Croton

Where To Go Apple Picking with Kids in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

Apple picking season is here! I used to look forward to apple picking every year as a child, and now I have just as much fun watching my little ones run through the orchards—not to mention the fresh-pressed apple cider and hot, delicious cider doughnuts! Many Westchester and Hudson Valley farms also have family-friendly entertainment and activities including live music, corn mazes, and hayrides.

So get your apple recipes ready and read on for our top picks for apple picking with kids in Westchester and the Hudson Valley. Remember to contact the farms before heading out. Many are family-owned and -operated, and hours may change with little or no notice.

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The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze Rises in the Hudson Valley Again

There are some experiences every family should try once. Then there are annual events that, after you try them, you vow to do every year forevermore. The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze in Croton-on-Hudson,  a Hudson Valley Halloween staple with thousands of hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns, falls firmly in the latter category.

The downside of the Blaze is that tickets start selling out way in advance... like early September. The 2019 shows begin Friday, September 20, and run through Saturday, November 30—thus extending the Halloween season straight through Thanksgiving. Our NYC readers should know that the Blaze is definitely worth splurging on, even if you need to rent a Zipcar. It's also accessible via public transportation.

Read on for what you need to know about this Halloween spectacle, including details about this year's installations, including several new features. Looking for more fall fun? Be sure to sign up for our newsletters!

Leaf Peeping: 9 Stunning Fall Foliage Spots in and Around Westchester

The transformation that takes place during fall foliage season in Westchester and the Hudson Valley is truly magical. With so many lovely parks and the some of the best spots for hiking, Westchester and the Hudson Valley provide countless stunning backdrops to enjoy the autumn leaves and scenery.

Whether you want to drive right up to a scenic spot or go for a walk in the woods (or take a cruise on the Hudson), we've got you covered. Read on for nine of our favorite fall foliage spots in and around Westchester.

Top Playgrounds for Toddlers and Preschoolers in Westchester

There are lots of great parks and playgrounds in Westchester, no matter which city or town you live in. But finding a playground that’s suitable for the under-5 set can sometimes be a challenge—you want them to be safe; they want to try that giant, twisty slide with a group of wild 7-year-olds on it.

Happily, there are a number of toddler-friendly playgrounds throughout the area, with plenty of safe options for keeping them occupied and having fun. We've rounded up a few of our favorites.

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Co-op Preschools in Westchester: Where Parents Are Partners in Learning

If you want to play a hands-on role in your child's early education, then a cooperative preschool might be the right choice for you. Westchester is home to several co-op nursery schools, where parents help with everything from providing snacks to assisting in the classroom to serving on committees and boards.

Co-ops are tight-knit communities in which parents and educators work hand-in-hand to create a loving and creative learning environment. Because cooperative preschools are run with help from parent volunteers, tuition costs are typically lower than those of preschools operated entirely with paid staff.

Read on to learn about seven cooperative preschools in Westchester, and get more info in our School and Preschool Guide for Westchester Kids

Westchester's Rivertowns with Kids: 75+ Things To Do

There's so much to do in Westchester’s Rivertowns, the scenic and charming cities, towns, and villages that line the eastern shore of the Hudson River, from Yonkers to Peekskill.

The best part about the Rivertowns, of course, is their location along the water. This affords them not only scenic views and aquatic activity, but also a rich history from centuries of settlement along its banks. 

Below we've rounded up assorted highlights of Westchester's Rivertowns for family fun, including kid-friendly restaurants, cool museums, beautiful parks, historic mansions, and much more. There are also numerous family-friendly events—from festivals to performances—that can be found year-round on our Event Calendar and via our free newsletters.

10 Destination Parks for Westchester Families

Westchester County and the lower Hudson Valley area are brimming with beautiful state, county, and local parks that are wonderful places to spend a day in the natural beauty of the Hudson Valley. We've rounded up several day trip–worthy spots that feature amenities like cool playgroundsswimming in lakes and riversboat rentals, splash pads, picnicking, and hiking trails. Want to extend your stay? Some also offer camping.

Read on for more details about some of the area's best parks for all-day family fun. For even more outdoor activities, check out our Summer Activity Guide for Westchester Kids.

Top Swimming Lakes and Rivers for Westchester Families

Pools and splash pads are great for summer fun—but when it comes to cooling off in the great outdoors, the Hudson Valley's lakes and rivers can't be beat. While you won’t find many in Westchester, the Hudson Valley in general offers plenty of places to jump in and go for a swim, including some that merit a day trip—or even an overnighter at a family campground. Here, we’ve rounded up several lakes and rivers that are perfect for swimming with kids, from the Hudson River to Lake Taghkanic.

Looking for even more fun in the sun? Check out our full summer guide for great ideas for the whole family.

10 Great Family Campgrounds in and Near Westchester

If camping is on your summer bucket list, you’re in luck: There are lots of campsites both in and around Westchester and the Hudson Valley, which means you’ll never be at a shortage for places to pitch your tent for a few nights.

Next time you’re ready to pack up your sleeping bag and s’mores provisions, consider staying at one of these area campgrounds, some of which offer even more fun activities for kids, like playgrounds and beaches.

Prefer something a little different? Check out these alternative camping ideas—and our entire summer activity guide!

Where Westchester Kids Can Find FREE Drop-in Storytimes

Getting into a storytime group can be nothing short of cutthroat in some places. While the registration-only programs ensure you a seat on the carpet, drop-in programs can provide some much-needed flexibility. Who hasn’t suddenly found a morning with nothing planned (or plans abruptly canceled) and a burning desire to just get out of the house? 

We’ve rounded up 15 places with drop-in storytimes—and, best of all, they’re all FREE! Looking for more things to do with your kids in Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley? Take a look at our Event Calendar and sign up for our FREE newsletters.  

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