15+ Free Things to do (with or w/o Kids)
in the Hudson Valley

If you’re like me, I’m sure you’re trying to find Free Things to do in the Hudson Valley (with or without children).

The problem is, that most Hudson Valley Activities that are both convenient and fun, can also cost a lot of money. That can be a real burden for many and, especially, those with larger families.

Trust me, I know…

I’ve been in your position and after much trial and error and much research, I think I have found a solution for you.

I will uncover some of the best free things to do in the Hudson Valley, allowing you to immerse yourself in its beauty, culture, and heritage without spending a dime.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, art aficionado, or simply seeking a day of outdoor adventure, the Hudson Valley has something extraordinary in store for you, all at no cost. So, pack your sense of adventure and embark on a journey through the heart of one of America’s most enchanting regions, where every experience is priceless.

This article contains an affiliate link or two. I make a small commission for purchases made through links at no extra cost to you. Read my disclosure for more info.

View from the west point museum and west point visitors center

AN ADDED BONUS: These are SUPER FUN things to do in the Hudson Valley.

Free Things to do in the Hudson Valley

Some Tips for Enjoying the Day in the Hudson Valley

  • Plan your day ahead of time
  • Make sure to double-check the days and times the places/activities are open. They sometimes change seasonally.
  • Check the weather, as some of these places are outdoors.
  • Take lots of photos so you can reminisce about your outing at a later time and share them on social media with your friends & family.
  • REMEMBER: You don’t need to travel far or spend a lot of money in order to have fun!
The Great Buddha Hall at the Chuang Yen Monastery

It is in our nature to go out, explore, learn and try new things. And the Hudson Valley is a wonderful place to do all of that.

There are so many free things to do in the Hudson Valley (with or without children), that the list seems endless. Every time I research a place, I find one or two other places I didn’t know about.

Trust me! You don’t need to travel far in order to find some free things to do in the Hudson Valley and also activities that everyone will enjoy.

Below you will find MORE THAN 9 Free Things to do in the Hudson Valley.

You can enjoy them during:

  • school breaks,
  • weekends and/or
  • during any time of the year.

    Some of these places are seasonal, though, so make sure to check out the websites included before making plans and visiting.

No 1: Stony Kill Farm

*Hiking Trails are OPEN and Open Barn OPEN (Every Saturday and Sunday from February – November)

HOURS:
7 days a week; sunrise to sunset
WEBSITE:
stonykill.org

Stony Kill Farm – Stony Kill Farm is a working farm located in Wappingers Falls, NY (Dutchess County).

This is one of my favorite Hudson Valley Kids Activities, although I will admit, that I also enjoy going without my children. They have walking trails, farm animals out in the pasture and amazing gardens to explore.

Stony Kill Farm is a free venue in Dutchess County. It offers hiking trails and open bran on the weekends.

They normally have the Barn open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am – 1 pm (February through November). Parking and entrance are free (a donation is always appreciated).

Children can explore the hands-on activities and learn more about the farm animals and equipment used to run a farm during ‘Open Barn hours’. In my opinion, this is one of the best free things to do in the Hudson Valley.

In addition to exploring this great farm, Stony Kill Farm is very close to Beacon, where its Main Street is always bustling with activity. So make a day of it and have fun in Dutchess County and enjoy some of the free things to do in the Hudson Valley while there!

[RELATED]: Click here to read my article all about Stony Kill Farm

No 2: Trailside Museum and Zoo

HOURS:
7 days a week; Check website for hours of operation
WEBSITE:
www.trailsidezoo.org

Trailside Museum and Zoo – located at the Bear Mountain State Park, the zoo and museums are Open Year-Round. Check their website for exact times of operation, as they may change seasonally.

Visiting the Bear Mountain Zoo is one of the best Bear Mountain activities.

Although the zoo & museums are FREE (a donation is always appreciated), there is a Parking Fee to enter and park at Bear Mountain State Park on the weekends, during the summer months and during holidays ($10 per car).

Please keep in mind that it is about a 20-minute walk from the parking lot to the zoo and museums. Nonetheless, this is a one of the best and educational free things to do in the Hudson Valley.

