Even with the widespread distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, it may be a while before life returns to normal. In fact, some annual WNY traditions like the Italian Festival already have been canceled for 2021. So, you’ll probably need to plan your summer accordingly. Are you wondering what you CAN do? Here are some tips for enjoying Buffalo, NY summer activities… social distance style.
Ideas for Socially Distant Summer Activities in Buffalo, NY
Love Your Parks
Most state, county and local parks have remained open throughout the pandemic. So, make the short drive to enjoy these regional gems. Take the kids to a playground, pack a picnic lunch, hike a trail or just sit back and relax. If you’re not sure where to begin, check out these favorites.
- Akron Falls Park features a scenic 40-foot waterfall
- Chestnut Ridge Park contains WNY’s famous eternal flame
- Golden Hill State Park is located on Lake Ontario and includes a lighthouse
- Letchworth State Park is lovingly nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of the East”
- Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve showcases forests, wetlands and ponds
- Stony Brook Park has an old-fashioned swimming hole
- Whirlpool State Park offers beautiful views of the Niagara River
Take a Bike Ride
The pandemic also brought about an unexpected bike boom. If you haven’t jumped aboard, now’s the perfect time. There are multiple new and used bike shops as well as bicycle rental sites throughout the Buffalo area. And once you’re up and running, you can ride around your neighborhood or pedal down these WNY bike trails.
Embrace Outdoor Activities
There’s more to do outside than play catch. Consider investing in backyard games like Bocce Ball, croquet, Kan Jam or ladder golf. Western New York also has numerous mini golf and disc golf courses. Or if you’re feeling more adventurous, try out kayaking, canoeing, rafting or paddleboarding. Once again, there are rental services and tour companies located throughout the area. Here are a few outdoor activity options.
- Adventure Landing Mini Golf
- Buffalo Harbor Kayak Rentals & Tours
- Charcoal Corral Mini Golf
- Emery Park Black Diamond Disc Golf Course
- Zoar Valley Canoe & Rafting Company
Hit the Beach
With two Great Lakes nearby, Buffalo has tons of beach opportunities. Take a swim, soak up the sun or build a sandcastle. Popular choices include:
- Beaver Island State Park in Grand Island
- Bennett Beach in Angola
- Fort Niagara State Park in Youngstown
- Wilson-Tuscarora State Park in Wilson
- Woodlawn Beach State Park in Blasdell
Go Berry Picking
Berry picking is a fantastic and fun social distancing activity. Plus, you can eat the fruits of your labor. Western New York provides lots of berry patches and you-pick-your-own farms. Look for strawberries in June, blueberries in July, tomatoes in August and apples in September.
Catch a Movie
Area movie theaters have been closed for more of the pandemic, but those old-style drive-ins still are in business. Treat yourself and/or your family to a vintage experience. And don’t forget the popcorn! There are a handful of local options available.
Plan a Local Adventure Day
Maybe you’ve always meant to spend the day in Niagara Falls, but you’ve never had the time. With ongoing travel restrictions, now’s your chance to become a tourist in your hometown. Pick a restaurant, store, museum and/or activity you always wanted to explore and book your vacation day. Here’s a list of top destinations to get you started.
- Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens
- Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park
- Buffalo Museum of Science
- Buffalo Waterfront Canalside & Outer Harbor
- Buffalo Zoo
- Explore & More Children’s Museum
- Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House
- Hidden Valley Animal Adventure
- Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises
- Old Fort Niagara
- Niagara Falls USA
- Rock City Park
- Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
- Sky High Adventure Park
While you’re dreaming about your next outing, keep in mind, many places are operating at reduced capacity. Therefore, often you’ll need reservations. After all, you don’t want to arrive somewhere only to discover they are full for the next two days. Be sure to call ahead or book online before you set your schedule.
Of course it’s been frustrating for everyone to have their summer plans disrupted for the second year in row. However, stay positive and look at this as an opportunity. You may need to give up your favorite summer tradition again this year. Yet, you’ll also have the chance to create new, unique and once-in-a-lifetime memories.
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