Located just 30 miles north of New York City, the Lower Hudson Valley offers a wealth of family attractions and activities easily reached by car, train or boat. Trust us, there is far more than just amazing real estate in the Lower Hudson Valley. With a mix of historic sites, walkable villages, outdoor adventures and homemade culinary treats, there’s always something to do. Whether you hike the Appalachian Trail or stop for destination-worthy homemade ice cream, let’s just say, a visit here will check off many of the boxes for a weekend getaway in the Hudson Valley.
Sail Through Art History, Various locations
For a unique experience, embark on a Hudson River voyage aboard historic sailboats to benefit Nyack-based Rockland Center for the Arts and the Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center. Join fellow artists and friends for a three-hour sunset sail on wide-decked authentic working historic sailboats, the Clearwater and the Pioneer. Each cruise will feature a different expert speaking on topics such as Hudson River School paintings, the bridges, Edward Hopper’s love for boats and the ecology of the Hudson River. Participate in raising the sails and learn from the crew what it is like to live onboard. The Hudson River Clearwater Sloop, a majestic 106-foot long vessel christened in 1969, will leave from Piermont for two sails Aug. 23 and 24 by the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. The Pioneer, a restored 1885 iron-sided schooner owned by South Street Seaport Museum, will leave from Haverstraw for two sails on Sept. 15 to Croton Bay north of Hook Mountain. Bring your own art supplies, sketch books and cameras and make your own art on board. Anyone ages 14 and older can participate. Tickets are $70 (for Hopper House or RoCA members) and $85 for nonmembers and can be purchased at www.edwardhopperhouse.org/sail.html or by calling Edward Hopper Museum at 845-358-0774.
Tallman Mountain State Park, Sparkill, New York
New York’s state parks offer countless opportunities to explore the Hudson Valley’s natural environment, escape the everyday grind and experience exciting new adventures. Tallman Mountain State Park, a 687-acre state park in Rockland County, New York, located adjacent to the Hudson River in the Town of Orangetown just south of historic Piermont, offers a running track, tennis courts, playfield, cross country skiing, a walking trail, hiking and picnic areas. parks.ny.gov/parks/119/details.aspx.
Hook Mountain State Park, Upper Nyack, New York
Nyack’s proximity to the Hudson River makes it an ideal recreational destination for sailing, kayaking and fishing, while nearby Hook Mountain draws cyclists and hikers throughout the year with over 675 undeveloped acres for hiking, biking and picnicking. Located behind Rockland Lake State Park, the park system can be accessed from the end of North Broadway in Upper Nyack. Open dawn to dusk. 845-268-3020; www.nynjtc.org/park/hook-mountain-state-park.
Bellvale Farms Creamery, Warwick, New York
Few traditions are as timeless as indulging in a tasty ice cream treat on a hot summer day. Though ice cream stands, shops and chains are plentiful throughout lower Hudson Valley, there are a few standouts that use handmade or locally sourced ice cream for their traditional favorites. Bellvale Farms Creamery, established in 1819, churns out fresh ice cream thanks to the dairy farm’s cows, offering a dozen or so flavors daily, each incredibly rich and heavenly. Located on 450 acres atop Mount Peter only 50 miles from New York City, the shop is a “must stop” even for hikers on the Appalachian Trail. The lines can get quite long on extra-hot days, but patrons don’t mind taking in the stunning valley views while they wait. 845-988-1818; www.bellvalefarms.com.
Stony Point Battlefield and Lighthouse, Stony Point, New York
Rockland County was once home to members of the Delaware and Lenape nations and a key position for General George Washington’s Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. The Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site, where Gen. Anthony Wayne defeated the British in a surprise attack on July 16, 1779, is the location of one of the last battles of the American Revolutionary War in the northeastern colonies and a National Historic Landmark. With a lighthouse (the oldest in New York state) and on-site museum, visitors can learn about the history of the battlefield and lighthouse through exhibits and interactive reenactments, demonstrations and family activities on weekends through Oct. 845-786-2521; parks.ny.gov/historic-sites/8/details.aspx
Warwick Drive-In, Warwick, New York
For a one-of-a kind experience, catch a flick at one of the region’s family-favorite outdoor entertainment spots: the Warwick Drive-In. Established in 1950, the theater continues to show top films to movie-loving Hudson Valley patrons. This open-air theater has three screens, each of which show double features seven days a week in the summer. The snack bar offers burgers, fries, nachos and mozzarella sticks as well as candy, popcorn (of course!) and ice cream. Pets are welcome, though be sure to keep them on their leash when outside. Credit cards are accepted for tickets: $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and ages 4-11; and kids under four are free. For movie times and more info, call 845-986-4440 or visit www.warwickdrivein.com.
Juckas Stables, Pine Bush, New York
Discover the fun and tranquility of horseback riding with friends and family while taking in New York’s beautiful Hudson Valley countryside on a trail system spanning 117 acres of breathtaking farmland, forests and lakes. Established in 1965, Juckas Stables specializes in trail rides for all ages and abilities. The family-owned and operated business also hosts summer camps and a kids’ overnight camping trip. Look out for the snapping turtles sunning themselves on the rocks and other Hudson Valley wildlife. Visitors can also check out barnyard animals, a fun diversion for the younger set. For more information, call 845-361-1429 or visit www.juckasstables.com.