Hudson Valley Summer Activities:
20+ Things to do & What to Pack
Let me start this post by saying that I was TERRIBLE at packing a carry-on and WORSE at packing a weekend bag. That is why I made this Hudson Valley summer activities travel packing list – in order to make the task much easier.
Traveling in the summer and packing light can be easy for some people. But I make it less easy by packing many ‘extras’.
When I began taking Weekend trips to different areas of the Hudson Valley, I never really thought about how much more stuff I would need. And then my bag would fill up with JUST the essentials.
After reading this post, I’m confident you’ll be more prepared to pack for your trip without forgetting any essentials, so you can enjoy every minute of the Hudson Valley without stress.
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Read my disclosure for more info.
My Summer in the Hudson Valley Travel Packing List will surely be helpful the next time
you plan to pack during the summer.
The Hudson Valley Summer Activities Travel Packing List
Before you begin packing
#1: Check the weather
First things first – check out the how the weather will be before you even consider packing.
I have made the mistake several times of packing without checking the weather and regretted not being prepared (rain in Disney, unusually cold in New Orleans, etc).
I know the Hudson Valley is not a huge location, but the weather can differ from one county to another. Ten counties is a lot of space when you consider that it can be much hotter in Lower Hudson Valley and in the cities versus Upper Hudson Valley and in the country/mountains.
#2: Make a list of Hudson Valley Summer Activities you will be doing
Make sure you are prepared with any essential gear that you will need for some popular Hudson Valley Summer Activities & Events.
- Fourth of July Celebrations
- The Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival
- And various food festivals
Read my blog post highlighting fun Hudson Valley Summer Events.
#3: Examine where you’ll be staying the majority of the time
Check and see if you’ll be spending the majority of your time in the city or in the county.
Why is this important? If you’re visiting the city, then you can get away with less things. You can always run into a coffee shop to cool off and stock up on water at a local mart. If you’re visiting the country, you will be out in the elements for longer periods of time without an indoor break.
But if you’re in the planning stages of your trip, make sure to check out some Summer in the Hudson Valley posts that will help you choose what to do during your adventure:
- POPULAR HUDSON VALLEY FARMERS MARKETS
- HUDSON VALLEY SUMMER EVENTS NOT TO BE MISSED
- A COMPLETE LIST OF FAVORITE HUDSON VALLEY ICE CREAM SHOPS
Ok, let’s dive in!
Things to Know before Packing your trip to/in the Hudson Valley:
- Temperature and weather are different depending on where in the Hudson Valley you will be staying or exploring. So plan accordingly.
- Be prepared for rain, even if there is no rain predicted for the day.
- Evenings can be much colder than day time temperatures, so it’s always good to have an extra layer or two with you or in the car.
- Although you may have a location in mind, always double check hours of operation. Summertime events, fairs, festivals in the Hudson Valley may interfere with your initial plans.
How to Use This Post when packing for Hudson Valley Summer Activities
I’ve broken down all of the basic Hudson Valley packing essentials so you can prep for your visit without being worried about missing a thing. However, I’d recommend downloading my printable Summer in the Hudson Valley Packing List below so that you can check things off the list as you’re packing for your adventure.
In the downloadable checklist, I’ve also included an essentials section that applies to any trip.
In the rest of this post, I’ve included information on the weather in the Hudson Valley, what to expect during the summer in the Hudson Valley, and some of the must-haves for any adventure.
Weather during Hudson Valley Summer
Hudson Valley Summer weather (June – September) can consistently range from 80 – 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Most of the Mid-Hudson Valley Region and the Catskills are warm and humid throughout the summer and evenings can be muggy.
Many parts of the Lower Hudson Valley often experience warmer summers with spikes in temperatures that may go above 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Because the Hudson Valley Region runs approximately 150 miles north, the weather can be significantly different in Westchester County than in Albany County. And because much of the Hudson Valley is mountainous, that also adds to the changes in climate due to the high elevation.
If you run hot, plan to visit the Hudson Valley in late spring or early summer when the temperature is more moderate. Autumn in the Hudson Valley is typically a favorite for many visitors because of the abundance of fall foliage.
