What To See & Do In New York State

By Patricia Canole

Can autumn in New York get even more colorful? Besides the changing leaves, come epic outdoor adventures, family-friendly farms, historic sites, and so much more! Whether you’re sipping locally made wines or fall-themed craft beers, picking apples, hiking to scenic summits, or looking for new ways to celebrate Halloween, this season will surpass your expectations. Get ready to breathe in that crisp air—fall in New York is a time to create vivid memories. Here are our picks of what to see and do for fall foliage in the Empire State.


Putnam is a treasure of crystal-clear lakes, well-maintained hiking trails, historical sites, art, and cultural venues, all surrounded by dining to fit every taste and palate. Create a day trip or stay for a weekend; Putnam is the perfect place to relax and unwind.

Begin your trip at Boscobel, the beautiful Neoclassical mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The original house was built in the early 19th century by States Dyckman and is considered a significant example of the Federal style of American architecture. It includes an extensive collection of period decor and furnishings. In addition, the property consists of gardens, an orchard, a sculpture garden, and hiking trails.

A few miles away is Magazzino Italian Art, a museum and research center dedicated to advancing the public appreciation of postwar and contemporary Italian art in the United States.

Next, head east on Route 301 and, at your leisure, explore Stone Crop Gardens, Fahnestock State Park, and Chuang Yen Monastery, home to the giant indoor statue of Buddha in the Western Hemisphere. 

Whether you seek the majestic beauty of the Hudson River or the rustic tranquility of farm life, it’s always the perfect time to explore the many farmer’s markets and dining establishments. Later, head to Tilly Foster Farm in Brewster, where you’ll find farm animals, vegetable crops, and plenty of outdoor fun. Of course, no trip to Upstate New York is complete without a visit to an apple orchard. Stop at Salinger’s Orchards in Brewster for its variety of apples, pumpkins, and numerous other seasonal crops. They also sell local honey, pies, cookies, muffins, donuts, and other sweet delights. The farm market and café are open year-round. 

Enjoying time outdoors is ideal in nearby Dutchess County. Where else can you enjoy nature’s bursts of color and take advantage of the gifts harvest season brings? Historic sites like Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site in Hyde Park and offer magnificent views, inviting visitors to stroll the grounds or bring a picnic to enjoy while admiring the changing trees. Then, take in the foliage from an island on the Hudson after a short boat ride from Beacon to Pollepel, the home of Bannerman Castle.

For a vantage point like no other, the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie is one-of-a-kind. It’s the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world and is a former railroad bridge built in 1888, now open to anyone who loves walking or biking. Enjoy a breathtaking perspective of the Hudson River Valley. Panoramic views can also be seen atop the fire towers at Ferncliff Forest in Rhinebeck and Thompson Pond Preserve in Pine Plains. the Inn.

Of course, there’s a bounty of other activities to discover in Dutchess. Apple orchards are plentiful. Pick-your-own experiences include Fishkill Farms, Greig Farm and Mead Orchards. In some cases, reservations are required for these farms. However, if you’d rather stay on terra firma, shop at the farmer’s markets and roadside stands.

Once best known as a popular vacation area for New Yorkers escaping the sweltering summer streets in the city, Sullivan is also the location of the 1969 Woodstock Festival, and hippies (and hipsters) still pilgrimage to the hallowed grounds in Bethel. That was then. Today, a new set of towns has emerged as the go-to destination to luxuriate in Mother Nature’s brilliance.

Located 90 minutes from Midtown Manhattan, Sullivan Catskills is an easy weekend getaway to enjoy the fall. With the most scenic views, cruise down the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway on your way to Barryville, Narrowsburg, and Callicoon—which have fantastic lodging, dining, and hiking options—to take in unparalleled views of fall foliage.

Outdoor enthusiasts can ply the waters of the Delaware River in a canoe, raft, or tube. Lander’s, a fixture in the area, offers multiple launch points along the Delaware, allowing guests to choose the most convenient starting point. Think mountains, and you will have plenty of hiking opportunities. Stop by Morgan Outdoors in Livingston Manor for tips on hitting the trails and stocking up on hiking gear. And for die-hard thrill-seekers, how about zipping down a three thousand dual racing zip-line at Kittatinny?

Make your choice of some of the best breweries. Visit Roscoe Beer Company for its well-known Brown Ale. The robust ale is popular with its rich chocolate and pronounced coffee flavors. The region also has distilleries, including Catskill Distilling Company in Bethel. Take a distillery tour and enjoy a cocktail at the restored bar from the 1939 World’s Fair. Next door, you can enjoy the locally produced fare at the Dancing Cat Saloon with live music surrounded by local art and 60’s memorabilia.

The dense foliage that blankets the Mid-Hudson Valley and adjacent Catskills is a wonder any time of the year. Still, autumn is extraordinary to witness a kaleidoscope of brilliant earth tones that emerge from the pines, oaks, and maples that dot the landscape. Nature lovers should take the beautiful scenic drive along The Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway.

