Best Towns in Ulster County NY:
Ulster County NY Tourism
The air seemed still as I walked onto the Walkway over the Hudson State Park for the first time back in 2014. Located in Highland, NY, I quickly learned why certain towns in Ulster County NY were so popular.
This Ulster County NY treasure was not a place that had been advertised and I really didn’t know anything about it.
Since moving up to Ulster County NY about one year prior, I saw the sign for the Walkway several times while driving North on 9W. This day I decided to drive down the road where the sign was located to check it out.
And that’s when everything changed.
Although this location is open, 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.
If you’re in the planning stages of your trip, make sure to check out some of these Ulster County NY posts that will help you choose what to do during your adventure:
What to Know Before Visiting Towns in Ulster County:
- Ulster County NY is located approximately 90 – 120 minutes from New York City and the Hudson Valley border and 90 minutes south of Albany.
- Some more popular towns in Ulster County include: Kingston, Woodstock, New Paltz and Saugerties.
- Although not densely populated, there is still plenty to do when visiting different towns in Ulster County NY.
Where is Ulster County NY?
Ulster County NY is located left of the Hudson River in the Hudson Valley region.
It borders Rockland County to the North and Dutchess County on the right with the Hudson River in between them. It is also located directly south of Greene County, NY.
Many people love Ulster County’s larger towns & cities, most notably New Paltz, Woodstock & Kingston, NY.
Cities & Towns in Ulster County NY
Ulster County has 1 city, 20 towns, and 3 villages.
- New Paltz
Check out posts all about: Ulster County, NY
How Far is Ulster County NY from NYC?
Depending on many factors, it can take anywhere from 90 minutes – 120 minutes to arrive in the most southern towns in Ulster County by car.
These are the factors that affect how fast you can make it to Ulster County.
- Month of the Year/Season
- Day of the Week
- Time of the Day
Ulster County is easily accessible by car using the New York State Thruway/I-87.
10+ Popular Places to Visit in Ulster County NY Towns
Ulster County covers a fairly large area of the Hudson Valley and sometimes a little planning ahead may be the best way to experience more than one thing in a day.
Ulster County NY for Art Lovers
Opus 40 (Saugerties, NY)
*Currently OPEN to the public on SELECT days with restrictions/prior ticket purchases
Thurs, Fri, Sat & Sun: 11am – 3pm
Gen Admission: $11 | Seniors/Students: $8
Located in Saugerties, Opus 40 is located on the northern tip of Ulster County.
Opus 40 is open seasonally, typically from May – November, is an awe-inspiring art & landscape phenomenon.
As stated in my Ebook and Planning System, “My Top 101+ Things to do in the Hudson Valley“, this impressive outdoor sculpture created by Harvey Fite is made of the blue quarry from this land. The most interesting part is that the sculpture is comprised of ramps and pedestals that you can explore.
Click here to read my article all about my visit to Opus 40
Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art (New Paltz, NY)
*Currently OPEN to the public: Wednesday through Sunday: 11 am – 5 pm
Wed – Sun: 11am – 5pm
Free – $5 Suggested donation
If you’re looking to spend the day in New Paltz, then a visit to the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art should be on your list.
In addition to being located on the campus of SUNY New Paltz, the museum houses over 6,000 pieces of art and is an important influencer in the Hudson Valley when it comes to art.
Open year-round, they welcome all visitors to enjoy their permanent and temporary exhibits.
Ulster County for Outdoor Lovers
Mohonk Preserve (Gardiner, NY)
*SOME Trailheads are currently OPEN (Check their website for updated information)
Visitors Center – Weekdays: 9am – 5pm | Weekends: 8am – 6pm
Trailheads: Open daily 7am – 7pm (members) 9am – 7pm (Visitors)
Non-members: $15 for hikers | $20 for bikers, climbers, & horseback riders
This nature preserve is located on the famous Shawangunk Ridge. Attracting hikers and rock climbers from all around, the Mohonk Preserve is a favorite spot for many.
Other activities that you can do on the trails are cycling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, & horseback riding.
The Visitors Center is the hub of the preserve and is open year-round. It offers information and exhibits. The trails in the immediate area of the Visitor’s Center & the Butterfly Garden are open to the public for free.
Land further out of the Visitor’s Center are accessible with a day pass or membership.
Click here to read my article all about the Best Hudson Valley Hikes Around
Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park (Highland, NY)
*Currently OPEN to the public
Open Daily: 7am – Sunset
Free – Donations appreciated
Walk over the Hudson River on the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park. Connecting Highland, NY (Ulster County) to Poughkeepsie, NY (Dutchess County), this spectacular structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is open year-round.
