27 Best Things To Do in New Paltz with Kids

Nab a day pass to see Monhonk Mountain House's beautiful gardens in the spring. Photo courtesy of the resort
Nab a day pass to see Monhonk Mountain House's beautiful gardens in the spring. Photo courtesy of the resort
9/5/23 - By Marisa Iallonardo

New Paltz is a laid-back college town in the shadow of the Shawangunk Mountains that offers plenty of things to do—including indoor and outdoor attractions for all ages, especially in the warmer months. Families can swim in a mountain lake, enjoy a hike, pick produce at local farms, and explore a historic 17th-century community—plus, New Paltz restaurants are top-notch and many are kid-friendly.

While the town is just 90 minutes from NYC, and even closer to Westchester, the scenery suggests a faraway land. And with some great New Paltz hotels—catering to a variety of budgets—you won’t need much convincing to stay for more than a day.

Read on for our top picks for things to do in New Paltz with kids and find more family-friendly destinations in our Guide to Day Trips and Weekend Getaways.


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Things to do in New Paltz: Hiking with Alpine Endeavors
Go on an outing with Alpine Endeavors in "the Gunks." Photo courtesy of Alpine Endeavors

Best Things To Do in New Paltz with Kids

1. Rock Climbing

Head to the Shawangunk Mountains (called "the Gunks" by locals), whether on your own or by joining Alpine Adventures, where kids can try their hand at climbing, too.

2. Go Hiking

Climbing not your thing? The Gunks is home to plenty of hiking options.

RELATED: Easy Hikes near NYC in the Hudson Valley's Beautiful State Parks

Things to do in New Paltz: Lake Minnewska.
Hike around idyllic Lake Minnewaska or take a dip in its crystal clear waters. Photo courtesy of NY State Parks and Historic Sites

3. Swimming Lakes

Swim in one of two lakes at Minnewaska State Park—Lake Awosting, a pristine mountain lake (but not the most easily accessible) or Lake Minnewaska.

4. Mohonk Preserve

Stay active outdoors with horseback riding, skiing, or snowshoeing at the Mohonk Preserve.

RELATED: 3 Days in the Hudson Valley with Kids: Ultimate Itinerary by a Local Mom

Things to do in New Paltz: Woodstock-New Paltz Crafts Fair
Stop by the Children’s Center at the Woodstock-New Paltz Crafts Fair for demonstrations and supervised arts and crafts projects. Photo courtesy of the fair

5. Woodstock-New Paltz Crafts Fair

Browse the artisanal offerings of the Woodstock-New Paltz Crafts Fair, held twice annually on Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend.

6. Hudson Valley Farms

Choose your own produce at one of the numerous spots, including Jenkins-Lueken Orchards, Dressel Farms, Apple Hill Farm, and Wallkill View Farm MarketStrawberry picking begins in June and other berries can be harvested in summer; fall is the time for apple picking and pumpkin picking. Many of these local farms offer additional attractions, too.

7. New Paltz Turkey Trot

Start Thanksgiving in costume at the charitable New Paltz Turkey Trot—kids as young as 1 year old can participate!

RELATED: 35 Things To Do with Kids in the Hudson Valley

Things to do in New Paltz: Halloween on Historic Huguenot Street
Go trick-or-treating at the historic houses along Huguenot Street. Photo courtesy of Historic Huguenot Street

Top Attractions in New Paltz for Families

8. Historic Huguenot Street

Step back in time on Historic Huguenot Street, America’s oldest continuously inhabited block, originally settled in 1678 by a group of French immigrants. Take a guided tour, explore on your own, and check the site’s event calendar for timed attractions—especially around Halloween.

9. New Paltz Regatta

Enter or watch the annual New Paltz Regatta, a humorous race involving hand-crafted vessels in comical themes, preceded by a rubber-duck race.

10. Go Antiquing

Roam the two-story Antique Barn and enjoy the serendipitous finds.

11. Ulster County Fair

Take in the multifaceted attractions of the Ulster County Fair, an annual event since 1887, offering rides, games, exhibits, entertainment, food, racing pigs, and more.

