While New York City remains one of the world's largest metropolitan areas, a number of people have left in recent years. According to the New York State Comptroller, nearly three-quarters of New York's population growth from the last decade left the city during COVID.

But while many fled to other parts of the country, many relocated to other areas in New York state, including the Hudson Valley region, the Catskills, and the Southern Tier.

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The congestion and stress of big city life appear to be driving more and more people back to nature. Now, the official numbers are proving it.

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New York State Sets New Record 

Governor Kathy Hocul announced Wednesday that New York’s "state parks, historic sites, campgrounds and trails" saw a record 84.1 million visits in 2023, which breaks the record set the year before. WBNG says 2023's increase of 4.7 million visitors marks the highest annual increase on record.

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The New York State DEC says that there are 180 state parks in New York, and over 8,500 campsites. Frommer's says there are also  24 sites managed by the National Park Service within the state, though none are actually designated as full national parks.

New York also boasts over 700 trails statewide.

Slow Down...And Visit These Great NY State Parks!

Gallery Credit: Chuck D'Imperio

Some state parks located in the Hudson Valley include Hudson Highlands, Lake Taghkanic, Hook Mountain, Nyack Beach, Storm King, and James Baird State Park.

WBNG says that throughout the last two decades, state park attendance has continuously increased by nearly 60%.

13 Hilarious Bad Reviews of New York State Parks

Have these people ever camped before?

Gallery Credit: Will Phillips