Watkins Glen State Park With Kids: A Captivating Adventure for the Whole Family

Watkins Glen State Park is a must-visit destination for families with kids, offering a unique and captivating experience in the heart of the Finger Lakes region of New York. This state park is renowned for its stunning gorge trail, which takes visitors through a breathtaking landscape of towering rock formations and cascading waterfalls.

Exploring the Gorge Trail

The Watkins Glen State Park’s Gorge Trail is the main attraction, and it’s easy to see why. This 400-foot-deep gorge was carved out by the Glen Creek over thousands of years, creating a natural wonder that is sure to captivate both children and adults alike. The trail winds its way through the gorge, offering stunning views of the waterfalls and rock formations that line the path.

Trails for the Whole Family

Watkins Glen State Park With Kids

Watkins Glen State Park offers a variety of trails suitable for families with kids, catering to different skill levels and interests. The Watkins Glen South Rim Trail is a popular choice, with a 4.4-star rating on AllTrails.com. For those looking for a longer adventure, the Indian, Finger Lakes, and Gorge Trail Loop is estimated to be 7.5 miles long, providing a more extensive exploration of the park’s natural beauty.

Swimming and Nearby Attractions

While swimming is not allowed in the park’s gorges, there is a swimming pool available at the south entrance, with hours varying throughout the summer. If you’re looking to extend your adventure, the nearby town of Ithaca offers numerous additional waterfalls to visit, making it a great addition to your itinerary.

Convenient Location and Year-Round Access

One of the unique features of Watkins Glen State Park is its location, with the main entrance situated right in the middle of the town. This makes it easily accessible and convenient for families to explore. The park is open year-round, although some trails may be closed during the winter, so it’s always a good idea to check the park’s website for updates before your visit.

Parking and Fees

Accessing Watkins Glen State Park is straightforward, with a parking fee of $10 per car, payable by credit card at an unmanned kiosk. The parking lot can fill up quickly, especially during peak summer season, so it’s recommended to arrive early to secure a spot and avoid crowds.

Nearby Accommodations and Dining

For those planning to stay in the area, there are numerous accommodation options, from hotels and motels to vacation rentals and campgrounds. The town of Watkins Glen also offers a variety of dining options, from local eateries to national chains, catering to a range of tastes and budgets.


Watkins Glen State Park is a true gem for families with kids, offering a captivating and unique experience in the heart of the Finger Lakes region. With its stunning gorge trail, variety of family-friendly trails, and convenient location, this state park is a must-visit destination for any state park touring enthusiast. Whether you’re looking for a day trip or a longer adventure, Watkins Glen State Park is sure to leave a lasting impression on both children and adults alike.

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AllTrails – Watkins Glen, NY
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