15 Best Things to Do in Catskill, NY

Catskills, NY
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Nestled in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, Catskill, New York, is a picturesque little town with a lot to offer.

It's also virtually unknown, which makes it all the more special; the most significant thing to do in Catskill is to visit the little town itself.

With its historic homes and businesses, natural beauty, and small-town charm, you'll feel like you've gone back in time when you visit.

The region is also full of recreational opportunities that cater to everyone, from thrill-seekers to those who want to relax.

Whether you're into hiking, biking, or snowboarding, there's bound to be something right up your alley.

They also have a beautiful downtown with cute shops and restaurants, making it a great place to go for the day or even just for dinner if you want to stay in the area.

There's so much to do in Catskill that it's impossible to list them all here—why not discover them yourself?

Check out the best things to do in Catskill, NY:

Go on a Hike in Catskill Park

A gorgoeus waterfall at Catskill mountain park
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Catskill Park is a mountainous region of New York protected as a public park since 1885.

Its biggest draw is the Catskill Forest Preserve, which comprises 286,000 acres of woodland that you can explore independently or with a guide.

The stunning Catskill Park is a large swath of protected forest that offers beautiful vistas, easy hiking trails and plenty of spots to pitch a tent or set up a hammock.

It has everything you could want for a fun day trip: biking, hiking, bird-watching, canoeing.

Scenic view from Catskill Park's summit
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The best time to visit Catskill Park is in the fall when the leaves turn, and there's a crispness in the air.

With hundreds of miles of trails, you'll find no shortage of things to do here.

You can hike through thick forests and trek beside gorgeous streams as you go further into the park.

If you don't have time to explore every inch of this area, take some time to enjoy its many natural wonders: waterfalls, rock formations and pristine ponds are all within walking distance.

View from inside a tent at Catskill Park
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Spend a Day in Ramshorn-Livingston Audubon Sanctuary

Call it a bird sanctuary, a hawk watch, an outdoor classroom—there are many names for RamsHorn-Livingston Audubon Sanctuary.

The most important thing is that you should visit this Catskill gem at least once in your life.

The property itself is expansive.

You can find a large pond, tidal marsh and swamps, farm fields, and nature trails scattered in this 436-acre field.

You'll also find many different species of birds: hawks, eagles, songbirds and more.

It's an environmental education center that offers unique opportunities for direct experience with nature.

You get close to the birds, you go on self-guided hikes, and you can even buy binoculars if you don't have a pair at home.

The sanctuary isn't just a place to learn about wildlife.

It's also a fun location to play outdoors, relax in the shade of big trees and take in some fresh air.

If you're looking for somewhere beautiful to escape with your family or meet up with your friends during a long weekend, RamsHorn-Livingston Audubon Sanctuary will not disappoint.

Enjoy the Outdoors in Mawignack Preserve

If you're looking for something that entails the least amount of effort and isn't going to cost anything, the best option is to head to the Catskills' state-owned nature preserve: Mawignack Preserve.

The preserve's name was derived from a Native American word, "the place where two rivers meet.”

This pocket of forested land offers hiking trails through woods filled with wildflowers, streams for fishing, and family-friendly camping spots.

The preserve is full of unexplored terrain that invites contemplation, relaxation, or adventure.

You can bike along paths or streambeds or meander through the woods on foot.

It's a great place to get away from it all and let your mind wander as you absorb the natural beauty around you.

Take your time exploring the trails, and if you're lucky, you might even see some unique wildlife that lives in this location.

Taste Local Flavors in Crossroads Brewing Company

The landscape and culture of Catskill, New York, are made up of two things: nature and beer.

The small town is a haven for hikers and other outdoor sports enthusiasts, but it's also home to the only brewery in the Catskill region, the Crossroads Brewing Company.

You'll want to take advantage of this unique opportunity to taste regional brews in a cozy setting that feels more like your best friend's basement than a sterile tasting room.

There's an outside deck overlooking one of the picturesque Catskill creeks with picnic tables and plenty of room to spread out.

The atmosphere is fun and relaxed, and the menu is full of options to keep everyone happy.

If you're looking for quality beer in an outdoor setting with stunning views, look no further than Crossroads Brewing Company!

Browse Exhibits at the Greene County Council on the Arts

If you're going to Catskill, New York, you better go to the County Council on the Arts (GCOCA).

As the arts council for Greene County, GCOCA is a beautiful place to explore new forms of expression and support the arts in one of America's most historic regions.

Founded in 1975, GCCA has a long history of hosting exciting events that feed into the cultural scene of Greene County.

Greene County Council on the Arts offers a myriad of programs, workshops, and exhibitions throughout the year to educate and inspire residents, visitors, and students alike.

The council houses many galleries with varying themes; some are more traditional while others focus on contemporary art.

If you're looking for a way to experience some artistic culture during your holiday vacation this year, head up to Greene County Council on the Arts.

