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When it comes to travel, there are two ways to go about it. First, you could play the tourist card and hop on a tour to take in the main sights and sounds. If you’re feeling slightly more daring, however, there’s always the option to step off the beaten path and explore the area’s hidden corners instead.
That’s where Airbnb Experiences comes into play. An extension of the popular hosting platform, Experiences offers travelers the chance to connect with locals and explore a region through an insider’s eyes. In the Hudson Valley, local experts offer visitors the chance to photograph the Catskills, get cuddly with alpacas, and even learn how to create a plant-based meal. Not just one-off experiences, the programs give travelers the chance to delve into the heart of a region, learn new skills, and create lasting memories along the picturesque Hudson River.
P.S. Did we mention they work great as birthday or holiday presents, too?
Hudson, from $125
Sure, you could plan your own hiking adventure in the Hudson Valley. Or, you could sign up for this standout Airbnb Experience instead. Led by Brian, a NYS DEC licensed hiking and camping guide who is also CPR, AED, and Wilderness First Aid certified, the sessions invite trekkers to explore the beauty of the Catskills on foot. Following a brief introduction and gear check, hikers will adventure into the mountains to take in the scenic vistas and majestic waterfalls. Hikes range in difficulty, and Brian can adjust the trek and tempo based on the experience of the group. Whether you bring a camera or let Brian do the work (he snaps candid and Instagram-worthy stills throughout the hike, which he shares with the group afterward), you’ll have a blast as you check out the sights that the Catskills have to offer.
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Pine Bush, from $65
You know those gorgeous photoshoots at alpaca farms you’ve seen on Instagram? Here’s your chance for a picture-perfect experience IRL. During this one-of-a-kind Airbnb Experience, attendees will visit Kwoka Farm, a family farm in the Hudson Valley. Guests can meet the alpacas, bunnies, pygmy goats, rooster, and chickens before prepping for their photos. Photographer Olga Kulikovskyi leads the sessions, which are perfect for families and small groups. As for the photos, they’re nothing short of stunning, thanks to the charming alpacas and the scenic Shawangunk Mountains in the background.
After the one-hour shoot, attendees will receive an online photo gallery with edited photos and a print release. For animal lovers in the Hudson Valley, this is a must!
New Paltz, from $75
Do you have visions of sitting astride a noble steed and trotting through an open field in the Hudson Valley? You can do just that during this unforgettable Airbnb Experience, which is open to a maximum of two riders per session. Attendees will venture out on a guided trail ride that explores a portion of the 85 acres of trails on the grounds. During the ride, guides will tailor the session to suit interests and experience levels.
Afterward, venture into New Paltz proper for a day of dining and shopping around town.
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Beacon, from $80
Get your hands dirty (in a good way) as you stop by Silica Studio 845 to learn how to make pottery on a wheel. This Airbnb Experience is open to beginners and experts alike and can accommodate up to four people on the wheels at a time. After each attendee learns how to throw pottery and makes their piece, the studio will take care of glazing and kiln firing. For those in the area, the studio offers a “Glaze Your Pot Workshop” for participants who want more customization control. Otherwise, after attendees pick their color, they can either pick up their piece from the studio or, if out of town, ask the studio to ship their item directly to them.
Pro tip: Book ahead of time, since this experience often fills up on weekends.
Athens, from $150
Calling all cooks! This Airbnb Experience is a must whether you’re all about cooking or want to improve your skills. Led by a plant-based personal chef, the session covers make-ahead appetizers and entrees, with ingredients sourced from as many businesses in the Catskills and the Hudson Valley as possible. At the end of the class, participants will sit down for a meal featuring the creations of the day. Everyone will go home with a recipe packet and a list of purveyors that makes it easy to shop local.
P.S. Want more classes in the Hudson Valley? We have 20 unique activities and programs to learn something new in the region.