Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Ramapo, NY

  • Published 2023/06/18

Sitting 28 miles northwest of New York City, Ramapo boasts a highly livable environment that CNN Money ranked it 58th in its 2012 poll for the ‘Best Places To Live in America’.

Forming a part of Rockland County, the town along the border with New Jersey consists of 11 villages and nine hamlets.

With a population of nearly 149,000 according to 2020 census, it is also the largest town outside of Long Island.

If it were to become a city today, Ramapo would be the sixth most populous in the entire New York state, slightly edging out Syracuse by a few hundred more people.

Long before the arrival of white settlers, the area was already inhabited by the Munsee people for generations.

Founded in 1791, the settlement was first called New Hampstead, which later changed to Hempstead in 1797.

It was finally named Ramapo in 1828, which itself originates from Algonquin word which either means “round pond” or “sweet water”.

The area quickly prospered, owing to its location along the stagecoach route between New York City and Albany.

Along with a wire mill, the town also hosted the nail factory of Ramapo Iron Works.

It received another economic boost with the completion of the first railroad line in the Rockland County in 1841, connecting Ramapo with Piermont in southeast.

With the arrival of State Route 59 in 1916, the town continued to flourish well into the 20th century.

Today, the bustling town is home to numerous urban and outdoor attractions that cater to every lifestyle.

Here are the best things to do in Ramapo, NY:

Explore Kakiat Park

Hiking trail along the Kakiat Park

quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

A playground for outdoor adventurers, Kakiat Park occupies an area of 376 acres in the village of Montebello.

Originally owned by the Blauvelt family, the property was formerly known as Kakiat Farm where apples, peaches, and cherries were cultivated for over 200 years.

Long after the farm’s abandonment, the foundation of the Blauvelt mill still remains and serves as a stark reminder of the park’s agricultural heritage.

Different terrains define the park’s landscape, from bogs and riverside areas, low-lying hills, to steep and rocky mountain slopes.

Ruins of a mill at Kakiat Park

Alexisrael, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A network of hiking trails allows you to explore and immerse in these natural features.

Reach for the scenic overlook and you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the unmistakable New York City skyline.

Home to small animals like white-tailed deer and porcupine, along with several species of birds, the park is also a fantastic spot for wildlife-watching.

Additionally, you can enjoy a nice time alone or with family at the park’s picnic areas.

Kakiat Park’s stunning views and pristine environment make it a great spot for both weekend hikes and simple nature walks.

A river flowing through the Kakiat Park

quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

Go Wine Tasting at Torne Valley Vineyards

If you want to try the best wines in Ramapo, then head over to the village of Hillburn where you’ll find Torne Valley Vineyards.

The winery boasts an impressive menu of rich and flavorful wines, from classic reds like merlot and cabernet sauvignon to whites like chardonnay and seyval blanc

If you want something extra sweet, you can have their fruity sangria and sparkling rosé.

Additionally, the winery also offer other drinks such as craft beers, hard ciders, and fine spirits.

Along with the classic cheese platter, you can then pair their delicious wines with scrumptious panini sandwiches, chicken wings, and salads.

On top of their signature wines, the winery is also known for hosting live music performances to serenade and entertain their guests.

Featuring indoor and outdoor seating, the winery’s manor-style architecture evokes both classy and relaxing atmosphere for a truly exceptional experience.

For exceptional wine tasting experience in Ramapo, you can’t find anything better than Torne Valley Vineyards.

Hit the Greens at Spook Rock Golf Course

If you’re itching for some tee time, then head over to Spook Rock Golf Course.

Situated in the village of Suffern, the beautiful 18-hole golf course covers a total area of 150 acres.

Along with the stunning scenery, it boasts immaculate greens and fairways for smooth and pleasant play all the time.

On the other hand, there are also several well-placed bunkers and ponds which add extra challenge even to seasoned golfers.

There’s also a driving range where you can go on a swinging spree.

Moreover, you can enroll in their special learning programs such as golf lessons and summer camps to elevate your skills.

With its gorgeous layout and neat amenities, Spook Rock Golf Course is a must-play for both pros and casual golfers.

Relax and Go Fishing at Willow Tree Park

Located in the village of Wesley Hills, Willow Tree Park is a small paradise right at the heart of Ramapo.

What it lacks in usual park amenities, it makes up for its main attraction, which is a nice, big pond where fishing is also allowed.

Moreover, the park’s fishing pier doubles as a neat viewing deck where you can enjoy the sights of fish and turtles swimming underwater.

On the other hand, you can enjoy relaxing walks along the trail which loops around the pond.

You can then take shelter at the small gazebo located at the other side of the park.

You can also choose to simply lie down on the surrounding open lawn and appreciate the quietness of the park.

It may not boast traditional features, yet Willow Tree Park’s serene and quiet environment makes it a top choice of a quick breather from the bustle of the urban jungle.

Visit the Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education

The Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education is located within the campus of Rockland Community College in the village of Suffern.

