10+ Can’t Miss Things to do
in Orange County NY
Living in the Mid-Hudson Valley region, I’m always surprised to know that there are so many things to do in Orange County NY.
Because of the vast amount of natural spaces, I figured it would have less to offer than other counties in the Hudson Valley, especially ones closer to the city.
But, boy am I wrong.
Although some of these locations are open to the public, please follow these guidelines:
Please be safe.
Practice social distancing, wear a mask, wash hands thoroughly and follow all mandates and recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (cdc.gov) and NY State and local Governments.
I’m going to tell you a little story…
When we purchased our home in 2013, we were living in Yonkers, NY (Westchester County). We loved the idea of moving to the Mid-Hudson Valley region and looked forward to exploring it all.
It took us some time, though, to settle into our new surroundings and get a feel for how close and how far things were from our new home. We naively thought that if it was in our county, it would be close by, not realizing how far one area was from another.
Looking back, I wish I had some guidance and someone to tell me about the surrounding areas and things that we could see and do near our new home.
Now, as a more knowledgeable and seasoned Mid-Hudson Valley resident, I am here to show you some great things to do in Orange County NY.
Helpful Information regarding things to do in Orange County NY:
- Orange County, NY is a large area to cover, so be mindful when making plans. Google Maps is your best friend.
- Several highways run through Orange County, NY and make it easy to get from one area to another. I-84 runs from East to West, as the NY State Thruway, I-87, runs North to South.
- Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets is in Orange County, NY and the New York State Thruway can get crowded in that particular area (Monroe/Woodbury, NY).
Where is Orange County NY?
Orange County, NY is located in the Mid-Hudson Valley Region and sits along the Hudson River and is sandwiched between Rockland County and Ulster County, with Putnam County to the east.
It is a large county and a very diverse one. Its landscape varies from farmlands, small towns to cities.
For a full list of towns and cities in Hudson Valley, take a look at my post all about the Hudson Valley Counties.
Some places that you may already know in Orange County, NY include:
> Monroe, NY
> Woodbury, NY (as in Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets)
> Middletown, NY
> Newburgh, NY
Did you know that Orange County, NY is the only county that sits along the Hudson River and the Delaware River?
This makes it an ideal location for anyone who loves the outdoors, outdoor sports and beautiful scenery. Additionally, if you love the outdoors, then you need to visit Harriman State Park and Bear Mountain State Park while you’re here.
Is Orange County NY considered ‘Upstate NY’?
While some people feel that anything above the NYC line or about the Gov. Mario Cuomo (Tappan Zee Bridge) is ‘Upstate NY’, that’s not true.
It is actually much more north than that and is typically considered anything above Albany.
Orange County, NY Towns & Cities
Orange County has 3 cities and 40 towns.
- Blooming Grove
- Deer Park
- Greenwood Lake
- Highland Falls
- Kiryas Joel
- Mount Hope
- New Windsor
- Port Jervis
- South Blooming Grove
- Tuxedo Park
According to orangetourism.org:
“Some of New York State’s biggest attractions are right here in Orange County, including West Point, Storm King Art Center, and Woodbury Common Premium Outlets. Orange County is just 50 miles from New York City, a place to dine on the Hudson River, visit wineries, raft the Delaware River, hike the Appalachian Trail, and spend the night with a view of our beautiful mountains.”
Are things to do in Orange County NY Safe & Affordable?
Just like anywhere else in the Hudson Valley, the best judge if something is safe is by your intuition. I, personally, would not recommend any place to visit that I did not deem safe for myself to visit.
That being said, use your common sense when visiting larger cities in Orange County, NY and see these things to do in Orange County NY during the day.
How can you get to Orange County, NY?
Orange County, NY is home to Stewart International Airport. Many major airline carriers now fly in and out of Stewart Airport and this makes it a convenient location to travel into and from when visiting the area and many parts of the Hudson Valley.
If you’re already in New York, you can hop on the Metro-North Port Jervis Line and several bus companies to go from one area to another. These methods of transportation can take you right into the heart of Orange County without a hitch.
By Car: Several major highways to and in Orange County include I-84 (East/Westbound) and I-87 (North/Southbound).
The Palisades Parkway also crosses into Orange County. For a more scenic route, you can also travel up US Route 9W and be amazed by the scenery as you drive up and down the mountains.
Don’t forget to find a way of crossing the Bear Mountain Bridge while you’re out exploring. Stop and take amazing photos of the bridge. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed…
How far is Orange County NY from NYC?
The complete distance from Manhattan to Orange County, NY is between 65 to 75 miles, depending on the road(s) you take to get there and to get to your final destination.
What are some things to do in Orange County NY?
Things to do in Orange County NY for Art Lovers
Storm King Art Center
If you love art and being outdoors, a visit to Storm King Art Center is a must. It is one of my most favorite places around and one of the best things to do in Orange County NY.
Take a stroll through this open-air art center in New Windsor, NY. Storm King Art Center is home to large-scale sculptures and is an impressive place to visit.
In addition to the works displayed during their season (April – November), they also have special events throughout the year, such as their ‘Winter Weekends’ and their ‘Moonlight Walks’.
