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24 Best Things to Do in The Hudson Valley

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New York’s Hudson Valley Region is full of fun and interesting things to do. This part of the Empire State is beautiful, historic, artistic, friendly, tasty, and welcoming in every way. Look no further for outdoor activities, or the perfect weekend getaway.

No matter what interests you and your companions, you’ll find more things to do in the Hudson Valley than you could possibly fit into one visit. In addition to great activities, the beautiful Hudson Valley also offers historic sites, wonderful cities, towns, and villages to explore, miles and miles of mountain biking and hiking trails amidst insane natural beauty, and lots of excellent places to stay, eat and drink.

If you’ve never been to this area of New York State before, you should plan a trip right away, and once your trip is complete, you’ll immediately begin daydreaming about when you can return rolling hills of the Valley.

New York’s Hudson Valley is a very special place that’s a wonderful destination at any time of the year. Read on to learn about some of the diverse and attractive options for activities to try while you’re visiting this area. There are so many great things to do in the Hudson Valley – read on for more!

TL;DR

  • Most Significant Landmark – The Hudson River!
  • Best Park – Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve
  • Free activity – Walkway Over The Hudson State Historic Park
  • Activity for kids – LEGOLAND New York
  • Activity for Adults – Any of the Hudson Valley’s historic house museums
  • Place to eat – The plethora of restaurants at the Culinary Institute of America
  • Nightlife – The Brewery at the Culinary Institute of America
  • Place to stay Mohonk Mountain House

Things to Do in The Hudson Valley

1. Opus 40

View of the monolith at the Opus 40 sculpture park
quiggyt4 / Shutterstock

Address: 356 George Sickle Rd, Saugerties, NY 12477

Opus 40 is hard to explain – it’s best that you just go see it. This large, 6.5-acre environmental sculpture was created by sculptor Harvey Fite between 1939 and 1976. Initially inspired by a trip to Honduras where he helped restore Mayan ruins, Fite purchased an abandoned bluestone quarry and began to harvest raw stone to create his masterpiece.

Keep in mind that Fite not only built the sculptures that you’ll see during your time here from that bluestone, but he also built the terraces, ramps, and walkways that lead you to them. It’s all part of one, gigantic, made-from-literal-scratch art piece.

You’ll be amazed at how vast it is, and even more amazed that it was all made by one man. There’s nothing like it anywhere – prepare to be impressed.

Sadly, Fite died in 1976 in an accidental fall while working on the project. He’d planned to work on it for forty years but only did so for thirty-seven. Still, to our eyes, it looks close to complete, so we can rest easy believing that Fite likely died happy with his Opus thus far.

See Related: Top Bizarre Roadside Attractions in the United States

2. Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum & Air Shows

1918 Curtiss JN4H "Jenny" at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome
Fred Sgrosso / Shutterstock

Address: 42 Stone Church Rd, Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Air travel is so common these days that it doesn’t thrill most like it once did. But, back in 1958 when flight was still newer and more exciting to all, the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome was established as the nation’s first flying museum of antique aircraft. Today, it’s a great place to go if you want to really feel the thrill of flight once again.

This living history museum has a vast collection of aircraft from the Pioneer Era (1903-1914), WWI, and the Golden Age of Aviation (1918-1939). A visit to the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome would be worthwhile simply to view these antique planes, but it gets even better than that – the staff at this museum actually flies many of them, and you can watch!

On weekends from June to October every year, you can enjoy incredible air shows, many of which include stunts you won’t believe. Saturday’s show is entitled “History of Flight” and Sunday features a WWI dogfight spectacular. Both are worth attending, especially for history and military buffs.

And, if you’re brave, you can fly, too! Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome offers biplane rides with open cockpit seating before and after each weekend show. This museum is an amazing experience for anyone who loves history, aircraft, or flight.

Rhinebeck is a great little town, and if you want to get to know it better, book a stay at The Gables of Rhinebeck. This charming boutique hotel is highly rated by couples traveling through.

See Related: Must-try Fighter Jet Experiences

3. Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site

Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site
littleny / Adobe Stock

Address: 119 Vanderbilt Park Rd, Hyde Park, NY 12538

The Vanderbilt Mansion is a historic house museum that was once one of several homes owned by Frederick William Vanderbilt and his wife, Louise Holmes Anthony. This architectural wonder was built between 1896 and 1899 and is an excellent example of Beaux-Arts architecture style.

