Our first Saturday in New York, we decided to head to Howe Caverns. The drive to the caverns was absolutely beautiful. We pulled into the driveway for the Caverns at 11:26. Thirty minutes later we were finally parking. There was a huge line just to get into the parking lot! We walked inside and waited about 15 minutes to buy our tickets which were time stamped for 12:15. Yay we have tickets! We were then told that the line to actually go into the caverns starts at the end of the huge patio out front. Yep you guessed it another line. In total, we waited in lines for 2 hours to see the Howe Caverns. Now this isn’t to say it’s not worth it!
The Howe Caverns are located about 40 miles from Albany or 50 miles from Saratoga. Right now through September 4th, the caverns are opened daily 9-6. After that the caverns are only open on the weekends. If you have visited other caverns the price of the tour is will seem a little high at $25 per adult for the cave tour. The cave tour does last about 90 minutes, and there is a boat ride as well included in the price of the tour.
The Caverns are very commercialized compared to other places we have been and this is apparent almost everywhere you look. The very unnatural red and green lighting was very unexpected and made quite a few photos unusable. Beyond the lighting there was part of the cavern blown out using explosives, just for ease of tours, not to mention the stairs carved into the rock. Beyond the commercialization, the cavern itself is beautiful!
Here’s a few tips to help your visit go smoothly.
- Bring a small book or small toy if you are bringing children to keep them entertained while you are waiting in lines. Nothing too big or bulky though because backpacks and large bags are not permitted in the caverns.
- Wear sneakers or boots and bring a jacket! Like all caverns, this one is cold inside. Dress appropriately as the tour is 90 minutes. Along the same lines flip flops are not permitted in the caverns.
- Leave the selfie sticks and tripods in the car, they are not allowed in the caverns.
- Last but not least, there is not a bathroom inside the caverns so plan accordingly.
To be honest, even with all the waiting we did, I would still say this is a must see if you are in New York in the capital district. Now I might be a little bias because Drew and I love going to see caverns everywhere we go, but it’s still an awesome place. There are some fun quirky places in the caverns that we have not go to experience anywhere else and I am very happy we decided to go there first.
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