Bear Mountain Carousel at Bear Mountain State Park is one of the best things to do in Rockland County

10+ Can’t Miss Things to do in Rockland County

Are you looking for things to do in Rockland County? Join the club.

In my Facebook group, there are always a few people that are specifically looking for things to do in Rockland County, NY and they are often frustrated.

They are frustrated because they think that there is ‘not much’ in Rockland County.

Do you feel that way?

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Rockland County NY?

  • The first thing I think about is the Palisades Center Mall.
  • The second thing is the ‘Old’ Tappan Zee Bridge that is now the ‘New’ Gov Cuomo Bridge.

How about Bear Mountain State Park? I have fond memories of going there as a kid.

Those are just a FEW things to do in Rockland County, NY and what make this such a special place in New York State.

Let me show you a few more…

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.

Driving along the Gov Mario Cuomo Bridge is one of the best things to do in Rockland county

Helpful Information Regarding Things to do in Rockland County:

  • Rockland County is located along several busy sections of parkways and thruways.
  • Lots of people are often traveling into and out of New Jersey through Rockland County, so expect periods of heavy traffic.
  • The NY State Thruway runs through Rockland County and is usually full of people ‘passing through’.
  • The Palisades Center Mall sits right along the NY State Thruway and produce unusual amounts of traffic on weekends.
  • Rockland County is a popular weekend destination for those who love the outdoors.

Where is Rockland County, NY?


Map of Rockland County, NY

Rockland County is the most southern county, left of the Hudson River, in the Hudson Valley region.

It borders both New York City and New Jersey, as well as, Westchester County to the SouthEast. It is also located directly south of Orange County, NY.

Many people love Rockland County’s close proximity to New York City and it is in a perfect location for day trips from NYC or New Jersey.


Rockland County, NY Towns & Cities


Rockland County has 5 towns, 19 villages, but no cities. It is approximately 15 miles from NYC at its closest point.

  • Chestnut Ridge
  • Clarkstown
  • Grand View-on-Hudson
  • Haverstraw
  • Hillburn
  • Kaser
  • Montebello
  • New Hempstead
  • New Square
  • Nyack
  • Orangetown
  • Piermont
  • Pomona
  • Ramapo
  • Sloatsburg
  • South Nyack
  • Spring Valley
  • Stony Point
  • Suffern
  • Upper Nyack
  • Wesley Hills
  • West Haverstraw
Driving along the Taconic State Parkway

Learn more about the remaining cities, towns & counties in the Hudson Valley HERE


How Can You Get to Rockland County? 


Rockland County is easily accessible by car using:

  • The New York State Thruway (Interstate-87)
  • Palisades Parkway
  • Garden State Parkway
  • Route 17 in New Jersey

The Hudson Link Bus System takes you into Rockland County, NY from Westchester County, NY. You can also have the convenience of traveling with your bicycle, as the buses are equipped with bike racks.

Lake Hessian at Bear Mountain. Things to do in Rockland County.
Lake Hessian at Bear Mountain State Park

In addition, the Metro-North Railroad and NJ Transit have stops in Rockland County.

  • Pascack Line: Pearl River, Nanuet, & Spring Valley
  • Port Jervis Line: Suffern

If you’d like to get to Rockland County by water, then the NY Waterway can take you from Ossining, NY (Westchester County) to Haverstraw, NY and vice versa.


How Do I Find Great Deals in Westchester County?


I am all about saving money while out.

But, to be honest, it’s very difficult to have a completely FREE day, unless you pack for the day, as if you’re packing for a Road Trip.

For times when you don’t have the time to pack the car up, here are some great resources where you WILL find deals on everything from other activities to dining.

  • I love using LocalFlavor.com to find deals on restaurants and fun things to do.
    • When researching for this article, I found amazing deals for restaurants in Yonkers, Dobbs Ferry, New Rochelle, and so many more places.
    • I also found discounts on other local attractions to fill the day
  • Groupon is also my go-to resource for deals. To be honest, I usually go to Groupon FIRST and then I hit other websites.

Are you looking to extend your day trip into an overnight stay or weekend getaway?

