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 think of Free Things to do in the Hudson Valley (with or without children) or, at least, that you can do without spending a ton of money.
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.
If you’ve ever wondered what fun activities are there for you to do, for free, with or without kids in the Hudson Valley, then I am here to help you.
After much researching and lots of visiting, I’ve compiled this list of the places that are sure to make any outing A Special One!
AN ADDED BONUS: These are SUPER FUN things to do in the Hudson Valley.
Take a look at these free things to do in the Hudson Valley and let me know what you think…
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 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!
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, because they are also fun.
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.
You can also DOWNLOAD the list of FREE Things to do and take it with out wherever you go!
(See form below)
These places and activities are NOT limited to having fun with children but can also be enjoyed by adults just the same.
Table of Contents:
- Free Things to do in the Hudson Valley
- No 1: Stony Kill Farm
- No 2: Trailside Museum and Zoo
- No 3: Untermyer Gardens
- No 4: West Point Museum & Visitors Center
- No 5: Hike the Hudson Valley – One of the Favorite Things to do in the Hudson Valley
- No 6: Rockland Center for the Arts
- No 7: National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
- No 8: Chuang Yen Monastery
- No 9: Magazzino Italian Art
- No. 10: Pelham Art Center
- No. 11: Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center
- No 12: Historic Sites all around the Hudson Valley
- No. 13: Hudson Valley Nature Centers
- No 14: Visit local or ‘not-so-local’ Hudson Valley Parks
No 1: Stony Kill Farm
*Hiking Trails are OPEN and Open Barn Weekends requires pre-registration on their website.
7 days a week; sunrise to sunset
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.
They normally have the Barn open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am – 1 pm. Parking and entrance are free (a donation is always appreciated).
In addition to the animals, there is a play area in the barn which makes this one of the Top Free Things to do in the Hudson Valley.
Children can explore the hands-on activities and learn more about the farm animals and equipment used to run a farm.
No 2: Trailside Museum and Zoo
*Museum & Zoo are currently OPEN to the Public
7 days a week; 10am – 4:30pm
Trailside Museum and Zoo – located at the Bear Mountain State Park (Rockland County), the zoo and museums are Open Year-Round from 10 am-4: 30 pm.
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 ($10 per car).
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.
No 3: Untermyer Gardens
*Garden is OPEN. Pre-reserved times slots are required for entry on the weekends.
Untermyer Gardens is OPEN daily. No reservation needed.
Untermyer Gardens – Located in Yonkers, NY (Westchester County, NY) the uniqueness of Untermyer Gardens is not only in its beauty and grandeur.
The views of the Hudson River are majestic. 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.
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.
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.
No 4: West Point Museum and Visitors Center
*Museum and Visitors Center is currently OPEN to the Public
7 days a week: 10:30am – 4:15pm
VISITORS CENTER HOURS:
7 days a week: 9am – 4:45pm
VISITORS CENTER WEBSITE:
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 history, 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.
In addition, they have a cannon collection in the lowest basement that will leave you in awe. The museum is Open Daily from 10:30 am-4: 15 pm 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 Top Free things to do in the Hudson Valley.
No 5: Hike the Hudson Valley – One of the Favorite Things to do in the Hudson Valley
Take a Hike – Weather permitting, the Hudson Valley offers an abundance of hiking trails in every single county.
As some of you may know, I’m not a hiker or an outdoors person, but I do like to take walks outdoors.
I plan to start researching walking trails and I can’t wait to make a list and start exploring some new places.
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.
A few of my favorite outdoor walking areas include the:
No 6: Rockland Center for the Arts
*The Gallery is OPEN with scheduled appointment | Sculpture Park is OPEN
Mon – Fri: 10am – 4pm
Sat & Sun: 1pm – 4pm
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
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.
No 7: National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
*Currently OPEN to the Public
Tues – Sat: 10am – 5pm
Sun: 1pm – 5pm
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.
During the warmer months, the New Windsor Cantonment hosts reenactments and several fun and educational events.
No 8: Chuang Yen Monastery
*Currently CLOSED to the Public
Apr 1 – Dec 31: 7 days a week; 9am – 5pm
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.
No 9: Magazzino Italian Art
*Currently OPEN to the Public
Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday
11am – 5pm
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.
No. 10: Pelham Art Center
*The Center is OPEN to the public
Tuesdays – Fridays: 10am – 5pm
Saturdays: 10am – 4pm
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
*Currently OPEN to the Public
Sat: 10am – 5pm | Sunday: 1pm – 5pm
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.
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?
A fee is charged for Tours of the Historic buildings but not to walk around the property.
The following places allow visitors to enter the grounds and walk around for FREE:
- Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, NY (Buildings closed/Grounds Open) Read my article all about it HERE
- Franklin D Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park, NY (Buildings closed/Grounds open)
- George Washington Headquarters in Newburgh, NY (Building tours by app’t only/Grounds open) Read my article all about it HERE
The Ultimate Guide to Hudson Valley Historic Sites
Reference this Guide to Hudson Valley Historic Sites before heading out to any of these beautiful & educational locations. We are very lucky to have so many historic sites right here in the Hudson Valley.
No. 13: Hudson Valley Nature Centers
Just like the Historic Sites, many Nature Centers do not charge a fee to walk on the grounds.
Some local favorites include:
- Greenburgh Nature Center, Scarsdale, NY (Currently Open)
- Forsyth Nature Center, Kingston, NY (Open year-round)
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 (Read all about it HERE)
- Blue Mountain Reservation in Peekskill, NY
Where to Next???
Now that you have learned about Free things to do in the Hudson Valley, let’s see where you should go next…
Until The Next Adventure…
Jackie is one of the top bloggers in the Hudson Valley. She has been featured (along with some of her photos) in several local and national publications. Read Jackie’s crazy story, “From a Naive NYC Girl to Popular Hudson Valley Blogger & Author“. Feel free to send Jackie a message here.
Discover More Free Things in the HV:
If you’re like me, I’m sure you’re trying to think of Free Things to do in the Hudson Valley (with or without children) or, at least, that you can do without spending a ton of money. The problem is, that most Hudson Valley Activities that are both convenient and fun, can also cost a lot …
Amongst the local businesses and residences of New Windsor, NY sits a prominent fixture of military history. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is the National Registry for recipients of the prestigious Purple Heart. But it is more than just a database facility or place to store this important information. This is also a …
Did you know that the largest indoor statue of Buddha in the Western Hemisphere is located right here in the Hudson Valley?…and I got to see it! It’s true!!!! Chuang Yen Monastery and the Buddhist Association of the United States is located in Putnam County. In fact, the statue of Buddha and the Buddhist Temple are …
While many magnificent gardens and arboretums in the Hudson Valley charge an admission fee, this one in particular does not: Orange County Arboretum. It’s no secret that the Hudson Valley has many gorgeous public gardens and open spaces, created by nature and by people who love the flowers, trees and the art of creating amazing …
If you’re a culture vulture like me, then you are probably always looking for a new place to see art. Have you heard of Magazzino Italian Art? A leader in the exhibition and research of Italian art, a visit to the Magazzino art museum is worth a trip from anywhere. At the time of this …
Step inside the ‘Gleaming Gem’ of Yonkers parks. Out of all the parks and gardens in Yonkers, NY, (and there are many) one particularly stands out from the rest – Untermyer Park. Would you believe it if I told you that the Lower Hudson Valley is home to an array of beautiful Hudson Valley parks …