The museum, which can only be visited through scheduled appointments, memorializes the victims of the one of most tragic events in human history.

It’s profoundly solemn atmosphere is already evident soon after you enter the hallway, with roof beams eerily designed to resemble those found in actual concentration camps.

Along with a train car used in the transportation of prisoners, you will find graphic photos of the tragedy with vivid details in their descriptions.

These are supported with countless artifacts, which include hundreds of footwear worn by the prisoners.

More importantly, the museum humanizes the victims through its display of numerous personal items, providing a glimpse of their lives during that time.

After feeling a little heavy from the exhibits, you can take a take a breather at the outdoor lawn which is dotted with large art installations.

A fitting tribute that also provides an invaluable opportunity to learn the lessons of the past, Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education is a must-visit in Ramapo.

Play at Manny Weldler Park

Also known as Viola Town Park, Manny Weldler Park is located in the hamlet of Monsey.

One of Ramapo’s major recreation parks, it boasts several sports facilities like several tennis, pickleball, and handball courts.

Additionally, the park contains four ball fields, as well as a spacious lawn where you can run around and play.

You can also run laps along the walking and jogging pathways that weave through the park.

As a welcome bonus, you’ll even have occasional encounters with small herds of deer roaming around the park’s premises.

The park also comes with a playground equipped with fun play structures like tubes, slides, and swings.

Manny Welder Park’s neat amenities and pleasant environment make it a great spot for playing and relaxing.

Go for an Outdoor Adventure at Dater Mountain Park

Located in the village of Sloatsburg, Dater Mountain Park is a haven for hikers and nature-lovers alike.

Covering an area of 350 acres, the park’s landscape is characterized not only by mountainous woodlands but also valleys and streams cutting through its expanse.

Needless to say, the park boasts hiking trails where you can experience trekking through the wilderness.

Despite the challenging hike, you’ll be treated with stunning views of the nearby village of Tuxedo once you reach the top of the rocky slopes.

As added bonus, the park also hosts a thriving wildlife population, with its 41 bird species alone makes it the perfect spot for birdwatching.

With no fancy features or amenities, Dater Mountain Park offers nothing but unadulterated outdoor experience for everyone.

Go Swimming at Spook Rock Pool

People enjoying their day at Spook Rock Pool

Brian Logan Photography / Shutterstock.com

If you want to have some splashing fun, then there’s no better place in Ramapo than Spook Rock Pool.

Located in the village of Suffern, the pool season generally starts mid-June and closes in early September each year.

Serving as its main attraction is the large swimming pool where you can swim on laps or simply enjoy a relaxing dip.

However, if you seek a little thrill, the you can take either of the two spiraling water slides and plunge yourself into the water for a big splash.

If you’re not in the mood for swimming, you can simply go sunbathing by the poolside while listening to your summertime playlist.

On the other hand, kids and adults alike will also have plenty of fun playing around the splash pad complete with water fountains and sprinklers.

It may not boast plenty of fancy features, yet Spook Rock Pool offers enough to give everyone pure and simple splashing fun.

Drink and Dine at Seven Lakes Station

A gastropub in the village of Sloatsburg, Seven Lakes Station boasts the best craft beers and food in this side of Ramapo.

For starters, their rotating taps come in 14 flavorful selections, ranging from the fruity and strong Beer’d Dogs and Boats to smooth and light Jack’s Abby Ray Catcher.

Additionally, their canned and bottled beers come in a myriad of choices, which also include imported brands.

As with their signature beers, their food menu choices are also raking in rave reviews from their patrons.

Their authentic Belgian frites, along with appetizers like eggplant fritter and charcuterie plate, make for a perfect pairing with a cold glass of refreshing ale.

Other dine-in offerings you can try are their fresh salads, juicy burgers, and scrumptious sandwiches.

On the other hand, their indoor and outdoor seating evoke a homey atmosphere which makes for a relaxing and pleasant experience.

A great combination of fantastic beers, phenomenal food, and cozy environment make Seven Lakes Station a must-try in Ramapo.

Shop for Organic Products and More at Auntie El’s Farm Market

Located in the village of Sloatsburg, Auntie El’s Farm Market is Ramapo’s all-in-one place for fresh produce, tasty treats, and nice antique finds.

Serving the town for over 40 years, the farm market boast locally-sourced fruits and vegetables like apples, tomatoes, and corn.

You can also find a wide assortment of organic food products like dried nuts, jellies, and jams.

The farm market is also famous for their delicious pastries and other baked goodies such as apple pie, fudge, and truffles.

On the other hand, garden enthusiasts will delight in their nursery filled with beautiful potted flowers and ornamental plants, along with cute garden pottery and outdoor furniture.

What’s more, the farm market also carries a good selection of antique ceramics, wood furniture, and home décor, among others.

With their impressive inventory of various food and household products, you can guarantee you’ll never leave Auntie El’s Farm Market empty-handed.

