A popular gateway for urbanites from Upstate New York, the Catskills surprises with its beautiful scenery and romantic atmosphere. Wild and pretty, with mossy gorges and rounded peaks, this mountainous region is an ideal destination for outdoorsy people. Whether they’re hiking, biking, skiing or simply enjoying a good meal and a refreshing beer at one of the many bohemian boutique hotels here, travelers are never disappointed with what the Catskills has in store for them.
Situated only 120 miles from Manhattan, the Catskills attracts a young, hip crowd due to its picturesque scenery, abundance of activities, and affordable prices. Since the region is sparsely populated, visitors can enjoy a few days in a wild scenery adorned with dramatic valleys, undulating mountains, verdant forests, and cozy mountain hamlets.
Nestled between the Hudson River and the upper Delaware and Susquehanna, the Catskills is an idyllic destination that gently lures travelers into a world of calm and serenity and creates the perfect backdrop for a relaxing weekend. From monasteries and spa centers to gourmet food outlets, wine shops, and art galleries, expect for everything in the Catskills to be genuine and captivating.
The small charming towns of the Catskills
The scenery starts to change as soon as you leave New York City behind. You’ll enter a bucolic New York dotted with quaint small towns. Catskills enjoys a cozy location between the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains. It houses a museum and National Historic Site dedicated to the life of the American painter Thomas Cole, as well as many art galleries and shops lined along the Main Street. This is the departure point for the Hudson River School art trail that awaits with many similar sites.
Saugerties charms romantics with historic buildings, antique shops, and a scenic drive up the Taconic Parkway, especially in the autumn, when the frenzy of red, golden, and copper creates a fantastic painting dotted with farms from where you can buy Honey Crips apples and funky looking squash. For panoramic views of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains, head to the Saugerties Lighthouse, a marvelous old redbrick structure that dates back to 1886.
Not many locals seem surprised when people who fall in love with Delhi decide to leave the asphalt jungle behind to move into a renovated old barn. This charming town impresses with its beautiful architecture, a superb mix of Colonial, Victorian, Greek Revival, and American Craftsman houses.
Woodstock needs no presentation. A true artist colony rich in music, food, and art festivals, you’ll never encounter a town more hip and chill than this. It’s a place where eccentricity is the natural state of things, home to cool music industry people, a cool vibe, and boho coffee shops.
The fun things to do in the Catskills
From exploring antique shops and collecting retro sunglasses to hiking and skiing, the Catskills offers plenty of options to keep travelers busy, happy, and curious. Winter creates superb slopes for skiers and riders who gather in the northern part of the Catskills. Windham Mountain is perfect for families, offering access to a ski school, night skiing, a tubing park, and six terrain parks for freestylers of all ages. There’s lots of cross country skiing in the Catskills, especially at the Mountain Trails Cross Country Ski Center in Tannersville. More than 300 lovely acres of groomed marked trails keep cross-country skiers and snowshoers entertained.
Hunter Mountain Resort attracts skiers and snowboarders with terrains and trails for all skill levels. Also known as the “snowmaking capital of the world”, Hunter prides itself with 240 skiable acres and a vertical drop of 1,600 feet. It’s also home to the largest snow tubing park in New York State, as well as to the New York Zip line Adventure Tour, the longest and highest zip line in North America. Visitors are entertained with numerous events, concerts, and festivals dedicate to the outdoors, music, food, and drink.
When summer comes, hikers gather at Fawn’s Leap Falls in Palenville for a picturesque hike and a refreshing swim. Kaaterskill Creek is the perfect destination if you’re craving for a kayaking adventure and you want to admire the surreal Kaaterskill Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in New York State. Families also love to spend their time at Zoom Flume Water Park, where everybody can have fun at the Typhoon Twister or the Black Vortex or on the wild river or lazy river. Livingston Manor, the birthplace of American fly-fishing, is the must-see destination for anglers. The waters of Little Beaverkill River abound in various species of trout, while the town is home to the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum that delights anglers with an impressive collection of fishing reels, antique flies and invites them to attend education programs and workshops.