Nestled in the Northeastern United States, New York is a state of incredible diversity, encompassing bustling urban centers, serene natural landscapes, and rich historical sites.
Known for the iconic, world-famous New York City, the state extends far beyond its metropolitan borders, offering everything from the tranquil beauty of the Adirondack and Catskill mountains to the fertile vineyards of the Finger Lakes.
New York (NY) on the US Map
There are 62 counties in New York, each with a unique character and story. From the historic significance of Westchester County to the scenic shores of Erie County, this post will explore the distinctive features of New York’s counties.
We’ll explore the cultural landmarks, natural wonders, and historical treasures that make these counties vital parts of New York’s identity as a state.
Below is a map of the 62 counties of New York (you can click on the map to enlarge it and to see the major city in each county).
Map of New York Counties
Interactive Map of New York Counties
Click on any of the counties on the map to see its population, economic data, time zone, and zip code (the data will appear below the map). Data is sourced from the US Census 2021.
List of the Counties of New York:
|Per sq. km
|New York County
|St. Lawrence County
Biggest Counties in New York by Population
In New York, Kings County is synonymous with the borough of Brooklyn in New York City, one of the most vibrant and populous areas in the state.
Established in 1683 and consolidated with New York City in 1898, it is New York’s most populous county. Known for its diverse communities, Brooklyn boasts a rich tapestry of cultural expressions, from the historic Coney Island in the south to the iconic Brooklyn Bridge that connects the borough to Manhattan.
Brooklyn is celebrated for its arts scene, including institutions like the Brooklyn Museum and the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music). The borough also offers green spaces such as Prospect Park, designed by the same landscape architects behind Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.
Neighborhoods like Williamsburg and DUMBO are hotspots for dining, nightlife, and indie shops, reflecting the area’s popularity among young professionals and artists.
Queens County, also established in 1683, encompasses the New York City borough of Queens and stands as one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the United States. It is a collage of varied neighborhoods, each with its unique cultural footprint, from the Greek influences in Astoria to the vibrant South Asian communities in Jackson Heights.
Queens is home to Flushing Meadows Corona Park, known for the Unisphere and as the site of two 20th-century World’s Fairs. It also houses Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, which hosts the US Open tennis tournament.
The county offers a wealth of culinary delights, with authentic cuisines from around the world, reflecting its diverse population. With two major airports, JFK International and LaGuardia, Queens is a gateway for international travelers, making it an integral part of the region’s economy and culture.
New York County
New York County is synonymous with Manhattan, the economic and cultural heart of New York City and, by extension, the state.
Established in 1683, this island is home to iconic landmarks such as Central Park, the Empire State Building, Times Square, and Wall Street. Manhattan is not only a global hub for finance, media, and the arts but also a melting pot of cultures from around the world.
The borough hosts world-renowned museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History. Educational institutions, including Columbia University and New York University, contribute to the vibrant intellectual life of the area.
Manhattan’s diverse neighborhoods, from the historic Harlem and the trendy East Village to the luxurious Upper East Side, offer a range of experiences, lifestyles, and architectural beauty.
Suffolk County, located on the eastern part of Long Island, was another of the 12 original colonies established in 1683. It encompasses a mix of bustling towns, serene beaches, and rural areas, making it a diverse region within New York State.
The county is renowned for its scenic beauty, including the Hamptons and Montauk Point, which are popular summer destinations for both New Yorkers and visitors seeking picturesque beaches and luxury accommodations.
Suffolk is also home to the Fire Island National Seashore, a barrier island offering pristine beaches, diverse ecosystems, and historic sites like the Fire Island Lighthouse. The county’s agricultural heritage is celebrated in its numerous vineyards and farms, particularly in the North Fork area, which is known for its wineries and local produce.
With state parks such as Sunken Meadow and Caumsett, Suffolk County provides ample opportunities for hiking, biking, and observing wildlife, appealing to nature enthusiasts and those looking to escape the city’s hustle.
Bronx County, established in 1914, is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City and was the last county to be incorporated. It is known for its vibrant culture, diverse communities, and significant contributions to hip-hop and street art.
The Bronx is home to the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo, one of the largest zoos in the United States. These are two of the city’s largest and most renowned green spaces, offering educational and recreational opportunities amidst natural beauty.
