15+ Free Things to do (with or w/o Kids) in the Hudson Valley

[Updated: 9/25/2020]

If you’re like me, I’m sure you’re trying to think of Free Things to do in the Hudson Valley (with or without children) or, at least, that you can do without spending a ton of money.

The problem is, that most Hudson Valley Activities that are both convenient and fun, can also cost a lot of money.

That can be a real burden for many and, especially, those with larger families.

COVID-19 NOTICE:

Due to the continued concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19, some or all of these locations may be subject to closure.
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.

Entrance to the West Point Museum. This is a great free thing to do in the Hudson Valley

Trust me, I know…

I’ve been in your position and after much trial and error and much research, I think I have found a solution for you.

A view of the Hudson River from the West Point Visitors Center
West Point Visitors Center

If you’ve ever wondered what fun activities are there for you to do, for free, with or without kids in the Hudson Valley, then I am here to help you.

After much researching and lots of visiting, I’ve compiled this list of the places that are sure to make any outing A Special One!

AN ADDED BONUS: These are SUPER FUN things to do in the Hudson Valley.

Take a look at these free things to do in the Hudson Valley and let me know what you think…

Things to do in Putnam County on warmer days. Chuang Yen Monastery is open to the public seasonally.
Chuang Yen Monastery, Putnam County, NY

Free Things to do in the Hudson Valley

SOME TIPS FOR ENJOYING THE DAY IN THE HUDSON VALLEY:
> Plan your day ahead of time.
> Make sure to Double-Check the days and times the places/activities are open. They sometimes change seasonally.
> Check the weather, as some of these places are outdoors.
> Take lots of photos so you can reminisce about your outing at a later time!
> Remember: You don’t need to travel far or spend a lot of money in order to Have Fun!

It is in our nature to go out, explore, learn and try new things. And the Hudson Valley is a wonderful place to do all of that.

For information regarding the various cities & towns in all the Hudson Valley counties, you can take a look here.

There are so many free things to do in the Hudson Valley (with or without children), that the list seems endless. Every time I research a place, I find one or two other places I didn’t know about.

Trust me! You don’t need to travel far in order to find some free things to do in the Hudson Valley and also activities that everyone will enjoy, because they are also fun.

Below you will find MORE THAN 9 Free Things to do in the Hudson Valley.

You can enjoy them during school breaks, weekends and/or during any time of the year. Some of these places are seasonal, though, so make sure to check out the websites included before making plans and visiting.

PRO TIP:
Make sure you come back and check this list of free things to do in the Hudson Valley when you’re looking for something fun to do.
These places and activities are NOT limited to having fun with children but can also be enjoyed by adults just the same.

No 1: Stony Kill Farm

*Hiking Trails are OPEN and Open Barn Weekends requires pre-registration on their website.

HOURS:
7 days a week; sunrise to sunset
WEBSITE:
stonykill.org

Stony Kill Farm – Stony Kill Farm is a working farm located in Wappingers Falls, NY (Dutchess County).

This is one of my favorite Hudson Valley Kids Activities, although I will admit, that I also enjoy going without my children. They have walking trails, farm animals out in the pasture and amazing gardens to explore.

On the List of Free things to do in the Hudson Valley, you can find Stony Kill Farm in Wappingers Falls.

They normally have the Barn open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am – 1 pm. Parking and entrance are free (a donation is always appreciated).

In addition to the animals, there is a play area in the barn which makes this one of the Top Free Things to do in the Hudson Valley.

Children can explore the hands-on activities and learn more about the farm animals and equipment used to run a farm.

No 2: Trailside Museum and Zoo

*Museum & Zoo are currently OPEN to the Public

HOURS:
7 days a week; 10am – 4:30pm
WEBSITE:
www.trailsidezoo.org

Trailside Museum and Zoo – located at the Bear Mountain State Park (Rockland County), the zoo and museums are Open Year-Round from 10 am-4: 30 pm.

Things to do with kids in the Hudson Valley do not have to be pricey. There are free things to do, like the Trailside Museum and Zoo.