It’s a popular place for walkers, joggers, bikers and rollerbladers. They also host popular events throughout the year.
Click here to read my article all about the Walkway over the Hudson.
Ulster County for Animal Lovers
Forsyth Nature Center (Kingston, NY)
Summer Hours: Mon – Fri: 7am – 7pm | Sat & Sun: 9am – 5pm
Winter Hours: Mon – Fri: 7am – 5pm | Sat & Sun: 9am – 1pm
Free – Donations always appreciated
Explore this outdoor learning center in Kingston. Forsyth Nature Center is open year-round and get visitors up close and personal with nature and animals.
Bring a lunch, some snacks for yourself and the friendly animals and spend the day enjoying the nature center.
Each animal has a special sign listing favorite foods or you can bring a mixture of carrots, apples, lettuce/spinach/greens & plain popcorn to share. They also host special events throughout the year.
Click here to read my article all about my visit to Forsyth Nature Center
Catskill Animal Sanctuary (Saugerties, NY)
*Currently CLOSED – OPEN only to members at this time
Meet the rescued animals that call the Catskill Animal Sanctuary, in Saugerties, their home.
These farm animals have been rescued from cruelty, abandonment & neglect. With over 11 species, you can visit these animals, from April through November, by purchasing a Day Pass or by taking a tour.
Ulster County for History Lovers
Historic Huguenot Street (New Paltz, NY)
*Currently OPEN for self-guided tours only
Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun: 10am – 5pm
Guided Tours: Adults $12 | Seniors, Students $10
Children 12 yrs and under, Veterans, Members Blue Star Museum Program: Free
Here is another reason to visit New Paltz.
Stroll down Historic Huguenot Street, lined with original 18th-century homes that are in their original village setting. Open from May through December, guided tours are available for a fee.
For Those Who Love Unique Experiences
Joseph Bertolozzi – Bridge Music (Highland, NY)
Open seasonally (April – October)
*Currently OPEN to the Public
This unique experience showcases music by Joseph Bertolozzi on the Mid-Hudson Bridge (between Highland and Poughkeepsie) where the bridge is the instrument.
The Listening Stations are located on the bridge’s towers and are open seasonally (April – October) to the public. You can also listen from your car in any of the parks located on either side of the bridge.
Click here to read my article all about my experience listening to Bridge Music at the Mid-Hudson Bridge
Ulster County for Wine Lovers
Benmarl Winery (Marlboro, NY)
Thu – Sun: 12pm – 5pm
Benmarl Winery is America’s Oldest Vineyard and boasts an award-winning collection of wines. Among its 37 acres, Benmarl Winery is the location for premier wines and impeccable hospitality.
Located in Marlboro, NY, it is close to the Orange County border in Southern Ulster County.
Click here to read my article about my visit to Benmarl Winery.
Ulster County for Music Lovers
The Falcon (Marboro, NY)
*Currently OPEN for INDOOR dining & music
OPEN May 7th OUTDOOR seating & music
Fri 4pm – 9pm
Sat 1pm – 9pm
Sun 1pm – 9pm
Sitting above the beautiful Marlboro Falls in Marlboro, NY is The Falcon, home to live music and great food.
Formerly a 19th-century button factory, The Falcon has become an important part of music history in the Hudson Valley. Hosting the music industry’s most impressive acts, The Falcon is a well-known and loved establishment in Ulster County.
Ulster Performing Arts Center (Kingston, NY)
*Currently CLOSED for performances
Visit the only un-altered pre-World War II theater left in the city of Kingston and one of three left in the Hudson Valley.
Ulster Performing Arts Center does not only host performing arts events for adults, but this venue also shows classic and vintage movies, musical performances, and children’s theater, dance and musical performances.
Because of the acoustics, it is home to the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. Open year-round.
Tips for an Amazing Visit to Towns in Ulster County NY:
- With any place your visiting in the Hudson Valley, make sure you check individual websites for current days/hours of operation.
- Unlike New York City, many places in the Hudson Valley are not open year-round and are only open 6-8 months out of the year.
- Weather is always a factor when visiting any county in the Hudson Valley and is particularly true when visiting different towns in Ulster County NY.
- Check the weather before heading out to your outing.
- If you like this post, my popular ebook and planning system. “101+ Things to do in the Hudson Valley for $10 or less” has even more places listed for you to visit in Ulster County NY.
Where to Next?
Now that you have learned a little about the best places to visit in Ulster County, let’s see where you should go next…
Be sure to zoom in and/or out in order to see all the locations and click the links for the blog posts.