From Saratoga Race Course to Lake George and the Adirondack Mountains, upstate New York is a diverse vacation destination just a short drive from the state capital.

Outdoor activities - like hiking and swimming - and more leisurely pursuits - including golfing and shopping - have made the region one of the most popular tourist destinations in New York.

The Adirondack Park alone is the largest public protected area in the contiguous United States and is greater in size than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier and Grand Canyon national parks combined. The boundary of the park is around 6 million acres, nearly half of which belongs to the state and is constitutionally protected to remain "forever wild."

In addition to racing, Saratoga Springs is a summer retreat known for historic homes and a charming downtown shopping, restaurant and nightlife district. The quaint community, which grew up around natural mineral springs, also is home to Caffe Lena, one of the most celebrated folk music venues in America.

Lake George, known as "the queen of American Lakes," played a prominent role in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. The 32-mile long lake became a tourist haven in the Victorian era and has remained a popular resort ever since.

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