Known best for its beautiful landscapes and the Hudson River, the Hudson Valley is so much more than apple trees, the majestic river and mountains. A visit to the Hudson Valley today will be filled with up-and-coming towns, a thriving artists’ scene, award-winning restaurants, distilleries, breweries, and cideries abound.
Although many people love to visit this region of New York State, there are a lot of mistakes you can make when planning your trip and while you’re here.
What NOT TO DO before your visit to the Hudson Valley
No matter what time of year you plan to visit the Hudson Valley, the Number 1 mistake people make is not Planning and Researching enough.
Many places in the Hudson Valley are closed for the Winter season (restaurants, historic sites, etc) and some places are not open during the week AT ALL.
Some places are open for limited hours on the weekends, leaving many unprepared people feeling frustrated.
So make sure to check times of operation before heading out.
Other locations may be closed for special events, while a usually quiet town may be filled to the brims, during your visit, because of a Yearly Festival you knew nothing about.
And this may not be what you expected or envisioned for that visit.
The weather is another factor people don’t take into consideration when planning a visit to the Hudson Valley.
The region has three distinct sections and the weather can be drastically different in the Lower Hudson Valley (Yonkers, NY), Middle Hudson Valley (Poughkeepsie, NY) and in the Upper Hudson Valley (Albany, NY).
With so much to see and do in the Hudson Valley, planning a visit can be overwhelming but with these 20+ tips, I can assure you that you will be well prepared and you will make your visit both memorable and everything you had hoped for.
The following tips are essential when planning a visit to the Hudson Valley, especially since these tips are coming from yours truly: a Hudson Valley Native!
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Traveling to the Hudson Valley
Tip #1: Flying to the Hudson Valley
If you’re not from the immediate area, there are several major airports that can get you in and out of the Hudson Valley with minimal hassle. The airport you choose is dependent on where you plan on staying for the majority of your visit and your budget.
Your choices of airports include:
- Albany International Airport
- Newburgh International Airport
- Westchester County Airport/White Plains Airport
If you prefer to stay outside of the Hudson Valley, it is easy enough to travel to many parts of the Hudson Valley using the railroad or a car.
Contrary to popular belief, there are several larger cities in the Hudson Valley and these hubs offer train service for those visiting from the North and the South. White Plains, Poughkeepsie, and Albany are just a few that I can think of off the top of my head.
The Metro-North Railroad is the perfect way to get to and from the Hudson Valley and NYC. Unfortunately, the train only runs from Grand Central to Poughkeepsie (Hudson Line), Wassaic (Harlem Line), and Port Jervis, NY (Port Jervis Line).
A car is then needed if you’re planning to travel to other parts of the region.
Now, if you plan to travel from NYC to the Upper Hudson Valley Region (Hudson, Albany, Rhinecliff), then Amtrak is your best bet. I suggest you purchase your ticket in advance in order to get the best deal.
Tip #2: Driving to the Hudson Valley
Taking a drive to visit different areas of the Hudson Valley may be one of the best ways to enjoy the scenery, countryside, towns and cities.
There are several major highways in and out of the Hudson Valley.
A few of the well-traveled roadways/highways are: the New York State Thruway (North-South), Interstate-684 (North-South) and the Taconic State Parkway (North-South).
Getting around during your Visit to the Hudson Valley
Tip #3: Driving within the Hudson Valley Region
If you are traveling by airplane or train to the Hudson Valley, then a car is essential to get around the area.
Because the Hudson Valley region consists of several counties, a car is usually necessary. Larger cities have public transportation that can easily take you to popular places in the area.
Planning your visit to the Hudson Valley
Tip #4: Research your Destination
Learn as much as you can about the area before you go. Research the places you want to visit. It would be disappointing to get to a location and realize that it is closed for the season of crowded because of a Special Event you were unaware of. Some places are only open seasonally (April through October) and many places host Festivals and special events throughout the warmer months.
Tip #5: Check the HVE Events Page
Also check My Facebook Page for any events happening in the places you’ll be visiting, so you don’t miss anything fun. A Festival may be something that you’re in the mood for.
Tip #6: Make a list
Make a list of all the places you want to go. Even if you don’t see it all, at least you have a list ready that can be used for another visit.
TIP: Don’t over-schedule yourself, though, and be able to go with the flow.
Be spontaneous and go where the locals go.
Tip #7: Google Maps is your friend
Plot everything in Google Maps to see what is close to each other and make the most out of your outing.
Plotting your visit will also assist in making a well-informed reservation at a local hotel (if needed), both by location and affordability.
Tip #8: Check the Weather
Make sure to check the weather before your visit. Although the seasons are relatively predictable, the weather may change very quickly. Try to wear the right clothes for the weather and your particular outing.
LOCAL TIP: The Best place to access local weather is on my favorite HV Weather Website:
Hudson Valley Weather
When to Visit the Hudson Valley
Tip #9: When should you visit?
Spring and Autumn are the most popular times of the year to visit the Hudson Valley, weather-wise. Summer is often hot and humid while the Winter months are often frigid and can be very snowy.
