35 Things To Do in Rhinebeck, NY, with Kids

Bring the family to pick buckets of flowers at Brittany Hollow Farms. Photo courtesy of the farm
Bring the family to pick buckets of flowers at Brittany Hollow Farms. Photo courtesy of the farm
7/7/23 - By Susan Miele

About 100 miles north of Manhattan, the quaint town of Rhinebeck in Dutchess County is a prime destination for a family day trip. Steeped in Dutch history, Rhinebeck is home to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, where numerous fairs and family-friendly productions are held annually, as well as a performing arts center, an aerodrome, the oldest hotel in the country, great eateries, family shopping, and nature excursions.

We've gathered up some of our favorite Rhinebeck attractions culled after a recent visit. These include both year-round opportunities and some seasonal excursions, as well as a sampling of the creative shops and eateries that remind visitors of the quaintness afforded by a town supportive of independently owned businesses.

Read on for our inside scoop on all the great fun that lies ahead for your family in beautiful Rhinebeck! And for more great days out, check out our guide to family fun in Hudson Valley.


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Best Things To Do in Rhinebeck with Kids

1. Explore the Downtown 

Rhinebeck is known for its walkable streets lined with shops and restaurants that are festively lit up in the evenings, especially during the holiday season. Visit the Land of Oz Toys & Gifts and watch the kids' eyes widen at the impressive selection of fun and educational toys.

2. Go Gallery Hopping

See artwork by local artists at the many downtown galleries, including Art Gallery 71Albert Shahinian Fine Art, and 'T' Space Rhinebeck

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35 Things To Do in Rhinebeck, NY, with Kids: The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck
Take in a live, family-friendly performance at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck. Photo courtesy of the venue

3. Take in a Live Show

The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck offers fun, family-friendly theatrical productions, including the Family Entertainment Series offered on Saturday mornings in the spring and fall.

4. Do Some Antiquing

Check out the Antique Market at the Beekman Arms Inn, the oldest continuously operating inn in the United States, where George Washington was a guest. The market is set in a two-story barn with more than 30 dealers selling their merchandise. 

5. Indulge Your Sweet Tooth

Be a kid in a ... well, you know, at the Samuel’s Sweet Shop (co-owned by a pair of familiar faces). Or sample the selection of handmade chocolates at Oliver Kita Chocolates and Krause's Chocolates.

6. Watch a Film

Catch a film or special event at the artsy (and low-priced) Upstate Films.

7. Enjoy a Good Book

Find great selections for kids (and adults) at Oblong Books & Music, offering books, toys, and gift items.

8. Go Flower Picking

Admire the gorgeous blooms or pick your own during the summer and early fall at Brittany Hollow Farms.

9. Buy Local Produce 

Shop local from Hudson Valley purveyors at the Rhinebeck Farmers Market, with special events including live music, art exhibitions, and climate talks.  

10. Pick Your Own 

Visit Mead Orchards in nearby Tivoli and pick your own blueberries, apples, pumpkins, and other seasonal produce. Plus enjoy a seasonal corn maze and homemade cider donuts.  

11. Go Horseback Riding

Take a pony ride or horseback riding lesson at the Southlands Foundation.

12. Feed the Goats

Take a walk on the trails at Grieg Farms and visit their family of pygmy goats behind the Farm Market. Bring a few quarters to buy alfalfa pellets and feed them from your hand. If you visit in the late winter or spring, you might get to see the newborn kids. 

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35 Things To Do in Rhinebeck, NY, with Kids: Ferncliff Forest
Ferncliff Forest is a nature preserve with a pond, a fire tower, and 12 miles of trails. Photo courtesy of the forest

Fun FREE Things to Do in Rhinebeck with Kids

13. Hike in Ferncliff Forest

Camp, hike, picnic, ski, bike, or climb the tower at the 200-mile Ferncliff Forest Game Refuge and Forest Preserve.

14. Climb Burger Hill

Go sledding, hiking, and more at Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill. Known as one of the Hudson Valley's best small hikes with a big view, the 550-foot hill offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, from the Catskills to the Berkshires. In winter, the hill becomes a half-mile-long sledding slope. 

15. Explore Poet's Walk Park

Take a stroll on the peaceful, kid-friendly trails at Poet's Walk Park and enjoy expansive views of the Hudson River from the overlook pavilion. The trails are open for cross-country skiing in winter. 

16. Celebrate the Holidays at the Sinterklaas Festival

Soak up the holiday spirit at the effervescent Sinterklaas Festival Day, a full day of celebrations at multiple venues in the village of Rhinebeck, plus the Children's Starlight Parade featuring 2-story-tall animated puppets carried down the street by hundreds of volunteers.

35 Things To Do in Rhinebeck, NY, with Kids: Dutchess County Fair.
Rhinebeck is home to the ​Dutchess County Fair every August. Photo courtesy of the fair

Special Family-Friendly Events in Rhinebeck 

17. Dutchess County Fair

Enjoy a full-blown fair, replete with livestock competitions, carnival rides, food, racing pigs, a petting zoo, a roving robot, and much more at the Dutchess County Fair.

