Discover the Hudson Valley:
17+ Instagram-Worthy Locations
Would you consider a tour of the Hudson Valley through the lens of a camera? This article will help you discover the Hudson Valley in a completely new way.
There are many amazing places in the Hudson Valley to explore. From historic landmarks to natural beauty, this article will provide you with suggestions on where you can go in this wonderful region!
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Discover the Hudson Valley During Every Season
From Westchester County to Dutchess Counties and beyond, the Hudson Valley has so much to offer those who live here and those visiting the area. If you don’t believe, see what these popular publications have to say:
National Geographic Traveler named the Hudson Valley one of twenty BEST PLACES in the world to visit.
Lonely Planet called the Hudson Valley a Hiker’s Heaven.
This shows to prove that no matter your interests, the best way to discover the Hudson Valley is by exploring all that this beautiful region of New York State has to offer.
The place of the American Revolution and home to the oldest wine making facilities in New York and the United States, the Hudson Valley has something for everyone!
10 Instagram-Worthy Places to Visit in the Hudson Valley
#1: Bannerman Castle
Located on Pollopel Island in the Hudson River, this famous place receives thousands of visitors during its season. Many who want to discover the Hudson Valley via the Hudson River, visit Bannerman Castle either by ferry or kayak. Tour tickets and special events tickets can be purchased on their website. Most notably, Bannerman Castle hosts movie nights on the island that will exceed your expectations.
Read all about it here.
#2: Bear Mountain State Park
Out of all the state parks in the area is the only state park that offers so much to do. In addition to hiking, many who want to discover the Hudson Valley through the great outdoors also love the fact that Bear Mountain State Park has activities that are not found in other state parks. See what it’s all about here.
- a zoo with museums (Open year round)
- a Merry-Go-Round (Open year-round)
- an inn with cafe
- an outdoor ice skating rink
- an outdoor pool
- a bird sanctuary
#3: Chuang Yen Monastery
Home to the largest indoor statue of Buddha in the Western Hemisphere, Chuang Yen Monastery, in Putnam County, is a Buddhist temple that attracts many visitors, not just those practicing Buddhism. If you’re looking for a less touristy way to discover the Hudson Valley, then this 225 acre sanctuary is for you.
Take a look at this wonderful place here.
#4: Cold Spring
This small town situated on the banks of the Hudson River is a wonderful day trip from anywhere in the tri-state area. An easy train ride on the Hudson Line of the Metro North Train System, Cold Spring is a popular destination for people who want to escape from New York City for an afternoon, weekend or longer.
Start making your plans here.
#5: Culinary Institute of America
Located in Hyde Park, this private culinary school is located along the Hudson River and, in case you didn’t know, their restaurants are open to the public. Besides the beautiful CIA campus, make sure you eat at one of the exquisite CIA restaurants and take photos of your food to post! This is the perfect way to discover the Hudson Valley from a culinary side.
#6: DIA Beacon
DIA Beacon is one of 11 sites that the DIA Art Foundation manages and we are so lucky to have it here in the Hudson valley. Featuring art that spans from the 1960’s to more contemporary art, their rotating exhibits and installations keep visitors returning time and time again to see what this amazing place has to offer. House is what once was a Nabisco box printing facility, DIA Beacon is a large space that allows you to explore both inside and out.
See this great place here.
#7: Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site & Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site
Both of these historical sites are located in Hyde Park, so a trip to this historic town is one of the best ways to discover the Hudson Valley. Both the Home to the Franklin D Roosevelt Home and Presidential Library and Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site are unique and are fascinating to explore. With formal gardens, acres of hiking trails and superb views of the Hudson River, it’s no wonder the Roosevelt’s entertained friends, state visitors, the press, and their associates in this beloved town and the birth place of FDR, himself.
#8: Farmers Markets
The Hudson Valley farmer’s market scene is robust all around the Hudson Valley. In addition to offering the finest and freshest produce and products around, many of these farmers markets are also home to food trucks and live entertainment. If you’re looking for friendly people, top-notch products and produce, as well as, food trucks, then this is the place to be.
See a full list of Hudson Valley farmers markets here.
#9: Lyndhurst Mansion
With over 60 acres of park-like property, Lyndhurst Mansion is a castle-like estate that should be documented in photos. The grounds are open daily from April through December.
Lyndhurst has so much to offer its visitors. By purchasing a day pass, you have access to the property, including the gardens. I can’t think of a better way to discover the Hudson Valley than through the experience of visiting a historic home. Discover the restored Civil War-era pathways, sit on one of three viewing platforms perched on rock outcroppings, and enjoy unparalleled views of the widest point of the Hudson River. There are also fountains, specialty gardens, and numerous outbuildings.
