If you’re looking for a nature-filled weekend, you have to visit Upstate New York. There are so many great towns to visit for an upstate New York weekend getaway. There is so much to see in New York state and most of the towns are within a 1.5 to 5 hour drive from New York City. You can find everything from cute downtowns, amazing waterfalls, beautiful mountain views, scenic lakes, and great wineries. A great town to visit if you are looking for a quick upstate New York weekend getaway is New Paltz, NY. In this post, I’ll be sharing the best things to do for 1-2 days in New Paltz.
Best Things to do in New Paltz
Visiting Mohonk Mountain House
The Mohonk Mountain House is a beautiful resort in New Paltz. Their nightly rates are pretty steep, but I love that they offer day passes to explore their resort. If you make a dining reservation, it includes complimentary access to the Mountain House, grounds, and evening entertainment. They have lunch, dinner, and a weekend brunch. To get the full experience, you can book a Summer Sports Pass. It’s $135 per person and it includes one 9-hole round of golf, one hour tennis court reservation, one 30 minute boat rental, access to 85 miles of hiking trails and the Mountain house, and afternoon tea and cookies at 4pm.
If you are only interested in a few activities, you can book just the Hiking Trails pass for $35 per adult. You can purchase your tickets here, but please note that passes are only released 72 hours prior to the date of the pass. The hiking pass includes access to all the trails on Mohonk Mountain House property, but hiking guests are not allowed inside the Mountain House. Parking for hiking guests are 2.2 miles from the resort so keep this in mind when you select your time slot if you want to get to the hiking trails at a certain time. There are also restroom facilities in the parking lot.
Other fun activities to book are boat rentals (kayaks, paddle boards, rowboats), carriage rides, horseback riding, and ice skating in the winter. You can also book a day spa experience and book a tee time for their 9-hole golf course. Please note that beach swimming and the indoor heated pool are reserved for overnight guests only.
Hiking Trails in Mohonk Mountain House
An awesome and unique hike in Mohonk Preserve is the Labyrinth Trail. It is a difficult 45 minute rock scramble where you have to go under and through various rock formations and climb ladders. The last part of the hike is the Lemon Squeeze where you walk through a narrow crevice and climb up to the top. You are rewarded with such an amazing view! This is an awesome hike and I think it’s one of the most unique hiking trails in Upstate New York.
This is doable for most hikers as long as you are comfortable climbing up ladders and maneuvering up, around, and through rocks. Some parts of the hike, especially the Lemon Squeeze, are tight. If you have a backpack, you might need to take it off to fit through. If you decide this trail isn’t for you, there are side exits in the beginning if you change your mind. There are also alternate hiking trails to take where it will lead you to the same view point.
This is a pretty popular hike so I recommend doing this on a weekday or super early on the weekends or else you may be stuck waiting in line to go through the hike.
Visiting Minnewaska State Park is one of the best things to do in New Paltz. It is located on the Shawangunk Mountain ridge and only a 20 minute drive from New Paltz. You will find over 50 different hiking trails that range in length and difficulty. The park is open from 9am to 8pm and there is a parking fee of $10 per car. I recommend arriving before 9am since there can be a long line of cars waiting to get in.
If you are looking for an easy scenic hike, I recommend doing the Minnewaska Lake Loop Trail. The trail is 1.9 miles and you get to see different beautiful viewpoints of the lake.
If you want to see a waterfall, check out Awosting Falls. This is an easy smooth trail that’s only 1.1 miles. This is a great trail to combine with the lake loop trail.
For a more challenging moderate hike, I recommend checking out Gertrude’s Nose Trail. This is an 8 mile loop trail. It takes about 4-5 hours to complete. It’s a long strenuous loop that has several steep sections. It is completely worth it because you get amazing views over the Hudson Valley! It’s also a great hike to do in the fall with all the beautiful fall foliage.
Minnewaska State Park also makes a great spot for photography sessions – Carl and I did our Save the Date photos here and there are so many beautiful spots.
Robibero Winery is a popular winery in New Paltz. It is set on a 42 acre property around the breathtaking Shawangunk Mountains. In addition to their wine tastings, they have wood fired pizza, pretzels, and a variety of cheese, meats, crackers, etc. They also host a grape stomping festival which sounds so fun!
New Paltz is home to some of the best ciders. If you love cider, you have to check out these two ciders for a tasting:
This is a local farm in New Paltz where you can pick berries and peaches in the spring/summer and pick apples and pumpkins in the fall. They also have a farm stand where you can buy their fruits, vegetables, ice cream, apple cider, honey and maple syrup.
The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail is a 22.5 mile rail trail that goes through the towns of Gardiner, New Paltz, Rosendale, and Ulster to the Kingston city line. It’s great for walking, jogging, bike riding, and even horse riding!
Downtown New Paltz
Explore Main Street and Water Street Market to check out all the funky boutiques and antique shops. You’ll also find cafes, bars, and restaurants.
The New Paltz farmer’s market is open on Saturdays from June to November. You will find locally grown produce, handmade goods, art, natural body products, baked goods, honey, cheeses, meats, eggs and more! Everything is produced within a 40 mile radius from New Paltz.
Where to Eat in New Paltz
This restaurant is a great dinner option. It’s in a building that was built in 1759 with dining rooms that feature exquisite architecture and history. The food was really good! We loved their sweet and spicy hummus. I got the salmon with asiago risotto and it was delicious!
This is a locally sourced Italian restaurant and the food is amazing! It is a great place for dinner and everything we had was so good! You have to try their House Crostini and Pappardelle Bolognese.
This is a cozy cocktail bar with craft beer that has a fresh twist on house-made pub food. This is a great lunch or dinner option!
If you love tea, you have to check out The Ridge Tea & Spice Shop! They have teas and spices lined up on shelves in glass jars. You have the freedom to create your own drink so there’s no regular menu. I tried their iced chai latte with oat milk and it was the best chai I’ve ever had! I loved it so much that I even bought their masala chai so I can make it at home.