The Perfect Road Trip: NYC to The Catskills
Escape the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle that never sleeps and enjoy the quiet nature of the Catskills region of the Hudson River Valley. Located between Albany and New York City, the Catskills have been a popular vacation spot for New Yorkers for centuries. With over 98 peaks in the Catskills Mountains, the vast forested region is home to incredible hiking and outdoor activities just three hours from the city.
The Catskills are a year-round destination with lots to offer, including skiing in the winter! The area is known as the birthplace of American fly fishing and the area inspired Washington Irving to write Rip Van Winkle in 1819. With deep roots shaped by American culture the Catskills are home to quaint villages dotted with antique shops, art galleries, delicious farm-to-table restaurants, and miles upon miles of walking, biking, and hiking trails.
From New York City and New Jersey, take I-87 or Route 17 into the heart of the Catskills. Don’t have a car? You can reach the Catskills by train or bus with Amtrak or Adirondack and Pine Hill Trailways. From the rail and bus stations, you can rent a car or take a taxi or Uber to your final destination.
Don’t miss your chance to fly high through the sky with New York Zipline Canopy Tours! Located at Hunter Mountain Ski Bowl in Hunter, New York Zipline offers three family-friendly adventures that will test your fear of heights. Built at the base of Hunter Mountain, the 60-foot Adventure Tower will challenge you both physically and mentally with its nine different obstacles at varying heights. The Mid Mountain adventure will have you zipping across the treetops on six ziplines and four suspension bridges. The longest zipline is over 650 feet long and 60 feet above the ground! For the ultimate thrill, race your way to victory on the Skyrider Tour. Offering the longest, fastest, and highest ziplines in North America, you’ll reach the top of Hunter Mountain by scenic chairlift or off-road vehicle before embarking on five dual racing ziplines spanning over 4.6 miles. The longest zipline is 3,200 feet long and 600 feet above the valley and you’ll reach speeds of up to 50 mph!
Wine and Dine
The Catskills are all about farm-to-table cuisine and you’ll find lots of charming and delicious cafes, restaurants, and bars throughout the region. Named after the famous tale, Rip Van Winkle Brewery in Catskill, New York, is an award-winning craft brewery that attracts thousands of beer lovers every year. Their house beers on tap are a mix of European and American style beers, like a German Helles lager, Belgian-style ale, and IPA. Along with a great beer menu, the food menu is just as good.
For the wine lovers, there are several wineries in the Catskills region that offer wine tasting. The Vineyard at Windham sits on four acres overlooking Windham Mountain in the scenic Catskill Mountains. The beautiful tasting room offers the vineyard’s own wine along with the top-rated wines from the Finger Lakes, the Hudson Valley, and Long Island. A little further down the road in Tannersville, you’ll find the award-winning Hudson-Chatham Winery that produces dry, sweet, and sparkling wines for all taste buds.
Located on Main Street in Tannersville, Last Chance Cheese and Antiques Café has been serving cheese and delicious food since 1971. The extensive menu has everything from soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and more. Of course, you have to try the cheese platter or the cheese fondue. On weekends, you’ll find live music, including lots of jazz, rock, and pop to keep you tapping your foot to the beat all night.
Known as the “Painted Village in the Sky,” Tannersville is the unofficial capital of antiques in the Catskills. This quaint town is home to many antique shops filled with hidden treasure just waiting to be discovered. Open seven days a week, Tannersville Antique & Artisan Center houses 80 different vendors offering up antiques and handcrafted artisan goods for sale. Grab a cheese platter at Last Chance Cheese and Antiques Café and peruse their shop for items.
Nestled between the hamlets of Haines Falls and Palenville on Spruce Creek, Kaaterskill Falls is the highest cascading waterfall in New York falling over 260 feet over two tiers. First painted and written about by Thomas Cole and Washington Irving, Kaaterskill Falls has been one the area’s most popular destinations for centuries. The hike to Kaaterskill Falls is approximately two-miles out-and-back that’s steep and rocky with some wooden staircases. Despite the steep climb, the views of the water cascading over the cliffs creating a misting effect is out of this world. Since the hike is very popular, the trail can be crowded so it’s best to arrive early, especially during fall foliage season.
The Catskill Mountains are home to hundreds of miles of walking, hiking, and biking trails so you’ll never be bored. Hunter Mountain Fire Tower is a challenging 8.2-mile hike that reaches the 4,040-foot summit of Hunter Mountain. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont.
Make it a Weekend
If you can’t fit everything you want to do in a single day, make it a weekend! There is no shortage of great accommodations in the Catskills. Far removed from the swanky, polished hotels of the city, this is your opportunity to experience the feel of a rustic mountain lodge, or step back in time to the days of Dirty Dancing, which is set in New York’s Catskills! Kaatskill Mountain Club at Hunter Mountain is a year-round resort with all the modern amenities that will keep you comfortable all weekend long. Situated on 20 acres, Scribner’s Catskill Lodge is your classic rustic mountain lodge with beautiful views and lots of wood-burning fireplaces. While you may be accustomed to lots of great nightlife in the city, the nightlife in the Catskills is a little different – relax and watch the stars with a mug of hot chocolate or a glass of wine.
Just an easy car or train ride away from the Big Apple, the Catskills are the perfect destination for a roadtrip. Spend a Saturday or the whole weekend exploring the quaint villages, delicious restaurants and cafes, and bask in the sun in the Great Outdoors.