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

Hudson Valley Parks are the Best free things to do in the Hudson Valley
This Hudson Valley Planning System is all you need to plan the perfect itinerary like a pro!

[Updated: 2/18/2020]

If you’re like me, I’m sure you’re trying to think of Free and Fun Things to do (with and without Kids) in the Hudson Valley 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.

Entrance to the West Point Museum

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.

Hudson River View from West Point Visitors Center ww
West Point Visitors Center

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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 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.

There are so many fun things to do (with or without kids) in the Hudson Valley, 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 and fun things to do in the Hudson Valley and also activities that everyone will enjoy.

Below you will find More than 9 Free Things to do in the Hudson Valley.

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

PRO TIP:
Make sure you come back and check this list of ideas 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

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 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 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

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 Hudson Valley Activities.

No 3: Untermyer Gardens

Untermyer Gardens – Located in Yonkers, NY (Westchester County, NY) the uniqueness of Untermyer Gardens doesn’t lie in its beauty and grandeur. 

It also doesn’t lie in its views of the Hudson River. What makes Untermyer SO unique is that it is a ‘Walled Garden’.

Untermyer Garden Entrance Fountain Trees
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 saw you will be swept away in the beauty or enjoy one of the tours (for a Fee) offered on the weekends.

READY TO EXPLORE A SPECIAL GARDEN BEHIND A WALL?
Start by reading all about my visit to
Untermyer Park & Gardens.

No 4: West Point Museum

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).

DO YOU LIKE MUSEUMS?
HOW ABOUT A FREE MUSEUM?
Take a minute and read my blog post all about my visit to
West Point Museum

No 5: Hike 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.

A few of my favorite outdoor walking areas include the Westchester RiverWalk and the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail in Ulster County, NY.

And don’t forget about the Walkway Over the Hudson!

the view as you walk across the Hudson

THINKING ABOUT VISITING THIS GREAT PLACE?
Read all about
My Visit to the Walkway Over the Hudson State Park

No 6: Rockland Center for the Arts

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).

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.

IF YOU ENJOY ART, THEN READ MY POST ABOUT:
My Visit to the Rockland Center for the Arts

No 7: Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture

Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture – located in Tarrytown, NY (Westchester County). Open from Wednesday through Friday 10 am – 5 pm. The farm is Open Year-Round.

They offer tours (for a fee), and the farm itself is open to the public for free on Wed, Thurs, and Fri. There is a Fee on the weekends.

Hudson Valley Events Calendar

No 8: 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.

FEELING PATRIOTIC?
Then a Visit to the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
should be in your plans.

No 9: Chuang Yen Monastery

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.

No 10: Art in the Hudson Valley

Donald Kendall Sculpture Gardens

Visit this outdoor sculpture garden on the grounds of the PepsiCo work headquarters.

A visit to the Donald M Kendall Sculpture Gardens, in Purchase, NY, is a step away from the business of nearby White Plains.

Open to the public seasonally from March – October, on Saturdays & Sundays, this is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy these amazing sculptures.

Pelham Art Center

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.

Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art

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.

No 11: 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 facade 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
> Franklin D Roosevelt National Historic Site, Hyde Park, NY
> George Washington’s Headquarters, Newburgh, NY

No. 12: Hudson Valley Nature Centers & Museums

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

Some local favorites include:

No 13: Museum/Art Centers Monthly Free Events on Select days

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.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
All About My Visit to DIA: Beacon

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

WANNA HAVE FUN WITH YOUNG CHILDREN?
Try The
Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum

Some of these places include:

No 14: Visit a local or ‘not-so-local’ Hudson Valley Park

Local 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
Hudson River view while on Ferry to Bannerman Castle and Tour
Long Dock Park, Beacon, Dutchess County

No 15: Seasonal FREE movies

While doing research for my Hudson Valley Events Calendar, I noticed that several parks and State Historic Sites 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.
    • 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.

Explore my Hudson Valley Map –

My interactive map features all of the attractions, parks, museums and businesses I’ve featured to date!
My blog posts are linked to the pinned locations.

Be sure to zoom in and/or out in order to see all the places.

Symbol Key for Map

Where will you go to Next?

Now that you have Some Ideas and a Starting Point, Go Ahead, and Start Planning Away.

Let me know what your Next Adventure will be in the comments below!

Until The Next Adventure…

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A list of free things to do in the Hudson Valley
About Author

Jackie is the HV blogger behind Hudson Valley Exposed, featuring the hottest things to do, places to see and weekend getaways. Get information from a local who is seeing it all! She lives in the Mid-Hudson Valley Region with her hubby, kids, and doggies.

8 Comments

  • Kit
    May 25, 2019 at 3:50 PM

    Wow! Thanks for this informative post. It looks like Hudson Valley has loads to offer, and your pictures are great!

    Reply
    • Jackie
      May 25, 2019 at 4:48 PM

      Thanks so much for the compliment on the post and the photos! Yes, there is so much to do.

      Reply
  • Ellen O'Leary
    July 23, 2019 at 7:03 PM

    Thank you SO much for all of this information. Can’t wait to check it all out. I have done some already. Really appreciate your time and effort.

    Reply
    • Jackie
      July 23, 2019 at 7:52 PM

      You are very welcome, Ellen! I cannot say enough about the Hudson Valley. I find that every year the list of places I want to see and things to do gets longer. 52 weeks just isn’t enough! Have fun!

      Reply
  • Jean M Alexis
    August 18, 2019 at 11:17 AM

    I love your site, I was looking for activities to do in Rockland County with my group, and the majority of them are living on a tight budget. I would like more suggestions on activities in or around the West Haverstraw area. Please give me some ideas for the winter season. thank you so much.

    Reply
    • Jackie
      August 18, 2019 at 3:02 PM

      Hi Jean! Thanks for the compliment and for your kind words. I will do some research and see what I can find in the area. I appreciate you taking the time to leave me a comment. Have a great day!

      Reply
  • Jack
    February 7, 2020 at 11:34 PM

    Where was the picture of the East Asian temple taken?

    Reply

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