Best known for its beautiful landscapes and the Hudson River, the Hudson Valley is so much more than apple trees, the majestic river and mountains.
When you visit the Hudson Valley region you will also be visiting up-and-coming towns, a thriving artists’ scene, award-winning restaurants, distilleries, breweries, and cideries abound.
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.
Although many people love to visit this region of New York State, there are a lot of mistakes you can make when planning your trip and while you visit the Hudson Valley.
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What NOT TO DO before you visit the Hudson Valley
Do not leave without planning ahead
No matter what time of year you plan to visit the Hudson Valley, the Number 1 mistake people make is NOT Planning and Researching enough before the trip.
- Many places in the Hudson Valley are closed for the Winter season (restaurants, historic sites, etc), so that is something that you have to keep in mind before you visit the Hudson Valley.
- No matter what time of the year you visit the Hudson Valley, some places are not open AT ALL during the week and only welcome visitors on the weekends.
- Some places are also open for limited hours on the weekends, leaving many unprepared people feeling frustrated.
- Other locations may be closed for special events. While a usually quiet town may be filled to the brims, during your visit, because of a Yearly Festival you knew nothing about.
And this may not be what you expected or envisioned when you planned to visit the Hudson Valley.
So make sure to check days and times of operation before heading out to your final destination.
Make sure you check the Weather before you visit the Hudson Valley
The weather is another factor people don’t take into consideration when planning a visit to the Hudson Valley.
The region has three distinct areas and the weather can be drastically different in the Lower Hudson Valley (Yonkers, NY), Mid-Hudson Valley (Poughkeepsie, NY) and in the Upper Hudson Valley (Albany, NY).
Where Exactly is the Hudson Valley?
Reference this Ultimate Hudson Valley Guide before heading out on your next Hudson Valley adventure. I include information regarding each county and what to expect when you visit.
Let’s Visit the Hudson Valley: Start Here
With so much to see and do in the Hudson Valley, planning a visit can be overwhelming, but with these 20+ tips, I can assure you that you will be well prepared.
Follow these tips and you will make your visit both memorable and everything you had hoped for.
The following tips are essential when planning to visit the Hudson Valley, especially since these tips are coming from yours truly: a Hudson Valley Native and Resident!
Traveling to the Hudson Valley
Tip #1: Flying to visit the Hudson Valley
If you’re not from the immediate area, there are several major airports that can get you in and out of the Hudson Valley with minimal hassle. The airport you choose is dependent on where you plan on staying for the majority of your visit and your budget.
Your choices of airports include:
- Albany International Airport
- Newburgh International Airport
- Westchester County Airport/White Plains Airport
If you prefer to lodge outside of the Hudson Valley, it is easy enough to travel to many parts of the Hudson Valley using the railroad system or a car.
Contrary to popular belief, there are several larger cities in the Hudson Valley and these hubs offer train service for those visiting from the North and the South.
White Plains, Poughkeepsie, and Albany are just a few that I can think of off the top of my head.
The Metro-North Railroad is the perfect way to get to and from the Hudson Valley and NYC when you visit the Hudson Valley.
Unfortunately, the train only runs from Grand Central to:
- Poughkeepsie (Hudson Line)
- Port Chester (New Haven Line)
- Wassaic (Harlem Line)
The trains also travel from New Jersey to:
- Port Jervis, NY (Port Jervis Line)
- Spring Valley (Pascack Valley Line)
A car is then needed if you’re planning to travel to other parts of the region from any of the above-mentioned train stations.
Now, if you plan to travel from NYC to the Upper Hudson Valley Region (Hudson, Albany, Rhinecliff), then Amtrak is your best bet. I suggest you purchase your ticket in advance in order to get the best deal.
Tip #2: Driving to and within the Hudson Valley
Taking a drive to visit different areas of the Hudson Valley may be one of the best ways to enjoy the scenery, countryside, towns and cities.
There are several major highways in and out of the Hudson Valley.
