ITHACA (WBNG) -- With Memorial Day Weekend in full swing you may be looking for a place to get away while still staying close to home. Officials the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce are expecting Ithaca to be that place for many families across the region, but they are asking everyone to stay safe when you visit.
"People are definitely looking to stay closer to home so that's folks within an hour drive. We may see friends from Binghamton, we may see people from Syracuse or the other lakes," says Peggy Coleman, Vice President of Tourism at Visit Ithaca, a branch of the Tompkins County Chamber.
Coleman says if there's one thing in Ithaca that has the power to draw in tourists from around the region, it's the water.
"The things we're best known for are our waterfalls and gorges so there is that opportunity," she says. "All four of our state parks are open but visitation does look a little different."
She says whether you're heading to the waterfalls or a picnic on the shores of Cayuga Lake, there are some guidelines to follow.
"As long as people maintain social distancing with a minimum of six feet between parties as well as wearing face coverings the parks are open," she says.
At Stewart Park several families were doing just that, including Keith Skelly and Courtney Karszes who made the trip to Ithaca from Greene to spend time with family who were seated several feet away.
"We'll be spaced out as much as possible and we do have face masks if needed," he says. "Living in New York we don't have nice weather all the time so taking advantage of it's huge."
Another family found the park to be the perfect spot for a picnic, with plenty of space to socially distance.
"All of the picnic tables are well spaced out and we're outside and even though the parking lot is full it doesn't feel like it's overly crowded with a lot of people," says Faith Baccari of Amsterdam, NY.
Coleman says as long as everyone stays safe and keeps their distance, she hopes Ithaca will be an enjoyable day trip for families across the region this Memorial Day.
"What we're hearing is being outside is better than being inside and until we can be inside again taking that really scenic drive into Ithaca is a piece of cake, a no brainier," she said, adding that the many restaurants and craft beer sellers in the area have takeout options available to visitors coming to spend the day.
Coleman says there are some things within the parks such as playgrounds and swimming areas that will remained closed for the safety of all visitors.