In addition to exploring the grounds, mansion tours are offered six days a week. But you don’t have to stop there!
- Sunset Jazz Concerts during the summer months
- Traveling exhibitions
- Yearly Flower Show
- Halloween Events and Fall Tours
- Holiday Events, Exhibits and Tours
#10: Olana State Historic Site
Henry Hudson marveled at exploring the Hudson River, while Frederic Edwin Church marveled at painting the Hudson River and this amazing area of New York State. As one of the founders of the Hudson River School of painters, this historic site is open daily from 8am to sunset. Walking and exploring the 250-acre grounds of Olana is completely free and offers you a stunning view of the river and surrounding area. It’s no wonder Frederic Edwin Church decided to make his home here.
In addition to being able to discover the Hudson Valley from atop of Olana, tours of this beautiful home are also available. As one of New York State’s most glorious parks, the parking lot can get full quickly during the weekend of warmer months, so plan accordingly.
Home to Wilderstein, Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, Samuel’s Sweet Shop and so much more, Rhinebeck is the epitome of an Instagram-Worthy town. From small shops to award-winning restaurants, there is no shortage of things to do in Rhinebeck. Find out what they are here.
If you’re looking for a great place for when you start to discover the Hudson Valley, then Rhinebeck is a wonderful place to start.
#12: Saugerties Lighthouse
While in Saugerties, shopping at antique shops is usually a given and one of the reasons people come to visit, but have you ever considered visiting the Saugerties Lighthouse? The lighthouse is an B&B and also offers docent-guided tours on Sunday afternoons in the summertime from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend from noon to 3pm. Reservations are not needed. Click here for more information. Visitors can hike to the lighthouse on a nature trail
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#13: Visit other Hudson Valley Lightouses
The Hudson River Maritime Museum offers several river cruises and tours of the Roudout Lighthouse and the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse or both. Just like the Saugerties Lighthouse tour, these tours are offered seasonally and are a fun way to discover the Hudson Valley by water.
#14: Sleepy Hollow
With so much to see and do in Sleepy Hollow, where does one start?
Let’s take a look and see:
- Headless Horseman Statue – The Headless Horseman statue is one of the most visited spots in Sleepy Hollow. Located between Philipsburg Manor and the Old Dutch Church on Route 9.
- Kykuit – Built between 1906 and 1913, Kykuit was the hilltop home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Tours are offered from May – November.
- Octagon House – The Armour-Stiner (Octagon) House is one of the most visually unique homes in the world. The Armour-Stiner House is a private residence. Please respect the owner’s privacy, only visit on a scheduled tour offered from April – December.
- Old Dutch Church – Founded around 1685, this is the church and churchyard that appear in Washington Irving’s short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”
- Philipsburg Manor – Tour the manor house, where period artifacts and touchable reproductions bring to life the stories of the Philipse family and the enslaved community. Tours are offered from May – November.
- Sleepy Hollow Cemetery – The burial grounds of Washington Irving, Andrew Carnegie, Walter Chrysler, Samuel Gompers, Elizabeth Arden, Leona Helmsley, Brooke Astor, and William Rockefeller. Walk or drive the grounds on your own or try an afternoon or evening guided tours.
- Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse – Currently being renovated and closed for visits until approximately May 2023, the lighthouse can be viewed from shore. Start either inside Kingsland Point Park or from RiverWalk at the foot of Beekman Avenue.
- Sunnyside – The home owned by Washington Irving has been restored and is filled with the author’s possessions including his writing desk and books. Open for tours from August – mid-September.
- Union Church of Pocantico Hills – The church’s rose window was the last work by Henri Matisse before his death. Nine other stained glass windows were created by Marc Chagall in honor of various members of the Rockefeller family.
And don’t forget about Main Street (Route 9), bustling with action from residents running everyday errands to visitors checking out the local shops, cafes and restaurants.
#15: Storm King Art Center
Storm King Art Center, commonly referred to as Storm King and named after its proximity to Storm King Mountain, is an open-air museum located in New Windsor, New York. It contains what is perhaps the largest collection of contemporary outdoor sculptures in the United States on about 500 acres. This is a wonderful place to immerse your self in not only art and nature but also discover the Hudson Valley from a unique perspective.
Check it out here.
