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 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 ( and NY State and local Governments.

Many towns in Ulster County have amazing things to see, like the Walkway over the Hudson State Park

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:

Benmarl Winery: Amazing Wine & Amazing Views

The Walkway over the Hudson: A Visit you will not forget

Meet the Animals that Call Forsyth Nature Center Their Home

> Ulster County NY is located approximately 90 – 120 minutes North from the NYC/Hudson Valley border and 90 minutes South of Albany
> Some more popular towns in Ulster County NY are Kingston, Woodstock, New Paltz and Saugerties.
> Although not densely populated, there is still plenty to do when visiting towns in Ulster County NY.

Where is Ulster County NY?

Best Towns in Ulster County NY | Ulster County NY Tourism
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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.

These include: Denning, Esopus, Gardiner, Hardenburgh, Hurley, Kingston, Lloyd, Marbletown, Marlborough, New Paltz, Olive, Plattekill, Rochester, Rosendale, Saugerties, Shandaken, Shawangunk, Ulster, Wawarsing, Woodstock, Ellenville, New Paltz, Saugerties.

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.

Best Towns in Ulster County NY | Ulster County NY Tourism

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.

Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art (New Paltz, NY)

*Currently CLOSED

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.

Visitors to Katonah Museum of Art

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

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.

Walkway over Hudson in Ulster County NY
Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park

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.

Read my blog post highlighting the Walkway over the Hudson.

Ulster County for Animal Lovers

Forsyth Nature Center (Kingston, NY)

*Currently CLOSED

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.

Read my blog post highlighting Forsyth Nature Center.

Hand feeding goat in Ulster County NY

Catskill Animal Sanctuary (Saugerties, NY)

*Currently CLOSED

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 CLOSED

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)

View of the Mid-Hudson Bridge from the Walkway over the Hudson
A View of the Mid-Hudson Bridge

*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.

Ulster County for Wine Lovers

Benmarl Winery (Marlboro, NY)

Rusted truck that sits in front of Benmarl Winery tasting room

*OPEN for curbside pick-up ONLY

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.

Read my blog post highlighting Benmarl Winery.

Ulster County for Music Lovers

The Falcon (Marboro, NY)

Be a tourist in your hometown and visit a new restaurant
The Falcon Marlboro, NY

*Currently CLOSED for INDOOR dining & live music
OPEN June 19th OUTDOOR seating ONLY

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.

Read my blog post highlighting The Falcon SpringFest.

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 Ulster County NY

> With any place your visiting in the Hudson Valley, make sure you check individual websites for days/hours of operation.

> Unlike NYC, 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 particularly true when visiting Ulster County. Check the weather before heading out to your outing.

> If you like this post, my popular Ebook and Planning System, “My Top 101 Places to Visit in the Hudson Valley” has even more places listed for you to visit in Ulster County NY.

Read More:

A Visit to the Walkway over the Hudson

An afternoon at Forsyth Nature Center

Enjoying Wine & More at Benmarl Winery

Music & More at The Falcon

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.

Map Key for the Hudson Valley Exploring Map

Until the Next Adventure…

Best Towns in Ulster County NY | Ulster County NY Tourism


The view of Ulster County from the Hudson River