The Hudson Valley is a year-round destination for families all over the Tri-State area, and it's no surprise. It boasts natural beauty, delicious food, and wonderful museums, historic sites, 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, 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.”
Take your pick of pumpkins at Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard. 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 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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Check out some truly amazing holiday light displays. Photo courtesy of ERDAJT Christmas Light Display
10. See dazzling holiday lights that have broken Guinness World Records!
11. Teeter your way through a ropes course—in the mall!
12. Pack everyone 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 at 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. Take in the breathtaking sights at the Hudson Valley Hot-Air Balloon Festival.
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Kids take the controls at Young Eagles Day. Photo by the author
19. 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. Spend the day walking around the hip and artsy city of Beacon, and make time to marvel at the exhibits at Dia: Beacon.
22. Catch the Roosevelt Ride in Hyde Park and enjoy a family-friendly history lesson on this Hudson Valley icon.
23. While you're in Hyde Park, save room for a meal at one of the Culinary Institute of America's student-run eateries, like the Apple Pie Bakery Cafe.
24. Tour Boscobel House and Gardens, offering year-round family-friendly activities like bonfires, snapping turtle walks, and the Sparkle holiday display.
25. 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!).
26. Take the Jr. Firefighter Challenge Course—and see more than 60 fire engines—at the FASNY Museum of Firefighting in Hudson.
Hit the unique, nature-themed Grasshopper playground at Hudson Highlands Nature Museum. Photo courtesy of the museum.
27. Try a new, destination-worthy playground.
28. See a show at Tarrytown Music Hall.
29. Hike the Appalachian Trail, search for hawks, and stop for ice cream at Bellvale Creamery.
30. Take advantage of the monthly Free Night at the Mid-Hudson Children's Museum.
31. Relax and indulge at the supremely child- (and dog-) friendly Coffee Labs Roasters in Tarrytown.
32. Check out the amazing outdoor sculptures at 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.
33. Head to the quaint and crafty town of Rhinebeck in December to experience a traditional Dutch holiday celebration at the Sinterklaas Festival.
34. If you visit Rhinebeck between June and October, check out the air shows at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome.
35. Spend a summer day swimming, picnicking, and playing at Lake Taghkanic State Park in Columbia County.