Blake Walsh

25 Best Things to Do in Beacon, NY

  • Published 2023/04/04

New York, the heart of the United States, is known for its art, culture, rich history, and liveliness.

It’s a place everybody wants to visit at least once in their lifetime, but it’s a big state, and exploring all of it at once is nearly impossible.

Beacon is one of the most beautiful cities in New York that is filled with art and culture.

It’s a destination that will take your breath away and keep you coming back for more.

Situated in Duchess County, Beacon is a beautiful city that offers a great deal of adventure and unforgettable experiences for you and your family.

These are the best things to do in Beacon, New York:

Experience Art Like Never Before in Dia Beacon

Entrance of Dia Beacon

Velvet, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The state of New York is known for its outstanding taste in art and aesthetics.

People from various parts of the world visit New York in search of beauty, art and culture.

Beacon is one of New York’s cities that are abundant with all kinds of arts, culture, and history.

It is known for its vast and beautiful art galleries that hold in them the rich culture of the United States.

Top view of Dia Beacon

Rolf Müller (User:Rolfmueller), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most beautiful and creative art galleries to explore here is Dia Beacon, which exhibits excellent and thought-provoking masterpieces.

The fluorescent light exhibition, especially, is a must-see.

It is a very simple yet very complex modern art museum, and people who love art will want to come back again and again.

Visit Beacon Mountain, the Highest Peak in the Hudson Highlands

Hudson Highlands covered with fog

Scott Heaney /

Who doesn’t love to have a little adventure while traveling?

Beacon Mountain, the highest peak in the Hudson Highlands, is a beautiful mountain covered with lush green grass and trees.

Landscape of Hudson Highlands

Ruben Martinez Barricarte /

There are a lot of trails in this mountain where you can go hiking, watch the scenery, walk your dog, have a picnic date, or even go camping.

The views of the Hudson River are spectacular, and the waterfall in the middle of the mountains is truly beautiful.

You must visit Beacon Mountain if you are in town.

Aerial view of Hudson Highlands

Nancy Kennedy /

Go Hiking at Breakneck Ridge

Bird's eye view of Breakneck Ridge

i-m-a-g-e /

Breakneck Ridge is one of the most difficult four-mile trails in Beacon

It’s a great trail for people who love adventure and challenges.

View of the river from Breakneck Ridge

Richard Scalzo /

The hikes are easily accessible, and the views are absolutely rewarding.

Even though the trail might be a little difficult, the scenes that await you at the end are what make it even more fun.

Breakneck Ridge in Beacon

Daniel Case, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can have a little picnic by yourself in the middle of the beautiful Ridge.

The trail is very unique, and the sunsets really add to the beauty of it all.

Camping at Breakneck Ridge

Kyle Tunis /

Live Out Your Dreams of Royalty at Bannerman Castle

Exterior of Bannerman Castle

Felix Lipov /

Have you always dreamed of being a king or queen of a majestic castle?

You can bring this longtime fantasy to life in Bannerman Castle.

As dreamy as it sounds, it is a landmark castle on Hudson River Island.

The tour from the boat to the actual castle is really amazing.

Close up of the ruins of Bannerman Castle

Felix Lipov /

The castle’s grounds are beautiful and well-kept, and the tour guides are passionate about the history, making the whole experience even livelier.

The views from the island are breathtaking, particularly at sunset.

Ruins at Bannerman Castle

Meagan Marchant /

The castle is very unique and still stands firm even after hundreds of years.

It is a great tourist spot, and you must definitely pay a visit to this glorious castle in Beacon.

Bird's eye view of the Bannerman Castle

Wirestock Creators /

Satisfy Your Inner Art Enthusiast at the Howland Cultural Center

Exterior of Howland Cultural centre

H.J. Herrera /

If you are fascinated by small towns and are interested in learning about their art and history, do visit the Howland Cultural Center.

This art and architectural building goes way back in time and is a very famous place and a tourist destination.

It holds various concerts by famous musicians and singers and is now a community arts space.

Interior of Howland Cultural Center

Daniel Case, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Howland Cultural Center is referred to as a hidden gem of Beacon, and citizens hold this magnificent place in high regard.

This cultural, architectural, and institutional gem is located in downtown Beacon, and it serves as a venue for events like lectures and ballets.

The center is truly a must-visit if you want to learn about and explore Beacon’s true art and culture.

Go Back in Time at Mount Gulian Historic Site

House at Mount Gulian Historic Site

Rolf Müller, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are a fan of history and historical inventions, Mount Gulian Historic Site is the place for you.