Hudson Valley Summer Guide to Activities
There is no shortage of Hudson Valley Summer activities. As someone who lives here full-time, I can assure you that I STILL have not done everything I want to do during the summers here.
Parks in the Hudson Valley
One of the most popular places to visit in the Hudson Valley during warmer weather months are local and not-so-local parks.
As a kid, the highlight of our summertime was going to the local parks in order to:
- Play Ball & Frisbee
- Roller skate
- Bike Ride
- Enjoy the Playgrounds
But these are just a fraction of the activities that you can do at Hudson Valley parks during summer.
Other popular activities include:
- Hiking (See article below for some great places to hike in the Hudson Valley)
- Mountain Biking
- Paddle Boating
- Wildlife Watching
- And general exploration...
Popular Hudson Valley Summer Activities include:
Picking fruit at local farms –
The heart of the Hudson Valley are the farms and farmers who work the land.
- Dutch Apple Cruises (Albany)
- Hudson River Adventures Pride of the Hudson (Newburgh)
- Hudson River Cruises (Kingston)
- River Rose Cruises (Newburgh)
- Hudson Cruises (Hudson)
- Trinity Cruise Company (Peekskill)
- Bannerman Cruise & Walking Tour (Beacon)
- Empire Cruise Lines (Poughkeepsie)
- Nyack Boat Charter (Nyack)
- Tivoli Sailing Company (Kingston)
- Hudson River Sloop Clearwater (Beacon)
- Hudson Sailing (Kingston)
- I Paddle New York (Saugerties)
- Hudson River Expeditions (Cold Spring)
- Storm King Adventure Tours (Cornwall on Hudson)
- Hudson River Recreation (Croton on Hudson)
- New Paltz Kayaking (New Paltz)
Walking/Hiking/Running/Mountain Biking –
If it’s hiking you’re looking for, then summer in the Hudson Valley is perfect for you. Now that I come to think of it, almost every season in the Hudson Valley offers great hiking.
Pools & Water Parks –
- Splashdown Beach (Fishkill)
- Bear Mountain Public Pool (Tomkins Cove, NY)
- FDR State Park (Yorktown Heights)
- Pool at Playland Park (Rye)
Amusement/Adventure Parks –
- Legoland Discover Center (Yonkers)
- Rye Playland Amusement Park (Rye)
- The Castle Fun Center (Chester)
- NY Zipline Adventures at Hunter Mountain (Hunter)
- Legoland (Goshen)
- Tree Top Adventures at Barton Orchards (Poughquag)
Zoos & Nature Parks/Centers –
- Taconic Outdoor Education Center (Cold Spring)
- Trailside Museum at Bear Mountain State Park
- Trevor Zoo (Millbrook)
- Forsyth Nature Center (Kingston)
- Greenburgh Nature Center (Scarsdale)
- Albany Pine Bush Preserve Discovery Center (Albany)
Activities for Children –
- Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum (Poughkeepsie) Offering pop-up museum experiences during the summer.
