Heat Wave Hot List: 25 Cool Things To Do in Westchester and the Hudson Valley with Kids

Cool off at Splashdown Beach this summer. Photo courtesy of Spalshdown
Cool off at Splashdown Beach this summer. Photo courtesy of Spalshdown
7/9/23 - By Janine Annett

When the temperature soars, Westchester and Hudson Valley families have to come up with strategies to beat the heat. We've got 25 ideas for how to keep cool—whether you love the outdoors or prefer to stay in the air conditioning.

Our list includes outdoor spots like parks with splash pads and awesome pools where you can take a dip, as well as indoor havens such as kid-friendly museums. We have even included exceptional frozen-treat spots so you can indulge in ice cream and other goodies.

For even more summer fun, be sure to bookmark our Event Calendar, and check out our Ultimate Westchester and Hudson Valley Kids Summer Vacation Guide


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Outdoor Activities for Hot Summer Days in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

1. Hit the Beach

Head to Rye Beach or take a day trip to any of these New York and New Jersey beaches.

RELATEDMust-Try Ice Cream Shops in Lower Hudson Valley

Village Creamery & Sweet Shop.
Sample homemade ice cream and Italian ices at the Village Creamery & Sweet Shop in Valhalla. Photo courtesy of the shop

2. Have Ice Cream

Need we say more? Check out the best ice cream shops in Westchester or opt for some decadent frozen custard.

3. Eat Popsicles

For a different kind of sweet treat, you can always buy some popsicle molds and make your own popsicles. Or, head to a local gourmet popsicle shop such as ZoraDora's in Beacon, or check out Mexican-inspired popsicles at Paleteria Fernandez in Mamaroneck or Port Chester. 

4. Take a Train Ride

Bring your train lover for a long ride on the Metro North railroad. Some destination ideas include a beach in Connecticut, the Dia:Beacon museum in Beacon, and the Mid-Hudson Children's Museum.

5. Visit the Palisades Center

Head over to the Palisades Center, just across the Tappan Zee bridge. The mall includes an indoor play space, a ropes course (including SkyTykes, where kids under 48 inches can climb FREE on Tykes Tuesdays in the summer), a movie theater, a Dave & Buster's, and plenty of restaurants. And don't forget Slime World.

6. Head to Croton Point Park

Explore Croton Point Park on the Hudson River. The park offers camping, hiking, swimming in the Hudson, and a nature center. 

7. Go on a Hudson River Cruise

Take a cruise along the Hudson River with Hudson River Cruises

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Lego City Water Park
It's nothing but cool fun at Lego City Water Park in Goshen. Photo courtesy of Legoland

8. Hit up Legoland

Kids can immerse themselves in Ninjago at Legoland Discovery Center in Yonkers. Or head to Legoland Theme Park in Goshen and cool off in the Lego City Water Playground. 

9. Swim at Minnewaska State Park

Go swimming in Lake Minnewaska in Ulster County or explore one of the many waterfall trails in the park. 

10. Visit Howe Caverns

Feeling up for a longer trip? Try a "cool cave tour" at the Howe Caverns, a few hours away in Schoharie County.

11. Spend a day at Splashdown Beach

Stay in the water at SplashDown Beach until your fingers and toes have wrinkled. 

Westchester Children's Museum
The Westchester Children's Museum has plenty of hands-on activities to engage curious kids. Photo courtesy of the museum

Indoor Activities for a Heat Wave in Westchester and the Hudson Valley​

12. Visit the Westchester Children's Museum

Check out the popular build-your-own roller coaster exhibit and toddler beach, or register for one of the weekly educational programs (like weekend story time!) for kids at the Westchester Children's Museum. Head to our Museum Guide for more local museums and art galleries.

13. Enjoy the Trove Children's Library

Take a book break at the air-conditioned Trove in the White Plains Library. 

14. Head to Exit 4 Food Hall

Eat your way through the Exit 4 Food Hall, where plenty of cool, refreshing foods and drinks are on offer.

RELATEDBest Aquariums to Visit from the NYC Metro Area with Kids

Norwalk Aquarium
Say hello to underwater creatures at the Norwalk Aquarium. Photo courtesy of the aquarium

15. See Sealife at the Norwalk Aquarium

Chill out with some sea creatures across the county line at the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium

16. Catch a Flick at Jacob Burns Film Center

Check out a film or sign up for a media arts camp at the Jacob Burns Film Center.

17. Head to Bowlmor Lanes

Teach the kids to bowl at Bowlmor Lanes in White Plains. Tip: Before you go, check out the website for a special offer for a discounted kids' summer bowling or arcade pass. 

18. Visit LOOK Dine-In Cinemas

Get dinner (or lunch) and a movie all in one seat at LOOK Dine-In Cinemas. Offerings include a kids' menu, milkshakes, and cocktails. 

19. Go Rock Climbing 

Kids (and adults) can see how far they can go at one of the many indoor rock climbing spots in Westchester, including one of the newest, Hapik at Ridge Hill in Yonkers. 

20. Play Indoor Sports/Activities  

Speaking of Ridge Hill, Monster Mini Golf brings the summer-friendly game indoors. Or, further up-county, there's plenty of indoor fun to be had at Grand Prix New York, whether the family is into go-karting or a ninja course. 

Splash Pads and Other Water Fun this Summer in Westchester and the Hudson Valley​

21. Go Swimming

Go to a local splash pad or pool for some water fun. Alternatively, explore one of the natural swimming lakes in the area. 

22. Plan a Boating Trip

Explore the local waterways in a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard. Check out the top boat rentals in Westchester and the Hudson Valley.  

23. Head to a Local Swimming Hole

Search for swimming holes—but don't forget your lifejackets! Our favorite swimming holes include Peekamoose Blue Hole in the Catskills and Split Rock swimming hole at Mohonk Preserve. 

RELATEDSwimming Pools and Splash Pads in the Hudson Valley with Day Passes

Have some fun in your own backyard this summer. Photo by Rose Gordon Sala

24. Play Backyard Water Games

Try out a backyard water game. Ideas include a DIY slip-n-slide and a water piñata. 

25. Go Paddle Boating 

Check out the new paddle boats—swans or dragons?—at Playland Lake

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