If you are looking for fun day trips and weekend getaways from NYC, consider New Paltz, a small picturesque town in New York State between New York City and Albany.
It is well known for the State University of New York at New Paltz and for great rock climbing. The Shawangunk Ridge that overshadows the town is considered one of the best rock-climbing sites in North America.
New Paltz is surrounded by great wineries, and visitors following the Shawangunk Wine Trail often visit the area. Here are the best things to do in New Paltz, NY.
1. Minnewaska State Park, New Paltz, NY
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Minnewaska State Park sits amid the towering Shawangunk Mountains. Visitors only have to drive an hour and a half from New York City to enjoy the park's countless waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, and dense forests.
Minnewaska has more than 50 miles of trails, and plenty of space is available for visitors to ride their bikes, rock climb, swim, and even scuba dive.
Minnewaska can accommodate overnight visitors with its recently opened campground, which is fully equipped with bathrooms, showers, and cooking facilities. The campground is open from mid-May to mid-November.
2. Mohonk Preserve, New Paltz, New York
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The Mohonk Preserve covers more than 8,000 acres of land. Mountains, fields, and streams are just a few of the natural features the Mohonk Preserve seeks to protect.
Each year, more than 165,000 people travel to the preserve for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing, and rock climbers from all around the world visit Mohonk to tackle its famous routes.
Donors, volunteers, and staff collaborate to keep the preserve clean for visitors, and the staff offers informative programs to teach the public about the importance of land preservation. The Mohonk Preserve is one of the best things to do in New Paltz, New York.
Where to stay: the Mohonk Mountain House.
3. Robibero Family Vineyards, New Paltz, New York
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You do not have to know anything about wine to enjoy a visit to Robibero Family Vineyards. Set on a picturesque 42 acres just outside of New Paltz, this family artisanal winery will charm you regardless of the time of the year you visit. Stroll between the rows of vines, check out the wine making process in the cellar, and sit on their lovely outdoor deck under the arbor to taste their exquisite award-winning wines.
Each wine is unique and cannot be tasted or bought anywhere else. Once you fall in love with one of them, you can order it online. Their modern indoor wine tasting room and picturesque deck can be rented for big parties or a wedding. You will have to get a caterer, but you will not have to worry about the wines.
714 Albany Post Rd, New Paltz, New York, Phone: 845-255-9463
4. DM Weil Gallery, New Paltz, New York
© DM Weil Gallery
The mission statement of the DM Weil Gallery is “why can't fine art be fun?” Visitors are guaranteed an exciting experience as soon as they step into this modern art gallery in New York's Hudson Valley. The expansive, vibrant collection of artwork at the DM Weil Gallery is paired with complimentary wine, espresso, and other treats.
Admission to the gallery is free, and it's not unusual for the gallery to use its unique 1911 Grotian Steinweg piano for complimentary mini-concerts. Additionally, visitors can socialize with DM Weil herself and tour her personal art studio.
208 Bruynswick Road, New Paltz, New York, Phone: 845-255-3336
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5. The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, New Paltz, New York
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The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail is a renowned scenic destination for people who enjoy being outdoors. The 22-mile-long trail connects several small towns and features a variety of natural attractions such as orchards, streams, rivers, and farms.
The Rosendale Trestle, a span bridge that rests 150 feet above Rondout Creek, is often hailed as the most beautiful spot in the entire park because of its panoramic views. The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail has access points in the nearby towns of Rosendale and Gardiner.
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6. Dressel Farms, New Paltz, New York
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As a family-run operation, Dressel Farms offers fun activities for visitors of all ages. The most popular activity is picking apples from the trees that cover more than 300 acres of the farm.
Apples that aren't grabbed by visitors get shipped from Dressel Farms to grocery stores throughout the East Coast. Aside from apples, Dressel Farms produces scores of staple fruits and vegetables, including peaches, strawberries, raspberries, and gourds. Visitors can also purchase and enjoy fresh ice cream and fruit from the farm's roadside stand.
271 State Route 208, New Paltz, NY, 12561, 845-255-0693
7. Twin Star Orchards
© Twin Star Orchards
Twin Star Orchards uses the one simple ingredient of quality apples to make its popular Brooklyn Cider House ciders. All of the ciders produced are made from the freshly harvested apples from the orchard and fermented in a stainless steel tank before being aged anywhere from 2 to 18 months. In addition to the cider, Twin Star Orchards also offers a U-pick apple experience, seasonal produce, freshly baked goods, spirits and wine, a burger and wood-fired pizza pavilion, and a natural hard cider tasting room. Dogs are also welcome at the orchard as long as they are leashed and well behaved.
