Day Trips to the Catskills

by Cassandra Gailis
The 7th Annual Mountain Jam at Hunter Mountain New York.

The 7th Annual Mountain Jam at Hunter Mountain New York.

Cory Schwartz/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Approximately two hours north of New York City, lie the majestic Catskill Mountains. The Catskills have been a popular hot spot for travelers throughout history, offering fresh air, delightful mountain scenery and a general reprieve from city life. Known for vibrant arts communities, festivals, good food and antique shops, the Catskills continue to enjoy their popularity as a day trip destination for young and old alike.

Hunter Mountain

One of the most popular Catskill mountain day trips is to Hunter Mountain. Located about a two hours' drive North of New York City, Hunter mountain is close to Route 23A, about a 30 minute drive from NY Thruway Exit 21. World renowned for its skiing and snowboarding trails, Hunter mountain also hosts a variety of non-snow related attractions. Ride a chairlift to the top of Hunter mountain to enjoy the summer views, and if you dare, partake in the year round zip line adventures through the canopy. Summer and fall are also the time for parades and festivals, including the popular Mountain Jam music festival and Oktoberfest. Try your hand at disc golf, or simply enjoy hiking the beautiful mountain scenery. Be sure to stop into the Fresh Harvest Cafe and Market right in the town of Hunter, to enjoy local fare cooked up by a professional chef.

Town of Saugerties

On the Hudson River lies the quaint historic Catskill town of Saugerties. Easily reached via Exit 20 from the NY State Thruway, downtown Saugerties hosts a delightful farmer's market every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The summertime market is located on Main Street and is open rain or shine. After purchasing some local fare, walking around the town of Saugerties is a fun way to spend the rest of the day. The town has numerous antique shops, cafes, artist galleries and beautiful architecture for you to enjoy.

Kaaterskill Falls

Driving up toward Hunter Mountain along scenic highway 23A, passersby are often awestruck by the beauty of Kaaterskill creek. On a hot summer's day, nothing beats parking your car at the designated lot along 23A, north of the creek trail head and hiking in to see majestic Kaaterskill falls. These are the highest waterfalls in New York State, offering spectacular views of the entire Hudson Valley from the top of the hiking trail. Be careful and stay on the designated trail, as serious injuries have occurred from hikers recklessly exploring the slippery area behind the falls and taking unnecessary risks. After cooling off and enjoying the clear creek water, head further up the road to finish your day in the colorful village of Tannersville, with many delightful restaurants to choose from for dinner.


Although the famous music festival was actually held in Bethel, New York, the name was inspired from the artists' colony of Woodstock. Nestled amongst beautiful route 212, Woodstock continues to be a vibrant colony for the arts. The town hosts an annual film festival, numerous art galleries as well as a summertime drum circle, right in the center of town. You are sure to find eclectic places to dine, as well as the best collection of tie-dyed T-shirts anywhere on the East Coast.

Photo Credits

  • Cory Schwartz/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images