18. Sheep and Wool Festival

Meet the animals, watch demonstrations, and participate in cool wool-related workshops for kids at the annual Sheep and Wool Festival.

19. Hot Air Balloon Festival

Take a hot air balloon ride or just admire them at the Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival held at the Dutchess Fairgrounds, complete with food trucks, inflatables, live music, and more. 

20. Rhinebeck Crafts Festival

Shop for handmade crafts and meet the artisans at the Rhinebeck Crafts Festival.

Top Attractions in and Near Rhinebeck for Families

21. Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome

See a World War I air show, view historic aircraft, and fly in a biplane at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome

22. Wilderstein Historic Site

Pay a visit to the 19th-century Wilderstein Historic Site (which gets decked out for the holidays in November and December).

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35 Things To Do in Rhinebeck, NY, with Kids: Zabriskie's waterfall.
Take a leisurely hike at Zabriskie's waterfall. Photo by Katherine Dhurandhar 

23. Bard College

Check out one of the cultural events offered at nearby Bard College, visit the on-campus Hessel Museum of contemporary art, or take a hike around the beautiful grounds overlooking the Hudson River. Don't miss a visit to Zabriskie's waterfall, featured in our top Hudson Valley waterfall hikes with kids

24. Vanderbilt Mansion 

Book a tour of the impressive Vanderbilt Mansion or explore the gardens and grounds for free. Take the trail to Bard Rock for a picnic on the Hudson River with amazing views.

25. Staatsburgh State Historic Site

Take a tour of the Mills Mansion, a beautifully furnished 79-room Beaux-Arts mansion, and learn about life in the 18th century, at the Staatsburgh State Historic Site. The lawn behind the mansion is a great spot for picnicking and in the winter turns into one of the best sledding hills in the Hudson Valley. The site also adjoins Mills Norie State Park, which features miles of hiking and snowshoeing trails, a boat launch, and a campground.

26. Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site

Visit the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd and longest-serving president of the United States. The site includes the homes of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, the nation’s first presidential library, and over 1,000 acres of gardens and trails. 

27. Mid-Hudson Discovery Museum

The Mid-Hudson Discovery Museum is a children's museum located in Poughkeepsie that is well worth the half-hour drive from Rhinebeck. Located next to the famous Walkway over the Hudson, the museum features tons of fun and educational exhibits geared toward kids 12 years old and younger, including multiple STEM exhibits and a model firetruck that little kids love to climb in. Families can make a day of it and take a walk or picnic on the Walkway or the Poughkeepsie Waterfront. 

35 Things To Do in Rhinebeck, NY, with Kids: Beekman Arms Inn in Rhinebeck!
It's true–George Washington slept here, at the Beekman Arms Inn in Rhinebeck. Photo by Susan Miele

Where to Stay in Rhinebeck with Kids

28. Beekman Arms & Delamater Inn

Spend the night in the historic Beekman Arms, the oldest continuously operating inn in the United States. George Washington was a guest. 

29. Rhinebeck Village Inn

The Rhinebeck Village Inn is a great budget-friendly option for families who still want to be close to downtown. The Inn is within walking distance of the historic district, shopping, and restaurants. 

30. Mirbeau Inn and Spa Rhinebeck

Get the full luxury treatment at Mirbeau Inn and Spa Rhinebeck, an upscale hotel nestled in a forest just outside the main village that's still just a 5-minute walk to the historic district. The hotel features 2 onsite restaurants, a spa, and a gym. 

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35 Things To Do in Rhinebeck, NY, with Kids Gigi Hudson Valley Trattoria
Kids will love the menu offerings at the Gigi Hudson Valley Trattoria. Photo by the author

Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Rhinebeck 

31. Foster's Coach House Tavern

Dine at the Foster’s Coach House Tavern, in operation since 1890. The tavern offers a wide variety of entrees and desserts, plus a kids' menu. 

32. Gigi Hudson Valley Trattoria

Gigi Hudson Valley Trattoria is an upscale restaurant offers Mediterranean cuisine with ingredients sourced from the Hudson Valley, including fresh-made pizzas and pastas. It also has a large outdoor dining area and a kid-friendly menu.  

33. Aroi Thai Restaurant

Enjoy a wide variety of delicious, authentic Thai dishes at Aroi Thai Restaurant, which has a beautiful outdoor seating area featuring a garden and water feature. 

34. Bread Alone Bakery & Cafe

Dine at the family- and eco-friendly Bread Alone Bakery & Café, dedicated to baking with organic grains since 1983. The Rhinebeck cafe serves breakfast and lunch daily, has a large variety of grab-and-go options, and features a full menu of baked goods from its carbon-neutral bakery in Boiceville.

35. Del's Roadside

Snag a burger, fries, and some fresh, locally-made ice cream at Del's Roadside. The ice cream is made in small batches from milk from the cows at Dels's Dairy Farm & Ice Cream Company. The shop features outdoor seating with cornhole for the kids and live music on select nights. 

Places featured in this article:

Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site

Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck

Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill

Foster’s Coach House Tavern

Oliver Kita Artisan Chocolate

The Southlands Foundation

Wilderstein Historic Site

Staatsburgh State Historic Site