New York offers much more than the Big Apple – the city that never sleeps. Tucked away in various locations across the Empire State are smaller cities where you can enjoy life at a slower pace. Every autumn, you can savor the breathtaking foliage of the forests. History buffs will enjoy exploring Revolution War sites and learning about how military conflicts shaped our country. And then there’s the wonder of all wonders: Niagara Falls. Thinking of moving to New York? NewHomeSource has compiled a list of the top 10 healthiest cities.
Physical inactivity rate: 15.7%
Dunkirk hugs the southeastern shore of Lake Erie and is the westernmost city in New York. Its lakefront location made it a central hub for early French and European traders. The Dunkirk Lighthouse’s beam had a 27-foot range, serving as a guiding beacon for mariners since the early 1800s. Climb the 61-foot tower to the observation deck for a spectacular view of Lake Erie. You can take a nine-mile drive west and spend the day at Lake Erie State Park. Be sure to keep your camera in hand, as migratory birds habitually follow the shore looking for a bite to eat.
Physical inactivity rate: 15.1%
Ogdensburg is the smallest city on our list and lies along the St. Lawrence River. Gather the family and head to Maple City Trails for a hike or bike ride. Fishing enthusiasts will find plenty of rivers, lakes, and streams where they can cast a line and reel in freshwater fish. In the winter, grab your sled and take a joyride. If you have ever wanted to learn to ice skate – or demonstrate how you dominate the ice – you will be happy to know Ogdensburg has a public rink.
Physical inactivity rate: 20.8%
Tonawanda is part of the Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area; its position alongside the Erie Canal is perfect for watching the sunrise. The city along with its twin sister – North Tonawanda – comprise the Gateway Harbor. Communities come together year-round, especially in the summer, to enjoy outdoor concerts and Food Truck Thursdays. Anglers can spend a leisurely afternoon casting a line in Tonawanda Creek.
Physical inactivity rate: 18.4%
Jamestown holds many secrets from the 19th century. Its geographical location enabled it to play a vital role in the Freedom Movement of the Underground Railroad. The Fenton History Center offers visitors a step back in time to learn about brave female station operators who helped slaves escape. Another claim to fame: it’s the birthplace of Lucille Ball. The town built the Lucille Ball Memorial Park in her honor, hosting a playground, picnic tables, and a boat launch. If you want to decompress in the great outdoors, check out Audubon Community Nature Center, a serene 600-acre preserve.
Physical inactivity rate: 24.7%
This gem is a 53-mile drive east of Jamestown. Amble along the trails and enjoy the engaging cityscape. As you soak up Olean’s charm and natural beauty, you will understand why it’s also a delightful place for our feathered friends to congregate. The enchanted Lake Lane Fishing and Camping Getaway is a family favorite with a heated inground swimming pool and kayaks available to rent. Further, it offers multiple stocked ponds – and no fishing license is required.
Physical inactivity rate: 19.9%
Elmira is just north of the Pennsylvania state line, and its residents are strong advocates of getting outdoors; this small city has over 20 city parks. The Cypress Street Park features playground equipment and water sprinklers to help kids cool off on hot summer days. A family favorite, Eldridge Park, stretches across 15 acres. Take a ride on the carousel, play a game of mini-golf, or take a boat ride. The Tanglewood Nature Center and Museum charges no admission. Here, children and adults can learn about their environment while browsing exhibits and viewing exotic animals.
Physical inactivity rate: 17%
Rome lies in central New York in Oneida County. Nature lovers can choose from over 12 scenic trails to walk, hike, or bike. Oneida County is one of seven counties in the region made famous by the frontier author, James Fenimore Cooper. In his Leatherstocking Tales, he captured slices of the lives of the Native Indians. A quiet walk reflecting on yesteryear may quiet your thoughts and refresh your soul.
Physical inactivity rate: 23.4%
As Niagara County’s seat, Lockport offers residents abundant outdoor activities. A family favorite is Wide Waters Marina, serving as a kayak, boat, or canoe launch point. Another popular destination is the 25-acre Kenan Center. The sprawling campus features a sports complex, an arena, and the Taylor Theater and Education Building. Step outside and treat your senses to the beauty and fragrances of perennial blossoms that envelop the property. The townspeople enjoy eating healthy and are frequent shoppers at the Lockport Community Farmers Market.
9. North Tonawanda
Physical inactivity rate: 17.8%
North Tonawanda, the twin sister city of Tonawanda, lies at the connecting point between the Niagara River and New York State Canal System. Before construction of the Erie Canal, Tonawanda Creek flowed rapidly, cutting a path across heavily forested land. The city embraces nature and established a 5,600-acre Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area for the preservation of wildlife and their habitats. It’s part of a 19,000-acre state and federal habitat complex that includes the 11,000-acre Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. Locals will tell you it’s one of Western New York’s best-kept secrets.
10. Niagara Falls
Physical inactivity rate: 21.3%
Niagara Falls is a city that promises to engage all your senses; you can hear the thundering roar long before you see the water tumble furiously over the ledge. On sunny days, you can expect to see at least one rainbow shimmering over the water. Believe it or not, the city offers more than nature’s exquisite outdoor water fountain. Niagara Falls State Park, the oldest in the country, provides idyllic spots to observe the raging falls and its protected wildlife. You will find trails suitable for youngsters as well as steep heart-pumping ones. Between steps, you will discover nature’s mesmerizing beauty is taking your breath away.