Perfect Places & Things to Do in the Hudson Valley If It’s Your First Time Visiting

If you’re looking for fun things to do outside of New York City in the Hudson Valley, and it’s your first-time visiting, look no further. We’ve gathered a list of the most iconic, unique, and downright out there ideas for things to see and do in the Hudson Valley. 

From touring a ghost town to ziplining from the top of a mountain in the middle of the night, here’s a list of the perfect things to do on your first trip to the Hudson Valley. 

Greene County

The New York Zipline Mid-Mountain Tour at Hunter Mountain offers year-round, family-friendly thrills. Fly 60 feet above the ground as you make your way along six ziplines, four suspension bridges, and nine tree platforms. The longest zipline is 650 feet long – plenty of opportunity to see the beautiful Catskill Mountains from a birds-eye-view!

Ulster County

Ulster County is home to incredible rock climbing in the Shawangunks, but for those looking for a more leisurely pace, the Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway is an excellent way to explore the region’s highlights. Four sections of the byway offer distinct sights and experiences. Drive through the Wallkill Valley, past the famous Shawangunk Cliffs, and through the Mohonk Mountain Preserve.

Albany County

The Albany Institute of History and Art is a must-visit for any first-timer in the Hudson Valley. From exhibitions on the Hudson River School style of painting that popularized the area, to a trip into antiquity through the Ancient Egypt exhibition, the museum offers an incredible experience perfect for a day of indoor explorations.

Rensselaer County

Troy was home to one Samuel B. Wilson, a meatpacker who provided provisions for the U.S. Army during the Civil War. Samuel would stamp the barrels heading to the front lines with “U.S.” and soon soldiers began to recognize supplies coming from “Uncle Sam,” and the nickname stuck. Visit his final resting place at Oakwood Cemetery and learn a bit of the region’s Civil War history when you visit this hallowed ground.

Rockland County

Visit a real ghost town in Rockland County and take a trip to Doodletown. Now a part of Bear Mountain State Park, informational signs guide you through the town, offering historical insight and information. Walk up old stone steps, see the site of the old schoolhouse, and visit the cemetery where long ago residents were laid to rest.

Westchester County

Wolf Conservation Center is a 26-acre environmental education center with “Ambassador” wolves that are part of its education programs and almost 20 critically endangered wolves that are part of a national recovery plan. Open all year (Tues.-Sun.) Pre-registration required.

Putnam County

Boscobel House & Gardens is open for outdoor rambles from dawn until dusk. Explore this stately restored home overlooking the Hudson River at your own pace and learn the history of the house and its original occupants while you do. Built by Loyalists after the American Revolution, the house and grounds remain a sterling example of Federal architectural style. Boscobel means “beautiful woods” in Italian.

Columbia County

Olana State Historic Site is the brother property of Greene County’s Thomas Cole National Historic Site, and was the former home of Cole’s star pupil, Frederic Church. Church helped spread the gospel of the artistic style Cole pioneered, and his home is a reflection of his life’s work and aesthetic. In addition to being a celebrated painter, Church was an architect and landscape architect, and a tour of the grounds reveals his genius. Book a guided walking tour of the grounds or explore on your own.

Dutchess County

The student body at Millbrook School has a few animals on its roll call. Trevor Zoo at Millbrook School is the only AZA accredited zoo in the country that’s located at a high school. More than 80 species of 180 exotic and indigenous animals call this school home. Started in the 1930s by a biology teacher, the extensive grounds are home to eight endangered species. See animals from Africa, Australia, Asia, South America and more. Reservations and masks are required.

Orange County

Storm King Art Center is one of Orange County’s popular destinations, and for good reason! The megalithic sculptures that rise from the 500-acre grounds captivate the imagination, while the natural elements invigorate the senses. Each sculpture is sited with consideration for immediate and far-away views. Open throughout the year, Storm King offers limited daily ticket sales per vehicle.

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