The Catskills with Kids: 25 Fun Things To Do in New York Catskills

Romp through the woods in the beautiful Catskills. Photo by Deborah Dadlani
Romp through the woods in the beautiful Catskills. Photo by Deborah Dadlani
10/20/19 - By Marisa Iallonardo

When you're up for a road trip, the Catskills offer a slew of great things to do for families in the New York metro area. Whether you have young kids or tweens and teens—or all of the above!—you can enjoy hiking, camping, river rafting, and more.

Covering 600,000 acres and encompassing most of Ulster, Sullivan, Delaware, Greene, and Schoharie counties, the Catskills are rich in natural beauty and historical significance. You'll find family-friendly skiing and picturesque resorts—including the brand-new Kartrite Resort—as well as many charming small towns, including Saugerties, Woodstock, Phoenicia, Tannersville, and Delhi.

Most destinations are about a two- to three-hour drive from central Westchester. Here’s a look at 25 ideas for fun with the kids, no matter your family’s interests.   

Looking for even more places to visit in your area and beyond? Check out our travel guide.


This short but steep hike takes you to the base of one of the highest waterfalls in the Catskill Mountains, Kaaterskill Falls. Photo courtesy of NYS Parks

1. Climb to the top of Kaaterskill Falls to see the waterfalls.

2. Or pick another hiking spot—there are tons in the area, like the Frick Pond Loop.

3. Visit Howe Caverns and tour the caves, which are six million years old. For a different twist, try the “Family Flashlight Tour.”

Skiing can come at a hefty price, but Belleayre was named Best Bargain by us!

4. Go skiing or snowboarding at of the area’s resorts, like Belleayre Mountain, which we named “Best Bargain.”

5. Get up close and personal with the animals—from a pig named Amelia to a goat named Dolly—at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary in Kerhonkson.

6. For even more animal fun, visit Bailiwick Animal Park & Riding Stables in Catskill, where you can do everything from ride horses to see Bengal Tigers.

7. Head to the Emerson Resort in Mount Tremper to check out the world’s largest kaleidoscope, which is a whopping 56 feet long. Bonus: The tween-and-under crowd get in free.

8. Get your water slide fix at Zoom Flume Water Park in East Durham.

RELATED: 100 Things To Do in New York State with Kids Before They Grow Up

Make sure to get a free day pass for Peekamoose Blue Hole before you head there for a swim. Photo courtesy of NYS Parks

9. Take a dip in a swimming hole—like Peekamoose Blue Hole. Just note that you’ll need a day permit if you visit from mid-May to mid-October.

10. Spend time at the outdoor sculpture garden Opus 40 in Saugerties—and be sure to check the calendar for their many events.

11. While you’re in Saugerties, make a stop at the Saugerties Lighthouse—you can even spend the night!

12. See the Catskill Mountains from the sky on the New York Zipline Mid Mountain Tour. It’s recommended that kids are at least 10 years old for that one, but if not, try the Adventure Tower instead.

13. Stop for a bite at Maggie’s Krooked Cafe & Juice Bar in Tannersville—the art on the walls is perfect for a game of “I Spy”

14. Browse the offerings at Monique’s Books Boutique in White Sulpher Springs.  

15. Go river rafting on the Delaware River.

16. Pitch a tent (or rent a cabin) and go camping at one of the many sites in the area, like Saugeries/Woodstock KOA.

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

Yogi Bear's Jellystone State Park is chock-full of kid-friendly activities. Photo courtesy of the park

17. Visit with Yogi Bear at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, which has tons for kids to do.

Spend a winter weekend at the new Kartrite Resort and Indoor Water Park. Photo courtesy of the resort

18. Channel summer vibes all year long at the recently-opened Kartrite Resort & Indoor Water Park.

19. Have some old-fashioned fun with a visit to the Hi-Way Drive-in Theater, where you can catch all the latest blockbusters.

Bethel Woods hosts many activities for families throughout the year. Photo courtesy of The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

20. Spend some time at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, the former Woodstock site, which includes family-friendly activities like craft-making.

RELATED: Cute Catskills Getaway: 13 Things To Do in Sullivan County with Kids

Take a ride to the North Pole on the Polar Express on the Catskill Mountain Railroad. Photo courtesy of the railroad

21. Take a ride on the Catskill Mountain Railroad­, which runs events all year, including the Bunny Express around Easter and the Polar Express during the holidays.  

22. Switch things up with an overnight stay in a log cabin.

23. Or head to Roxbury for a stay at The Roxbury, where the rooms are as fun as the destination.  

24. See the alpacas—and take a tour of the farm—at Buck Brook Alpacas

25. If you visit in May or October, check out Field + Supply, “a modern makers craft fair,” where it’s free for the under-12 set and dogs are welcome.