#16: Untermyer Gardens
Situated on the steep land arising from the eastern bank of the Hudson River to the bluff on top of it, Untermyer Park and Gardens features a Walled Garden inspired by ancient Indo-Persian gardens, a small Grecian-style open-air amphitheater, a rock-and-water feature called “The Temple of Love”, as well as a long staircase from the Walled Garden to an Overlook with views of the river and the Palisades. This place makes you feel like you’re visiting another country and is one of the best hidden gems in the Hudson Valley.
Take a peek inside here.
#17: Vanderbilt Mansion
Vanderbilt Mansion, in Hyde Park, is a representation of family wealth in the late 1800’s. The site includes 211 acres situated on a bluff overlooking the Hudson River and includes manicured lawns, formal gardens, woodlands, and numerous auxiliary buildings. the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site is one of the area’s oldest Hudson River estates. Tours of the Vanderbilt Mansion are available Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM. (Closed Tuesday and Wednesday) for a $10 fee (children 15 and under are free).
See why this is a popular place here.
#18: Walkway over the Hudson
Gorgeous scenery of Ulster County and Dutchess County, the Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park should not be missed! The Walkway is a steel cantilever bridge spanning the Hudson River between Poughkeepsie, New York, on the east bank and Highland, New York, on the west bank. It is the world’s longest footbridge and is visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year.
Check it out here.
#19: West Point Museum & Visitors Center
This Military Academy museum has galleries showcasing history of the U.S. army, warfare & weapons. It showcases the history of West Point beginning with the garrisoning of West Point during the Revolutionary War. The mission of the West Point Museum is to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret historically significant artifacts pertaining to the United States Military Academy, United States Army and the Profession of Arms.
The West Point Visitors Center is home to 50 exhibits and movies, The West Point Experience Exhibit, which explain the history of West Point and cadet life. This is the location where you can purchase tickets for tours of West Point.
Adventurous Ways to Discover the Hudson Valley
Starting at Victor C. Waryas Park in Poughkeepsie with the view of the Walkway over the Hudson as a backdrop and close to the Metro-North Train Station (for those traveling from the lower Hudson Valley and New York City), you can participate in ‘Bike New York Rides‘. This annual Discover Hudson Valley ride is a popular event that empowers youth to lead healthy, productive lives, to remove barriers to cycling and enjoy the gorgeous scenery of Ulster and Dutchess counties.
Ranging from a 15-mile route all the way to an 100-mile route (you choose the perfect route for you), this event takes place at the end of June. Taking place rain or shine, this bike ride is a way of discovering what you’re capable of, especially with more than 5,900 feet of climbing. Some notable locations that are seen during each ride are the town of Lloyd, passing through the tranquil rail trail and as pass through of Hyde Park NY.
Starting times is dependent on the length of the route you choose, so shorter routes start later in the morning.
The route options are as follows:
- 15 miles – A family-friendly route option and perfect for first time riders of this event, this route showcases the natural beauty of the Hudson River Valley and is a great intro to the ride.
- 33 miles – This route starts the same as the 15-mile ride but takes you an additional 18-mile loop through Dutchess County. This is the perfect way to discover the Hudson Valley and Dutchess County as a novice. The first rest stop on this ride is in Lloyd, NY (Ulster County) while additional rest areas are in Dutchess County.
- 55 miles – This route starts off like the previous ones, but takes you along scenic backroads of Ulster County before heading to the National Heritage Area in Dutchess County.
- 75 miles – This route is like the 55 mile route and takes you up to Milan.
- 100 miles – This rout is the 75 mile ride with an additional 25 miles for those experienced riders that don’t mind the elevation gain.
There is no better way, if you love cycling, than seeing the natural beauty of the Hudson Valley Region that this way. With so many different routes to choose from, there is no better ride for beginners and more seasoned riders.
Make sure to check their website for more information on this ride and upcoming events.
Best Ways to take Instagram-Worthy Pics using your Phone while you discover the Hudson Valley
Tip #1: Take as many photos as possible
Do not be afraid to take more than one photo. If you’re phone storage allows, then take more than what you think you want or need. You can always delete them later.
Tip #2: Try taking photos at a different angle
Most people take photos at eye level, just the way you are looking at the subject. But why not try to take some from below looking up or from above looking down? You may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
Click below to see some items you should always have while photographing the Hudson Valley:
- Small, Lightweight Tripod: This is my GO-TO Tripod for every single outing I go on. It’s great for taking photos of yourself that are not selfies. This one comes with a bluetooth remote that makes that process easier.
- Selfie Stick/Tripod: This is a great alternative if you prefer to take selfies. With the additional remote, it makes it fun and easy to take your photos to the next level.
- Power Bank for your 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.
Until the Next Time…
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