Although the zoo & museums are FREE (a donation is always appreciated), there is a Parking Fee to enter and park at Bear Mountain State Park ($10 per car).

This outing is particularly enjoyable for kids and it is also educational for adults. The majority of the animals on site are being rehabilitated from injuries suffered in the wild or in captivity.

In addition to the animals, there are four (4) Museums on the property: Herpetology Museum, Nature Study Museum, Geology Museum, and History Museum. Each is unique and incredibly interesting to visit.

With all these wonderful things to do at the Trailside Zoo & Museum, you can guess why it’s one of the Top Free Things to do in the Hudson Valley.

Read my blog post highlighting Bear Mountain Activities, including the Trailside Museums & Zoo

No 3: Untermyer Gardens

*Garden is OPEN only on the weekends. Pre-reserved times slots are required for entry.

HOURS:
Untermyer Gardens is currently CLOSED to the public during the week and is ONLY Open on the WEEKENDS with Pre-Purchased Reservations ONLY
WEBSITE:
www.untermyergardens.org

Untermyer Gardens – Located in Yonkers, NY (Westchester County, NY) the uniqueness of Untermyer Gardens is not only in its beauty and grandeur. 

The views of the Hudson River are majestic. What makes Untermyer SO unique is that it is a ‘Walled Garden’.

The entrance fountain at the Untermyer Gardens.
Untermyer Gardens, Westchester County
These Statues are located at Untermyer Gardens. This walled garden is picturesque and is one of the amazing things you can do for free in the Hudson Valley.
Untermyer Gardens, Westchester County

This hidden gem in the Hudson Valley makes it one of the Top Free Things to do in the Hudson Valley.

Walking into Untermyer makes you feel as if have entered an enchanted, secret garden and you somewhat expect fairies to fly by you as they chase each other.

Spend an afternoon here! Trust me when I say that you will be swept away in the beauty or enjoy one of the tours (for a Fee) offered on the weekends.

Read my blog post highlighting Untermyer Park & Gardens.

No 4: West Point Museum & Visitors Center

*Museum and Visitors Center is currently OPEN to the Public

MUSEUM HOURS:
7 days a week: 10:30am – 4:15pm
VISITORS CENTER HOURS:
7 days a week: 9am – 4:45pm
MUSEUM INFORMATION:
www.facebook.com/WestPointMuseum
VISITORS CENTER WEBSITE:
www.westpoint.edu/visiting-west-point/visitors-center

West Point Museum – Located in West Point, NY (Orange County), the West Point Museum is typically not what people go to West Point to see.

Just outside the gates of the Famous Military Academy stands a museum full of history.

Whether you’re a history buff or your kids are interested in history, the West Point museum has an amazing collection of artifacts and models. The showcases are filled with objects, models and both educational and interesting information.

West Point Museum located in West Point, NY houses a vast collection of historical memorabilia. This museum offers something Free to do in the Hudson Valley.

In addition, they have a cannon collection in the lowest basement that will leave you in awe. The museum is Open Daily from 10:30 am-4: 15 pm and is always free (a donation is always appreciated).

The amount of information and artifacts located under one roof is impressive and this is why this is one of the Top Free things to do in the Hudson Valley.

Read my blog post highlighting all the things you can see at the West Point Museum.

No 5: Hike the Hudson Valley – One of the Favorite Things to do in the Hudson Valley

Take a Hike – Weather permitting, the Hudson Valley offers an abundance of hiking trails in every single county.

As some of you may know, I’m not a hiker or an outdoors person, but I do like to take walks outdoors.

I plan to start researching walking trails and I can’t wait to make a list and start exploring some new places.

Visitors flock to the area to hike the magnificent mountains in the area. It’s no wonder why it’s one of Best Free Things to do in the Hudson Valley.

A few of my favorite outdoor walking areas include the:

Read my blog post highlighting the Walkway over the Hudson.

the view as you walk across the Hudson

No 6: Rockland Center for the Arts

*The Gallery is OPEN with scheduled appointment | Sculpture Park is OPEN

GALLERY:
Mon – Fri: 10am – 4pm
Sat & Sun: 1pm – 4pm
WEBSITE:
rocklandartcenter.org

Rockland Center for the Arts – located in West Nyack, NY (Rockland County).

