The Hudson Valley region of New York state sits right along the Hudson River and is home to a diverse array of activities. There are a million and one things to do in the Hudson Valley, and it’s perfect for adventurers, families, solo travelers, and professionals searching for the perfect weekend getaway.
I spent my formative years in one of the Hudson Valley’s cozy towns and tried all the fun activities around the area. No matter where you stay in Hudson Valley, you’ll have chances to pick apples at family farms, conquer an assortment of view-heavy hiking trails, and get the chance to witness historic sites firsthand.
If this sounds good, then you’re going to love the things to do around the Hudson Valley. Let’s get into it.
Table of Contents
- 25 Best Things to Do in the Hudson Valley
- Hudson Highlands State Park
- Kaaterskill Falls
- The State Capital of Albany
- The Colony in Woodstock
- Mohonk Mountain House
- American Bounty Restaurant
- Kykuit, The Rockefeller Estate
- Fishkill Farms
- New York City
- Shawangunk Mountain Ridge
- Storm King Art Center
- Opus 40
- Neuberger Museum of Art
- Mohonk Preserve
- Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island
- Dia Art Foundation
- Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park
- New York State Museum
- Hudson River Sightseeing Cruise
- Boundless Adventures Aerial Adventure Park
- Clover Brooke Farm
- West Point Museum
- Angry Orchard
- Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site
- Bear Mountain State Park
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25 Best Things to Do in the Hudson Valley
Hudson Highlands State Park
Trek or boat through 8,000+ acres along the Hudson River for expansive views of the river and rolling hills
If there’s one thing people love about the Hudson Valley, it’s the abundant nature. Hudson Highlands State Park is a convenient starting point for exploration into the New York wilderness. You’ll be able to see views of the Hudson River and Highlands all while doing things like hiking, bird-watching, fishing, or renting a boat.
This state park has more challenging activities that appeal to outdoor pros. Along with easier experiences for families or visitors looking for a more relaxed day.
🚗 Planning a Hudson Valley Road Trip? Just follow my perfect 5 day Hudson Valley itinerary!
Embark on an easygoing 1.5-mile hike to see the tallest waterfall in New York from above and below
In some of the state’s forest depths, you’ll be lucky enough to find one of New York’s mystifying waterfalls. In the Hudson Valley, the big one is Kaaterskill Falls. It’s the highest waterfall in all of New York state.
It’s just a quick 1.5-mile hike to reach the falls. Upon arrival, you can view the gushing two-story falls from above or take a dip in the natural pool below.
The State Capital of Albany
Check out Financial District-esque architecture and interesting museums in the Upper Hudson Valley
Tucked right alongside the Hudson River is the New York state capital of Albany. A bustling city with lots of public transport and historic buildings, it’s easy to spend a day in Albany.
Fill some time at the New York State Capitol or the USS Slater if you’re in the mood for history. There are also several museums like the Albany Institute of History and Art and the Opalka Gallery.
👉 Pro Tip: Albany is a big place with many sites to see. The best way to fit everything into one visit is by joining a tour. Albany has a bunch of different tours, but I’d recommend this Ghosts of Albany Haunted Walking Tour. It’s something different from your typical walking tour.
The Colony in Woodstock
Catch a comedy or music show in a revived cozy theater from the 1920s
In the funky town of Woodstock, you’ll find an intimate performing arts venue called The Colony. The venue has performances by comedians, bands, and other types of entertainers.
The thing I really like about this venue is how cozy it is. You’re really up close and personal with the performer. It’s a nice spot to swig back a couple of drinks and enjoy a show.
👉 Pro Tip: The Colony is a cool joint to catch a show if you don’t want to roam too far from the Hudson Valley. But, if you want to take a bit of an adventure, it’s only around two hours on the train to reach the top music venues in New York City.
Mohonk Mountain House
Spend an afternoon at this victorian castle resort that hosted Andrew Carnegie and Theodore Roosevelt
Mohonk Mountain House is one of the crown jewels of the Hudson Valley. It’s an absolutely breathtaking hotel with enough things to do onsite that you’ll never get bored. Like golfing, a spa, horseback riding, and more.
Staying the night at this hotel costs a pretty penny (upwards of $1K on average). However, you can visit as a day guest to get a taste of everything the Mohonk Mountain House has to offer.