The borough also boasts Yankee Stadium, the iconic home of the New York Yankees, embedding sports deeply into its cultural fabric. The South Bronx, an area that struggles with economic hardship, is experiencing a dynamic revitalization, which includes murals, art installations, and a growing culinary scene that celebrates its rich history and diversity.
Educationally, the Bronx is served by institutions like Fordham University and Lehman College, which contribute to the borough’s academic environment. The Bronx River flows through the borough, providing a unique natural landscape within the urban setting, including parks and greenways that facilitate outdoor activities and community events.
Smallest Counties in New York by Population
Hamilton County, established in 1816, is the least populous county in New York State, nestled within the Adirondack Park. This county is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering vast wilderness areas, serene lakes, and mountainous terrain. The county seat, Lake Pleasant, encapsulates the natural beauty and tranquil atmosphere that define the region.
Notable for its pristine environment, Hamilton County includes Long Lake, a central hub for water activities and seaplane adventures. The county also features the Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, which provides insights into the history and culture of the Adirondacks through exhibits and interactive displays.
Speculator Village, another key location within Hamilton County, serves as a base for exploring the surrounding wilderness, whether it’s hiking in the summer or snowmobiling in the winter. Raquette Lake is home to Great Camp Sagamore, the historic Vanderbilt family wilderness estate, offering tours that highlight the luxurious rustic lifestyle of the Gilded Age.
Schuyler County, formed in 1854, is located in the heart of New York State’s Finger Lakes region, with Watkins Glen serving as its county seat. This county is celebrated for the Watkins Glen International, a renowned auto race track that hosts events including NASCAR and the IMSA SportsCar Championship, drawing motorsports enthusiasts from around the globe.
Watkins Glen State Park, another jewel of Schuyler County, is famous for its stunning gorge, 19 waterfalls, and over 800 stone steps, offering breathtaking hikes and picturesque views. The park’s unique landscape makes it one of the most photographed locations in the state.
The county is also part of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, with vineyards and wineries dotting the landscape, providing tastings and tours that showcase the region’s rich viticulture. Schuyler County’s blend of natural beauty, racing heritage, and wine culture makes it a distinct and appealing destination within New York’s Finger Lakes area.
Yates County, established in 1823, is nestled in the Finger Lakes region of New York, with Penn Yan as its county seat. The county is renowned for Keuka Lake, one of the Finger Lakes, known for its Y-shape and clear waters ideal for boating, fishing, and swimming.
The Keuka Lake Wine Trail highlights the area’s winemaking excellence, with several wineries offering tastings and events that celebrate the region’s acclaimed Riesling and other varietals.
The village of Penn Yan captures the essence of small-town charm while serving as a gateway to outdoor adventures and the rich agricultural landscape of Yates County. The Windmill Farm & Craft Market, located just outside Penn Yan, is a popular destination where local artisans, farmers, and vendors showcase their goods, reflecting the community’s strong ties to its rural roots and craftsmanship.
Historic sites such as the Oliver House Museum provide insights into the local history, preserving the heritage of Yates County for future generations.
Lewis County, formed in 1805, is situated in northern New York, characterized by its vast forests and outdoor recreational opportunities. Lowville, the county seat, serves as a central point for exploring the natural beauty and rural charm of the area.
The county is distinguished by the Tug Hill Region, known for receiving some of the heaviest snowfalls in the United States, making it a prime destination for winter sports, especially snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.
The Black River Valley in Lewis County offers picturesque landscapes and is a hub for fishing, kayaking, and whitewater rafting. The annual Cream Cheese Festival in Lowville celebrates the county’s status as a leading producer of cream cheese, drawing visitors with a variety of dairy-themed events and activities.
Agriculture plays a significant role in the local economy, with dairy farming being predominant. The Maple Ridge Wind Farm, one of the largest wind farms in New York State, highlights Lewis County’s commitment to renewable energy and its contribution to the state’s green initiatives.
More Notable Counties in New York
Erie County, created in 1821, is located in western New York, with Buffalo as its county seat and largest city. Buffalo is recognized for its rich architectural heritage, including works by Frank Lloyd Wright, such as the Darwin D. Martin House, and its revitalized waterfront at Canalside, offering a variety of entertainment and recreational activities.