Read my blog post highlighting the Storm King Art Center
Things to do in Orange County NY for History Lovers
For History Lovers amongst us, make sure you visit the following amazing places:
Stand where George Washington stood when visiting the Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh, NY.
Open year-round for tours of Hasbrouck House, this majestic property overlooking the Hudson River played an important role during the last year of the American Revolutionary War. It is one of the best things to do in Orange County NY for some history AND for a spectacular view of the Hudson River.
New Windsor Cantonment
Explore the Continental Army’s final military encampment. New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site is open seasonally (April – October) for living history and offers activities and events with re-enactors in period costumes.
The Visitors Center Exhibits have just undergone a complete renovation and are open year-round.
National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
Right next to the New Windsor Cantonment stands the newly-renovated National Purple Heart Hall of Honor. This amazing space is one of the best things to do in Orange County NY if you’re interested in the meaning behind the National Purple Heart Award and its recipients.
This magnificent space offers a database where you can check on the majority of recipients of this esteemed award. If you’re into the military and/or military history, then this is one of the great things to do in Orange County NY.
Read my blog post highlighting the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
Gomez Mill House
Discover the oldest surviving Jewish dwelling in North America and the oldest home in Orange County. The Gomez Mill House, located in Newburgh (on the Orange County/Ulster County border) is open seasonally (April – October).
This museum and unique historic home educates visitors about the Gomez Mill family by hosting tours and special events.
These are just a few of the wonderful historical places in the county. The list goes on and on.
Things to do in Orange County NY for Museum Lovers
Voted the ‘Top Family-Friendly Place to Go’ by Hudson Valley Parent Magazine, this open-air museum, in Monroe, NY, educates its visitors about the work and life of our ancestors.
Museum Village has a variety of exhibit buildings that offer hands-on activities for everyone who visits. Open seasonally (April – December), in addition to the exhibits presently there, the museum offers many special events.
West Point Museum
Spend an afternoon at the West Point Museum and the Frederic V Malek West Point Visitors Center. West Point Museum collects, preserves, exhibits, and interprets historically significant artifacts pertaining to the United States Military Academy, United States Army and the Profession of Arms.
The Visitors Center Exhibits include a full-scale cadet barracks room, a cadet uniform room, cadet daily life, academic fields of endeavor and the admissions process. This is one of our family’s favorite things to do in Orange County NY.
Read my blog post highlighting the West Point Museum and Visitors Center
Things to do in Orange County NY for Festival Lovers
NY Renaissance Faire
You have to experience the New York Renaissance Faire in order to believe it! This premier event happens only once a year, on the weekends, from August through the beginning of October.
They have themes that change every weekend and the faire grounds have 20 stages and over 100 shops, as well as, food vendors and an area for their jousting competition.
Read my blog post highlighting the New York Renaissance Faire
Orange County Fair
Taking place in Middletown, NY, this yearly festival is what everyone waits for. It’s fun for the entire family and mixes classic rides, delicious food and so much more.
As New York’s oldest fair, the Orange County Fair has been visited by many generations of New Yorkers.
Newburgh Illuminated Festival
The festival showcases the Best of Newburgh and the Hudson Valley. This yearly festival takes place every June and it is still going strong.
There is such a wonderful sense of community at the Newburgh Illuminated Festival. It’s always so nice to see so many people come out and celebrate the arts, both young and old.
Read my blog post highlighting the Newburgh Illuminated Festival.
Farmers Markets in Orange County, NY
During the Summer, some of the best Farmers Markets also take place in Orange County.
If you’re struggling to find some near you, you can always look at my post with a comprehensive list of Hudson Valley Farmers’ Markets.
More Things to do in Orange County NY
If you’re looking for wineries, breweries and cideries, then you’ve come to the right place.
Orange County is home to the famous
Some Tips to make your trip to Orange County Amazing:
- Some of the things to do in Orange County NY listed here are open seasonally. Check each individual location for the days/times they are open to the public.
- Many places charge an entrance, admission and/or tour fee. Check each individual location for more detailed information regarding prices.
Essential Gear Recommended For things to do in Orange County NY:
Clicks the links below to see the items I use when taking photos with my iPhone.
- Washable Face Masks – If you want to enjoy an outing in the Hudson Valley, make sure to stay safe with the washable face masks. These are the ones that I personally use and can breathe well from.
- KN95 Face Masks – These are the masks for recently recommended to stay safe during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- Power Bank for my phone – While out walking all day and taking photos, I use this power bank to make sure that I will not run out of battery on my phone.
- Microfiber Cleaning Cloths – These are the cloths I always have handy to clean everything from my iPhone lens, iPhone display and my own glasses.
- Mini-tripod – This bendable mini tripod not only stands on its own, but can be bent and placed around a tree branch, park bench, fence, etc.
- Ponchos – Instead of lugging around an umbrella for ‘just in case’, why not throw these ponchos in your car and be prepared for your next adventure!
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Where to Next?
Now that you have learned about Things to do in Orange County NY, let’s see where you should go next…
Until the Next Adventure…
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