It has 54 rooms, and they are furnished with its original 1939 furnishings. 18 of the rooms can be viewed on guided tours offered by the National Parks Service, which oversees the site. Tickets are available first-come, first-served, only at the visitor center; they sell out quickly, so be prepared to wait.

This mansion is the definition of opulence and is an interesting look into the lives of the very rich during the Gilded Age. There are also extensive gardens that are well worth checking out, especially during the warmer months.

Looking for a place to stay nearby? The Courtyard by Marriot in Poughkeepsie is a short and scenic drive away from Hyde Park.

4. Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

Front of Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
demerzel21 / Adobe Stock

Address: 4079 Albany Post Rd, Hyde Park, NY 12538

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum was built under the direction of FDR himself from 1939 to 1940. It was our nation’s first presidential library.

Like all presidential libraries after it, this library holds all the records from its namesake’s time in office. Every president since has established a presidential library after leaving office; all are overseen by the National Archives and Records Administration.

As for the number of items in FDR’s library, one official estimate guessed that the library holds about 50 million items, including 16,000 books, 15,000 photographs, 275,000 feet of movie film, and 300 sound recordings, although there is no exact, official count.

The public is welcome to use this library for research purposes, but that doesn’t sound like much of a vacation. Since you are on vacation, you can visit the museum here and learn more about presidential libraries and about our nation’s beloved 32nd president instead.

See Related: Most Famous Landmarks in the USA

5. Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site

Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site
Jeffrey M. Frank / Shutterstock

Address: 4097 Albany Post Road, Hyde Park, NY 12538

Springwood Estate was the birthplace, lifelong home, and burial place of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This home and property were so important to him throughout his life, much in the way that Mount Vernon was to President George Washington.

The home itself was built from 1800 to 1845 and is an example of both Federal and Italianate styles. Two years before Roosevelt’s death, he donated the estate to the American people. It’s been managed by the National Park Service since 1945.

The interior of the home is only accessible by guided tour. As with the Vanderbilt Mansion above, tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis only at the visitor center, and sell out quickly.

This home is worth touring. Not only will you learn about the life of our 32nd president, but you’ll get to see the inside of a beautiful historic home that’s decorated as it was almost a century ago, too.

See Related: Things to Do in Amsterdam, New York

6. Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site

Stone Cottage at Val-Kill National Historic Site in Hyde Park, NY, with vegetation
Alizada Studios / Shutterstock

Address: 106 Valkill Park Rd, Hyde Park, NY 12538

The Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site is the only National Historic Site dedicated to a first lady. As most armchair historians know, Mrs. Roosevelt was a major advisor to her husband during all of his four presidential terms.

This historic site celebrates her life and accomplishments and is a great place to visit to learn more about this incredible woman. It’s located on the property of Val-Kill, a farm founded by Eleanor herself and some friends to employ local farming families in the creation of traditional, local, handicrafts. She also lived at Val-Kill after her husband’s death.

There are so many things to see and do in the Hyde Park area, you will probably want to stay a few days. There aren’t a lot of accommodations options in Hyde Park, so be sure to plan ahead. A bed and breakfast might be a good choice – Inn the Woods B&B and Journey Inn Bed & Breakfast are both lovely and are rated quite well.

If you’d prefer a vacation rental home, this Charming Brick House might be one option that’s perfect for you and your companions.

See Related: Where to Stay Outside of New York City

7. The Culinary Institute Of America (CIA)

Culinary Institute of America New York exterior
Nancy Kennedy / Shutterstock

Address: 1946 Campus Dr, Hyde Park, NY 12538

Ever thought about joining the CIA? No, not the one in Langley, Virginia. This one is far more delicious!

Some of the best chefs in the United States are trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. You may know that already, but what you may not know is that you can visit the CIA to dine in its unique on-campus, student-run restaurants – and you should!

At the CIA, you can choose from three restaurants: American Bounty, which serves contemporary and traditional regional dishes, often with locally sourced ingredients, The Bocuse Restaurant, which serves classic French cuisine, or Ristorante Caterina de’Medici, if you’re feeling like taking a short trip to Italy without ever leaving the Hudson Valley.