This outing is particularly enjoyable for kids and it is also educational for adults. The majority of the animals on site are being rehabilitated from injuries suffered in the wild or in captivity.

In addition to the animals, there are four (4) Museums on the property: Herpetology Museum, Nature Study Museum, Geology Museum, and History Museum. Each is unique and incredibly interesting to visit.

With all these wonderful things to do at the Trailside Zoo & Museum, you can guess why it’s one of the Top Free Things to do in the Hudson Valley.

[RELATED]: Click here to read my article all about Bear Mountain activities, including the Trailside Museums & Zoo

No 3: Untermyer Gardens

HOURS:
Untermyer Gardens is OPEN daily. Please check website for updated hours.
WEBSITE:
www.untermyergardens.org

Untermyer Gardens – Located in Yonkers, NY (Westchester County, NY) the uniqueness of Untermyer Gardens is not only in its beauty and grandeur. It’s also how it is hidden from view and so close to New York City.

The views of the Hudson River are majestic and what makes Untermyer SO unique is that it is a ‘Walled Garden’. This hidden gem in the Hudson Valley makes it one of the Top Free Things to do in the Hudson Valley.

Fountains, Canals and Trees at this Yonkers Parks Entrance.
Yonkers Parks and Gardens are full of beautiful landscapes.

Walking into Untermyer makes you feel as if have entered an enchanted, secret garden and you somewhat expect fairies to fly by you as they chase each other through trees and flowers.

Spend an afternoon here! Trust me when I say that you will be swept away in the beauty. Or enjoy one of the tours (for a Fee) offered on the weekends and take in the history and amazingness of this wonderful place.

No matter when you visit, it is sure to leave a lasting impression.

[RELATED]: Click here to read my article all about my visit to Untermyer Gardens & Park

No 4: West Point Museum and Visitors Center

MUSEUM HOURS:
7 days a week: 9:30am – 4:15pm
VISITORS CENTER HOURS:
7 days a week: 9am – 4:45pm
MUSEUM INFORMATION:
history.army.mil/museums/imcom/westPoint/index.html
VISITORS CENTER WEBSITE:

www.westpoint.edu/about/public-affairs/visitors-center

West Point Museum – Located in West Point, NY (Orange County), the West Point Museum is typically not what people go to West Point to see.

Just outside the gates of the Famous Military Academy stands a museum full of history.

Whether you’re a history buff or your kids are interested in the history of war, the West Point museum has an amazing collection of artifacts and models. The showcases are filled with objects, models and both educational and interesting information.

The West Point Museum & West Point Visitors Center is located just outside of West Point Academy.

In addition, they have a cannon collection in the lowest basement that will leave you in awe. The museum is Open Daily and is always free (a donation is always appreciated).

The amount of information and artifacts located under one roof is impressive and this is why this is one of the Best Free things to do in the Hudson Valley.

[RELATED]: Click here to read all about my visit to the West Point Museum and Visitors Center

No 5: Hike the Hudson Valley – One of the Best Free Things to do in the Hudson Valley

Take a Hike – When the weather permits, the Hudson Valley offers an abundance of hiking trails in every single county.

As some of you may know, I’m not a hiker, but I do like to take walks outdoors and walking along some of the less strenuous trails is one of the best free things to do in the Hudson Valley.

Visitors flock to the area to hike the magnificent mountains in the area. It’s no wonder why it’s one of Best Free Things to do in the Hudson Valley.