Enjoy Authentic Japanese Dining Experience at Mt. Fuji Steakhouse

Located in the village of Hillburn, Mt. Fuji Steakhouse is among the top-rated restaurants in Ramapo.

On top of their authentic Japanese dishes, the restaurant stands out from the others by providing a one-of-a-kind dining experience in town.

The restaurant’s aesthetics alone will make you believe you’re already in Japan, with a dining area boasting amazing views of the surrounding landscapes.

You also get to witness their culinary masters wield their expertise at the hibachi grills right in front of you.

Of course, the best way to enjoy these visual treats is by feasting on the restaurant’s impressive menu of Japanese cuisine.

You can start off with their selection of appetizers like gyoza, harumaki, and edamame, then proceed to the fresh sushi and sashimi.

For entrée, you can have their hibachi specialties, where you can choose from tender prime steaks and seafood specials.

After a sumptuous meal, you can have a relaxing cap off with traditional sake or a glass of delicious wine.

More than your average Japanese restaurant, Mt. Fuji Steakhouse offers memorable gourmet experience with their fantastic food, great entertainment, and pleasant ambience.

Look for Collectibles at Wow! That’s Unusual!

With its catchy name alone, Wow! That’s Unusual! already stirs your curiosity that you can’t help yourself but to get in and see what’s inside.

A hidden gem in Ramapo, this haven for vintage collectors and enthusiasts is located in the village of Suffern.

At first glance, the store’s layout may look a bit cluttered, yet it was somehow intended as such to allow you to experience the excitement of finally finding an exceptional piece after digging through the piles.

As such, you can find the usual fare of antique household items such as home décor, ceramics, and small furniture, among others.

Needless to say, it is also a treasure trove of collectibles like vintage dolls, action figures, and other toys.

You can also take a trip down the memory lane with their shelves of old magazines and books.

Music-lovers will also delight in their impressive collection of vinyl records, tapes, and CD’s from artists of all genres.

Whether you’re an avid collector or a casual shopper, you should stop by and check what’s inside Wow! That’s Unusual!

Dine at Fink’s BBQ

If you’re craving for grilled meats and other calorie-laden favorites, then Fink’s BBQ is the spot for you.

Located in the village of Suffern, the popular barbecue joint’s impressive menu is headlined by its main entrées of pork spareribs, beef short rib, and crispy half duck, among others.

However, if you want to try everything all at one, then you should order their “Meat me at the Outpost” and “Carnivore” menu options.

Complimenting their main course are their equally-scrumptious side dishes like sweet corn soufflé, potato salad, and beer cheese and macaroni, just to name a few.

You can also nibble on their delicious appetizers like pork cracklings, smoked wings, and steamed clams.

Additionally, you can try their mouth-watering and jam-packed sliders, sandwiches, and cheesesteaks.

Better yet, their lip-smacking food offerings are served in hefty portions for a full and satisfying dining experience.

With Fink’s BBQ, you might as well throw your diet plan out of the window as you indulge in their fantastic food selections.

Enjoy a Relaxing Stroll at Eugene Levy Memorial Park

Named after the famed New York State senator, Eugene Levy Memorial Park is located in Pomona in the northern part of Ramapo.

One of the most popular parks in town, among its top attractions include a nice pond with fountain and a well-equipped playground.

The park also houses two handball courts, as well as trails for walking and jogging.

Of course, you can enjoy refreshing strolls along these pathways, especially the ones that traverse through the wooded sections of the park.

However, you can also choose to lie down at the clean lawn and enjoy the peaceful scenery.

Boasting nice features in a cool environment, Eugene Levy Memorial Park guarantees for an enjoyable and relaxing time with family and friends.

Feed the Friendly Animals at West Maple Farm

Situated in the hamlet of Monsey, the 15-acre West Maple Farm allows you to experience the simple rural living right at the heart of Ramapo.

Among its main attractions is the petting zoo where you can interact with friendly farm animals like sheep, goats, and cows.

Together with the usual farm residents, you can also get up close and personal with their fluffy alpacas, cute rabbits, and colorful peacocks.

On the other hand, the farm also offers hayride tours which allow you to have a closer look at the farm machineries and check the various crops grown in their plots.

Moreover, they also have the seasonal U-Pick Farm where, as the name implies, lets you experience picking of tomatoes, zucchini, and other vegetables by yourself.

The farm also has a spacious picnic are where you can relax and enjoy a meal after a fun tour, while the kids can enjoy themselves in the playground with farm-inspired play structures.

West Maple Farm’s nice attractions guarantee for a wholesome fun experience for everyone.

Final thoughts

With a plethora of attractions in a pleasant suburban environment, it’s no surprise Ramapo ranks as among the best places in the country to live.

From family-friendly parks and attractions, phenomenal restaurants, to outdoor trekking spots, you can experience all of these without stepping outside of the town’s borders.

Bookmark this list, and plan your visit to Ramapo today.

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