Additionally, you can get dessert at the Apple Pie Bakery Cafe, or try some freshly brewed beer at The Brewery at the Culinary Institute of America. Everything in all of these restaurants is made by students under the supervision of their professors, so you can count on it all being top-notch.

Further, the Culinary Institute of America offers campus tours for the public on several days each week. On your tour, you’ll go behind the scenes and into the classrooms, you’ll learn all about food history, and you’ll be able to participate in a Q&A with current CIA students. Reservations are highly recommended, as these tours are quite popular.

And, if you have a little more time, you might consider taking some CIA classes yourself; you don’t have to be a full-time, enrolled student to participate. The CIA offers multi-day Boot Camps, single-day classes, and beverage classes for home cooks – and you’ll leave with a wealth of knowledge that’s sure to impress.

See Related: Best Restaurants in New York City That Locals Love

8. Mohonk Mountain House

Mohonk Mountain House from above with Mohonk Lake in the foreground
MAJR / Adobe Stock

Address: 1000 Mountain Rest Rd, New Paltz, NY 12561

The Mohonk Mountain House is a super fancy, upscale hotel on the Shawangunk Mountain ridge near the town of New Paltz. It was built between 1869 and 1910 and it’s been serving big names ever since. Famous folks like Andrew Carnegie, as well as presidents such as Teddy Roosevelt, and Bill Clinton have enjoyed time here.

This hotel, modeled as a Victorian castle has 259 rooms, an indoor pool, a spa with a heated mineral pool, a 9-hole golf course, horseback riding, hiking trails, and several excellent restaurants. Plus, it’s on Mohonk Lake, so guests can swim, boat, and fish as well, all in complete privacy.

Don’t think you can get a look at this place without a reservation, though – they won’t let you past the guard shack. Day passes are available, but you’ll have to pre-purchase an activity package to be admitted.

However, if you can afford to stay at this incredible property – you should. It’s historic, it’s beautiful, it’s impressive, it’s won dozens (if not hundreds) of awards over the years, and it’s widely considered to be one of the best hotels in the country. It may be worth it to splurge!

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, the Hampton Inn New Paltz is always a comfortable place to lay your head.

See Related: Where to Stay in New York City with Family: Best Areas for Families

9. Mohonk Preserve

Mohonk Preserve Sky Top Tower Aerial Scenic view
PhotoSpirit / Adobe Stock

Address: 3197 Route 44 55, Gardiner, NY 12525

The Mohonk Preserve is adjacent to the property of the Mohonk Mountain House and once was part of it; however, thanks to philanthropy and conservation, this 8,000 preserve is open to the public. If you love romping around in the Great Outdoors, then you’re going to love this rugged, beautiful, wooded, Catskill Mountain paradise.

When exploring this preserve, you’ll find cliffs, streams, forests, fields, ponds, and abundant wildlife. There are over 70 miles of old carriage roads and 40 miles of trails. It’s also a mecca for rock climbing enthusiasts and fans of outdoor adventures; over 50,000 climbers visit the Mohonk Preserve each year to climb some of its 1,000 climbing routes.

You’ll love this easily accessible section of the Catskill Mountains. If you can, go in the fall – the foliage in late September and early October here is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

See Related: National Parks in the USA to Visit

10. Olana State Historic Site

Architecture of Olana Historic Site
Cenk / Adobe Stock

Address: 5720 NY-9G, Hudson, NY 12534

Olana is another Hudson Valley historic house museum, but this one is different. The Olana State Historic Site preserves the home of Frederic Edwin Church, one of the major artists that started and promoted the Hudson River School of landscape painting.

This home is smaller than Springwood or the Vanderbilt mansions, but it’s still quite large and is just as beautiful. It is perched high on a hill overlooking the Hudson River and a farm and gardens designed by the artist himself.

The site has historical importance because it’s one of few home-studio-estate complexes belonging to a famous artist that’s still intact in the country. The mansion was built from 1870 to 1872, was also designed by the artist, and is an example of Exotic Revival style.