A few of the well-traveled roadways/highways are:
- the New York State Thruway/I-87 (North-South)
- Interstate-684 (North-South)
- the Taconic State Parkway (North-South)
Getting around during your visit to the Hudson Valley
Tip #3: Driving within the Hudson Valley Region
If you are traveling by airplane or train to the Hudson Valley, then a car may be necessary to get around the area while you visit the Hudson Valley.
Because the Hudson Valley region consists of several counties, a car is usually a good idea. Especially if you want to explore locations that are not walking distance from a train station. Larger cities have public transportation that can easily take you to popular places in the area from a train station, but small towns do not offer that service.
Making your Plans to visit the Hudson Valley: The Essentials
Tip #4: Research your Destination
Learn as much as you can about the location you plan to visit. Research the places/towns you want to visit before making the trip.
It would be disappointing to get to a location and realize that it is closed for the season or crowded because of a Special Event you were unaware of. Some places are only open seasonally (April through October) and many places host Festivals and special events throughout the warmer months.
Tip #5: Check my Facebook HVE Events Page
Also check My Facebook Events Group Page for any events happening in the places you’ll be visiting. I would hate for you to miss anything fun. A Festival may be something that you’re in the mood for.
These events don’t just happen during the summer, but take place all year long.
Tip #6: Make a list
Make a list of all the places you want to go. I call this my ‘Wish List’. Even if you don’t see it all, at least you have a list ready that can be used for another visit.
Don’t over-schedule yourself, though, and be able to go with the flow.
Be spontaneous and go where the locals go.
Tip #7: Google Maps is your friend
Plot everything in Google Maps to see what is close to each other and make the most out of your day when you visit the Hudson Valley.
Plotting your visit will also assist in making a well-informed reservation at a local hotel (if needed) and/or restaurant, both by location and affordability.
Tip #8: Check the Weather
Make sure to check the weather before you visit the Hudson Valley. Although the seasons are relatively predictable, the weather may change very quickly. Try to wear the right clothes for the weather and your particular outing.
The Best place to access local weather is on my favorite HV Weather Website:
Hudson Valley Weather
When to Visit the Hudson Valley
Tip #9: Visit the Hudson Valley during YOUR Favorite Season
Spring and Autumn are the most popular times of the year to visit the Hudson Valley, weather-wise, if you like that sort of weather. Some people really enjoy hot weather and some prefer cold weather, so you can visit the Hudson Valley during your favorite season.
Summer is often hot and humid while the winter months are often frigid and can be very snowy.
While a visit to the Hudson Valley is enjoyable at any time of the year, Autumn-time is magical. The trees are dressed up in vibrant colors and the crisp air warrants a walk, run, hike or bike ride. Fall Festivals are also abundant and occur at most weekends.
Experience your Hudson Valley Visit
Tip #10: Make the most of your visit
Always be present!
Sometimes you have to put the phone down and just enjoy every single moment in the Hudson Valley.
Tip #11: Walk around
Even if it’s a small town, just go out and walk around and explore where the locals go. You see more by walking than when you’re driving. And you will possibly bump into a hidden treasure that is not listed in a guide or on a website.
Tip #12: Be Spontaneous!
- Say “Yes!”
- Keep your options open.
- Try something new.
You never know what will happen. Some of my best memories have been from trying something I/we would normally not try.
Tip #13: Talk to the Locals
If you’re visiting a new town, take some time and talk to the locals and shop owners. You will get the best recommendations for restaurants, cafes, and local hidden gems straight from the people who live in that area of the Hudson Valley.
Tip #14: Take lots of photos but…
Take a lot of quick photos and then put away the camera to experience the day.
Tip #15: Go, Solo!
Don’t be afraid to explore on your own.
I do most of my Hudson Valley exploring with my daughter, but on several occasions, I venture out on my own and love doing so.
Just me and my Tripod…
When solo exploring, make sure that you head to a public location that has security and people around. I also make sure to go during the day. I do not explore any new places at night.
Packing for a visit to the Hudson Valley
Tip #16: Have a Packing List
If you’re planning to spend a few days exploring or planning a Weekend Getaway in the Hudson Valley, make a packing list to guarantee that you don’t forget anything.