While a visit to the Hudson Valley is enjoyable any time of the year, Autumn-time is magical. The trees are dressed up in vibrant colors and the crisp air warrants a walk, run, hike or bike ride. The Fall Festivals are also abundant and occur most weekends.
Experience your Hudson Valley Visit
Tip #10: Make the most of your visit
Always be present! Sometimes you have to put the phone down and just enjoy every single moment.
Tip #11: Walk
Walk around! Even if it’s a small town, just go out and walk around and explore where the locals go. You see more by walking than when you’re driving. And you will possibly bump into a hidden treasure that is not listed in a guide book or a blog.
Tip #12: Be Spontaneous!
Say “Yes!” Keep your options open. Try something new. You never know what will happen. Some of my best memories have been from trying something I/we would normally not try.
Tip #13: Talk to the Locals
If you’re visiting a town, talk to the locals and shop owners. You will get the best recommendations for restaurants, cafes, and local hidden gems straight from the people who live in the area.
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Tips for being Tourist in your Hometown: the Fun way to explore locally
Tip #14: Take lots of photos but…
Take a lot of quick photos and then put away the camera to experience the day.
Tip #15: Go Solo
Don’t be afraid to explore on your own. I do most of my Hudson Valley exploring with my daughter, but on several occasions, I venture out on my own and love doing so. Just me and my Tripod…
When solo exploring, make sure that you head to a public location that has security and people around. I also make sure to go during the day. I do not explore any new places at night.
Packing for a Visit to the Hudson Valley
Tip #16: Packing List
If you’re planning to spend a few days exploring or planning a Weekend Getaway, make a packing list to guarantee that you don’t forget anything.
Tip #17: Road Trip Car List
Have a Road Trip List with car essentials in case you explore more rural areas. In this instance, it’s best to be over-prepared.
ROAD TRIP TIP: Get instant access to my Road Trip Car and Snack Lists in order to plan the perfect Road Trip.
Tip #18: Be Prepared
Bring a Portable Power Bank if you plan to use your phone for your outing. Between calls, GPS, and photos, the batteries tend to die quickly.
Other essentials include: charging cords and a portable tripod, like this one.
Tip #19: Get a Backpack
A good backpack is always essential. I prefer ones that are small enough to easily locate my things but that have inside pockets for keeping my valuables safe.
Tip #20: Download Apps
Download all the apps you need before leaving on your visit.
Tip #21: Picture-Taking Tips
Always take the picture and try to be IN the picture. Even if you feel silly taking that selfie, you will be happy to have it after your visit is over.
Tip #22: Some Free Places to Visit
There are many FREE places and attractions up and down the Hudson River Valley. Below is a very small sampling of great places to visit that don’t cost a thing!
- New Windsor Cantonment & the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor
- West Point Museum
- Rockland Center for the Arts
- Rye Nature Center
PRO TIP: Access our Comprehensive List of Hudson Valley Outings for $10 or less per person today!
Tip #23: Some Popular Places to Visit
With so many free places in the Hudson Valley, it can be tempting to not patron the places that charge an admission fee, but these places are well worth the price of admission. Popular places include:
Tip #24: Some Historical Sites to Visit
The Hudson Valley is so full of history that a trip to the region cannot be made without visiting some of the World-Famous Historical Sites, such as:
- Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh
- Fort Montgomery Historical Site
- Gomez Mill House
- Van Cortlandt Manor
Tip #25: Book a Tour
Take a tour! Hudson Valley Bucketlist offers Wine tours and food tours to satisfy any palate. These public tours are exactly what you need to experience and explore the best of the Hudson Valley. Contact them through their website for more information.
Some of their tours are:
- The Winemaker Tour
- Beacon Bites and Beverages
- Rhinebeck Paired Tastings
- And More…
Visit and Eat in the Hudson Valley
Tip #26: Make Reservations
If you’re planning a weekend visit, Reservations are always recommended. During the Warmer months, I suggest making reservations several weeks before your planned visit. Many local favorites, especially near the Hudson River, will book up rather quickly on the weekends.
Tip #27: Research the Restaurant Before you Go
With all the new & unique culinary experiences in the Hudson Valley, make sure you do your research regarding restaurants. Some menus may be too complicated or complex, especially if you’re dining with children.
Tip #28: Visit Seasonal Farmers’ Markets
Make sure to visit a Hudson Valley Farmers’ Market during the Spring, Summer and Fall. These are wonderful community hubs and besides the local produce, some of these markets offer other activities, as well as, Food trucks.
The Hudson Valley is a monumental place to visit and explore. With the abundance of things to do, there is no shortage of adventures you can take either alone, with a significant other and/or as a family.
Keep in mind that your experience may be different each time you visit the Hudson Valley. It is often dependent on the weather or season.
My #1 Tip is to do your research. Even if you’re traveling a few hours from home or from a few states away, research is always key. That is why Hudson Valley Exposed was created and is certain to be your go-to resource for seeing the Hudson Valley.
Until the Next Adventure…
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