15 Best Things to Do in Vestal, NY

Vestal, NY
wirakorn deelert / shutterstock.com

Vestal is a town in the Southern Tier of New York State, part of the Greater Binghamton area.

It’s on the southwest corner of Broome County, bordered by Pennsylvania and the Susquehanna River.

The town of Vestal prides itself on the nationally acclaimed Binghamton University, a part of the State University of New York.

Five rural communities are within Vestal’s borders: Ross Corners, Tracy Creek, Twin Orchards, Vestal Center, and Willow Point.

With shopping plazas, malls and 21 scenic parks, and a Railway Trail, Vestal has enjoyable recreational activities for everyone.

Several nature attractions in Vestal will surely catch your interest.

Enjoy some of New York’s fantastic lakes during the summer and ride the nearby ski slopes during the winter.

Here are the best things to do in Vestal, NY:

Enjoy Outdoor Recreation at Arnold Park

Colorful autumn trees surrounding Arnold Park
Jdimpson, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The scenic Arnold Park is the largest in Vestal and hosts a variety of outdoor activities you can enjoy.

You can catch exciting events at Arnold Park, like the picnic and summer festival in August and a fun Halloween event in October.

There are also regular ball games and leagues you can watch with family.

The vast natural area surrounding the park has a view of remarkable scenery, especially during fall when the leaves change colors.

Take a relaxing stroll or hike along the nature trail, or have a family picnic on the grounds.

Cook some barbeque at the picnic shelters with tables and grills.

Run some laps at the fitness trail, or play sand volleyball or football on the field.

Kids can also play for hours in the playground area.

Discover the Town’s History at Vestal Museum

The Vestal Museum was a railroad station that welcomed train travelers from the Buffalo area to New York during the 1880s.

Built as the Lackawanna Railroad Depot, it started operating in 1881.

In 1972, the Town of Vestal acquired the depot and moved the structure near Vestal Library.

The Vestal Museum is committed to preserving and presenting local arts and history and educating the public through various exhibits, events, and programs.

See the interesting local antiquities and archives on display.

View the exhibits to learn more about the town’s crucial highlights and historical facts.

You can visit the museum from Wednesdays to Sundays.

Explore Various Ecosystems at Binghamton University Nature Preserve

Since 1969, the 190-acre unspoiled natural land of the Binghamton University Nature Preserve has become one of the university campus’ prized locations.

The preserve also includes a 20-acre wetland, the largest and most-used nature laboratory on campus.

The location gives natural room for teaching and learning, ecological discoveries, inspiration for art and literature, and an avenue for outdoor recreation.

Get a breathtaking view of this natural attraction as you hike the trails and walk the wooden footbridge.

Enjoy the sight of the lush hemlock forests, towering oaks, beaver ponds, wetlands, streams, shrubbed meadows, and lichen-covered areas.

Meet a host of animals roaming around the preserve like beavers, deer, foxes, minks, porcupines, and muskrats, along with all kinds of amphibians, reptiles, and birds.

See Impressive Art at Binghamton University Art Museum

The Binghamton University Art Museum collects over 3,500 works representing different eras and mediums.

These museum collections have expanded in the last 50 years, including paintings, works on paper, sculpture pieces, and decorative arts.

View the various Egyptian, Greek, African and Asian artifacts from the early periods.

See antiquities from Europe, North America, and pre-Columbian times.

Visit other galleries, such as the Susan M. Reifer and Stanley J. Reifer Mezzanine Gallery and the Nancy J. Powell Gallery, to see other impressive art pieces.

The University Museum also allows visitors to engage with art and view any work in the Kenneth C. Lindsay Study Room.

Sample Cider and Tasty Treats at the Cider Mill

Exterior of the cider mill playhouse at the Cider Mill
CiderMillPLNY, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cider mills have long become part of Endicott since the 1920s.

The Cider Mill has carried the tradition of cider-making from New York’s best apples.

Despite an unfortunate fire in 1972, the Ciotoli family rebuilt the business and continues to serve old-fashioned cider and apple treats.

Visit the mill and watch how they make cider, from the pressing stage to the end.

