Vacation days, holidays, and weekends are precious times. Make the most of your time away from work and home with an activity-packed getaway. With so many things to do in the Catskills, the region is the perfect destination whenever you can afford to sneak away. From family-friendly activities to epic adventures, there is more to do than can fit in a single itinerary. Before you arrive, choose your ideal adventures from these top Catskills attractions, selected by the staff and visitors to Catskill tourism..
Our 10 Favorite Things to Do in the Catskills
1. Hike the Catskill Mountains
You will find many of the most popular Catskills activities happen in the great outdoors. The Catskill Region is home to some of New York State's most beautiful mountain trails, and hiking to the top will reward you with stunning views of the rivers and valleys below. Choose from challenging climbs up towering peaks or beginner-friendly trails to wide-open summits. Get a bird's eye view of the Catskills from a mountaintop fire tower, or take it easy on a flat, picturesque path through dense forests. Whatever your experience level, there is a hiking trail for you.
2. Bike Roadways and Trailways
The scenic nature of the Catskills makes it a popular destination for cycling enthusiasts. Small towns dotting the countryside make excellent starting points, pit stops, and destinations for those looking to put in serious miles. If you prefer mountain peak and single track trails to road cycling on rolling hills, the Catskills is also home to some of the Northeast's best mountain biking trails. The rich character of the local mountains makes for naturally feature-heavy mountasin bike courses that result in fun and exhilarating rides.
3. Immerse Yourself in the Arts
The Catskills has a long history of attracting photographers, poets, writers, and musicians with its natural beauty. Today, the area's arts and culture scene is experiencing a revival. Just hours from New York City, it is a convenient escape for creative minds in search of inspiration and a mecca for blossoming artists. Find yet-to-be-discovered talent in small local galleries, browse masterpiece works in world-class museums, or sit back and enjoy a show at an area theatre.
4. Enjoy a Relaxing Retreat
Need an escape from your day-to-day? Enjoy a respite at a unique and beautiful boutique hotel, a cozy cabin, a charming bed and breakfast, or a full-service retreat. Whatever your weary soul seeks, the Catskills has the exact lodging you need to feel at ease. In winter months, stay at a mountain resort and ski straight out your door to the nearest lift! Corporate retreats are also always a success in the Catskills.
5. Cast a Line in Catskill Waters
Fishing is a time-honored tradition in the Catskills. Considered the birthplace of American fly fishing, the rivers and streams of the region hold an abundance of big catches and even better stories. Wade into moving waters or paddle out onto a placid lake or pond to find your perfect spot. Local guides will be happy to provide pointers, and the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum in Livingston Manor is an excellent stop for avid or aspiring anglers looking to explore more.
6. Discover Big Adventures
If you're yearning for an extreme adventure, the Catskills is the place for you! Soar through the treetops at Hunter Mountain on the largest zipline course in North America, or take the Sky Ride to the top of the mountain for an epic view. Make a high-speed splash at Zoom Flume Water Park, or brave churning rapids on a Catskills whitewater rafting excursion. Multiple ski resorts complete with downhill tubing round out the thrills, making the Catskills a must-visit for adrenaline junkies year-round.
7. Camp Under the Stars
The only thing better than a night in a swanky hotel? A night sleeping under the stars! With vast swaths of New York wilderness, the Catskills is perfect for a peaceful camping experience. Hike into the backwoods and stay at a remote primitive site, or pack up the kids and spend a week away from technology at an amenities-rich campground. At the end of your stay you'll leave smelling of campfire, full of marshmallows, and totally content.
8. Sample Craft Brews
Did someone say craft beer? The Catskills boasts a wide variety of artisan NY brewers creating craft beer, wine, and spirits. Stop by a tasting room for a quick flight, or make it a full day of exploring fresh brews when you hop on the Catskills Beverage Trail. With more and more farm breweries popping up throughout New York State, there are more unique flavors than ever before to enjoy. An excellent climate for growing crisp, juicy apples, the Catskills is also home to several farm cideries!
9. Attend a Festival or Event
Life might not always be a party, but you can usually find one in the Catskills, where family-friendly festivals and fun events are held year-round. From A-list concerts to big bike races, there is something for every kind of fan to enjoy. Don your cowboy boots and head to Taste of Country Music Festival at Hunter Mountain, sip craft brews at the latest microbrew convention, or get down with some bluegrass at Grey Fox. Add in race days, field days, and holiday celebrations and you have a full calendar of Catskills Region events!
10. Chase Waterfall Views
From roadside beauties to hidden treasures, Catskills waterfalls of all shapes and sizes are waiting for you to explore. Stand at the base and let the powerful thunder of cascading water echo in your chest. Perch at the top and lose your worries in the water gushing over the top of precipitous cliffs. It's thrilling and serene all at once, and it is yours to explore in the Catskills.
Still not sure which adventure to choose? Check out the Catskill Compass for inspiration and discover the best of the Catskills experience.