Inside, you’ll find walls stenciled with designs by Church, as well as interesting furnishings assembled on his world travels. There are several different home and property tours from which to choose, and tickets for them can be purchased in advance.

There are lots of lovely places to stay in this area that will give you easy access to Olana, the Hudson River, and the adorable, quaint town of Hudson. This Lakefront Lodge vacation rental home that sleeps twelve is just one amazing example!

See Related: Best Hotels in Rotterdam, New York: Top Places to Say

11. Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park

Walkway Over the Hudson Historic Site
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock

Address: 61 Parker Ave, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

The Walkway Over the Hudson is a fun adventure that takes you high above the Hudson River on foot. For many years, this steel cantilever former train bridge was abandoned and was left to deteriorate after being taken out of service in 1974. After much work by local civic organizations, the bridge was reopened as a footbridge in 2009.

At the time of its opening, it was the longest pedestrian footbridge. From end to end, it’s 6,768 feet long, or 1 1/4 miles. It’s pretty high, too; the walkway is 212 feet above the Hudson River below.

There’s parking near the entrance on both ends, although you’ll likely have an easier time finding a spot on the western side. On sunny days, you’ll find the bridge busy with people enjoying the sunshine and breezes over the Hudson. It’s a great photo opportunity, and good exercise, too!

Looking to combine your Walkway Over the Hudson adventure with a visit to some local wineries? This small-group tour departs from Poughkeepsie and will be a day that you’ll never forget!

See Related: Best Parks in New York City & New York to Visit

12. Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site

The restored Tower of Victory at Washington's Headquarters
Linda Harms / Adobe Stock

Address: 84 Liberty St, Newburgh, NY 12551

Then General and later President George Washington had several headquarters during the Revolutionary War, but this one, also known as Hasbrouck House and near Newburgh, was the one at which he stayed the longest. He posted up here during the final year of the war from April 1782 to August 1783. The 7,000 soldiers of the Continental Army camped a few miles to the southwest.

The site overlooks the Hudson River and the building in which he made his plans and gave his orders is a fieldstone farmhouse which still stands. Its believed that it was built in 1725. A monument, the Tower of Victory, was added in 1890.

Tours of the property are available and there’s a two-story museum building adjacent where you can learn more about the time Washington spent here, and about the final year of America’s War for Independence.

Since Newburgh is close to Stewart Airport, there are a lot of lodging options nearby. This Newburgh Hampton Inn is highly rated and convenient to many Hudson Valley destinations.

See Related: Most Beautiful & Best Vacations in the U.S.

13. Motorcyclepedia Museum

Girl Riding Bike Motorcyclepedia Museum Newburgh, New York
Motorcyclepedia Museum / Facebook

Address: 250 Lake St, Newburgh, NY 12550

If you like motorcycles, then you’re going to love Newburgh’s Motorcyclopedia Museum. This non-profit museum has hundreds of classic motorcycles on display in its 85,000 square feet of space, and it’s home to the largest collection of iconic Indian motorcycles in the world.

Museum founder Jerry Doering raced Indians in the late 1940s and began collecting the bikes by 1949. His collection grew into this incredible museum that will take you back in time to a time when motorcycles were fast but simple. You’ll learn all about the history of motorcycles here, and admission is very reasonably priced for all there is to see.

See Related: Best Car Museums in Germany

14. Dia Beacon

Dia Beacon hallway with exhibits
1000zen / Flickr

Address: 3 Beekman St, Beacon, NY 12508

The Dia Art Foundation was begun in 1974 by Philippa de Menil, daughter of arts patron Dominique de Menil and heiress to the Schlumberger oil fortune. This foundation manages 11 museums today.

Dia Beacon opened in 2003 and reuses the space formerly occupied by a Nabisco box-printing facility. With 160,000 square feet of exhibition space, it’s one of the largest museums in the country focusing on modern and contemporary art.

This museum is unique in that each permanent space within it was designed for a single artist’s work and was created specifically for the art that it contains. Although Dia Beacon also hosts temporary exhibits, this fact makes its permanent exhibits its biggest draw.

