5 Fun Things to do in the Hudson Valley, Upstate New York During COVID-19

by | Jul 6, 2020

If you’ve been in need of a quick nature fix and some sense of adventure after months of quarantine, look no further than the nearby Hudson Valley.

The Hudson Valley, Catskills, Upstate New York—whatever you want to call it—is absolutely rich in state parks, waterfalls, hiking trails, and mountains. The best part is that it is very easy to get to from New York City. 

I went on a much needed 8-day trip and stayed at a cute Airbnb cabin in the woods located in-between Kingston City and Woodstock in Ulster County, about an hour and 45 minutes drive from NYC.

Things to do in the Hudson Valley upstate new york during corona

However, I know how frustrating it can be, especially during COVID-19, to figure out which hikes to do and what beaches or trails that are still open.

 So I put together this guide to help you figure what to do in the Hudson Valley, upstate New York during COVID-19. 

FYI, this trip is safe and perfect for solo women travelers, couples, and families.

1. Minnewaska State Park Preserve

This 22,275-acre preserve located in Ulster County (about 30 mins from where I was staying) features various trails for biking and hiking, waterfalls, and a massive lake for swimming with gorgeous viewpoints.

Points of Interest:

Awosting Falls

Waterfalls in the hudson valley upstate new york

Difficulty Rating: Easy 

I hiked to the Awosting falls, which was a fairly easy and paved 1-mile hike from the parking lot to the falls. The falls stand at 60 feet tall and are surrounded by dense woods and rocks. 

Although tempting, you can not swim in the falls, unfortunately. 

Minnewaska Lake

Minnewaska lake for swimming in the hudson valley upstate new york

Difficulty Rating: Easy

This is where you can take in these breathtaking views of this sky lake at the Minnewaska Lake View Point. 

There is also a designated swimming area called Minnewaska Lake Beach where you can enjoy taking a refreshing dip after a long hike along the trails that surround the lake.  

Pro Tip: Pack a little picnic to enjoy while taking in the views from up top!

Entrance Fee: $10 per car

Park Hours: 9 am to 7 pm

Parking: Reduced by 50% capacity to maintain social distancing. Please check this website and call before going.

COVID-19 Precautions: Social distancing and masks are enforced.

2. Overlook Mountain

Overlook Mountain Hike in Woodstock

Difficulty Rating: Moderate uphill hike. You will definitely sweat!

Located near Woodstock town, this sweaty 3 hours 5-mile hike to Overlook mountain is a must-do while in upstate New York.

The trail to the top is a clearly paved and shadowed gravel path, nothing too exciting really but the views at the top are totally worth it. Hiking shoes or sneakers with good cushioning are recommended for this hike! 

On your way up, you will come across something fascinating; an abandoned hotel from the 1800s. Here you can catch your breath for a minute or two while wondering about what happened to this eerie hotel.

Abandoned hotel at overlook mountain in the hudson valley upstate new york

As you continue your upwards hike, you will see a sign that says “Fire Tower”, this is where the hiking trail starts getting prettier. You want to keep walking until you see the fire ranger station (the small building across the fire tower) and go behind it to get to the viewpoint cliff overlooking the Hudson Valley.

Take some time to take in the views here and if you packed snacks, this would be the perfect time to enjoy them. Oh and make sure you bring your camera to capture these views!

Lastly, you will want to check out the fire tower. While technically you are not allowed to climb up, some adventurers hikers have created a small hole in the wire doors for people to climb up the tower. So if you are feeling adventurous, you can check it out for even better views. 

On your way out of (or into) the parking lot, you will notice a beautiful building across, which is a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery. Unfortunately, they are completely closed to visitors right now, but you can check out their website here for updates.

Pro Tip: Watch out for rattlesnakes! I saw one but it was peacefully napping. 

Entrance Fee: $0 

Park Hours: 24 hrs

Parking: Limited, fits about 20 cars

COVID-19 Precautions: Social distancing and masks are encouraged as you will be crossing other hikers

Woodstock Town

art in Woodstock town

After your hike, be sure to drive to the artsy town of Woodstock, about a mile out from the Overlook Mountain trail parking lot. 