This historical attraction in Beacon exhibits everything about the city’s history and is the only place where you get to experience its culture in its full glory and meaning.

The site was constructed in the 1800s and still stands firm today.

Entrance to Mount Gulian Historic Site

Rolfmueller, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It also holds various events, and you will certainly be lucky if you get a chance to attend any one of them.

The place also has incredible scenery, which adds to its overall charm.

Mount Gulian Historic Site is an unmissable spot if you are a fan of history and culture.

Watch the Pink Sunset at Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park

Boat at Scenic Hudson's Long Dock Park

Brian Logan Photography /

As alluring as its name sounds, this place is going to be even better when you experience it with your eyes.

The scenery at Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park will surely take your breath away.

It also has a lot of trails for you to explore on foot or your bikes.

You can have picnics in several spots around this park and view some of the most beautiful sunsets of your life.

The sunset fills the sky with hues of yellow and pink, and it is truly the most mesmerizing experience for the soul.

You definitely mustn’t forget to check out this park if you are in or around the city!

Go Fishing at Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park

Water flowing gently at Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park

Phuey /

Who doesn’t love to get on a boat and catch some fish once in a while?

This fishing experience at Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park is going to be one of a kind because of the beauty and scenery of this place.

It is the site of the seasonal festivals put on by the Beacon Sloop Club, from the Strawberry Festival to the Corn Festival and Pumpkin Fest.

You must definitely participate in these really fun festivals if you get the chance.

Visit Beacon’s Famous Churches

St John the Evangelist Roman Catholic church

Andre Carrotflower, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There is a load of fun and adventurous things to do while you’re in this city, but sometimes the heart wants to go get some peace and visit some beautiful churches.

Beacon is home to plenty of well-maintained and amazing churches for you to see.

Church of St. Joachim at Beacon

AlexiusHoratius, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Church of St. Joachim and St. John the Evangelist is one of the most beautiful churches in town.

The Dutch Reformed Church of Beacon is another church you must pay a visit to.

Exterior of the Dutch Reformed Church of Beacon

Daniel Case at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

These churches keep the spirituality of Beacon alive and are definitely worth adding to your itinerary.

Go Camping in Malouf’s Mountain Sunset Campground

Can you name a better adventure than camping in the middle of a forest park where you get a firsthand experience of the wild while ensuring maximum safety for you and your family?

Malouf’s Mountain Sunset Campground is a fantastic place to go camping with your family or peers.

There are a lot of trails to explore and hang around.

You can set up your tents and get an amazing experience of camping here.

Take a Sightseeing Tour on Main Street

Buildings at Main Street, Beacon

Brian Logan Photography /

If you want to get the feel of Beacon, try spending a few days walking up and down Main Street.

With lots of shops and restaurants all within reach, it’s the heartbeat of this community.

Beacon’s Main Street is barely minutes away from the Metro-North Railroad station on the Hudson River.

Main Street on a sunny morning

Brian Logan Photography /

On Main Street, near Route 9D, you’ll find a great place to grab some locally brewed coffee from Bank Square, a popular spot to “caff” up.

Many unique art galleries are located on this street, including Clutter Gallery and Hudson Beach Glass.

You might even encounter Pandorica, a themed restaurant inspired by the cult classic British show Dr. Who.

Shops at the main street

Daniel Case, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Roam around Beacon’s Historic Ruins

Beacon has a lot of historical tourist attractions that don’t fail to meet the expectations of any photography buff looking for new and exciting backdrops.

While taking a photo tour during your stay in Beacon, you can see all the hidden gems the city has to offer tourists and locals alike.

Beacon contains a church that has been abandoned for many decades, sitting quietly and almost completely forgotten in the city’s Beacon Hill neighborhood.

This is surprising because the church in question was built back in 1860 as part of one of New York State’s Dutch Reform Churches but has since become a historical and tourist building.

If you enjoy history lessons, why not combine them with nature walks by visiting nearby Madam Brett Park?

At this park, you can visit the ruins of an old hat mill established way back in 1879.

Over by the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries are some old brickworks ruins where they used to make bricks.

These warm and cozy buildings date back to a time when they made over a million bricks every week.

Not that far away down the highway from Beacon lies the Craig House Institute.

This abandoned Victorian mansion used to be America’s first private psychiatric hospital.

It’s known as a rehab clinic for some of the country’s greatest leading lights, including Jane Fonda’s mother, Zelda Fitzgerald, Frances Seymour, and Rosemary Kennedy.