Their cider offers different tastes depending on the types of apples ripening during the season.

You can also purchase Cider Mill Pies, cheeses, and other delicious apple recipes.

Drop by the Cider Mill Farmstand for some freshly picked apples, colorful mums, Halloween carving pumpkins, gourds, straw, corn stalks, and more.

You can also see shows at the Cider Mill Playhouse, such as the adaptation of A Christmas Carol staged every December.

Explore the IBM Glen – Waterman Conservation Education Center

The 200-acre IBM Glen contains a vast old-growth forest area with Broome County’s oldest and largest tree species.

In 2004, the Waterman Center bought the property after people convinced IBM to turn the area into a nature refuge for the public.

The verdant forest has majestic rows of maples, hemlocks, and oaks dotted with white pines.

The streams flowing nearby also add to the relaxing nature experience.

You can walk along the hiking trail built with natural stone paths and two stone arch bridges.

You can also use the stone fireplaces and picnic tables along the trails with colorful wildflowers in view.

Spot some reptiles, mammals, and other abundant wildlife inhabiting the area, or try birdwatching.

Play with Friends at En-Joie Golf Club

The excellently landscaped En-Joie Golf Club is a championship course along the Susquehanna River banks.

En-Joie offers a traditional course layout that any golfer will love.

The Golf Club first opened in 1927 and has undergone several renovations.

Over the past 90 years, it has remained accessible to the public and lovers of the classic sport.

The Village of Endicott owns the course, operating under Broome County since 2006.

Practice your golf swings or play several rounds of tee time on En-Joie’s well-maintained fairways.

See Corporate Memorabilia at Endicott History and Heritage Center

The famous tech company International Business Machines (IBM) and the world’s largest shoe manufacturer, Endicott Johnson Shoe Co. (EJ), started in Endicott, New York.

These companies greatly impacted Broome County’s history in the 1900s.

When these two companies closed, the Endicott History and Heritage Center curated artifacts, items, and even machines that weren’tavailable to the public.

The museum now houses objects and equipment covering IBM and EJ’s history.

The exhibits tell the story of these international company giants in their glory days and how a small village became their home.

See the IBM museum showcasing antique timekeeping machines, sophisticated computers, and even IBM products like motorized coffee grinders to rifles.

Follow the developments of IBM from the 20th-century computing process to the rise of IBM’s 360 mainframes.

Check out the rare EJ collection and items collected by Endicott collectors.

The Endicott History and Heritage Center opens on Saturdays.

Hike the Vestal Rail Trail

Welcome sign of Vestal Rail Trail
Doug Kerr, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Vesta Trail spans around 2.1 miles between the North Main Street in Vestal and the African Road.

Enjoy a good walk, hike, or speed on a bike on the trail.

Running parallel to the Vestal Parkway, the trail features a paved pathway bordered by lush green grass.

You can sit and enjoy the sites from the benches or stay at the lovely gazebo.

Enjoy the peaceful scenic overlook or stroll the nature trail.

Other amenities on the trail include dog waste facilities, restrooms at the African Road trail end, and a parking area at the Castle Gardens and Stage Road.

When you visit the West Endicott Park Carousel, you'll feel like a kid again.

The Allan Herschell Company built the historic carousel after buying it in 1929.

It was also among the carousels donated by George F. Johnson, the President of Endicott Johnson Corporation, to the Broome County community.

The National Register of Historic Places added the attraction to its record in 1992.

Today, it brings the simple joys and a nostalgic feel of a kiddie carousel ride.

Kids will enjoy the roundabout with the horse figures, pig and dog characters, or chariots.

Learn about Space at the Kopernik Observatory and Science Center

The Kopernik Observatory and Science Center offers interactive learning on astronomy through science-based, hands-on programs for kids and adults.

Established in 1974, the center is on a 1,740-foot hilltop on Binghamton’s southwest portion.

It got its name from Mikolaj Kopernik or Nicolas Copernicus, the Father of Modern Astronomy.

The observatory and science center feature advanced equipment and tools such as optical telescopes and modern computers.

