The Hudson Valley is an easy weekend getaway for those in the New York City vicinity. Its proximity makes getting there a breeze, even with a car full of kids.
Once you’ve arrived, natural possibilities abound. In fall, leaf peeping is spectacular and farms are ripe with pick-your-own fruit options and stands selling warm donuts and sweet cider. The Hudson Valley is history heavy, with names such as Roosevelt and Vanderbilt prevailing. Pedestrian-friendly towns such as Hudson, New Paltz, and Saugerties attract hip New Yorkers and their kids like bees to honey. There are a variety of overnight accommodations at a range of prices, from an all-inclusive dude ranch to a stately Grand Dame hotel to a farm stay.
Get packing for a quick getaway to this wide-open region just north of NYC.
Roosevelt Inn – Hyde Park
You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to stay in the Hudson Valley. The Roosevelt Inn is a family-owned motel that harkens back to a simpler time. The 25 rooms are clean and comfortable. Choose between a deluxe room or a less expensive “rustic” room. A robust continental breakfast is served at the on-premises coffee shop, included in the rate. Sit at one of the old-fashioned stools at the counter for a diner-esque experience. The helpful owners take pride in their property and are an excellent resource for all things local. The motel is just 1½ miles from the FDR Home and Library and within easy walking distance of the palatial Vanderbilt Estate.
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The Rocking Horse Ranch offers endless all-season family activities from kayaking to an indoor water park. Photo courtesy of the ranch.
Rocking Horse Ranch – Highland
This resort is a dude ranch that doesn’t sit on its high horse. Rates are all-inclusive, so there are no surprises when it comes time to pay. Meals, activities, and entertainment don’t cost an extra dime. The ranch offers supervised programs for kids of all ages. Infants and toddlers are well cared for at Fort Tiny Children’s Nursery, with its 3-to-1 staff-child ratio. Older children have their own supervised programs and should have a ball riding ponies and splashing in the weatherproof indoor water park. This is not the place to come if you’re seeking tranquility. But if you’re looking for rambunctious, good, clean fun and a non-pretentious environment less than two hours from Manhattan, definitely check it out.
Minnewaska Lodge – Gardiner
Minnewaska Lodge benefits from a stunning location at the base of the Shawangunk Mountains. Surrounded by thousands of acres of state preserve, scenic vistas and peace are plentiful. The 26 rooms are decorated in a folksy style that brings elements of the natural world indoors. If your family enjoys hiking, you’ll find trails at your doorstep. All this is just 75 miles from New York City.
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The majestic Mohonk Mountain House caters to families. Photo by Jim Smith Photography/courtesy of the resort.
Mohonk Mountain House – New Paltz
This Victorian-style castle is an old-world resort with charming accommodations and stunning grounds. A full lineup of activities, including rock climbing, boating on the lake, and tennis, attracts legions of families, many of whom are return guests. Three meals plus a dainty afternoon tea are included in your rate. If you are on a tight budget, this may not be for you, except as a worthy splurge. Keep your eyes out for periodic deals when kids stay and eat free. If you don't want to drive, take a bus from Port Authority to New Paltz, where the resort will pick you up, with 24 hours advance notice.
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Don't miss the Opus 40 sculpture park in Saugerties. Photo by Shira Kronzon.
Diamond Mills Hotel — Saugerties
This 30-room boutique hotel in the heart of cozy Saugerties offers photogenic views of Esopus Falls from each room’s private balcony. Built on the site of a former mill, it keeps the integrity of its industrial past while offering a high level of service. The town provides families with a Main Street shopping experience, including a must-visit candy store, Krause’s Chocolates. Don’t skip a stop at Opus 40, just outside of town. This 6-acre abandoned bluestone quarry is a visionary sculpture park that blends artistry and natural landscape in a unique manner.
Saugerties Lighthouse — Saugerties
If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box experience, spend the night at a bona fide lighthouse any Thursday-Sunday, year-round. Saugerties Lighthouse is situated on a remote shoal that is reached by walking a flat half-mile trail. The lighthouse rents two bedrooms, each with a double bed, but larger families renting both rooms can request cots. There is one bathroom shared by both rooms. A hearty, home-cooked breakfast, made by the resident lighthouse keepers, is included in the rate. There is no air conditioning, but there are fans. It is heated in winter.
Rivertown Lodge — Hudson
Hudson is a riverfront town that has awakened from hibernation. It is attracting urbanites in droves and the feel is 100 percent hipster. Anchoring the revitalization are farm-to-table eateries, independently owned shops, art galleries and the chic 27-room Rivertown Lodge. If a design-forward hotel with public spaces and guest rooms that retain a vintage feel doesn’t exactly scream toddler-friendly, well, that's correct. While it doesn't cater to kids, it does welcome them. There are a limited number of cribs and simple camp cots with cushions, so reserve when you book or bring the pack-n-play. Ride Amtrak to Hudson and make this a car-free getaway.
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Play farmer with an overnight at Kinderhook Farm. Photo by Dora Somosi via Instagram.
Kinderhook Farm — Valatie
Looking for a more rustic feel? Guests here have the opportunity to stay on a working farm. Time spent at Kinderhook Farm is a wonderful way to connect children with their food sources. Families stay in a cottage that sleeps up to four adults and two kids. There’s a fully equipped kitchen, two sleeping areas and a large bathroom. There is no television. The farm can provide you with a crib, stroller, and a high chair. Help with farm chores such as collecting eggs and gardening or just watch the sheep and cows graze. Miles of rambling trails, croquet, volleyball, and badminton are icing on Mother Nature’s cake.
Beekman Arms and Delamater Inn — Rhinebeck
6387 Mill Street
These sister properties are located in the charming village of Rhinebeck. It’s a great walking village loaded with shops and galleries. The food scene is thriving, with scores of family options, including the kid-favorite skizza (flatbread pizza) served at Gigi’s Trattoria. The Beekman Arms claims to be America’s oldest operating inn. The 23 rooms are scattered in several historic buildings and are delightfully old-fashioned. The Delamater Inn offers 50 rooms and seven spacious guest cottages clustered around a courtyard. Several of these cottages are kid-friendly. While antiques and fireplaces won't work for every family, this atmospheric inn will certainly please many. Sunday brunch at the Tavern at the Beekman Arms is a whooping winner that will fill you up for the rest of the day.
Top image: You can spend the night at the Saugerties Lighthouse. Photo by Jamie Romeiser via Instagram.