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.
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.
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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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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.
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.
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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.
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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.