If you like modern and contemporary art, Dia Beacon is an incredible place to view works by artists like Andy Warhol, Dan Flavin, Richard Serra, Michael Heizer, Robert Ryman, Agnes Martin, and others. Whatever your fancy, Dia Beacon truly offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the art in a unique way. The building here is a work of art as much as the art pieces displayed within it.

See Related: New York CityPASS vs. New York Pass: Which is Better?

15. Innisfree Garden

Dia Beacon hallway with exhibits
Amy Wilkins / Shutterstock

Address: 362 Tyrrel Rd, Millbrook, NY 12545

This 150-acre, Chinese-style garden was once the private garden of Walter and Marion Beck and was designed with the help of landscape architect Lester Collins of Harvard University between 1930 and 1960.

Landscaped gardens are almost always quite beautiful, but this one is unique in that it was designed based on classical Chinese paintings and poems, particularly those by Chinese artist Wang Wei who lived from 698-791. Walter Beck, a painter himself, was inspired by Wang Wei’s works and set out to create the landscapes he painted in real life.

You’ll be amazed by the fact that this garden truly does make visitors feel like they’ve stepped into a painting. Hundreds of rocks were moved from surrounding areas to create the look that the Becks desired; waterfalls and streams were built by pumping water from a lake throughout the property.

When Marion Beck died in 1959, management of the garden was transferred to the Innisfree Garden Foundation, and Lester Collins continued to improve the property and gardens until he died in 1993. Innisfree Garden was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993, and today, it’s open to the public from May to October of each year.

See Related: Botanical Gardens in California to Visit

16. Kykuit, The Rockefeller Estate

Front of Kykuit, The Rockefeller Estate
Felix Lipov / Shutterstock

Address: 381 N Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

If you are interested in yet another historic house museum in the Hudson Valley, Kykuit is one that you should not miss. This 40-room mansion was built in 1913 for oil tycoon and Rockefeller family patriarch John D. Rockefeller by his son, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and was home to four generations of the family.

It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976 and was bequeathed to the National Trust for Historic Preservation upon the death of Nelson Rockefeller in 1979. It’s been open for tours, led by Historic Hudson Valley, ever since.

The estate occupies an area of 3,410 acres so there is much more on the property beyond the famous and opulent Colonial Revival home. The Rockefeller family also built a 9-hole, reversible golf course and extensive gardens, plus dozens of residences, a three-story underground bunker to hold their family archives, an underground bomb shelter, a cattle and agricultural farm, and so much more.

If you’re interested in the Rockefeller family and what they did with all their vast riches, this is where you can go to see it first hand. It’s really quite incredible, and it’s absolutely worth a visit.

See Related: New York Pass Review: Is It Worth The Price?

17. The Union Church Of Pocantico Hills

Union Church of Pocantico Hills in New York State
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock

Address: 555 Bedford Rd, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Speaking of the Rockefeller family, John D. Rockefeller Jr. built the Union Church of Pocantico Hills in 1921 as part of his plans to develop the town next to his family’s estate in this part of Westchester County. On one hand, this is just a church, but on the other hand, it’s so much more.

Designed in Late Gothic Revival style by architect Ludwig W. Eisinger, it also features a rose window by Henri Matisse and nine windows by Marc Chagall. Church services are still held at this church, but many people visit it simply to view these works by these famous artists, so don’t be shy.

18. Hike on the Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail Sign in Bear Mountain State Park
Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock

It’s likely that you’ll never hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in your lifetime, but you can hike on a little bit of it in New York’s Hudson Valley so you can brag to your friends about your amazing accomplishment. The entire Appalachian Trail is 2,198 miles in length, but 88.4 miles of it crosses New York.

The New York section of the Appalachian Trail is rugged but mostly flat. You can hop on a bit of it in Sterling Forest State Park, Harriman State Park, or Bear Mountain State Park.

It crosses the Hudson on the Bear Mountain Bridge, so if you’re feeling especially lazy, you can even be on a little bit of the trail without leaving your car. East of the Hudson, it passes through Hudson Highland State Park, Fahnestock State Park, and Pawling Nature Reserve, where it crosses into Connecticut.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the Appalachian Trail in New York is the Lemon Squeezer, a narrow, one-foot-wide crack between two huge boulders in Harriman State Park. If you’re feeling adventurous, try that part – it’s a memorable photo opportunity.