This 88-mile loop encircling the northern Shawangunk Mountains passes along country roads and towns like New Paltz, Gardiner, and Ellenville. Nearby is Minnewaska State Park, which offers the chance to walk, cycle, rock climb, and even hike to a waterfall. Another gem, Mohonk Preserve near New Paltz, features more than 7,000 sprawling areas with hundreds of trails, providing some of the best views in all of Ulster County. Are you still looking for more thrills? Take a trip down the Hudson River. Cruises are wonderful for those who want a more relaxed way to see the fall foliage. Along the way, you’ll see some of the region’s most notable landmarks—magnificent estates, picturesque lighthouses, quaint villages, and scenic preservation sites, from Rhinecliff to Esopus and everywhere in between. The riverboat boards in Kingston, a short 15-minute drive from Ulster.  

Of course, your fall foliage getaway isn’t complete without a farm. Take Route 209N where you will arrive at the centuries-old family-owned and family-friendly Kelder’s Farm in Kerhonkson. This pick-your-own farm also has a market with local goodies, friendly farm animals, corn mazes, and a playground with
amazing views. 

Starting just 30 minutes north of Manhattan, Westchester County has much to offer those who want to celebrate the season.

Visitors can explore the well-shaded trails featuring some of the best hiking trails in the state. The Manaus River Gorge Preserve in Bedford is a trail 40 feet above the Manus River. Despite the exhilarating view, the hike is easy and perfect for the whole family. At Croton Gorge Park in Cortlandt, an easy two-mile hike includes the New Croton Dam’s gorgeous vistas and autumnal color palette. Other nature preserves and parks for fall foliage include the Greenburgh Nature Center, Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary, Rockefeller State Park, and the Tarrytown RiverWalk. 

Fall events abound in Westchester. The most popular, The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze (there’s a similar one in Old Bethpage Restoration on Long Island), features a breathtaking display of Jack o’ Lanterns with synchronized music and lights, which are all designed on-site by a team of artisans. Additionally, in October, The Armour-Stiner Octagon House will host The Lady In White interactive tour and performance, where guests can learn more about the house’s unique history and rumored haunts.  

For more scary happenings, a visit to Sleepy Hollow is a must-do. The village of Sleepy Hollow welcomes visitors to check out the Old Dutch Church from Irving’s tale and the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, with famously historic graves, including Washington Irving himself. Additionally, anyone who visits Irving’s landmark home, Sunnyside, will have the chance to see Irving’s Legend, a dramatic outdoor performance by master storyteller Jonathan Kruk. Complete with live music and an appearance from the Headless Horseman, this performance will thrill audiences of all ages. 

Farms of all kinds offer fun activities such as apple-picking and wagon rides this fall. Many farms are family-owned and operated, some dating back 300 years. These farms include and Orchard (North Salem), Stuart’s Farm (Granite Springs), and Wilkens Fruit & Fir Farm (Yorktown Heights). For more information on food, festivals, and happenings in New York State, visit iloveny.com


Long Island is home to various farms perfect for pumpkin and apple picking. One of the best is Lewin Farms, the first pick-your-own farm on Long Island, which offers apples, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, tomatoes, corn, pumpkins, and Christmas trees, depending on the season. The apple-picking season usually goes through October. Stop by the farm stand if you don’t have time to pick your own.

Known as the East Coast’s largest waterfront festival (and the largest outdoor festival in Long Island), The Oyster Festival is one of the best fall events offering far more than just shellfish. Originating as a humble hometown parade to honor Theodore Roosevelt, the Long Island Oyster Festival now welcomes more than 200,000 attendees annually. 

Set against a picturesque background, this family-friendly event offers a diverse mix of new activities and classic favorites each year. There are high-quality artisans, carnival rides, pirate shows, fireworks, and the iconic oyster shucking and eating contest.  

The food court is a gastronomic delight, with culinary professionals working alongside one another to present tons of unique oyster, clam, and seafood creations (as well as more traditional festival food).  

The best Long Island wineries to visit on the North Fork or South Fork (or both) feature inviting tasting rooms, live music, and plenty of perfect spots to enjoy a glass of your favorite varietal. Both the North Fork and South Fork vineyards have dotted the landscape for decades. Today, the region is home to large producers and promising upstarts that make excellent wines enjoyed worldwide.

Some of our favorites include Jamesport Wines is the destination for its fine red wines including Merlots and Syrahs. The laid-back atmosphere is welcome in pleasant weather and indoors in the 165-year-old barn.  

At Lenz you’ll find some of the best vines on Long Island’s North Fork. Wines ranging from Cabernet to sparkling top the list. The tasting room tasting flights including a premium level to members. A strictly family business, this homey winery is overseen by co-founder Pat Pugliese. What is most special are the wine glasses which are hand decorated and for sale in the Cutchogue property. Look for Zinfandel and sparkling wines here. 

Held at the end of October is “The Great Jack-O’-Lantern Sail, which takes place at Belmont Lake State Park at dusk. Pumpkins are placed on flotation devices with battery-operated lights. Children’s activities include games, funny photos, and trick-or-treat exhibits. Families can walk through the Spooky Den and enjoy
the displays.  

For more information on food, festivals, and happening on Lond Island, visit DiscoverLongIsland.com 

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