- Westchester Children’s Museum (Rye)
- The Hudson Highlands Nature Museum (Cornwall on Hudson)
- Open Barn at Stony Kill Farm (Wappingers Falls)
Music in the Park –
- Hyde Park Music in the Parks (Hyde Park)
- 9-Hole Mini Golf at Four Brothers Drive In (Amenia)
- Brookside Mini Golf (Yonkers)
- Castle Fun Center (Chester)
- Mini-golf, Go Karts and more…
- DC Sports (Wappingers Falls)
- Outdoor and Blacklight Mini Golf
- FunFuzion Mini Golf (New Rochelle)
- Germonds Park Mini-Golf (West Nyack)
- Kelder Farm & Homegrown Mini-Golf (Kerhonkson)
- Lakeside Licks Mini-Golf (Highland)
- Overlook Golf and Recreation Center (Poughkeepsie)
- Batting Cages and Go Kart Track
- Par Fore Golf Center (Hopewell Junction)
- Playland Park Mini-Golf (Rye)
- Red Rooster Mini Golf (Brewster)
- Saxon Woods Park (White Plains)
- Space Adventure Glow in the Dark Mini Golf (Palisades Mall/West Nyack)
- Sports Cone (Kingston)
- Mini Golf
- Batting Cage
- Yorktown Golf Center (Mohegan Lake)
Car Cruises –
- Hudson Valley Hot Rods Friday Night Car Cruise 2021 (Washingtonville)
- MCOC All American Saturday Night Car Cruise (Middletown)
Day Trips to famous estates & historic homes –
- Vanderbilt Mansion (Hyde Park)
- Lyndhurst Mansion (Tarrytown)
- Philipsburg Manor House (Sleepy Hollow)
- Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site (Yonkers)
- Washington Irving’s Sunnyside (Tarrytown)
- Boscobel House & Gardens (Cold Spring)
- Edward Hopper House Art Center (Nyack)
- Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site (Hyde Park)
- Home of Franklin D Roosevelt National Historic Site (Hyde Park)
- Locust Grove Estate (Poughkeepsie)
Fairs & Festivals – (many cancelled due to COVID-19 in 2020)
- Mac & Cheese Fest
- Taco Fest
- Craft Beverage Festival
- Seafood Festival
- Sangria Festivals
- Craft Fairs
- Flea Markets
- Food & Wine Festivals
- Food Truck Festivals
- Cider Festivals
- Rockland County Festival (Mid-June)
- Ulster County Fair (Beginning of August)
- Dutchess County Fair (End of August)
- Newburgh Illuminated Festival
- First Friday in Poughkeepsie
- Second Saturday in Beacon
- NY Renaissance Faire
Gardens & Open Spaces –
- Innisfree Garden, Millbrook – Known as one of the world’s ten best gardens, Innisfree garden is the perfect place to visit during the Hudson Valley Spring.
- Stonecrop Gardens, Cold Spring – This great garden, located in Cold Spring, is the perfect way to spend a spring day in Putnam County. (Open select days. Reservation with time slot required.) Admission: $10
- Beverly E Smith Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden, Yonkers – Located in Lenoir Nature Preserve this Butterfly/Hummingbird Gardens is the best-kept secret in Yonkers. When in full bloom, you can see dozens of species of butterflies. (Open daily) Admission: Free
- Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Garden, North Salem – The more than 3 acre garden contains paths that lead from a pond to a view of the beautiful landscape. (Open Wed – Sat 12pm – 4pm) Admission: $5
- Untermyer Gardens, Yonkers – Untermyer Park and Gardens is a historic 43-acre city public park, located in Yonkers, New York in Westchester County, just north of New York City. The park is a remnant of Samuel J. Untermyer’s 150-acre estate “Greystone”. (Open daily: 9am – 4pm) Admission: Free
- Chuang Yen Monastery, Carmel – Home to the largest indoor statue of Buddha in the Western Hemisphere, a visit to the monastery & the grounds is the perfect place to unwind and explore. Admission: Free
- Bannerman Castle, Beacon – If there is one thing you should do this spring, this should be the one. Ferry rides to the island and tours from Beacon and Newburgh began in May 2021. (Open select days/times) Ferry/Tour: $40
- Locust Grove Estate, Poughkeepise – Located in Poughkeepsie, this is not only the historic home of Samuel Morse, but with an abundance of grounds, gardens, hiking trails and special events, this is the perfect place to visit in Dutchess County. This is the perfect Hudson Valley Spring Break activity for anyone.
- Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, Cornwall-on-Hudson – Although the hiking trails are open year-round, the Visitors Center & Grasshopper Grove (the play area for younger children) are open Saturdays and Sundays with prior registration. This is a great idea for littles during their Hudson Valley Spring Break. Admission: $5
- Museum Village, Monroe – This open-air historical museum showcases how life was in the 19th century. Visit the School House, Print shop, Broom Shop, Candle Shop, Blacksmith, Log Cabin, Weave Shop, Farm Tools, Firehouse, Livery, Drug Store, and Natural History Buildings, which has one of three complete mastodon skeletons in the world! Admission: $15
- Storm King Art Center, New Windsor – This is the premier center for outdoor sculpture and art. This popular outdoor sculpture park is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in New Windsor and the Cornwall area.
- Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Saugerties – This unique place houses more than 300 animals. They are lucky enough to call Catskill Animal Sanctuary home. Due to the pandemic, starting March 2021, Private Tours will be available for Sanctuary Members only. Tour fees apply.
- Opus 40, Saugerties – One of the best places to visit in Ulster County, Opus 40 is the representation of one man’s dedication to creating an outdoor sculpture like no other.
- Widow Jane Mine, Rosendale – The mine and the Snyder Estate are open for self-guided tours. Self-guided tour brochures are available on the Entrance Kiosk and a small donation is appreciated. (Open) Suggested Donation: Adult $5 – Family $10 – Student $2
- Lilymoore Alpaca Farm, Pleasant Valley – Have fun walking one of their remarkable alpacas. Imagine yourself walking through the woods with one of these gentle creatures. You won’t want to miss this adventure. Group Trek: $40+
Sports & Specialty Museums –
- Dutchess Stadium, Wappingers Falls – This baseball park in Dutchess County is home to the Hudson Valley Renegades. Ticket prices: TBD
- Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, Red Hook – Starting with six derelict WWI planes, Cole made the Aerodrome into America’s first flying museum of antique aircraft and replicas, achieving worldwide fame. Admission: $25
- Motorcyclepedia Museum, Newburgh – 85,000 square feet of exhibit space, Over 600 Motorcycles from 1897 onward and more… (Open weekends) Admission: $15 (adult) $5 – $10 (children)
Drive-In Movies –
- Overlook Drive-In, Poughkeepsie – This popular drive-in theater in Poughkeepsie shows a double feature. Admission $10
- Hyde Park Drive-In, Hyde Park – This popular drive-in in Hyde Park also shows a double feature. Admssion: $10
- Warwick Drive-In, Warwick – Since 1950, the Warwick Drive-In Theater has been giving movie-goers the ultimate theater experience. With 3 screens, we are able to play 6 first-run movies a night. Catch great movies and make wonderful Hudson Valley Spring Break memories at the same time! Admission: $19
- Fair Oaks Drive-In, Middletown – Beautifully Classic Drive-In With Made To Order Food In The Heart Of Middletown NY. (Admission: $25 per carload.
- Greenville Drive-In, Greenville – Established in 1959 by Peter Carelas, the Greenville Drive-In has been a social fixture and destination in the Northern Catskills for over six decades. Admission: TBD
Essential Packing List for Summer in the Hudson Valley
- 2+ Swimsuits
- Beach cover-up
- Waterproof flip flops
- 3+ tank tops/t-shirts
- A light cardigan for cooler nights
- Sunglasses and/or hat & Sunblock
- Crossbody bag
- Socks for sneakers
- Long pants for cooler nights
- Insulated water bottle (collapsible preferred)
- Bug Spray (if hiking and/or spending the majority of the day outdoors)
- Poncho for rainy days
Extra Necessities for Activities during Hudson Valley Summer
These items are not essential for Summer in the Hudson Valley, but depending on which activities you plan to partake in during your outings, you’ll want to consider adding some of these.
If you’re hiking through rockier terrain
- Hiking Boots
If you plan to do water activities
- Plastic bags for wet bathing suits
- A Quick dry towel
10 Reasons to love Summer in the Hudson Valley
#1: All the Ice Cream you can ever want
#2: Late night movies at local Drive-Ins, local parks and Historic Sites
#3: Wineries on the Shawangunk Wine Trail in Ulster and Orange Counties.
#4: Buying fresh produce at the local farmers markets
#5: Strolling, shopping & eating through Hudson Valley River Towns
#6: Exploring the Hudson River on a Boat/Cruise/Sailboat
#7: Hiking and discovering wildlife along the way
#8: Eating at the many restaurants along the Hudson River Banks
#9: Enjoying Outdoor Fairs & Festival throughout the Hudson Valley
#10: Enjoying Outdoor Music at local parks and Historic Sites
Tips for an Amazing Time During Summer in the Hudson Valley
- Check individual destination websites for updated days/hours of operation
- Have a Plan B in case the weather does not cooperate with your original plan.
- Bring and extra set of clothes/shoes on your outings.
- Be prepared for any kind of weather.
Until the Next Adventure,
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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.
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