Know the History of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site

The exterior of Thomas Cole National Historic Site
Sandra Foyt / Shutterstock.com

Thomas Cole National Historic Site is a beautiful destination near the Catskill Mountains in New York State.

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site, established in 1910 to preserve the now-defunct home and studio of noted 19th-century American painter Thomas Cole, has also become a National Historic Landmark.

Thomas Cole was an American artist who lived from 1801 to 1848 and became a famous American landscape painter.

He went to the Hudson River School, where he discovered and fell in love with the area in 1825.

His works, primarily paintings and sketches, depicted his awe at nature's beauty.

Wooden chairs on Thomas Cole National Historic Site's porch
Sandra Foyt / Shutterstock.com

Find them on display at the site's museum, along with historical photographs relating to local history.

The site also offers plenty of hiking trails, educational workshops, special events, and other activities for visitors.

The Thomas Cole National Historic Site offers a sweeping scenery of the Hudson River Valley and looks out over the exact spot where Cole found inspiration for some of his most famous works.

This national historic site is one of the hidden gems of New York State—don't miss it.

Visit the Animals in Bailiwick Animal Park & Riding Stables

Bailiwick is much more than just an animal park; it's where people and animals connect personally.

While it's called a park, that word doesn't even begin to describe how massive this facility is.

Bailiwick Animal Park & Riding Stables is on a sprawling 300-acre field that houses different animals.

The best part about all of this?

There are tons of opportunities to interact with the animals!

You'll get up close and personal with deer, zebras, bison, and even kangaroos.

Children will enjoy feeding and interacting with farm animals such as pigs, cows, sheep, and goats.

The area surrounding Bailiwick is also beautiful—it's nestled into the Catskill Mountains.

As you walk through the woods here, you'll encounter gorgeous scenery, peaceful wildlife and a good chance of spotting some of nature's most majestic animals.

Roam the Old Catskill Game Farm

This natural, historical, and educational park is on a site once home to one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of New York State.

Established and opened in 1973, the farm has provided visitors with a glimpse into the past while also offering opportunities to hike, go on tours, and even watch cooking demonstrations.

Before it was an idyllic place for families to go horseback riding, Old Catskill Game Farm was a haven for the hundreds of animals who were once the pride and joy of families.

Today, however, it's mostly a place for weekenders and vacationers looking for a quiet nature getaway.

The farm is a great place to visit for anyone interested in learning about the area's history or who wants to enjoy the Catskills' beautiful scenery and natural diversity.

Go on an Adventure with Rip Van Winkle Adventure Guides

If you're looking for an affordable way to get into nature without sacrificing comforts or convenience, Rip Van Winkle Adventures is your best bet.

Located in the Catskills region of New York, Rip Van Winkle Adventure Guides offers tours through the area's picturesque Hudson Valley.

They offer guided tours and rentals of outdoor gear and equipment, from backpacking gear to kayaks to bicycles.

Rip Van Winkle Adventure Guides can help you with all your outdoor needs: hiking, biking, skiing (both cross country and downhill), climbing, canoeing, kayaking, etc.

And if you want to try something more exotic like caving or rock climbing, they know some great places to take you where others dare not.

If you're looking for a relaxing day out with beautiful views and plenty of wildlife, Rip Van Winkle Adventure Guides has all sorts of hidden gems for you to see.

No matter what activity you choose to do in the Catskills, you'll have a great time with the help of  Rip Van Winkle Adventure Guides.

Have Fun under the Sun in Dutchman’s Landing

Dutchman's Landing is a landmark in the Catskills that deserves a spot on your summer vacation list.

If you haven’t been to this area of the park before, then you’re in for a special treat: Dutchman’s Landing is a great place to go for some exercise or to enjoy the outdoors.

It’s a stunning location to take a stroll and enjoy nature, but it also has exceptional amenities that will be a hit with everyone in your group.

There are playgrounds, pavilions, barbecue grills, kayak rentals, boat rentals and launch sites, and fishing spots.

Their picnic areas are perfect for a family reunion or hosting an intimate wedding ceremony or quiet engagement party.

If you are traveling with children, they will love exploring all that this area offers—and it’s perfectly safe for them too!

Whether you want to dip your toes in the water or sit back and enjoy a picnic lunch, it’s easy to find a place here that will help you feel relaxed and calm.

Play Golf in Catskill Golf Resort

What could be more wonderful than a golfing holiday?

Maybe it's the fresh air or the total lack of responsibility to do anything but enjoy your own company and admire the splendor of nature around you.

Catskill Golf Resort in Catskills, NY, has everything you could want for a golfing retreat, including varied courses for every skill level and a staff that knows what they're doing.

Here at Catskill Golf, you can expect to find a casual atmosphere and pristine conditions that are hard to beat.