Art lovers everywhere can rejoice in knowing that the Rockland Center for the Arts offers an unforgettable collection of art in one place.

My favorite part of RoCA is the Catherine Konner Sculpture Garden. It’s Open Year-Round from Dawn to Dusk and is free to the public (a donation is always appreciated).

SCULPTURE PARK HOURS:
Everyday; sunrise to sunset
WEBSITE:
rocklandartcenter.org

Rockland Center for the Arts is located in Rockland County. This free Art Center offers both indoor and outdoor space. This is a great free thing to do in the Hudson Valley.

The inside gallery changes its exhibit periodically, so make sure to check their website and visit often.

Art lovers can rejoice at its close proximity to the bridge connecting Westchester County, NY to Rockland County, NY. There are so many other things to do in the area, its no wonder why it’s one of the Top Free things to do in the Hudson Valley.

Read my blog post highlighting the Rockland Center for the Arts.

No 7: National Purple Heart Hall of Honor

UPDATED:
As of November 2019, the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is closed for a long term expansion project. I will update this post again when it re-opens.

National Purple Heart Hall of Honor – located in New Windsor, NY (Orange County). This is another great FREE location for those who love history.

You can stroll through the Hall of Honor and look at photos and medals associated with each branch of the Armed Forces. You can also enjoy the day outdoors at the New Windsor Cantonment located on the same grounds.

Ever wonder who receives a Purple Heart? A visit to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor will answer this question and so much more.
A trip to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is like no other. Located in New Windsor, NY the Hall of Honor honors the men and women who received a Purple Heart from the armed forces.

During the warmer months, the New Windsor Cantonment hosts reenactments and several fun and educational events.

Read my blog post highlighting the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.

No 8: Chuang Yen Monastery

*Currently CLOSED to the Public

HOURS:
Apr 1 – Dec 31: 7 days a week; 9am – 5pm
WEBSITE:
www.baus.org

One of the most beautiful and underrated places in the Hudson Valley is the Chuang Yen Monastery in Putnam County, NY.

This is the home to the largest statue of Buddha in the Western Hemisphere.

In fact, the statue of Buddha and the Buddhist Temple are set on an amazingly scenic property of over 200 acres. All this in the town of Kent & Carmel, NY.

Read my article highlighting the Chuang Yen Monastery.

No 9: Magazzino Italian Art

*Currently OPEN to the Public

HOURS:
Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday
11am – 5pm
WEBSITE:
www.magazzino.art

Visit this quaint art museum located in the heart of Putnam County, NY.

A visit to the Magazzino Italian Art in Cold Spring, NY, is a few minutes away from the historic village of Cold Spring.

Open to the public year-round, from Thursdays to Mondays, this is the perfect place to enjoy amazing art, both past and present made by Italian artists.

Read my article highlighting Magazzino Italian Art.

No. 10: Pelham Art Center

*The Center is OPEN

HOURS:
Tuesdays – Fridays: 10am – 5pm
Saturdays: 10am – 4pm
WEBSITE:
www.pelhamartcenter.org

This unique center is the hub for education and culture in the area. Located in Pelham, NY, they offer free exhibits and programs for all.

This unique space offers both indoor and outdoor exhibits.

No. 11: Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

*Currently OPEN to the Public

HOURS:
Sat: 10am – 5pm | Sunday: 1pm – 5pm
WEBSITE:
fllac.vassar.edu

If you’re looking to spend an afternoon in Poughkeepsie, then a visit to the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center should be on your list.

In addition to being located on the campus of Vassar College, it was the first college or university in the country to include an art museum in its original plan. With over 22,000 pieces of art, this is a wonderful place to visit.

Open year-round, they welcome all visitors to enjoy their exhibits.

No 12: Historic Sites all around the Hudson Valley

Did you know that the grounds where our Most Famous and Popular Historic Sites are located have no fee to walk the grounds?