Here are a few reasons why people think hiking is one of the best free things to do in the Hudson Valley:

  • Scenic Beauty: The Hudson Valley boasts stunning landscapes characterized by rolling hills, verdant forests, cascading waterfalls, and panoramic views of the Hudson River. Hikers are drawn to the region’s natural beauty, which provides a picturesque backdrop for outdoor adventures.
  • Diverse Trails: The Hudson Valley offers a diverse range of hiking trails suitable for all skill levels, from leisurely strolls along riverbanks to challenging ascents up rugged mountains. Whether you’re a novice hiker looking for an easy trail or an experienced outdoor enthusiast seeking a more demanding trek, you’ll find an abundance of options to explore.
  • Accessibility: Many hiking trails in the Hudson Valley are easily accessible from major urban centers such as New York City, making it a convenient getaway for city dwellers seeking a nature retreat. With numerous trailheads located within a short drive or train ride from the city, the Hudson Valley provides a convenient escape into the great outdoors.
  • Cultural and Historical Sites: In addition to natural beauty, the Hudson Valley is home to a rich tapestry of cultural and historical sites, including ancient ruins, colonial-era estates, and historic landmarks. Hikers have the opportunity to explore these sites while traversing the region’s trails, adding an extra layer of interest and intrigue to their outdoor excursions.
  • Seasonal Attractions: The Hudson Valley’s hiking trails offer different experiences throughout the year, with each season bringing its own unique charms. From vibrant foliage in the fall to blooming wildflowers in the spring, hikers can witness the ever-changing beauty of the landscape with each passing season.

[RELATED]: Click here to see my Ultimate List of Popular Hiking Places in the Hudson Valley

the view as you walk on the Walkway over the Hudson

Click Below to see some items you should have during your
Hudson Valley Outings that will guarantee a successful outing

– Because ‘you never know’ when an accident happens, you need a small, portable First Aid Kit, like this product in your life.
This is a great buy for under $15
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– If you’re going to be out all day exploring, you never REALLY know what the weather will be like. Even if you think you do know, it can start raining at any time, so this small life-saver is an essential item. This is another great buy on Amazon for under $15.
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– My favorite walking shoes, by far, are these because they are soft and the memory foam feels great on my feet.
See the color and size choices here.
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– Looking great during your Hudson Valley outings is essential and this Hudson Valley Merchandise is perfect for any outing!

No 6: Rockland Center for the Arts

GALLERY:
Mon – Fri: 10am – 4pm
Sat & Sun: 1pm – 4pm
WEBSITE:
rocklandartcenter.org

Rockland Center for the Arts – located in West Nyack, NY (Rockland County).

Art lovers everywhere can rejoice in knowing that the Rockland Center for the Arts offers an unforgettable collection of art in one place.

My favorite part of RoCA is the Catherine Konner Sculpture Garden. It’s Open Year-Round from Dawn to Dusk and is free to the public (a donation is always appreciated).

SCULPTURE PARK HOURS:
Everyday; sunrise to sunset
WEBSITE:
rocklandartcenter.org

A visit to the Rockland Center for the Arts is one of the best Things to do in Rockland County, New York.

The inside gallery changes its exhibit periodically, so make sure to check their website and visit often.

Art lovers can rejoice at its close proximity to the bridge connecting Westchester County, NY to Rockland County, NY. There are so many other things to do in the area, its no wonder why it’s one of the Top Free things to do in the Hudson Valley.

[RELATED]: Click here to read all about my visit to the Rockland Center for the Arts


No 7: National Purple Heart Hall of Honor


HOURS:
Tues – Sat: 10am – 5pm
Sun: 1pm – 5pm
WEBSITE:
www.thepurpleheart.com

National Purple Heart Hall of Honor – located in New Windsor, NY (Orange County). This is another great FREE location for those who love history.

You can stroll through the Hall of Honor and look at photos and medals associated with each branch of the Armed Forces. You can also enjoy the day outdoors at the New Windsor Cantonment located on the same grounds.

plaque and flags at the national purple heart hall of honor

During the warmer months, the New Windsor Cantonment hosts reenactments and several fun and educational events.

[RELATED]: Click here to read about my visit to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor


No 8: Chuang Yen Monastery


HOURS:
Apr 1 – Dec 31: 7 days a week; 9am – 5pm
WEBSITE:
www.baus.org

One of the most beautiful and underrated places in the Hudson Valley is the Chuang Yen Monastery in Putnam County, NY.

This is the home to the largest statue of Buddha in the Western Hemisphere.

In fact, the statue of Buddha and the Buddhist Temple are set on an amazingly scenic property of over 200 acres. All this in the town of Kent & Carmel, NY.