All of the interiors are as they were when the building closed back in 1999.

However, the outside is locked to outsiders as a new owner has been restoring the building for months.

Peruse Different Stalls at the Beacon Farmers’ Market

The Hudson Valley region of New York is truly a special place with an eclectic mix of creative and innovative artists, thinkers, and creators from many different backgrounds.

The Beacon Farmers’ Market is a long-standing tradition that brings people together to partake in this social experience, whether it be the young families looking for locally sourced products or tourists who come out to gawk at the local flavors.

You don’t have to go far in this picturesque area to find a farmers’ market bursting with products just waiting to be taken home.

The market helps provide their community with access to fruits, honey, vegetables, meat, cheeses, sauces, syrups, and smoked fish.

These products come from local farms as well.

Operating since 2016, the market continues to grow alongside its customers and vendors.

The Beacon Farmers’ Market is one of the most popular as it is open throughout most of the year.

Take time out of your day and make a detour over to this rolling haven for small business owners, and your taste buds will thank you for it.

Browse Intricate Glass Pieces at Hudson Beach Glass

Facade of the Hudson Beach Glass

AlexiusHoratius, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Have a peek at beautifully crafted glass creations by Hudson Beach Glass.

You’ll find their showroom, demo studio, and art gallery right on Main Street on an old restored firehouse.

Founded by Michael Benzer, Jennifer Smith, and John and Wendy Gilvey, the business has been around since 1987 and formally opened the gallery and glass-blowing demonstration studio in 2003.

Choose from an array of handcrafted items from bar accessories, bowls, and candle holders to jewelry and personal accessories.

Looking for unique gifts or souvenirs? Check out other lovely items like knives, card holders and paperweights, sculptures, serving pieces, soap dishes, and vases.

You can also watch glass-blowing demonstrations to see how these pieces take shape and design.

Better yet, join a class by Hudson Beach Glass and have fun working with glass or blowing your own ornament.

Enjoy Great Food and Music at Towne Crier Cafe

Planning to unwind on a weekend? Towne Crier Cafe on Main Street is the perfect place to hang out.

This popular music venue first opened in 1972 in Beekman as a hippie hang-out and coffee shop.

The club moved to its present location after several decades with its menu selection also evolving to fine dining.

But over the years, the cafe has been a favorite local spot in town with entertaining live music acts from jazz, blues, swing rock, and more.

Drop by this cozy bistro and enjoy dinner from Thursday to Sunday along with brunch and lunch fares from Saturday to Sunday.

You can get tickets to watch talented Hudson Valley and other artists on tour at the Main Stage or catch complimentary performances at the Salon Stage; likewise, you’ll have fun with the Open Mic Night on Thursdays.

Of course, there’s a variety of delicious food on the menu like the Opening Act appetizers including Authentic Cuban Black Bean Soup, Asian Spring Rolls, and Tofu Wings; try the Taste Of The Middle East, a combination of hummus, baba ghanouj, falafel and Tunisian salad in one platter.

Order fresh salads and satisfying entrees along with flavorful paninis and burgers.

Enjoy delectable brunch items like Breakfast Platter and Smoked Salmon Platter, or have some Shakshouka, Huevos Rancheros, Breakfast Burritos, or Buttermilk Pancakes.

Towne Crier Cafe also offers luscious desserts made by Pastry Chef Mary Ciganer like Chocolate Truffle Torte, Hazelnut Dacquoise, White Chocolate Lemon Cheesecake, and more.

Visit the Historic Madam Brett Homestead

Front view of the Madam Brett Homestead

Rolf Müller, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Madam Brett Homestead located on Van Nydeck Avenue Beacon is Duchess County’s oldest residence.

Roger and Catheryna Brett built their Dutch-style home in 1709 and has been owned by seven generations of the Brett family.

You can catch tours every Saturday afternoon from May to December.

Visit the museum and observe original architectural details like the scalloped shingles, slanting dormers, and Dutch-designed doors along with the structure’s native stone foundations.

You can step inside the 17 rooms to browse original Empire, Georgian, and Victorian furniture pieces and vintage decor.

See the rare China-Trade Porcelain collection and antique heirlooms, then come by the colonial-era kitchen built with hand-hewn beams, wide-board floors, and a large hearth.

You can also wander around the five-acre area and explore the beautiful garden, woodlands, and the small brook nearby.

The Madam Brett Homestead is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and maintained by The Melzingah Chapter and Daughters of the American Revolution.