American Bounty Restaurant
Eat dinner prepared by students at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park
Ever been curious to find out what fine dining cooked by the chefs of tomorrow tastes like? Well, that dream is well within your grasp when you book a reservation at the American Bounty Restaurant. It’s run by students from the Culinary Institute of America and world-class chefs supervise them.
Kykuit, The Rockefeller Estate
Tour a national historic landmark that was home to four generations of Rockefellers
History lovers will jump at the chance to visit the Rockefeller Estate in Pocantico Hills. Also known as Kykuit, the 40-room mansion is complete with gardens and an impressive art collection.
A national historic site, four generations of Rockefellers called the place home, starting with oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller.
Take the family pumpkin, berry, or apple picking depending on the season
Foraging for your own berries, pumpkins, or apples in New York is practically a requirement for visiting the state.
There are many different places to go for fruit and berry picking throughout the Hudson Valley. One of my favorites is Fishkill Farms in Hopewell Junction. They also have cider tastings and a restaurant.
Just keep in mind that reservations at Fishkill Farms are required in advance. There’s only a brief season for picking your own harvest, and lots of people want to visit with their families. The best time to visit New York for fruit picking is late August to late October.
New York City
Grab the Metro North Train down south to the Big Apple for the day
Technically, New York City is situated right next to the Hudson River, so one could argue that it counts as a Hudson Valley activity. In all seriousness, getting to all the coolest New York City neighborhoods from the Hudson Valley is as simple as a quick trip on the Metro North.
Once you’re in the city, you can get anywhere on public transportation, and there’s so much to do. The Museums, the restaurants, Central Park. It’s the perfect day trip when you need some metro vibes.
🚗 How to Get There: The best way to reach NYC from the Hudson Valley is by hopping on the train. The Metro North will take you right to Grand Central Station. There are a bunch of stops to get on along the river all the way up until Poughkeepsie. Plus, having a car in New York City is more of a crutch than a tool.
Shawangunk Mountain Ridge
Discover a favorite local spot for outdoor activities like rock climbing and hiking
The Shawangunk Mountains are only a couple of hours from Manhattan, but it doesn’t even feel like it’s on the same planet as New York City.
Once you’re up there exploring the variety of hikes, you get a true sense of New York’s natural beauty. Plus, the Gunks, as they’re called, are also right near some of the most charming towns in New York.
Storm King Art Center
Peruse a 500-acre outdoor sculpture art park with bike trails and tram tours
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (845)-534-3115 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5:30 pm Wednesday-Monday, Closed on Tuesday | Entrance: $23+ per adult, Free for children under 5 | 👉 Browse Storm King Tours on Viator
The Storm King Art Center is the solution for people who want to experience the Hudson Valley’s art scene but don’t want to be cooped indoors. The Storm King Art Center is an open-air sculpture installation park with some enormous pieces scattered across 500 acres.
Within the park, you’ll cross a variety of terrain to find the sculptures. From paved paths to more wooded areas. Wear comfortable shoes and book your ticket in advance!
Wander a massive stone sculpture park hand-created by an artist over 37 years
Another incredible outdoor art installation is Opus 40, located in the town of Saugerties. Opus 40 is the brainchild of just a single artist named Harvey Fite. He built the masterpiece stone by stone for 37 years. It’s humbling to wander the installation’s more than 6 acres knowing just how much work went into it.
Neuberger Museum of Art
Explore thoughtful modern, African, and contemporary art exhibitions in Purchase
New York is chock-full of distinguished museums. One of the best museums in the Hudson Valley area is the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase. The museum’s collection has grown from just over a hundred pieces to more than 6,000 works.
Neuberger is also a stop along the African American Heritage Trail of Westchester County. It’s double the reason to visit.
Spend some time outside in the largest private nature reserve in New York
You’ll come to understand that there are more mountain areas in the Hudson Valley than you could possibly explore in just one trip. It’s kind of the region’s thing. Mohonk Preserve is a favorite local spot for all things outdoorsy, located right near Stone Ridge.
Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island
Hop in a kayak and row from Cold Spring to the ruins of a military surplus warehouse
This is one of the more out-there suggestions on this to-do list, but it’s also one of the coolest – Bannerman Castle. The abandoned architectural wonder is located on Pollepel Island near the city of Beacon.
The only way to visit Bannerman Castle is by joining a guided tour. There is a variety of tour types, including cruises and kayaking from Cold Spring. Whichever method you choose, you’re sure to have fun and learn a lot.