Tip #17: Have a Road Trip Car List
Have a Road Trip List with car essentials in case you explore more rural areas. In this instance, it’s best to be over-prepared.
Tip #18: Be Prepared
Bring a Portable Power Bank if you plan to use your phone for your outing. Between calls, GPS, and photos, the batteries tend to die quickly. Don’t forget the charging cords and a portable tripod!
Tip #19: Get a Backpack
A good backpack is always essential. I prefer ones that are small enough to easily locate my things but that have inside pockets for keeping my valuables safe.
These are my TWO favorites:
General Tips for Exploring
Tip #20: Download Apps
Download all the apps you need before leaving on your visit.
Tip #21: Follow this Important Picture-Taking Tip
Always take the picture and try to be IN the picture.
Even if you feel silly taking that selfie, you will be happy to have it after your visit is over.
Tip #22: Visit Some Free Places
There are many FREE places and attractions up and down the Hudson River Valley. Below is a very small sampling of great places to visit that don’t cost a thing!
- New Windsor Cantonment & the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
- West Point Museum
- Rockland Center for the Arts
- Magazzino Italian Art
- And more can be found in this article all about free things in the Hudson Valley.
Tip #23: Visit Some Popular Places
With so many free places in the Hudson Valley, it can be tempting to not patron the places that charge an admission fee, but these places are well worth the price of admission.
Popular places include:
Tip #24: Visit Some Historical Sites to Visit
The Hudson Valley is so full of history that a trip to the region cannot be made without visiting some of the World-Famous Historical Sites, such as:
- Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh
- Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park
- Gomez Mill House
- Van Cortlandt Manor
Tip #25: Book a Tour
Take a tour! Hudson Valley Bucketlist offers Wine tours and food tours to satisfy any palate.
These tours are exactly what you need to experience and explore the best of the Hudson Valley. Contact them through their website for more information.
Some of their tours are:
- The Winemaker Tour
- Beacon Bites and Beverages
- Rhinebeck Paired Tastings
- And More…
Many locations are now offering outdoor tours.
Some notable locations are:
- Mount Gulian Historic Site
- Olana State Historic Site
Visit and Eat in the Hudson Valley
Tip #26: Make Reservations
If you’re planning a weekend visit to the Hudson Valley, Reservations are always recommended.
During the Warmer months, I suggest making reservations several weeks before your planned visit. Many local favorites, especially near the Hudson River, will book up rather quickly during the warmer months.
Tip #27: Research the Restaurant Before you Go
With all the new & unique culinary experiences in the Hudson Valley, make sure you do your research regarding restaurants. Some menus may be too complicated or complex, especially if you’re dining with children.
Tip #28: Visit Seasonal Farmers’ Markets
Make sure to visit a Hudson Valley Farmers Market during the Spring, Summer, and Fall.
These are wonderful community hubs and besides the local produce, some of these markets offer other activities, as well as, Food trucks.
Why You Should Visit the Hudson Valley
The Hudson Valley is a monumental place to visit and explore. With the abundance of things to do, there is no shortage of adventures you can take either alone, with a significant other and/or as a family.
Keep in mind that your experience may be different each time you visit the Hudson Valley. It is often dependent on the weather or season.
My #1 Tip is to do your research.
Even if you’re traveling a few hours from home or from a few states away, research is always key.
That is why this blog was created and is certain to be your go-to resource for seeing the Hudson Valley.
Essential Gear Recommended When Visiting the Hudson Valley:
Clicks the links below to see the items I use when exploring the Hudson Valley.
- 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.
- Comfortable women’s walking shoes – My favorite walking shoes are by Skechers, because they are soft and the memory foam feels great on my feet.
- 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.
- Backpack purse – When I’m not using my sling purse, I use this backpack purse. It frees up my hands to take photos and eat while I’m walking around.
- Lightweight Ponchos – These ponchos fold up small enough that you can toss one in your bag and always be prepared when exploring the Hudson Valley. I like to keep them in my car and then take them along on my adventures.
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Where to Next???
Now that you have all the tips for a successful trip to the Hudson Valley, let’s see where you should go next…
Until the Next Adventure…
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