  • Check Expedia or Priceline to get the best deals on local hotels. Trust me when I say, that this is the way to go. Don’t overpay for a place to stay.

Things to do in Rockland County


“Rockland County is designated as a Preserve America Community, and roughly one-third of the county is parkland. Given that information, you can just imagine all the great things that one can explore when looking for things to do in Rockland County.”
– Wikipedia


Things to do in Rockland County for Nature Lovers


– Bear Mountain State Park

Located on over 5,000 acres between Rockland and Orange Counties, Bear Mountain State Park offers an abundance of activities throughout the year.

HOURS:
Open year-round
7 days a week; sunrise to sunset
ADMISSION:
Parking Fee: $10 (collected weekends & holidays: 4/1 – 6/21)
Parking Fee collected daily beginning 6/22 – Labor Day
WEBSITE:
parks.ny.gov/parks/bearmountain/details.aspx

Entrance of Trailside Museums and zoo. One of the best Bear Mountain Activities and best things to do in Rockland County

Some popular things to do there during the summer include:

  • Swimming in the Bear Mountain Pool
  • Fishing
  • Row-boating
  • Picnicking
  • Biking
  • Climbing or driving to Perkins Memorial Tower

Some popular things to do there during the winter include:

  • Cross country skiing
  • Ice skating
  • Sledding

Things you can do year-round include:

  • Eating at the Bear Mountain Inn
  • Visiting the Trailside Museums & Zoo
  • Hiking
  • Riding the Bear Mountain Carousel

Read my article highlighting Bear Mountain Activities that everyone will enjoy.

– Harriman State Park

As the second-largest state park, Harriman State Park also sits between Rockland and Orange Counties and encompasses over 45,000 acres of land.

HOURS:
Open daily: sunrise to sunset
ADMISSION:
Varies during time of year and location visiting
WEBSITE:
parks.ny.gov/parks/145

Hiking at the Bear Mountain State Park is one of the best Bear Mountain activities to do.
A view from the parking lot at the bear mountain state park and for bear mountain activities

This impressive amount of land lends to hiking and with over 200 miles of trails. This is a hikers’ paradise.

This state park is home to 31 lakes and multiple streams. It is also a favorite for campers and is one of the top things to do in Rockland County.

The Appalachian Trail runs through Harriman State Park and Bear Mountain State Park, making this a favorite for those avid hikers.

In addition to the hiking trails, there are also several horse trails and mountain biking trails.

Click below to see some items you should have during your Hudson Valley Outings
and you will be guaranteed a successful outing:

  • 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.

– Nyack Beach State Park

Located in Upper Nyack, Nyack Beach State Park is best known for its riverfront pathway.

HOURS:
Open daily: Sunrise to Sunset
ADMISSION:
Parking Fee: $6
WEBSITE:
www.parks.ny.gov/parks/156/details.aspx

This pathway is on the southernmost section of the Hudson River Valley Greenway.

With the views of the river on one side and the cliffs of the Palisades on the other, this state park is enjoyed by many.

The park offers picnicking, hiking, bicycling and fishing. The pathway itself runs for about 2 miles.

Things to do in Rockland County

– Rockland Lake State Park

Located in Valley Cottage, Rockland State Park is a little over 1,000 acres.

The park is located on a ridge of Hook Mountain and has views of the Hudson River.

HOURS:
Open daily: Sunrise to Sunset
ADMISSION:
Parking fee: $8
WEBSITE:
parks.ny.gov/parks/rocklandlake/maps.aspx

Visitors enjoy Rockland Lake, which is an enormous 256 acres, a favorite for fishermen and walkers, bikers and joggers who enjoy the paved trail that surrounds the lake equalling over 3 miles.

Rockland Lake State Park also has a large pool, children’s pool, picnic tables, grills, tennis courts, and many hiking trails.

Do you love golf? Rockland Lake State Park has two 18-hole golf courses.

Fun Fact: The second oldest fire department, Knickerbocker Engine Company, is located in the park and continues to operate.


