The Catskills for Families

The Catskills for Families

We’ve always loved the peacefulness, the gorgeous lakes, waterfalls, hikes, quiet meadows, and charming downtowns in upstate NY. And it seems in the past few years that most of NYC has taken notice of the respite from urban life. Upstate NY is truly booming.There were a ton of new hotels we saw opening (The DeBruce, Hotel Dylan, and Woodstock Way to name a few) and we found many places were hard to get a reservation. We found super chic and modern boutique hotels, farm-to-table restaurants with world class NYC chefs, lots of boutique shops, vintage and antique shopping galore, even opportunities to check out modern dance, visual art, etc. All in sleepy, quiet upstate NY.

Things to know: The Catskills covers a huge area. So best to either road trip around if you’re up for that or hunker down in a spot to explore. This is the country where nothing is close or convenient so on a rainy day, the closet indoor activity in the Catskills for families that you want to do could be 45 minutes away. We stayed in Catskill, NY which is very quiet (and growing) and it was 15 minutes from Hudson, NY which we are in love with. 

STAY: We ended up in a friends house near downtown Catskill, NY but we did a ton of research into other options before we decided. A few resources to find places to stay… Ravenswood has a great list. Red Cottage also has great options for home rentals. For resorts, ScribnersEmerson or Hunter Mountain looked good for families. 


Kaaterskill Falls: If you park at the Laurel House trailhead, you’ll find an easy peasy .25 mile hike (very flat) to the viewing platform. (Tip: This trailhead is 5 minutes from North-South Lake. Do what we did and make a day of it!)

North-South Lake: Public lake for swimming, kayaking, etc.

All the downtowns! We checked out Hudson, Kingston, Beacon, Rhinebeck, and Saugerties. There are lots of river towns up and down the Hudson that have cute dining options and shopping. Most of these little river towns have a playground or options to access and enjoy the river including kayaking or swimming beaches. 

Saugerties Lighthouse: Museum and Bed and Breakfast, this is one of the remaining lighthouses on the hudson. (Tip: Older kiddos can climb a ladder to get views from the top! Littler ones, or not so able-bodied adults, may find this top floor difficult.)

Dutchess County Fair: If you happen to go in August, you must check out this classic county fair with farm animals, rides, games, and FUNNEL CAKE! 

Catskill Animal Sanctuary: This 148 acre sanctuary rescues farmed animals and champions veganism. It is home to pigs, horses, goats, and you can take a tour to meet them all! Take the shorter family tour, they offer them daily! 

Beacon, NY Waterfall.
Beacon, NY coffee and lunch spot, The Beacon Pantry
Kingston, NY boutique artisan jewelery store, Facets of Earth
Hudson, NY Opera House and venue for cultural events
Hudson, NY vintage and salvage store
Hudson, NY
Hudson, NY
Beautiful textile boutique and shopping in Hudson, NY
Welcome message from the Presbyterian Church in Hudson, NY
Shopping in Hudson, NY
Back Bar in Hudson, NY
Ca’ Mea Courtyard, Authentic Italian Restaurant in Hudson, NY
Catskill Animal Sanctuary in Saugerties, NY
Catskill Animal Sanctuary in Saugerties, NY
Saugerties, NY Lighthouse
Miss Lucy’s Kitchen in Saugerties, NY
North South Lake for swimming, kayaking, boating, etc.
Kaaterskill Falls, NY. A perfect .25 mile easy hike from the trailhead!
Our adventure crew on the hike to Kaaterskill Falls!
Helsinki Restaurant in Hudson, NY
Cone-y Island Ice Cream spot in Catskill, NY
Cone-y Island ice cream spot in Catskill, NY
Dutchess County 173rd State Fair in Rhinebeck, NY
Piglets and mama!
Most beautiful cows in the state of NY
Lots of games!
Lots of good fair eats! Our kids had funnel cake for the first time.
On the way home to Philly, we popped in to NYC for some fun!
Loved the Parker Le Meridien in Central Park South. Not too pricey, close to the park, with gorgeous roof top pool!

Kimberly Neff

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