Dia Art Foundation
Grab tickets to a repurposed factory turned giant contemporary art museum
The DIA Art Foundation is also located in the city of Beacon. It’s a stunning modern art museum for a number of reasons, but one of my favorites is its space. The collection is housed in a former factory with wide-open spaces and lots of light.
It’s the ideal environment for getting acquainted with thought-provoking pieces.
🛎️ Need a Hotel? If you need a place to rest your head in the area, check out The Dutchess Inn and Spa at Beacon. It’s super comfortable and centrally located.
Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park
Stroll over a scenic bridge from the late 1800s that crosses over the Hudson River
Now that you’ve seen the Hudson River from the distance of viewpoints and hiking trails, let’s take a stroll over it. Starting from Poughkeepsie or Highland, the 30-40 minute walk takes you from one side of the Hudson to the other.
New York State Museum
Get a deeper understanding of New York’s history and see a 100+-year-old carousel
Whether you’re a resident or visitor to the Hudson Valley, you should know a little bit of New York’s history. To learn a little more about the area, head over to the New York State Museum in Albany. It’s one of the best museums in NY to learn about the story of the state.
Hudson River Sightseeing Cruise
Board a boat to get a new perspective on the beautiful Hudson Valley floating along the river
If you’re still not satisfied with your views of the Hudson River, there is a simple solution. Hop aboard a sightseeing cruise and actually get out on the water. These tours also teach you a lot about the Hudson Valley.
I’d recommend this Hudson River Sightseeing Cruise that leaves from Kingston. It’s reasonably priced and takes you all the way south to Hyde Park.
Boundless Adventures Aerial Adventure Park
Climb along the tree tops on a ropes course and zipline in Westchester County
Trust me. I understand the need to infuse a little adrenaline into my adventures. To scratch that itch, book a ticket to Boundless Adventures Aerial Adventure Park.
The park features 11 aerial ropes courses through the treetops at varying levels of difficulty. Along with a zipline.
Clover Brooke Farm
Set off on a hike accompanied by llamas or alpacas
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (845)-444-6066 | Website | Hours: 12 pm – 1:30 pm Wednesday-Thursday, 10 am – 1:30 pm Friday, 10 am – 3 pm Saturday-Sunday, 10 am – 1:30 pm Monday, Closed Tuesdays | Entrance: $25-$55 depending on the experience
This is another Hudson Valley activity that falls more on the unique side of things. Take a trip to Clover Brooke Farm and hike with some llamas or alpacas. The local farm also offers tours and classes like beer brewing and soap making.
West Point Museum
Take a dive into U.S. army and warfare history at a respected military academy
Another place to get a dose of history is the West Point Museum. The museum is associated with the well-known military academy. Anyone with an interest in the military and weapons will love this one.
Relax with a home-brewed cider made by a regionally-loved brand
📍 Google Maps | Phone: (845) – 713-5180 | Website | Hours: 2 pm – 8 pm Thursday, 12 pm – 8 pm Friday, 11 am – 8 pm Saturday, 11 am – 6 pm Sunday Closed Monday-Wednesday | Entrance: Depends on the tour
After exploring everything the Hudson Valley has to offer, you might just want to sit back, relax and sip a freshly brewed cider. There’s no better place for it than Angry Orchard. Just make sure you visit on the weekend as they’re closed Monday-Wednesday.
Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site
Catch a glimpse of the 32nd President’s birthplace, lifelong home, and burial site in Hyde Park
People usually imagine U.S. presidents’ lives as glamorous and full of travel. But, 32nd president Franklin D. Roosevelt actually spent his whole life in the Hudson Valley.
The place where he was born, lived, and was eventually buried is now a historical site you can walk through for yourself.
🛎️ Need a Hotel? The town that houses the Frank Roosevelt Site, Hyde Park, is acclaimed for its gorgeous Bed and Breakfasts. My top recommendation is Inn the Woods B&B.
Bear Mountain State Park
Explore the natural beauty of these rolling hills with trails, fishing areas on the lake, and places for a picnic
For your final stop through the Hudson Valley’s spectacular nature, spend the day in Bear Mountain State Park. Complete with a small zoo, trails, and lakeside views, it’s the perfect spot for camping on a weekend trip or an afternoon out in nature.
Thanks for reading my list of the best things to do around the Hudson Valley. Have you found something that’s up your alley? If you’re going to be visiting New York City for a while, too, don’t miss our guide to where to stay in NYC.
Have fun doing all the Hudson Valley activities!
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