Chuang Yen Monastery in Putnam County, NY. Bodhi Path least to the Great Buddha Hall
Bodhi Path at Chuang Yen Monastery

[RELATED]: Click here to read my article all about the Chuang Yen Monastery


No 9: Magazzino Italian Art


HOURS:
Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday
11am – 5pm
WEBSITE:
www.magazzino.art

The entrance to Magazzino Italian Art. One of the best things to do in Cold Spring NY

Visit this quaint art museum located in the heart of Putnam County, NY.

A visit to the Magazzino Italian Art in Cold Spring, NY, is a few minutes away from the historic village of Cold Spring.

Open to the public year-round, from Thursdays to Mondays, this is the perfect place to enjoy amazing art, both past and present made by Italian artists. This is one of the most inspiring free things to do in the Hudson Valley.

[RELATED]: Click here to read my article all about my visit to Magazzino Italian Art


No. 10: Pelham Art Center


HOURS:
Tuesdays – Fridays: 10am – 5pm
Saturdays: 10am – 4pm
WEBSITE:
www.pelhamartcenter.org

This unique center is the hub for education and culture in the area. Located in Pelham, NY, they offer free exhibits and programs for all.

This unique space offers both indoor and outdoor exhibits.


No. 11: Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center


HOURS:
Sat: 10am – 5pm | Sunday: 1pm – 5pm
WEBSITE:
fllac.vassar.edu

If you’re looking to spend an afternoon in Poughkeepsie, then a visit to the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center should be on your list.

In addition to being located on the campus of Vassar College, it was the first college or university in the country to include an art museum in its original plan. With over 22,000 pieces of art, this is a wonderful place to visit.

Open year-round, they welcome all visitors to enjoy their exhibits and is one of the most empowering free things to do in the Hudson Valley.


No 12: Historic Sites all around the Hudson Valley


Did you know that the grounds where our Most Famous and Popular Historic Sites are located have no fee to walk the grounds?

That’s right…

A fee is charged for Tours of the Historic buildings but not to walk around the property. If you’re into American History, this is one of the most powerful free things to do in the Hudson Valley.

[RELATED]: Click here to read my article about all the Historic Sites around the Hudson Valley

Washington Headquarters State Historic Site

The following places allow visitors to enter the grounds and walk around for FREE:

Vanderbilt Mansion with the sun setting behind it
Lyndhurst Mansion is host to many wonderful Hudson Valley Events all year long


No. 13: Hudson Valley Nature Centers


Just like the Historic Sites, many Nature Centers do not charge a fee to walk on the grounds. This is a great way to spend an afternoon any time of the year. Take a walk and enjoy one of the best free things to do in the Hudson Valley either with or without children.

Some local favorites include:

Click here to read my article all about my visit to Forsyth Nature Center


No 14: Visit local or ‘not-so-local’ Hudson Valley Parks


Local Hudson Valley parks and playgrounds – Weather permitting, get in the car or take a train to explore a playground in another town or area of the Hudson Valley.

What can I say? I love a good park. With so many to choose from, I’m sure you will find your own favorite in the area.

  • Tibbett’s Book Park in Yonkers
  • Long Dock Park in Beacon, NY
  • Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls, NY
  • Franny Reese State Park in Highland, NY
  • Hudson Highlands in Cold Spring, NY
  • James Baird State Park in Pleasant Valley, NY
  • Black Creek Preserve, Esopus, NY
  • Clarence Fahnestock State Park in Putnam Valley, NY
  • FDR State Park in Yorktown Heights, NY
  • Kensico Dam, Valhalla
  • Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson, NY
  • Willson’s Wood Park in Mount Vernon, NY
  • Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, beginning in Yonkers up to Cortlandt
  • Blue Mountain Reservation in Peekskill, NY
  • Bronx River Reservation (where the Bronx River Parkway Bicycle Sundays happens in the Spring, Summer and Fall)

Click here to read my article all about Popular Hudson Valley Parks you need to visit

Hudson River view while on Ferry to Bannerman Castle and Tour

Until The Next Adventure…

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