Last week I took the kids to New York. We visit New York City all the time but have never ventured to New York Sate with the kids. When I was young, we used to visit the Catskill Game Farm and I have such fun memories of the area. The kids had a break from school and I decided to take them on a little adventure. It was the first time I ever traveled with all four kids on my own, so I didn’t want to go to far. All of the places listed below we 2 hours or less from our home in NJ and very easy to get to off the highway. We had such a wonderful trip and it reminded me how beautiful New York state is. Below our my recommendations for family friendly places to visit in New York in the Hudson Valley and Catskill regions.
Taking Kids to the Hudson Valley and Catskills:
Our route: we started in NJ and drove to Rhinebeck, NY. We spent the day there and then drove further north to the Catskills. There, we stopped for the night. The next day we explored the area (hiking) in the AM and then drove to Saugerties for the day and continued back to NJ.
Rhinebeck, New York with Kids:
Pete’s Famous Restaurant: Located at 34 E Market St this spot was perfect for lunch with kids. It would also be great or breakfast or dinner. You can get breakfast foods all day, plus a great list of salads, sandwiches, etc. We got a big round booth and plenty of crayons. The people were so nice the the kids and it was an overall excellent experience.
Samuel’s Sweet Shop: Located just a block from Pete’s, this candy store is adorable. It’s small enough that the kids can wander around and pick out candy. There’s a fun little chalk board for them to stop and draw on too.
Al Stickle 5 & Dime Store: this fun shop is on Market St too and a great spot for kids to explore. There are tons of toys and a little bit of everything else too.
Land of Oz Toys: This is one of the coolest toy stores we’ve visited. You walk in through a cute little blue picket fence. The first floor is an assortment of toys to browse and buy. Downstairs is a playroom that is amazing for kids who have been stuck in the car for the past few hours. They can run around, play trains, throw darts, hop in a play house, cook in a toy kitchen and more. There’s even a giant treasure chest filled with toys. We played for a while, shopped and quite frankly didn’t want to leave!
Kesicke Farm: We left the center of town and drove about 5 minutes to Kesicke Farm. It was a wonderful spot! If your kids love farm animals, they will love this farm. There are so many friendly animals to meet, including a line of bunny hutches. In addition to animals there’s a corn maze, pumpkin picking, a corn pit to dig in, a play area to climb, mini tractors to ride and more. This is a farm we will definitely be going back to.
Saugerties, New York with Kids:
Miss Lucy’s: This may be my favorite kid friendly lunch spot to date. You walk in and it’s decorated with vintage aprons. The menu has a nice welcome to families/kids and there’s a great kids’ menu. While we waited there was a cart the kids could visit and pick out crayons, pads of paper and even an magna doodle to play with. The food was also delicious and most was from local farms.
Hudson Valley Dessert Company: We stopped here for cookies and coffee (for mom). The cookies were amazing – decorated as foxes, unicorns, flowers, etc. and were way more reasonably priced than any other bakery i’ve taken my clan to. There were cute little booths by the window to see at and a giant chalkboard wall to enjoy.
Saugerties Lighthouse: I think this may have been the highlight of our trip. The Saugerties Lighthouse is located on the Hudson River and was built in 1869. You park about a half mile from the lighthouse and walk along the river/through the woods to get there. You can take a stroller most of the way but then when you get closer, the path is sand and pretty narrow. We left our stroller at that point and picked it up on the walk back. The kids were amazing that we were walking through trees and then all of a sudden the path opened up to a giant brick lighthouse and incredible views of the river. We spent time exploring the rocks and water around the lighthouse before walking back. This is important: you have to time the visit with the tides. You can view the tide schedule and directions on how to time your trip on their website, but there are certain times of the day that the path is covered in water/ you can’t access the lighthouse.
Where to stay in the Hudson Valley/ Catskill Region of New York:
We stayed at the Winter Clove Inn in the Catskills. This family resort is all inclusive and located on over 300 acres. The grounds are beautiful and have a lot to offer – including history. The Inn has been welcoming guests since the 1800’s. The stay includes 3 (delicious) meals in their dinning room. My kids loved that our name was on the table, welcoming us at each meal.
There are so many activities and amenities including: heated indoor and outdoor pool, 9 hole complimentary golf course, bowling ally and game room, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, beautiful waterfalls and miles of of hiking, mountain biking and cross country skiing trails. The bowling was a huge hit with my kids. It’s an antique bowling alley in a big game room/lodge. If they’re not into bowling there’s a fun area of kids toys right by the lanes for them to play with. Winter Clove really is awesome for families and they have thought of everything for making a comfortable stay for guests with kids.
The hikes available and the waterfalls to see right on the grounds were amazing. My girls wanted the “hike in the woods” when they found out we were going to the mountains. While I “try” to be adventurous… something about hiking along in the woods with 4 kids (2 of which are toddlers) seemed a little crazy. The hikes right on the grounds were beautiful and I was close enough to the Inn to still feel comfortable “hiking” with the kids. The Winter Clove Inn also has a great section on their website of places to visit in the area. It was really helpful in planning and I would recommend checking it out if you’re looking for more things to do.
Depending on where you are located, Rhinebeck and Saugerties are a great day trip or you could make a vacation out of it. I wish we stayed at least a night longer to explore the Catskills more. If you’re in the tri-state area this region of New York is close by and very easily accessible. We plan to head back next month, so if you have any recommendations of places to see, eat or stay. Please share them!
Visiting New York City with kids? Check out this post: A New York City Mini Vacation with Kids