The institution teaches young minds about the wonders of the heavenly bodies and develops their interest in science and astronomy.

On your visit, see the three observatory telescopes, a heliostat solar telescope, the center’s computer labs, a weather station, a portable planetarium, and so much more.

Discover the wonders and radiance of the universe through telescopes.

Get More Family Fun at Chuckster’s Family Entertainment Center

Chuckster’s Family Entertainment Center offers attractions for everyone to enjoy.

Play the longest miniature golf course with 18 unique experiences, including fountains, streams, landscapes, and greens, to challenge your miniature golfing skills.

Level up your skill at the batting cage, and you can also knock off Chuckster and win a prize.

You can enjoy a game of laser tag with full surround sound and sound effects adding to the excitement.

Get into the Jumpster and, flip up to 18 feet high in the air, challenge yourself with the 27-foot climbing wall.

Join a Shoot and Shower or Aeroball match, or feel a thrilling 30-mph and 70-foot adventure on the Zipline.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Check Out the Artifacts at the Phelps Mansion Museum

Exterior of Phelps Mansion Museum
Ammodramus, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Phelps Mansion Museum was built in 1870.

It’s in Binghamton, New York, 15 minutes from Vestal.

The chief architect of New York’s State Capitol, Isaac G. Perry, designed this three-story stone and brick mansion.

The structure was famously called the Monday Afternoon Clubhouse.

Sherman D. Phelps also lived there.

In 1973, the house became a National Historic Landmark.

Side facade of Phelps Mansion Museum
Ammodramus, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

After several changes, it opened to the public in 2005.

Phelps Mansion Museum is one of the unique attractions near Vestal, offering public tours, exhibits, events, and educational programs.

Marvel at the Victorian details of its exterior with a distinct mansard roof and cresting.

Step inside to see the grand exquisite interiors and furnishings in the different rooms.

The most notable furnishing is the elegant 1890 Baccarat Crystal chandelier.

Check out the Victorian antiques and exhibits inside the mansion.

You can join the guided tours on weekends from Friday to Sunday.

Enjoy the Attractions of Otsiningo Park

Otsiningo Park serves the public with enjoyable attractions and activities.

Find it in Dickinson, New York, 15 minutes from Vestal.

The name comes from the Native American word for the Chenango River Valley, where native tribes once lived.

The spacious Otsiningo Park is a great place to unwind and relax for the day, with paved pathways for walking, jogging, or biking.

Visit the colorful landscaped community gardens or catch the seasonal farmers’ market.

Enjoy sports activities like softball, soccer, bocce, and sand volleyball on the different playing fields.

Other park facilities you can freely use are the picnic tables and barbecue grills, water taps, fountains, and restrooms.

The park also has a specially-designed playground that’s handicap-accessible.

Meet All Kinds of Animals at Binghamton Zoo

A sleeping cheetah at Binghamton Zoo
Mohammed Al-Farook / Shutterstock.com

Binghamton Zoo offers a delightful treat, especially for kids.

Find it in Binghamton, 18 minutes from Vestal.

Established in 1875, the Binghamton Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in the US.

See animals on exhibit, birds at the aviary, and enjoy a picnic lunch at the pavilion.

There’s also a discovery center to give your children a hands-on learning experience.

A bear at Binghamton Zoo
Alex Erde, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The zoo also offers educational programs and personal animal experiences like the Wild Encounters, where you can see animals up close.

See other mammals like the cougar, Nigerian dwarf goat, or Geoffroy’s marmoset.

View some colorful birds at the aviary, such as the barred owl, peafowl, turkey vulture, or green aracari.

Likewise, see some endangered animals such as the golden-headed lion tamarin, snow leopard, African penguin, and the red panda.

Final Thoughts

The town of Vestal is a central educational site featuring the renowned Binghamton University.

With several parks in the area, you can find plenty of outdoor activities.

For some ideal nature trips, the town is also surrounded by picturesque nature locations you can visit.

You won’t run out of enjoyable things to do with family, with family-friendly attractions scattered within the town.

Visit Vestal on your next family trip and enjoy the beautiful destinations in town.

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