That’s right…

A fee is charged for Tours of the Historic buildings but not to walk around the property.

George Washington's Headquarters is located along the Hudson River in Newburgh, NY. It's one of the best things to do when you visit Orange County, NY
Washington’s Headquarters, Newburgh, NY
Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park
Vanderbilt Mansion, Ulster County
Lyndhurst Mansion is host to many wonderful Hudson Valley Events all year long
Lyndhurst Mansion, Tarrytown

The following places allow visitors to enter the grounds and walk around for FREE:
> Vanderbilt Mansion, Hyde Park, NY (Buildings closed | Grounds Open) Read my article all about it HERE
> Franklin D Roosevelt National Historic Site, Hyde Park, NY (Buildings closed | Grounds Open)
> George Washington’s Headquarters, Newburgh, NY (Building tours by app’t only | Grounds open) Read my article all about it

Guide to Hudson Valley Historic Sites

Reference this Guide to Hudson Valley Historic Sites before heading out to any of these beautiful & educational locations.

No. 13: Hudson Valley Nature Centers

Just like the Historic Sites, many Nature Centers do not charge a fee to walk on the grounds.

Some local favorites include:

No 14: Museums & Art Centers Monthly Free Events on Select days

*Due to the continued concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19, these locations are currently closed to the public. Check their website for updated information.

Museum/Art Centers Monthly offer Free Admission on Select days – Keep in mind that many places in the Hudson Valley offer a FREE day once a month. Make sure to check out their websites for the exact days.

This exhibit at DIA: Beacon is intriguing. And it can be seen during the Free Admission days.
DIA:Beacon
Sign at the front of the Mid-Hudson Children's Museum in Poughkeepsie, NY

Some of these places include:

No 15: Visit local or ‘not-so-local’ Hudson Valley Parks

Local Hudson Valley parks and playgrounds – Weather permitting, get in the car or take a train to explore a playground in another town or area of the Hudson Valley.

What can I say? I love a good park. With so many to choose from, I’m sure you will find your own favorite in the area.

  • Tibbett’s Book Park in Yonkers
  • Long Dock Park in Beacon, NY
  • Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls, NY
  • Franny Reese State Park in Highland, NY
  • Hudson Highlands in Cold Spring, NY
  • James Baird State Park in Pleasant Valley, NY
  • Black Creek Preserve, Esopus, NY
  • Clarence Fahnestock State Park in Putnam Valley, NY
  • FDR State Park in Yorktown Heights, NY
  • Kensico Dam, Valhalla
  • Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson, NY
  • Willson’s Wood Park in Mount Vernon, NY
  • Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, beginning in Yonkers up to Cortlandt (Read all about it HERE)
Hudson River view while on Ferry to Bannerman Castle and Tour
Long Dock Park, Beacon, Dutchess County

No 16: Seasonal FREE movies

While doing research for my Hudson Valley Facebook Group, I noticed that several parks and State Historic Sites usually offer free seasonal movies.

A movie screen is set up at Landing Park in Poughkeepsie, NY
Movies under the Walkway over the Hudson

For instance:

  • Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site offers a free winter series called, “Saturday Family Movie”.
    • Bring a blanket and a snack and enjoy family-friendly movies throughout the Winter
    • Favorites include: The Aristocats & The Nut Job
  • Walkway over the Hudson State Park hosts free movies under the walkway during the summer months.
    (Event CANCELLED for 2020)
    • A fun night out for the whole family includes a musical performance before the movie and local food trucks ready to sell local yummy favorites.

MORE FREE THINGS TO SEE & DO IN THE HUDSON VALLEY:


HAVE YOU VISITED ANY OF THESE LOCATIONS?
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Where to Next???

Now that you have learned about Free things to do in the Hudson Valley, let’s see where you should go next…

Until The Next Adventure…

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A list of free things to do in the Hudson Valley

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Hi, I’m Jackie!

I am a Native New Yorker who moved to the Hudson Valley for college and fell in love instantly. 
I believe that you don’t have to travel far in order to have an Amazing Adventure. Join me on my Adventures and see the HV through the lens of my camera. Come Join Me!