Why visit Poughkeepsie, NY you ask? Well let me tell why Poughkeepsie is a great secret kept for family getaways. Located in the Hudson Valley, Poughkeepsie has a great deal of culture and history.
If you like to enjoy the great outdoors, there are amazing hiking trials, the Walkway Over the Hudson, wineries, apple picking and many historical sites to see. With it being less than two hours from New York City, and accessible to many types of transportation, it makes for a great getaway destination. The views around the Hudson Valley make it well worth the drive. The Dutchess County Tourism website has an abundant amount of resources and events that will help you plan your vacation trip.
We chose to visit Poughkeepsie on 4th of July weekend because they had so many family friendly events planned that weekend. Our very raining trip started out with a visit to the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum. The museum is set on the beautiful Hudson Valley River and is geared towards ages 0-6. It’s a small museum that is focused on getting kids moving and exploring. Admission is $8 for children and adults, and children under 1 are free. They have memberships available that range from $85-$150, their website explains the different types of memberships available. They don’t have any food available to purchase, but they have great spaces inside and out to eat if you want to bring your own food or snacks along.
My son ran directly to the area where they had large foam building blocks; he probably could have spent the whole day just in that room. Everything is very interactive, they have a slide; dress up areas, kitchen and baking area. Of course, if you want to be a firefighter, you can dress up as one and pretend drive the fire truck. It was a lot of fun for my son and we really enjoyed our visit. Fireworks were going to be shown right nearby on the Hudson Valley River and the staff at the museum told us for $30 we would be able to park at the museum, visit the museum until 9pm, use of bathroom and picnic areas. The proceeds went directly to support the museum. We did that and supported a great cause.
This was the first time my almost 3 year old was going to see fireworks, he is usually sleeping when they go off, but with a late nap he was ready to go. We got a great spot to watch, the museum staff was selling glow sticks, and so that was a must. He had a ball and the fireworks were great. They did an amazing job.
We headed out bright and early to see the Hot Air Balloons go off, but unfortunately it was too windy that morning for them to deploy. We hope to go back again to see the hot air balloons another time; my son was really looking forward to it. We headed to the Walkway over the Hudson and it was amazing. I highly recommend visiting the Walkway; the views over the Hudson River were spectacular. It was opened in 2009 and is 1.28 miles long, they call it the “park in the sky”. Its 212 feet high and travels between Ulster County and Poughkeepsie. It is free and open to the public for walking, biking, running, whatever you want to do. We decided to take a nice walk across to take in the breath taking views. In 2013 they added a 21-story high-speed waterfront elevator for those with limited mobility. It’s an incredible site and a must see.
The Dragon Boat Races and Festival was on Saturday July 5th. It is the only Dragon Boat race that happens on the Hudson River. Twenty-four teams compete on the 200-meter course across the Hudson River. The Dragon Boats are decorated colorfully for the race. Along the river, as the boats are racing an Asian Cultural festival is going on and had food, games, performances and music. It was free to attend and a fun family event.
We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Poughkeepsie; it was close to the downtown area where all the festivities were happening. The staff was very friendly and the rooms were very nice. The River Station Restaurant was recommended to us for dinner; it was right on the water. We had dinner there, the service was good and staff was very nice, the food was ok, reasonably priced and child friendly. We went to Hoopla for frozen yogurt, which was amazing. A must try; they had many yummy flavors and toppings.
It was a great trip to Poughkkeepsie; there really is so much to do. You can visit their website www.dutchesstourism.com, which is user friendly and you will find many resources, events, and tips on ways to plan your trip. There are summer concerts, art exhibits and educational programs on farming and food to name a few of the coming events.
About the Author: Alisha Rappaport is a consultant for non profit foundations and is a mommy blogger for Wicked Good Travel Tips. She enjoys taking her son on new adventures and sharing her experiences with our readers.
Photo Credits: DutchessTourism.com, Alisha Rappaport