Erie County plays a significant role in the history of the Underground Railroad, with sites like the Michigan Street Baptist Church serving as critical waypoints for escaping slaves seeking freedom in Canada. The county is also home to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, where visitors can explore historic ships and military artifacts.
The cultural scene in Erie County is vibrant, with institutions like the Albright-Knox Art Gallery hosting significant collections of modern and contemporary art. Additionally, the county is known for its annual National Buffalo Wing Festival, celebrating the city’s claim to fame as the birthplace of the buffalo chicken wing.
Erie County’s blend of historical significance, cultural depth, and natural beauty, including the shores of Lake Erie, makes it a key destination in New York.
Westchester County, established in 1683, surrounds New York City to the north and offers a mix of suburban living and urban amenities. Its county seat, White Plains, serves as a commercial hub, while towns like Scarsdale and Bronxville are known for their affluence and historic homes. The county boasts significant green spaces such as the Rockefeller State Park Preserve, offering miles of carriage trails for hiking and horseback riding.
Historically, Westchester played a pivotal role during the Revolutionary War, with landmarks like the Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow providing insights into colonial life.
Other cultural attractions include the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, featuring art galleries, a planetarium, and a historic mansion. Westchester’s proximity to New York City, coupled with its own rich cultural and recreational offerings, makes it an attractive area for both residents and visitors.
Saratoga County, established in 1791, is located in eastern New York State and is celebrated for the Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, one of the oldest horse racing tracks in the United States. This historic venue draws visitors from around the world for its summer racing season. Saratoga Springs is also renowned for its mineral springs, which have made it a popular resort destination since the 19th century.
The county is steeped in history, notably at the Saratoga National Historical Park, the site of the Battle of Saratoga. This decisive victory during the American Revolutionary War is considered the turning point in the conflict.
Saratoga County features vibrant downtown areas, with Saratoga Springs offering a wide array of shops, restaurants, and cultural institutions like the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. The county’s natural beauty is highlighted by the presence of the Adirondacks to the north, providing outdoor recreational opportunities in a picturesque setting.
Nassau County, established in 1899, is situated on Long Island, directly east of New York City. It is known for its affluent suburban communities and beautiful beaches, including the renowned Jones Beach State Park. The county’s coastline offers numerous recreational activities, from swimming to beach volleyball, attracting visitors and residents alike.
The county boasts several museums, such as the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, which highlights Long Island’s pivotal role in the history of aviation. This museum, along with others like the Nassau County Museum of Art, provides educational and cultural experiences for all ages.
Nassau County also features the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, a major venue for concerts and sporting events. Additionally, the county’s extensive park system offers a variety of outdoor activities, from golfing to kayaking.
Orange County, established in 1683, is located in southeastern New York, offering a blend of scenic beauty, historical sites, and modern amenities. Its county seat, Goshen, is known for the historic Goshen Historic Track, a harness racing track that underscores the area’s rich equestrian heritage.
The county is home to the United States Military Academy at West Point, one of the oldest military academies in the country, offering breathtaking views of the Hudson River and a deep dive into military history. Orange County’s part of the scenic Hudson Highlands provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities, including hiking at Bear Mountain State Park and kayaking on the Hudson River.
Additionally, the county has a vibrant local food scene, supported by its many farms and orchards. The annual Orange County Fair in Middletown attracts visitors with its mix of entertainment, agriculture, and culture, showcasing the county’s community spirit.
More About New York Counties: FAQs
Which New York county has the largest area?
St. Lawrence County is the largest by area in New York, covering 2,821 sq mi (7,306 km2).
Which county in New York has the state’s highest peak?
Essex County is home to Mount Marcy, the highest peak in New York, which reaches a height of 5,344 feet (1,629 meters).
Which New York county is known as the “Borough of Homes and Churches”?
Kings County, also known as Brooklyn, is often referred to by this nickname due to its numerous residential neighborhoods and churches.
Which New York county is Rikers Island located in?
Rikers Island is part of the Bronx, but it is operated by the New York City Department of Correction, associated with New York County (Manhattan) jurisdictionally.
Which is the most affordable county in New York?
The most affordable county in New York is often considered to be Lewis County, due to its lower cost of living, especially in terms of housing and property taxes, compared to the state average.