Visit the Hudson Valley: 20+ Tips for Visiting any Time of the Year

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Best known for its beautiful landscapes and the Hudson River, the Hudson Valley is so much more than apple trees, the majestic river and mountains. When you visit the Hudson Valley region will also be visiting up-and-coming towns, a thriving artists’ scene, award-winning restaurants, distilleries, breweries, and cideries abound.

A view of the Hudson River from Bannerman Island.

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 on your visit.

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). No matter what time of the year you visit, some places are not open during the week AT ALL and only accept visitors on the weekends.

Some places are open for limited hours on the weekends, leaving many unprepared people feeling frustrated.

So make sure to check days and times of operation before heading out to your destination.

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.

Check the Weather

The weather is another factor people don’t take into consideration when planning a visit to the Hudson Valley.

The region has three distinct areas 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).

Let’s Begin this Adventure

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 and Resident!

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:

A very important tip for visiting the Hudson Valley is to use one of the local airports in the area.

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 system 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.

Planning a visit to the Hudson Valley by train is as easy as buying a train ticket through the MTA Metro-North Railroad or Amtrak.

Metro North Hudson Line Train heading North | Hudson Valley Tourism

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)
  • Port Chester (New Haven Line)
  • Wassaic (Harlem Line)

The trains also travel from New Jersey to:

  • Port Jervis, NY (Port Jervis Line)
  • Spring Valley (Pascack Valley Line)

A car is then needed if you’re planning to travel to other parts of the region from any of the above-mentioned train stations.

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.

traveling through the Hudson Valley region in a car at sunset

A few of the well-traveled roadways/highways are the New York State Thruway/I-87 (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 or 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.

Researching information about the Hudson Valley on the computer

Tip #5: Check the HVE Events Page

Also check My Facebook Events Group Page for any events happening in the places you’ll be visiting. I would hate for you to miss anything fun. A Festival may be something that you’re in the mood for.

The Hudson Valley Things to do Facebook Group

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.

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.

I have had great luck using for some of our travel needs.

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.

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 at 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. Fall Festivals are also abundant and occur at 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 around!

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.

Walk Around Quote.

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.

Tips for being a 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…

Using a tripod to Explore the Hudson Valley

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.

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.

Packing your items for a day out in the Hudson Valley is essential.

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.

General Tips for Exploring

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!

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:

The Entrance to the Mid-Hudson Children's Museum is bright and inviting.

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 Historic Site
  • Gomez Mill House
  • Van Cortlandt Manor
The entrance to the Mill Gomez House in the Spring. This historic home is located in Orange County, Hudson Valley

Tip #25: Book a Tour

Take a tour! Hudson Valley Bucketlist offers Wine tours and food tours to satisfy any palate. These 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 during the warmer months.

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.

The Culinary Institute of America is located along the Hudson River in Hyde Park, NY

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.

In Conclusion

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 this blog was created and is certain to be your go-to resource for seeing the Hudson Valley.

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.

Until the Next Adventure…


Thanks for sharing!

2 thoughts on “Visit the Hudson Valley: 20+ Tips for Visiting any Time of the Year”

  1. I like that you suggest doing a lot of research before your visit, so you can get to know the location. My family is planning a trip to New York this year, so we have been looking up the best Hudson Valley happenings to attend while we are there. I will keep this in mind while we are planning our vacation itinerary.

    1. Iā€™m happy to have been able to help with the suggestions in this post. Have fun planning, too! And, especially, have fun during your visit.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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