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8 Terrific Tours to Explore the Hudson Valley’s Hidden Corners

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Think you know the Hudson Valley? These one-of-a-kind tours will introduce you to beautiful destinations throughout the region.

Photo courtesy of Dutchess Tourism

Bannerman Island

This simulated Scottish castle perched on a Hudson River island dates back to 1901. It was originally built as a military storage site for munitions, and thanks to the Bannerman Castle Trust, the site is being carefully preserved. Limited-capacity boats leave from Beacon for guided walking tours. With advance reservations, boaters aboard small crafts can also come ashore to explore.

Hudson Highlands State Park

Photo by John Halpern/Scenic Hudson

Historic Hudson River Towns

Download a handy app provided by environmental organization Scenic Hudson, hop in the car, and take this self-guided audio tour to discover dozens of parks, historic sites, and other spots along the Hudson River in Rockland and Westchester Counties. Stretching from Yonkers to Peekskill on the east shore and Nyack to Haverstraw on the west, its 50 narrated stops include seven parks and riverfronts that Scenic Hudson helped transform from former contaminated industrial sites into attractive public places.

Copake Iron Works

This hidden Columbia County gem is a National Historic District tucked into the Taconic State Park. Download a self-guided audio tour that offers background about 25 spots on the Iron Works Heritage Trail, including historic structures such as old forges and residences. You can also print a map of the site and its trail system; one scenic hike leads to popular Bash Bish Falls.

Copake Falls

City of Kingston

Kingston boasts plenty of fascinating history, and these two self-guided walking tours are a fun way to learn about it. Try the self-guided pedestrian tour of the Stockade area (dating back to 1658) and, at the other side of the city, the waterside Rondout — both are National Historic Districts. Pick up brochures at the Friends of Historic Kingston Gallery at 63 Main Street or the Heritage Area Visitors Centers at 20 Broadway; you can also download brochures and a link to an audio walking tour from the website.

Kingston

Photo by Vivian Linares

Manitoga

Architecture and nature unite as the prime focus of Manitoga, home of American industrial designer Russel Wright, who died in 1976. Its buildings and 75 surrounding acres, including a peaceful woodland garden and walking trails, have gained National Historic Landmark status. Manitoga staff offer a variety of guided tours, exhibits, and programs.

Garrison

Storm King Art Center

This 500-acre outdoor museum features large-scale sculptures and site-specific commissioned works. The beautiful setting, with rolling hills, fields, and woods, is ideal for enjoying nature as you walk the grounds to savor the art. Storm King’s website features a downloadable map; you can also access a self-guided audio tour. Advance reservations are currently required.

New Windsor

Historic Huguenot Street

Three hundred years of regional history comes alive at this 10-acre National Historic Landmark District in downtown New Paltz. Visitors can stroll to locations including the district’s seven stone houses, a reconstructed 1717 French church, an original Huguenot burial ground, and a replica of an Esopus Munsee wigwam. Programs include lectures and guided nature strolls. Download a free walking tour app from the website.

New Paltz

Knox’s Headquarters

During the Revolutionary War, U.S. artillery commander Major General Henry Knox sometimes based his military headquarters in this 1754 Georgian-style house owned by John Ellison. Now, guided tours and other events, often led by costumed interpreters, are presented at the Knox site, a designated State Historic Site. Also worth a visit: the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site and adjacent National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, a short drive from the Knox location.

Vails Gate