155 N Ohioville Rd, New Paltz, NY 12561, 845-633-8657
8. A Tavola Trattoria, New Paltz, NY
© A Tavola Trattoria
As you enter the rustic, cozy, inviting dining room of A Tavola, soft jazz greets you, along with a large basket full of fresh produce and a blackboard with a list of all the farms that supply the goodies. A wall of glass overlooks the street and washes the restaurant in light. At night, candles create the atmosphere of a real Italian neighborhood trattoria. If you are looking for romantic date ideas in New Paltz, this is a great place to try.
The menu combines innovative versions of classic dishes from different parts of Italy such as wonderful pastas, grilled branzino, and Pappardelle Bolognese. The wine list is small but well selected to suit the menu. Leave some room for dessert, which is well worth it.
46 Main St, New Paltz, New York, Phone: 845-255-1426
9. The Nyquist-Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary, New Paltz, New York
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The Nyquist-Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary boasts 56 acres of unique grasses and plants, and is home to a variety of animals and birds. The sanctuary houses a specialized ecosystem complete with an area of wetlands and ponds that is known as an “oxbow.” Various types of birds take residence in the sanctuary throughout the year.
Majestic Great Horned owls visit in the winter, while the summer months attract Orioles and Snipes. Along with bird-watching, sanctuary visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the nearby Wallkill River and Shawangunk Mountains.
140 Huguenot Road, New Paltz, New York, Phone: 845-255-3003
10. Coppersea Distilling , New Paltz, New York
© Coppersea Distilling
Coppersea is a true old-fashioned award-winning distillery in Springtown in the Hudson Valley. They make their whiskies and eau de vie using grain and fruit from their own 75-acre farm in the Walkill Valley outside New Paltz. The farm is snuggled between the Walkill River and Shawangunk Ridge, in the shadow of the massive Bonticou Crag. The distillery still uses copper stills common in the Hudson Valley in the 1800s, and they malt their own grains, distilling them in a direct-fire still and fermenting them the old-fashioned way in open wooden tanks. The result is a fine spirit aged in used bourbon, brandy, rye, and wine barrels. The ingredients for their whiskies are mostly corn, with 20 percent barley. Their distillery offers guided tours and whiskey tasting by appointment. A tour, which takes about an hour, includes a visit to the malt house, the distillery, the barrel warehouse, and the tavern for a tasting.
239 Springtown Rd, New Paltz, NY 12561, Phone: 845-444-1044
11. Lagusta's Luscious, New Paltz, New York
© Lagusta's Luscious
Forget your weight loss program once you enter Lagusta’s Luscious chocolate shop. You’ll see rows and rows of truffles, bonbons, caramels, toffees, chocolate bars, and chocolate of all flavors, sizes, shapes and colors. Everything is hand-made, organic, vegan, and made of ingredients that are fair-trade or from local farms.
Lagusta’s chocolates serve as proof that something so sinfully delicious can also be healthy and made with the environment in mind. But once you are in the store, you probably aren’t thinking about the environment – instead, you’re thinking how many chocolate boxes you can stuff in your bag and which exactly to choose. There are beet-coriander truffles, truffles with pomegranate and lemon, chocolates with yuzu cream, and chocolates with figs and fennels. You can also subscribe to their Chocolate of the Month Club and get monthly specials sent to your home.
25 North Front Street, New Paltz, New York, Phone: 845-633-8615
12. John R. Kirk Planetarium, New Paltz, NY
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Located at the New Paltz State University of New York, the John R. Kirk Planetarium is a popular destination for learners of all ages. The planetarium is an indoor theater that seats 44 people. A projector displays images of stars, planets, and other astronomical bodies onto the theater's domed ceiling.
The planetarium often hosts students, church groups, and scouting organizations since many of its presentations are geared toward a younger audience. However, businesses and families can easily schedule private shows by reaching out to the planetarium's director.
1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz, New York, Phone: 845-257-7869
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13. Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art
© Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art
Situated on the State University of New York's campus, the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art houses over five thousand pieces of artwork ranging from contemporary paintings to pre-Columbian artifacts that are 4,000 years old. The art museum's collection features a particular emphasis on regional artists, but also includes important holdings in metalwork, contemporary and historic photographs, and Asian art. The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art's temporary exhibition program features art exhibitions of works by students, alumni, and faculty in the university's Art Department, as well as projects, installations, and exhibitions by artists recognized on national and international level.