See Related: Most Beautiful & Best Running Trails in America

19. Storm King Art Center

Sculpture at Storm King Art Center
Victoria Lipov / Shutterstock

Address: 1 Museum Rd, New Windsor, NY 12553

Do you like big, weird, outdoor sculptures? You can view over a hundred of them on five hundred acres at the Storm King Art Center, which is believed to be the largest collection of contemporary art sculptures in the United States. This art center was founded in 1960 on 180 acres and has grown and grown since then. Today, it contains works by countless famous large-scale sculptors including Alexander Calder, David Smith, Roy Lichtenstein, Louise Nevelson, Henry Moore, and dozens of others.

This incredible open-air museum is a wonderful place to spend a day in the Hudson Valley. Guided tours are included with admission but you’re also permitted to explore the property on your own.

You’ll love strolling through the woods and fields here and you’ll surely take lots of memorable photos of the art and vistas. Please don’t touch the sculptures, however, and please only enjoy your picnics in designated areas.

It would be difficult to see and enjoy everything that Storm King Art Center has to show you in one day, so why not make a weekend of it? This Renovated 1850s Cottage on Storm King Mountain is close by, quiet, and perfect for a short and artsy little getaway.

See Related: Things to Do in Buffalo, New York

20. Teatown Lake Reservation

Boardwalk over marshland on the trail at Teatown Lake Reservation in Ossining, New York
Nancy Kennedy / Shutterstock

Address: 1600 Spring Valley Rd, Ossining, NY 10562

This 1000-acre, non-profit nature preserve and educational center is another great place to go if you want to soak in the beauty and natural landscape of the Hudson Valley region. The organization that manages it works to conserve biodiversity, teach ecology, and promote the enjoyment of nature.

There are 15 miles of hiking trails on the property that offer all levels of difficulty; they’re open from dawn to dusk every day of the year. The visitor center, which features a variety of educational exhibits for visitors of all ages, is also open daily.

During most months of the year, Teatown Lake Reservation offers public programs nearly daily, but be sure to check the website and calendar before you go – they all require pre-registration.

21. Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve

Hudson Highlands State Park in Cold Spring New York
James Andrews1 / Shutterstock

Address: 3260 NY-9D, Cold Spring, NY 10516

Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve is a mostly undeveloped area of over 8,000 acres that showcases some of the best of the natural landscape of the Hudson Valley Region. There are over 70 miles of trail within it, many of which offer unparalleled views of the Hudson River. Its land is non-contiguous but it’s all close together; New York chose to begin protecting this land piece by piece in the early 1900s before it was destroyed by commercial interests mining for natural minerals.

This preserve is full of abundant flora and fauna and numerous different types of ecosystems are represented, including mudflats, brackish tidal marsh, pitch pine-oak-heath rocky summit forests, and grasslands. You’ll find lots of oak hickory and chestnut trees in the preserve as well, which are home to birds of all kinds, and this preserve is a paradise for birders.

Hudson Highlands is open year-round during daylight hours and it’s easily accessible by both car and Metro North train. The highest summit in the area is in the preserve- the 1,610-foot Beacon Mountain – and it’s worth a climb if you’re feeling adventurous.

If you’re not all that into hiking but still want to see the beauty of the Hudson Highlands, why not take a helicopter ride over it? It may seem scary at first, but it’s a great way to see the beauty – especially during the fall foliage season.

22. West Point United States Military Academy

West Point United States Military Academy building
Nancy Kennedy / Shutterstock

Address: 606 Thayer Rd, West Point, NY 10996

Almost everyone has heard of West Point; it’s one of the most famous, important, and oldest educational institutions in the United States and it exists to educate cadets for commissioning into the United States Army. Originally built as a fort, it became the United States Military Academy in 1802.

Admission is highly competitive, and students must receive a nomination, usually from a member of Congress, to be considered. Most graduates enter military service after graduation with the rank of second lieutenant.

The campus is located on the western bank of the Hudson River and it’s stunning. The majority of campus buildings were designed in Neo-Gothic style and were built from gray and black granite stone.

Other buildings, including private residences for the faculty, are excellent examples of Federal, Georgian, or English Tudor styles, while other student-centered buildings were designed in Neoclassical style. Further, there are dozens of monuments and statues on campus to view as well.