Find All Things Vintage at Beacon Flea Market

If you’re an avid antique collector or simply love vintage pieces, make sure to drop by the Beacon Flea Market.

The market opens from April to December every Sunday at Henry Street.

Choose from an array of rare collectibles and curiosities from glassware, lighting, and furniture to vinyl, old-fashioned cookware, books, jewelry, and so much more.

Bring the family to this free admission market and you’re sure to find something for everyone.

In case you get hungry, there are plenty of local restaurants and food shops downtown you can hop to since the market exclusively offers antiques and vintage goods.

You’ll surely enjoy shopping from morning until early afternoon at the Beacon Flea Market.

Taste Artisan Spirits at Denning’s Point Distillery

Classic spirits with a modern take are what Denning’s Point Distillery proudly delivers.

Drop by their tasting room and get to see their production space at North Chestnut Street on an old 19th-century downtown building.

For three years in a row, the business bagged the Best Hudson Valley Distillery award so you know that you’ll get the finest, artisanal spirits to enjoy.

They also have more than 25 years of distilling expertise with raw products like fruits and grains sourced from nearby family farms.

Get their handcrafted spirits by the bottle and choose from their selection like the Special Release 116-proof Beacon Bourbon or the 100-proof Beacon Bourbon.

Likewise, try and sip samples of their Coffee Bourbon, Apple Brandy, Maid of the Meadow, Great 9 Gin, and Viskill Vodka.

Try a different kind of twist with your drinks with the Cocktail Inspirations you’ll find on the Denning’s Point Distillery website.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors

This is the most exotic place you will find near Beacon, and you must not miss it for the world.

The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors is located in Wappingers Falls, just 15 minutes away from Beacon.

It is the most modern place where you can experience creativity like never before.

This place is tranquil and unrestrained and exhibits a great collection of various forms of art, like art and nature mysticism, psychedelic sanctuary, and more.

The experience and charm of this place can never be described appropriately in words because one must really see all the art with their own eyes to understand what it is truly like.

Pay a Visit to Pollepel Island

Landscape of Pollepel Island

KMarsh /

This beautiful and classic island covers an area of 6.5 acres in the Hudson River in New York.

Pollepel Island is a great place to watch the beautiful scenery, go for a walk, have a picnic, or just hang around after paying a visit to Bannerman Castle.

Getting to see these two attractions combined is a full experience of the heart of Beacon, for the vibe and beauty of these places give peace to the heart and soul that no other area could provide.

It is a must to see Pollepel Island if you are visiting Bannerman Castle, as the two are situated close to each other.

Explore the Hiking Trails at Hudson Highlands State Park

Hudson Highlands state park


This beautiful park near Beacon is home to the most amazing scenery and greenery.

Hudson Highlands State Park is located in Cold Spring, just 10 minutes away from Beacon.

It is a park with wonderful river views and accessible trails that are easy to hike.

Shoreline of Hudson Highlands State Park

Tim1337, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can get a chance to spot local birds and other animals in this park while hiking.

You can come here to hang around or have a picnic.

Whatever you decide, the scenic beauty of this place is sure to mesmerize you.

You will undoubtedly have a beautiful and serene experience here.

Ride Down the Water Slides at SplashDown Beach Water Park

This family-friendly adventure water park called Splashdown Slides caters to the needs of all age groups.

It is located in the village of Fishkill, which is a 10-minute drive outside Beacon.

You can take your kids or your friends with you, ride down the amazing water slides, and swim around.

Your water park experience will surely be really fun and adventurous.

You can also enjoy some delicious food and drinks here once you are tired.

SplashDown Beach Water Park is a great place to spend your weekends relaxing in the pools for a while.

Go Wine Tasting at Benmarl Winery

Located in the hamlet of Marlboro, Benmarl Winery is a well-kept winery with gorgeous views from the edge of the mountain over the Hudson River.

This place has an extensive list of wines to try, along with absolutely phenomenal pizza.

The winery, which sits 15 minutes outside Beacon, is one of the most beautiful places you can visit.

You can get an experience of fine wine tasting while having some of the excellent dishes on their menu.

Final Thoughts

It’s hard not to notice that Beacon has changed a lot over the years.

The once-small upstate city is now a shiny gem in the Hudson Valley, known for its diverse range of fashionable boutiques and galleries, hip farm-to-table restaurants, stunning vistas of the Catskills mountain range, and lots more.

It’s now one of the most well-known destinations in the state of New York, mostly due to the train station that brings thousands of people into town on an almost daily basis.

If you’re on your way out here, remember this list before planning your itinerary!

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