1 Hawk Dr, New Paltz, NY 12561, 845-257-3844
14. Main Street Bistro, New Paltz, NY
© Main Street Bistro
If you do not know what to have for breakfast, you should head for Main Street Bistro, where they have it all. You might have to wait a while for a table as the line often stretches along Main Street, but you will be rewarded with fabulous choices and a fun, funky atmosphere.
The food ranges from classical eggs any way you want them and Italian sausages to the Scooter Frittata Skillet and Salmon Hash. They even manage to make tofu taste nice in many different ways. Everything is fresh and well prepared so after your breakfast, you might head there for lunch too.
59 Main St, New Paltz, New York, Phone: 845-255-7766
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15. Water Street Market and DENIZEN Theatre
© Water Street Market and DENIZEN Theatre
Water Street Market is a place in New Paltz, New York that aims to foster a “sense of community” as a European-inspired, quaint shopping village that many local residents call “their community gathering place.” Each shop in the Water Street Market is independently owned and operated, providing a more unique and local shopping experience. The DENIZEN Theatre is a live, professional theatre at the Water Street Market that strives to produce works that inspire, challenge, and provoke often ignored conversations, exploring “what it means to be human.” The theatre also aims to make live theatre experiences accessible to everyone.
10 Main St, New Paltz, NY 12561, 845-255-1403
16. The Spa at Mohonk Mountain House
An eco-friendly spa that utilizes a geothermal cooling and heating system, The Spa at Mohonk Mountain House is an award-winning spa for relaxation and renewal. The Spa features a yoga and motion studio, comprehensive fitness center, heated indoor swimming pool, heated outdoor mineral pool, solarium with a stone fireplace, and more than a dozen treatment rooms. Popular treatments at The Spa at Mohonk Mountain House include the "Signature Elements of Nature" treatments and the "Solutions for Modern Living" services. In addition to spa treatments and services, the facility also offers "Peace in the Pool," meditation, and private yoga sessions.
1000 Mountain Rest Rd, New Paltz, NY 12561, 845-765-3286
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17. Jenkins Lueken Orchards
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For more than fifty years, Jenkins Lueken Orchards has grown fruit in the New Paltz area of New York. Family-owned and operated, this year-round orchard offers beautiful views, seasonal vegetables, freshly picked fruit, and much more. Jenkins Lueken Orchards boasts more than 500 apple trees for apple picking in the fall, as well as pumpkins for visitors to pick. From summer through the first frost of the year, berry picking is possible with the berry patch full of blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. There are also Christmas trees in the winter and a farm stand that changes with the seasons.
69 Yankee Folly Rd, New Paltz, NY 12561, 845-255-0999
18. BC's New Paltz Climbing Gym
© BC's New Paltz Climbing Gym
BC's New Paltz Climbing Gym is a unique space for bouldering featuring an emphasis on “climbing movement,” which is evident in the way the gym sets and resets its walls. The idea behind the climbing gym is that the routes are carefully curated to teach body positions and movement that can translate to climbing outdoors. BC’s Climbing Gym is for people of all body sizes and climbing levels, from first-time climbers to youth team climbers to seasoned climbers. Classes are offered to help increase climbers’s mental approach, techniques, and skills, with both group and private lessons available.
234 Main St, New Paltz, NY 12561, 845-255-7625
19. Things to Do in New Paltz, New York: Garvan's Gastropub
© Garvan's Gastropub
Garvan's Gastropub in New Paltz, New York is housed within a building dating back to the year 1759. The dining rooms of the restaurant feature a sense of history and great architecture, helping to make Garvan’s a gathering place for local residents and destination for visitors. Executive Chef Josh Paige has worked in several restaurants throughout the country and uses his culinary expertise and experience to provide guests with an eclectic menu of delicious dishes. The menu at Garvan’s Gastropub is focused on excellent presentation and fresh food made with local ingredients. To avoid disappointment, reservations are highly recommended.
215 Huguenot St, New Paltz, NY 12561, 845-255-7888
20. Things to Do Near Me: P&G's
For more than one hundred years, P&G’s in New Paltz, New York has been a meeting place for families and friends in the local community. Whether guests are looking to enjoy drinks or appetizers with friends or sit down for a meal for lunch or dinner, this local eatery offers a comfortable neighborhood atmosphere that makes guests feel at home. P&G’s strives to offer “fine food at moderate prices” with a menu featuring fresh fish, classic burgers, main dish salads, and great soups among several other dishes. Popular choices include the Stormy’s Famous Chili and New England Clam Chowder.
91 Main St, New Paltz, NY 12561, 845-255-6161