Here you can grab some food, coffee, or ice cream while you walk around taking in the art on the walls and checking out the various vintage shops, which are open for business right now. 

3. Ashokan Reservoir

Ashokan Reservoir in the Hudson Valley upstate new york

Difficulty Rating: Very easy

The Ashokan Reservoir is a water reservoir surrounded by the Catskill Mountains, located in Ulster County close to the Kingston area. This reservoir is what supplies New York City with water!

The Reservoir can be visited from the eastern or western sides of the town through clearly marked pedestrian bridges that are great for walking, biking, or even rollerblading. 

The views of the clear blue lake against the lush mountains are simply stunning but make sure you have enough sunscreen on because there is no shade on the trail.

Ashokan Reservoir in the Hudson Valley Upstate New York

I recommend going to the Eastside basin and packing a picnic. If you are feeling artsy like me, you can bring a sketchbook and some coloring pens to capture this scene. 

If you like to fish, fishing is allowed here with permits, check this website for info. 

Entrance Fee: $0 

Park Hours: Unknown 

Parking: Limited

COVID-19 Precautions: Practice social distancing and wear masks as you will be crossing others walking the bridge. 

4. Kingston Point Beach 

Where to swim during covid-19 in upstate new york

For some reason, it was very hard for me to find a place to swim while in the Hudson Valley. Every time we’d drive to a creek or a lake there will be No Swimming allowed signs posted.

So I was extremely excited to have found a place to actually swim and sunbathe!

Kingston Point Beach is a small beach located in downtown Kingston. Now, this is no white sand beach but still a clean beach with clear shallow waters surrounded by some beautiful cliffs. 

Traveling upstate new york during covid-19 coronavirus

The beach is a little rocky so watch out and there are lifeguards who make sure that you only swim in the designated areas. 

After swimming, you can check out this cute little coffee shop, called Village Coffee & Goods for a pick me up. They also have farm-fresh produce and other cool things like plants and kitchenware. 

Entrance Fee: $0 

Beach Hours:  Wed-Sun 10 am – 5 pm

Parking: Limited (Every other spot has been blocked off to ensure social distancing)

COVID-19 Precautions: Social distancing and wearing masks are enforced

5. Geo Refrigeration Crevice  

Geo refrigeration crevice upstate new york

Difficulty Rating: Easy

 I left the weirdest thing for last because I have never seen or heard of anything like this before!

This Geo Refrigeration Crevice is exactly what it sounds like!

It’s a crack or a cave-like structure in the rocks that blows really cold air. It felt like I was standing under a powerful air conditioner. Definitely feels good if you are biking or hiking the rest of the trail.

Rail trail in the hudson valley upstate new york

You can get to the crevice by going through the Rail Trail and Trestle Access at Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, Rosendale, NY 12472. 

Entrance Fee: $0 

Trail Hours:  8 am – 8 pm 

Parking: Right across the trail entrance, which is directly on the highway, is a big parking lot called Binnewater Parking

COVID-19 Precautions: Social distancing and wearing masks are encouraged by all hikers.

Grocery Stores – Hudson Valley

Adams Farm

A huge grocery store that has everything!

Emmanuels Marketplace

Medium-sized grocery store with a good specialty food selection.

Davenport Farm

Small store with limited selections.

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Hey friend! It's Marina :)

Hey friend! It's Marina 🙂

I’m an Egyptian born and NYC based brand strategist, designer, coach, and traveler!

Obsessed with living a freedom-filled life on my terms, I’ve been traveling the world solo for the past 7 years. My adventures inspired me to start this platform—Livin Vivaciously.

I’m also a proud corporate dropout passionate about helping freedom-obsessed women and digital entrepreneurs build a true-to-self personal brand.

I believe that personal branding is the only way we can build pivot-proof businesses that thrive, simply because we show up as who we are, online and offline!

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