RELATED: Sleep in a Lighthouse and More Hudson Valley Family Resorts

Things to do in New Paltz: Mohonk Mountain House Swimming Lake
Buy a day pass for the special Mohonk Mountain House. Photo courtesy of the resort

12. Mohonk Mountain House

Even if you’re not staying overnight—more on that below—you can book a day pass at Mohonk Mountain House. There are various options, including a hiking pass and a sports pass, which has even more options for things to do, like tennis and boating.

13. Water Street Market

Browse the quaint shops, antique stores, and eateries in the charming Water Street Market, where you’ll be greeted by outdoor sculpture that invites kids to interact.

Fun Free Things to Do in New Paltz with Kids

14. Walk Main Street

Browse the shops and offerings of Main Street New Paltz, a college town with mom-and-pop shops and one foot seemingly stuck in the groovy ‘60s.

15. Hasbrouck Park

Romp in this playground that looks like a fortress, built entirely out of wood, at Hasbrouck Park. While there are swings and slides, its most impressive feature is its multi-story castle that children can climb via enclosed stairs or by wiggling through a series of secret passages.

16. Testimonial Gateway

Testimonial Gateway is a local historic landmark, which makes a great spot for a photo-op.

17. Night of 100 Pumpkins

If you’re on Huguenot Street on Halloween, be sure to check out The Bakery’s Night of 100 Pumpkins, an annual pumpkin-carving contest it's hosted since 1990!

RELATED: 35 Things To Do in the Hudson Valley with Kids

Things to do in New Paltz: Schatzi’s Pub & Bier Garden.
Enjoy delicious eats, picks from a curated kids' menu, and, of course, beer at Schatzi’s Pub & Bier Garden.

Best New Paltz Restaurants for Families

18. Schatzi’s Pub & Bier Garden

You’ll find a kids' menu featuring favorites like burgers and mac and cheese, plus outdoor tables for the warmer months, and beer for the adults to enjoy.

19. Twistee Cone

Cool off with a frozen treat from this ice cream stand.

20. The Bakery

The Bakery is the go-to spot for breakfast, lunch (like sandwiches or salads), and treats like cookies, tarts, and cakes.

21. Russo’s Italian Deli

Post-hike, snag an outdoor table at this Italian deli, and enjoy a sandwich or hero.

22. Main Street Bistro

This New Paltz mainstay has a big menu with everything from omelets and pancakes to wraps, burgers, and burritos—so there is something to please even the pickiest eaters.

23. The Burger Box

It's burgers and fries at the aptly named Burger Box. Whether you go for The Classic or something more exotic, like The Mac and Cheese burger, don't sleep on the fries, which come with toppings like salt and vinegar, hot honey sage, and truffle Parm. Portions are generous, so you can order a couple of flavors to share.

RELATED: Visiting Rocking Horse Ranch: A Top Hudson Valley Getaway

Things to do in New Paltz: Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park
Set up camp at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park. Photo courtesy of the park

New Paltz Hotels and More Places to Stay

24. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park

Whether you opt for tent camping, staying in an RV, or a cabin/bungalow, there are options for every budget at Jellystone Park—along with a ton of things to do. And while it might be hard to leave the grounds, the 15-minute drive to New Paltz is definitely worth it.

25. Mohonk Mountain House

This resort dates back to 1869 and offers stunning scenery, old-world charm, beautiful landscaping, hiking, daily tea and cookies, and more. While it’s a splurge, the stay is all-inclusive, featuring three meals, plus tons of things to do, like tennis, a pool, and both summer (lake, beach, kayaking, and more) and winter (ice skating, tubing) fun. Read our detailed review of Mohonk Mountain House or book your stay now.

26. Minnewaska Lodge

With 26 rooms, Minnewaska Lodge is more moderately priced than Mohonk and you’ll have easy access to both the town of New Paltz—it’s about a 10-minute drive to Main Street—and the Gunks.

27. Rent a House

Sunsets are a guaranteed perk of this modern farmhouse in nearby Gardiner. Kids get a kick out of the bunk bed room, while adults enjoy the walk-in shower with rainfall head. History buffs and nature lovers appreciate the property's proximity to the New Paltz Rail Trail.

This article contains some affiliate links, which means we might earn a small commission if you make a purchase. There is no extra cost to the reader. We only recommend products and services that we have personally used or have thoroughly researched.

Originally posted in 2019. Susan Miele contributed additional reporting.

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