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. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.Minnewaska State Park

Minnewaska State Park
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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.

More New Paltz attractions: the Historic Huguenot Street.

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2.Mohonk Preserve

Mohonk Preserve
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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.

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3.Robibero Family Vineyards

Robibero Family Vineyards
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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

What to do nearby: 50 Best Things to Do in the Hudson Valley, New York.

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4.DM Weil Gallery, New Paltz, New York

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

The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail
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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

Dressel Farms
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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

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7.The Village Tea Room

The Village Tea Room
© The Village Tea Room

If you are passing through New Paltz on your tour of the Hudson Valley, don’t miss The Village Tea Room, a small and adorable restaurant and bake shop located in a quaint 200-year-old building that is a former tailor shop. The place is quaint and very European, and you will feel as though you have been transported back to some French Village.

Don’t let the name Tea Room confuse you – there is much more than tea. The food is a delicious mix of European classics like gravlax and scones mixed with hearty American fish cakes and baked chicken with gravy. All food comes from local farms and is fresh and often organic. Their baked goods are divine, so be sure to stock up for the rest of your trip.

10 Plattekill Ave, New Paltz, New York, Phone: 845-255-3434

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8.A Tavola Trattoria, New Paltz, NY

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

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9.The Nyquist-Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary

The Nyquist-Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary
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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

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10.Coppersea Distilling

Coppersea Distilling
© 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

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11.Lagusta's Luscious

Lagusta's Luscious
© 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

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12.John R. Kirk Planetarium, New Paltz, NY

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.Gilded Otter Brewery

Gilded Otter Brewery
© Gilded Otter Brewery

For the last 15 years, Gilded Otter Brewery has been making 800 barrels of beer per year, starting with its popular signature Huguenot Street American Lager and including the New Paltz Crimson Lager, the Mayday Maibock, the Stone House Irish Stout, and a number of others. Don’t be surprised to find something new on tap in their popular tap house and restaurant on the riverfront every time you come.

The spacious brewery is always packed, especially on Friday and Saturday when an acoustic guitarist entertains the crowds. Bring your beer sampler to their inviting outdoor covered patio with a spectacular view of the Shawangunk Ridge. There is a nice choice of pub food to munch on while you are checking out the beers.

3 Main St, New Paltz, New York, Phone: 845-256-1700

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14.Main Street Bistro, New Paltz, NY

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.G. Steve Jordan Gallery

G. Steve Jordan Gallery
© G. Steve Jordan Gallery

Artist G. Steve Jordan specializes in landscape photography. In his images, he seeks to capture the natural beauty and grandeur of the New Paltz area. G. Steve Jordan has a resolute appreciation for nature, and the Shawangunk Mountain Ridge and the Hudson River Valley tend to be the focus of his work.

All of his photographs are available online, and each print can be fitted and shipped with a complementary frame of the customer's choice. Visitors are also able to view and order some of G. Steve Jordan's work at his gallery in New Paltz.

17 Church Street, New Paltz, New York, Phone: 845-255-0345

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15 Best Things to Do in New Paltz, New York

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