The campus is open to the public via organized tours that depart the West Point Visitor Center several times each day. The West Point Museum, adjacent to the Visitor Center, is the oldest military museum in the country and is full of interesting exhibits about the United States Military, as well as artifacts like George Washington’s pistols, Napoleon’s sword, and a gold-plated pistol that belonged to Adolf Hitler, among others.

West Point is an interesting place to visit even if you don’t think you’re into military history. It’s a historic site that has been a big part of American history for over 200 years, and the beauty of the campus is exceptional.

See Related: Best Military Museums in Europe

23. Untermyer Park & Gardens

Sky temple in Untermyer Park Yonkers NY USA
weiguo1 / Adobe Stock

Address: 945 N Broadway, Yonkers, NY 10701

One of the most beautiful and impressive parks and gardens in the Hudson Valley is Untermyer Park and Gardens. This 43-acre public park in Yonkers is what remains of lawyer and civic leader Samuel Untermyer’s 150-acre estate who donated the property to the city upon his death. It’s on the eastern bank of the Hudson River and slopes upward dramatically from there.

Throughout the park’s many acres, you’ll find beautifully landscaped gardens designed by Untermyer himself with landscape designer William W. Bosworth, fountain designer Charles Wellford Leavitt, sculptor Paul Manship, and others. There’s a walled garden that leads to a Hudson River overlook, a rock and stream garden, a rhododendron garden, and dozens of sculptures, fountains, and structures reminiscent of ancient Rome and Greece.

This garden has been under restoration for many years, and the restoration effort still has many years to go. Still, this garden has so much to see and enjoy, the fact that some of it is still under construction won’t bother you a bit.

See Related: Things to Do in Niagara Falls

24. LEGOLAND New York

Visitors pass through the colorful entrance gate to Legoland in New York. Lego building blocks
Renata Ty / Shutterstock

Address: 1 Legoland Blvd, Goshen, NY 10924

Legoland New York is on the western edge of the Hudson Valley in the southern Catskill Mountains, but if you’re traveling with little ones, it’s an attraction you simply cannot skip!

This theme park is made up of seven LEGO-themed lands on 150 acres. It’s full of rides including two roller coasters and four water rides, intricate LEGO models and structures, interactive LEGO-based activities, and more. LEGOLAND New York is one of nine LEGOLAND parks worldwide, and it’s currently the largest of them all.

This place is heaven on earth for LEGO enthusiasts of all ages. If you wish to stay on the property, you can do that, too – there’s also a 250-room themed hotel that features an indoor, heated pool and restaurant onsite. If you’re looking for tickets to LEGOLAND, you can get them right here.

FAQ

What’s the best time of year to visit the Hudson Valley?

Any time of year is a great time to visit the Hudson Valley! However, if you don’t like snow, you may want to avoid it in the wintertime. Most people enjoy visiting the Hudson Valley best in the spring or fall best – it really comes alive during the springtime, and the fall foliage really pops in the fall.

Summer is a great time to visit, too, but you may find some of the attractions on this list crowded during the peak travel months. No matter when you choose to visit, though, you’re sure to have a wonderful time!

Do I need a car to visit the Hudson Valley?

That depends! A car is certainly helpful to have when visiting the Hudson Valley, but you can see a lot of great spots along the Hudson River if you take the Metro North train up from Grand Central Station.

Many of the towns and cities along the Hudson River are very walkable, and the train runs frequently enough that day trips from the city are no problem at all.

However, if you want to check out some of the attractions we’ve described above that are a bit further from the river, a rental car will be a big help – ride share is prevalent in some areas, but not so much in others.

How’s the food in the Hudson Valley region?

The food and beverage scene in the Hudson Valley is top-notch! There are so many farm-to-table and farm-to-glass options in this region. Due to the proximity of the Hudson Valley to New York City, countless restauranteurs and brewers have moved to this area and love to impress visitors from the city and from around the state and the world.

This area is so full of small farms and enthusiastic farmers, you’re sure to get meals with the freshest ingredients everywhere you go. When you visit the Hudson Valley, be sure to bring your appetite!

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