Things to do in Rockland County for Art Lovers


– Edward Hopper House

Also known as the Edward Hopper House Art Center, this art center and historic home is located in Nyack, NY.

HOURS
Wed – Sun: 12pm – 5pm
ADMISSION:
Adults $8 | Seniors $6 | Students (17yrs & above) $3 | 16yrs & under FREE
WEBSITE:
www.edwardhopperhouse.org

As the childhood home of artist Edward Hopper, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the favorite things to do in Rockland County.

Edward Hopper House features one gallery dedicated to Hopper’s life and work. Other galleries have changing exhibits.

Things to do in Nyack NY

– Rockland Center for the Arts

Located in West Nyack, NY, the Rockland Center for the Arts is a wonderful place to visit.

HOURS:
SCULPTURE PARK: Sunrise to Sunset
ADMISSION:
Free
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.

In addition to constant premier exhibitions, the Rockland Center for the Arts also has the Catherine Konner Sculpture Park. This wonderful sculpture park is open year-round from sunrise to sunset.

If you’re more of a hands-on person, the School for the Arts is perfect. They offer classes for kids, teens, and adults.

Read my article highlighting the Rockland Center for the Arts.

– Garner Arts Center

Located in Garnerville, Garner Arts Center is a hub for contemporary and experiential art.

Located on 14 acres, the Garner Arts Center is a vibrant artist community set among a Pre-Civil War factory, where artists live, create and work.

HOURS:
Sculpture Trail: Open Daily – Sunrise to Sunset
ADMISSION:
Free
WEBSITE:
garnerartscenter.org

Garner Arts Center is open year-round and hosts art exhibitions & installations, film screenings, & live performances. A visit to the Creekside Sculpture Trail is also a must.

Looking for More Museums in Rockland County NY?
Take a look at my article all about Museums in Rockland County and start making your plans today!


Things to do in Rockland County for History Lovers


Bricks from the Hudson Valley

– Haverstraw Brick Museum

As the name suggests, this museum is located in Haverstraw.

HOURS:
Sat & Sun 1pm – 4pm
ADMISSION:
Free
WEBSITE:
www.haverstrawbrickmuseum.org

Open year-round, on Saturday & Sunday afternoons (1 pm – 4 pm), the Haverstraw Brick Museum provides community activities, classes, tours, and events.

The Museum is committed to educating visitors regarding the brick industry and the important part it played in building America.

– Experience Nyack Walking Tour

For a suggested donation of $5, you can take a lovely walking tour through Nyack hosted by the Historical Society of Nyacks.

A self-guided option is also available for free where maps can be downloaded online or picked up at the front desk of the Edward Hopper House Museum.

People walking down a street together during a walking tour

– Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site & the Stony Point Lighthouse

Located in Stony Point, NY, this is the site of General Anthony Wayne’s brilliant midnight assault on the British fort situated at the entry to the highlands. 

HOURS:
Mon – Fri 10am – 5pm
ADMISSION:
Free
WEBSITE:
parks.ny.gov/historic-sites/stonypointbattlefield/details.aspx

Housing artifacts from the battle, the museum is important as it showcases one of the most important victories in the American Revolution. It’s open seasonally.


Things to do in Rockland County with the whole family


– Palisades Center Mall

Located in West Nyack, NY, the Palisades Mall is not just for shopping. It is an entertainment hub and just one of the great things to do in Rockland County.

HOURS:
Check individual stores for hours
WEBSITE:
www.palisadescenter.com

Side view of the Double Carousel at the Palisades Mall

With a movie theater, ice skating rink, carousel, Ferris wheel, bowling alley and so much more, this place is your one-stop for all your entertainment and shopping needs.

Read my article highlighting the Things to do at the Palisades Center Mall.


Tips for having an Amazing Time in Rockland County:

  • Many places listed in this article are open seasonally. Check each individual location’s website for days/times of operation.
  • Some places charge an entrance, admission and/our tour fee. Check websites for more detailed information.
  • Be prepared for anything by reading the following tips for exploring the Hudson Valley

Until the Next Adventure…

Signature for Jackie at Hudson Valley Explored


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