Hudson Valley is a year-round family destination for families all over the tristate area, and it's no surprise. It's loaded with natural beauty—parks, lakes, mountains—delicious food, and wonderful art museums, theaters and play spaces. With events timed for nearly every holiday, and enough attractions to suit almost any type of family, the area makes for the perfect family getaway or day trip.
We’ve gathered up our top 30 things to do in the Hudson Valley—destinations that will appeal to natives and visitors alike. (Attention latter group: If you need somewhere to stay while you explore, we’ve got you covered there too.) So read on, make your checklist, and sign up for our newsletters to stay in the know!
1. Bike, trike, skate and stroll along the Hudson Valley Rail Trail and meet up with the Walkway Over The Hudson, the breathtaking 1.28-mile long pedestrian bridge that’s hailed as the “world’s longest elevated park.”
Pumpkins galore at Harvest Moon. Photo courtesy of the venue.
2. Celebrate all things fall with apple and pumpkin picking (naturally), and do Halloween in a big way with the area’s extravagant and ghoulish events.
3. Didn’t get your fill of cider doughnuts while picking? Snag a rainbow cookie doughnut at Daddy’s Donuts & Bake Shop in Middletown (or another variety that would make even Willy Wonka proud).
4. Learn to ski and snowboard on the gentle slopes of Mount Peter, a perfect spot for beginners.
5. Skiing not your thing? Careen down a hill in a snow tube instead at Thomas Bull Memorial Park in Montgomery.
6. See endangered wolves up close and personal—and even howl along with them!— at the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem.
7. Combine camping and glamping with an awesome spray park at Jellystone Park in Gardiner.
8. Get lost in a corn maze …
9. … but try not to get lost on one of these kid-friendly hikes.
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Photo courtesy of ERDAJT Christmas Light Display.
10. See dazzling holiday lights that have actually broken Guinness World Records.
11. Teeter your way through a ropes course—in the mall!
12. Pack the kids, the dogs and Grandma in the car and head up to one of the drive-ins.
13. Receive a hands-on education in nature at the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum.
14. Take in a concert, enjoy a festival or visit the museum at the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.
15. Hold on to your seat, er, tube, as you float down the Esopus with Town Tinker Tubing.
16. Blast off the Ramapo Challenger Center.
17. Kids complain you’re too strict? Tour West Point and the West Point Museum to show them what real discipline looks like (gorgeous Hudson River views included).
18. Get a birds-eye view of the Hudson Valley in a hot air balloon.
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Kids take the controls at Young Eagles Day. Photo by the author.
19. Still not quite high enough? Put your child in the pilot’s seat (literally) at Young Eagles Day at one of the municipal airports.
20. Cool off in the summer at SplashDown Beach, the best little water park for all ages.
Kids will love wandering inside one of Walter DeMaria's massive structures at DIA: Beacon. Photo by Shira Kronzon.
21. Marvel at the exhibits at Dia: Beacon or Storm King Art Center. There’s no way you can see Storm King all in one day, so mark this one down for a repeat visit.
22. Catch the Roosevelt Ride in Hyde Park and enjoy a family-friendly history lesson on this Hudson Valley icon.
23. Tour Boscobel House and Gardens with year-round family-friendly activities like bonfires, snapping turtle walks, and the Sparkle holiday display.
24. Spend the day at Bear Mountain State Park, whether you’re swimming in the summer, celebrating Oktoberfest in the fall, or ice skating in the winter. Be sure to save time for a trip on the carousel, which features 42 hand-carved native animals (skunk rides!).
25. Take the Jr. Firefighter Challenge Course—and see over 60 fire engines—at the FASNY Museum of Firefighting in Hudson.
Hit the unique, nature themed Grasshopper playground. Photo courtesy of Hudson Highlands Nature Museum.
26. Try a new, destination-worthy playground.
27. See a show at Tarrytown Music Hall.
28. Hike the Appalachian Trail, search for hawks and stop off for ice cream at Bellvale Creamery.
29. Take advantage of the monthly Free Night at the Mid-Hudson Children's Museum.
30. Relax and indulge at the supremely child-friendly Wobble Cafe in Ossining.
Top image: Walkway over the Hudson. Photo by Fred Schaeffer/courtesy of the Walkway.