See This, Skip That: Albany

Skip the Gym, Hit the Preserve Need another excuse to stay active on vacation? The Albany Pine Bush Preserve just celebrated 25 years – it’s a 3200-acre slice of green heaven with some 18 miles of multi-use trails. Go mountain biking in spring, hiking in summer, horseback riding in the fall and cross-country skiing when the snow comes. Take the kids to the onsite Discovery Center, where hands-on exhibits teach them about the conservation efforts here.

Skip the Slopes, Hit the Rink The outdoors isn’t the only place to enjoy sub-zero fun during winter. The Empire State Plaza Ice Rink rolls out the ice mid-December through mi-March. You can’t miss it – it’s right next to the Capitol Building. Bring your own skates – skating is free! – or rent a pair for $4.

Skip the City, Go Aboard Bring history to life for the afternoon by heading aboard the USS Slater. This is the only World War II destroyer escort left – the U.S. built more than 500 of these in the 1940s to fight Nazi U-boats. It’s a National Historic Landmark now and, after a 15-year project, has been wonderfully restored. Tours are available April through November.

Skip the Restaurant, Jump On Board Dutch Apple Cruises, based in Albany, gets high marks for its city tours by boat. But they offer dinner cruises, too, lasting three hours and featuring everything from a varied buffet to DJ-spun tunes. Sail and dine year-round, thanks to the 65-foot Dutch Apple II’s fiberglass-sheathed, heated decks. This tour company also offer city tours by trolley, as well as ghost and distillery tours.

Skip the Road, Race the Track For unique fun behind the wheel, check out Fastrax. There’s a quarter-mile F-1 style racetrack here, perfect for the Italian-made electric race karts that you can take to speeds of up to 50 miles an hour. The pinpoint steering and the handling are precise. And the owners tout electric go-karts as an eco-friendly alternative to their gasoline counterparts, and they have more torque. Find Fastrax at Crossgates Commons.

Gabe Saglie is Senior Editor for Travelzoo, which features a bevy of Albany hotel specials, as well as local deals at http://www.travelzoo.com/local-deals/albany/deals.

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