Beacon makes for a superb family-friendly New York day trip at just about an hour from downtown White Plains. This Dutchess County town features an artsy, bustling downtown—mostly centered along Main Street, home to many different shops and restaurants. There’s something for kids of all ages, and it's also close to other exploration-worthy towns like Cold Spring.
We’ve rounded up fun things to do when you visit, whether you head up this fall or during another season. If you're looking for even more day trip ideas, check out our Family Day Trips Guide.
2. Check out the galleries along Main Street, like the Beacon Artist Union, especially if your tweens or teens are into art.
3. See what’s on at the Howland Cultural Center, which presents various art and music shows and exhibits.
4. Support local farmers and check out Rootstock, an outdoor music festival at the Red Barn at Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park.
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Your sweet tooth will be satisfied at K104.7's annual Cupcake Festival. Photo courtesy of the event
Eats and Sweets to Enjoy in Beacon
5. Taste the cupcakes (some 20,000 of them!) at the annual K104.7 Cupcake Festival—held annually in early May on Main Street.
6. Cool down in the summer with one of the paletas or other ice cream treats at Zora Dora’s Micro Batch Ice Cream and Paletas, open seasonally.
Grab a donut or 12 at Glazed Over Donuts. Photo courtesy of the shop
7. Satisfy your kids’ (or your!) sweet tooth at Glazed Over Donuts, where you customize the glaze (like caramel or Nutella), topping (like Oreo crumb or bacon), and drizzle (like strawberry or honey).
8. Another yummy spot to try: Beacon Falls Café, which doesn’t have a specific kids menu, but has kid-friendly fare like burgers, quesadillas, and, for Sunday brunch, pancakes and French toast.
The lovely backyard at Homespun Foods is a great place to stop and refuel while exploring Beacon. Photo courtesy of the restaurant
9. Have lunch at one of the many restaurants lining Main Street. Homespun Foods has high-chairs (covered in fun colors and paint splashes), a kids menu, with choices like PB&J or grilled cheese, and a pretty patio in the back.
10. Still not sure? Stroll down Main Street for all sorts of different food options—from the Yankee Clipper Diner to sweet and savory crepes at Royal Crepes.
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Get a chocolate fix at the Chocolate Studio. Photo courtesy of the shop
11. Stop for a chocolate fix at The Chocolate Studio, which includes flavors like Peanut Butter Pretzel and Way Out Walnut.
Parks and Green Spaces to Explore in Beacon
12. Have your four-legged family member with you? Stop by the Beacon Dog Park.
13. For more outdoor fun, head to Madam Brett Park, which has a boardwalk, trails, and more.
14. Rent a paddleboard or kayak and get out on the Hudson from the Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park.
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Rent a kayak or paddleboard and take in the amazing views at Long Dock Park. Photo courtesy of Scenic Hudson
15. Not into water sports? Long Dock Park also has access to the Klara Sauer Trail, which runs along the water.
16. Explore the annual Beacon Fairy Walk and see how many fairy houses you can spot throughout the local parks.
17. Hike the nearby Lost Pond at Manitoga Preserve, about 20 minutes from Main Street near Garrison.
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Take in the scenic ferry ride from Beacon to Newburgh. Photo by Daniel Case for Wikimedia Commons
18. Kids into boats? Visit on weekdays and take a ferry ride from Beacon to Newburgh.
19. Before heading to downtown Beacon, visit Boscobel House and Gardens in nearby Garrison, which is open, though reservations are required.
20. Little history buffs can check out the Mount Gulian Historic Site, where you can go on a tour of the historic house. It also runs events, like a Children’s Spring Tea.
21. Swim in the River Pool at Beacon, which is open during the summer; you’ll find at Pete & Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park.
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Let the kids run free at The Wee Tot Park playground. Photo by the author
22. Visit the Wee Play Tot Park at Memorial Park, a large playground with lots of different equipment and toys for the preschool-and-under-set.
23. A hike to the top of Mount Beacon is particularly stunning in the fall.
More Family-Friendly Events and Destinations in Beacon
24. Try one of the events at the Howland Library, particularly if you’re visiting mid-week with little ones. Though the library has reopened, many events are currently running online only.
25. Pick strawberries at a nearby farm, like Fishkill Farms in Hopewell Junction or Lawrence Farm Orchards in Newburgh.
26. Visit one of those same farms—or others in Dutchess County—for apples during the fall, too.
27. Or skip the pick-your-own and check out the annual Strawberry Festival at Pete & Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park.
28. Stock up on local produce, bread, eggs, and more at the weekly Beacon Farmers Market, held on Sundays.
29. See what vintage or antique finds you can snag at the Beacon Flea Market, which runs weekly from April to November.
30. Rent bikes from Peoples Bicycle—you'll get a helmet too, so no need to bring one from home.
27. Pop into Binnacle Books, a cute bookstore with both new and used options.
32. Stay the night in a local hotel, like The Beacon Hotel or the Roundhouse.
Near the Roundhouse hotel is this small waterfall. Photo courtesy of the Roundhouse
33. Take in the cool waterfall behind the Roundhouse. (If you see it from Main Street, be wary of the train tracks nearby.)
34. Check out the calendar at Eat. Paint. Love, which runs painting sessions for kids and adults to take together.
35. Stop into Reservoir, where you'll find simple, chic, modern clothes, home accessories, and more.