authentic Middle Eastern cuisine.  Featuring a kids menu with both Middle Eastern options as well as the standard chicken fingers, as well as sample platters for the adults and of course gyros, this stop will fill you up for your next outdoor adventure!


Afternoon Falls:  Bring the family to experience the natural beauty of a few of the area’s many waterfalls. Both Pratt’s Falls and Chittenango Falls are easy drives from the Fayetteville region. Highlighted by the 137’ waterfall, Pratt's Falls also offers a variety of trails with excellent views of the falls and gorge. Chittenango Falls features several shorter trail options, accented by the 167’ falls. Pro Tip: Walk the winding trail into the gorge to view the falls from the footbridge.


Dinner:  Stop by a Syracuse family staple, Tully’s Good Times for a laid-back dinner. The kids will love their classic tenders, or mix it up by trying one of their several different flavors. Adults will enjoy their extensive menu and the small arcade room to occupy the kids pre-meal.




Diner Breakfast: Start your morning off at Modern Malt, a contemporary twist to the classic diner food. Treat yourself with the Oreo French Toast or enjoy a NY take on a Canadian favorite with the Breakfast Poutine, while the kids will have fun ordering the Breakfast Corndogs.


Morning Climb:  Work off that food coma at Central Rock Gym, the largest indoor rock climbing gym in Syracuse. The whole family can partake in the Staffed Belay, or try to make their monthly Family Climbing Day designed for families to climb and explore with staffers on hand to “show you the ropes”. 


If there's time: Before heading out of town be sure to visit the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, home to more than 700 animals. Be amazed by the Asian Elephant Preserve, home to seven Asian elephants, or visit some of the newer additions like the twin baby red pandas, snow leopard cubs, patas monkey, meerkats and the Humboldt penguin, all born in 2018. Looking to get out on the water before you leave? Check out Beaver Lake Nature Center’s canoeing or kayaking options. They also offer great bird-watching opportunities, guided tours and over 400 nature programs a year.


Rainy Day Option:  Head over to Destiny USA and take advantage of their multitude of family entertainment options. From go-karts at RPM Raceway to the Canyon Climb Adventure, the largest indoor suspended ropes course in the world, or test your sleuthing skills at the Escape the Mystery Room, there’s something available for every age group. Hit up Dave & Buster’s for action-packed dining or search for your lost shaker of salt at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.