Turning Stone Resort Casino is just one of many gems that you will find in Central New York. So, if you’re looking to turn your stay at Turning Point into the ultimate vacation getaway, you have more than just the resort to get excited about.
Best yet, you’re looking at a variety of activities from reconnecting with nature to a sports hall of fame and even a racetrack. So if you’re craving more than just the slots and tables, or if you’re an avid pari-mutuel bettor, check out that raceway.
Ready to take a break from New York gambling and explore the area? Let’s get started.
Verona Beach State Park
If you’re looking to reconnect with nature, Verona Beach State Park should hold its number one spot on your schedule. Next to the getaway at Turning Stone Resort Casino, of course. You will discover what you’re looking for at this 1,735-acre state park on Oneida Lake’s eastern shore.
You will also find a bathhouse, a supervised, ¾-mile beach, an enclosed picnic pavilion, three picnic shelters, and 46 campsites. If you’d rather sleep under the stars in favor of a hotel room, Verona Beach State Park is the perfect place. And your soul will thank you for it.
And don’t forget to take dozens of pictures when you visit the site near Oneida Lake. The diverse autumn scenery you will cross reflects in the lake’s clear waters so much that you will think a mysterious force whisked you off to something out of a Lord of the Rings novel.
Or if you’re serious about catching a full-blast of the fantastical experience, listen to the J.R.R. Tolkien classic on Audible while you hike. Or better yet, rock out to your favorite power and symphonic metal bands and lose yourself in an alternate reality.
But you don’t need to be a workout warrior to take in the fantastical setting. Bring your Kindle or your favorite book, sit on a rock or a log, gaze into the scenery, and fill your next reading experience with the sands of time, lost horizons, mountains, forests, and dragons.
It’s the ultimate stress reliever, especially after a long day of playing casino games.
Oneida Lake and Frenchmen Island
And since you’re already at Verona Beach State Park, make the most of your time at Oneida Lake. Foremost, you can engage in many of the activities mentioned above, especially reading your favorite novel right on the lake.
But if you’re an avid fisher, Oneida Lake contains several hotspots where you might find your next big catch. If fishing isn’t your thing and you’re looking for a bit of history, then venture out to the 26-acre Frenchmen Island, located right on the lake.
Oh, it’s probably wise that you find someone friendly enough to take you to the island as it’d be a tough swim. Historically known as Seven Mile Island and once a popular resort area itself, the island now sits abandoned and undeveloped except for a 103-year-old lighthouse.
So, why would anyone want to visit an abandoned island? Despite its lack of habitation and development, the island remains open to the public, and many venture out there by boat for recreational use. If you’re looking for a mysterious place to explore out on the lake, Frenchmen Island is the place to be.
It’s a fantastic location for sightseeing and picnicking, among other recreational activities. You just need to bring your own boat or, as mentioned above, find someone friendly enough to give you a ride.
Sylvan Beach Amusement Park
Looking for a thrill after your nature treats at Verona Beach State Park, Oneida Lake, and the mysterious Frenchmen Island?
Look no further than Sylvan Beach Amusement Park. It’s small, and by looking at photos via TripAdvisor, it resembles more of a carnival than an amusement park. However, it’s not too far away from the top two attractions. So, if you’d like to stay in the area, this family-run park is worth the visit in passing.
Reviewers have mixed feelings about the park, with some voicing their disappointment given its small size and its older rides. However, you can guess that the positive reviewers state the same, except the quaint feel and small size attract them.
This hotspot’s beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. If you’re looking to step back in time to the mid- to the late portion of the 20th century, when amusement parks lined the beaches of every lake in Upstate New York, you need to check out this park.
But if you’re entrenched in the modern world, or if you are expecting something to rival the nation’s top amusement parks, chances are that you won’t like it. It’s worth the visit if you’re at Verona Beach State Park or if you’re spending the day away at Oneida Lake.
Verona Beach Lighthouse
Are you looking to combine epic scenery on Verona Beach with one of the area’s most historic locations? Or do you just want to find arguably the most romantic location in the area?
The Verona Beach Lighthouse is your answer. Restored by volunteers, this is the ideal place to unwind and catch scenic views of the sun setting over Oneida Lake. Talk about a romantic setting, right?
Per TripAdvisor reviews, the Verona Beach Lighthouse holds a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars on the site, with five reviewers giving the location a perfect star rating and the other five, an acceptable 4-star rating. Locals rave about the lighthouse, with many insisting they make return trips any time they return to the area.
You’ll find a peaceful setting with plenty of places to sit and view the setting sun behind the lake and treetops of the evergreens and deciduous trees on the horizons.
Oh, about those fantasy novels and Audible, you’re looking at yet another great place to immerse yourself back into Wonderland if you view the sunset here, especially if you’re a solo traveler.
The strange thing about the Verona Beach Lighthouse is the fact that you will find it next to a neighborhood. You can’t help but envy those who live nearby and can treat themselves to such scenery every night.
Imagine getting that view during Mother Nature’s four seasons in a place like Upstate New York.
International Boxing Hall of Fame
So far, we’ve discussed amusement parks and nature-based attractions. The latter of which defines Upstate New York. But if you’re looking to spend a few solid hours away from Turning Stone Resort Casino, one of the most prominent attractions in the area is the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Since the town has produced two world boxing champions in Carmen Basilio and Billy Backus, you can see why they placed the Hall of Fame in this small town of roughly 5,000.
So, if you’re a boxing fan, the International Boxing Hall of Fame is a must-visit, and it is one of just two recognized boxing hall of fames, with the other being the World Boxing Hall of Fame. However, the International Boxing Hall of Fame reigns supreme as the more visible of the two.
And if Turning Stone Resort Casino isn’t enough to satisfy your casino gaming needs, don’t fear. Vernon Downs is another location near the resort and not only will you find its own selection of slot machines, you can classify this place as a racino featuring adrenaline-pumping harness racing.
At the racino, you will find 209 gaming machines featuring denominations between penny bets and $5. They also have seven stellar dining options plus concerts and special events going on. So, if you’d like more variety in the gaming, dining, and entertainment realms, a trip to Vernon Downs is more than worth it.
And of course, it’s always worth heading over to the track to watch the best live harness racing events in the area. From April to November, you can attend the area’s finest races, place your wagers, and cheer your horse and horsemen on to the winner’s circle.
As you can see, while the area itself is more obscure and lacking of the big city thrills, you have several gems to excite yourself over, especially if nature and scenery pique your interest.
If you identify as a nature lover, you need to take a day or two off from the casino to explore everything the Greatest Show on Earth, that being nature itself, offers.
But with a boxing hall of fame and a racino in the area, you can also indulge in some indoor activities as well, just as you would at Turning Stone Resort Casino.
Have you visited the area and have you played at Turning Stone? Let us know in the comments and tell us about your experience. We’re looking forward to hearing your story.