You'll feel like you're out in nature while still being close to all the conveniences you need.

The Catskill Golf Resort offers incredible natural landscapes and scenic views, and challenging courses that will test your golf skills.

The 18-hole course has been carefully groomed, so you won't have any trouble finding your way around, and there are plenty of helpful staff members on hand to assist with your game.

If you want to grab your friends and play without a plan or score, there's also plenty of space for impromptu games.

Don't miss this excellent opportunity to play one of the best-maintained courses in the area or enjoy a night in the Catskills.

Watch Performances in the Bridge Street Theatre

Bridge Street Theatre is one of the most exciting places in the small village of Catskill, NY, because it's a place where people from all over the world come to enjoy local events, attractions and entertainment.

This Catskill institution has entertained theater-goers since it first opened its doors to the public in 2014.

The current incarnation is a favorite among locals and tourists, drawn to its cozy setting and laid-back atmosphere.

It's all very low-key—there are no intermissions at their shows, no fancy light displays or special effects.

Smaller shows are perfect for this venue, allowing audiences to feel more involved.

The stage is closer than other theaters, making it easy to interact with performers.

Bridge Street Theater also offers an entire season of performances every year: comedies, dramas, musicals, etc.

The theater is a hub for an array of community activities and events, from the annual fall festival to comedy nights and hosts a variety of plays and musicals, ranging from the classics to original works.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Climb on Top of Kaaterskill Falls

Daytime view of Kaaterskill Falls
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Less than 30 minutes away from Catskill, you will find a pair of waterfalls tucked away in the Catskill Mountains near the town of Haines Falls.

Kaaterskill Falls is a gorgeous set of cascading falls that is perfect for a day trip or a weekend excursion.

You'll get some great views of these falls from above, and you'll get an even better idea of them from below after you walk along the base of the mountainside and climb down into the gorge.

There is plenty of room for various activities for those who want to enjoy it.

You can go swimming in the pool at the bottom, wade in the creek surrounding it, or climb on the rocks at its base to get your own unique view.

Waterfall pool of Kaaterskill Falls
Cory Seamer / Shutterstock.com

Swimming is not recommended during high water levels out of safety concerns, but there are plenty of other reasons to come.

You may want a better view than simply standing at its base.

You can hike along trails up and around the falls.

Or you may want something more adventurous: you can climb right up to one side of it, going higher and higher until you reach a rock ledge where it looms directly above you.

It's an easy climb to get up close and personal with nature at its most beautiful—and it won't cost you a cent!

Aerial view of Kaaterskill Falls
Felix Lipov / Shutterstock.com

Explore Olana State Historic Site

Aerial view of Olana State Historic Site
Felix Lipov / Shutterstock.com

Olana is miles away from any city or town in the countryside of Hudson Valley.

You can find it sitting atop a hill and taking up almost an entire acre.

This late 19th-century estate was once the home of Frederic Church, one of the preeminent Hudson River School painters inspired by the area's natural beauty.

Exterior of Frederic Church's home at Olana State Historic Site
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The church is often painted on location here at Olana, so you can imagine him sitting on the same balcony or looking out from the same still intact windows.

With its large rooms, open spaces, and scenic views, it's easy to see why this was the ideal place for Church to paint landscapes.

The site is now a museum, and even if you've never heard of Church before, you'll have plenty to see.

This site will make you feel like an explorer in a magical world of hidden treasures, from the estate's many paths to its towering mansion and gorgeous grounds.

Beautiful windows of Frederic Church's home at Olana State Historic Site
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Stroll around Opus 40

The center monument of Opus 40
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For those who don't know, Opus 40 is a fantastic sculpture garden located in Saugerties and an excellent destination for New York City dwellers looking to get out of the city and away from all the noise.

It's a little-known gem and one of the best places in the state to visit for families – packed with sculptures built from tiles, concrete, rock and more. The site is truly a sight to behold.

The park's piece de resistance is its massive outdoor labyrinth, a maze of concrete walls that have attracted visitors from around the world ever since the builders completed it in 1939.

The ramps of Opus 40
Manuela Michailescu, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It's equally popular with locals and tourists, who love to come here for the whole experience.

You can walk around on the paths between the labyrinth walls or climb up and down some of them to get spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

The stone quarry is enormous.

You can go on a guided tour or explore at your own pace.

If you love sculpture, this is a must-visit destination!

Final Thoughts

Catskills Village is a charming town nestled in the mountainous region of the Catskill Mountains in Greene County, New York.

It's also home to many gorgeous lakes and waterfalls.

If you're a nature lover, you'll be delighted by how many opportunities there are to see animals in their natural habitat.

People have traveled to this area for many years to experience the breathtaking scenery, explore the many hiking trails, and enjoy the clean air and water.

If you're looking for an area of the country with plenty to do and plenty to enjoy, you'll want to consider a trip to the Catskills.

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