Top 10 Things to Do in the Catskills

Jeanette Zinno, AAA Northeast Magazine
March 27, 2018 - The Catskill Mountains, which lie in southeastern New York state, is a lush region that’s become a beloved destination for quick skiing trips or long summer stays.

Each year, thousands of visitors are drawn to the many things to do in the Catskills. From hiking and snowshoeing to sightseeing and apple picking, whatever your purpose may be, you’re sure to love it in the Catskills.


The view from a hike in the Catskills. (Photo: Jeanette Zinno)

Windham Mountain Resort

Depending on the season, Windham’s Adventure Park has a plethora of things to do in the Catskills for all ages. In the winter, the park offers a variety of activities like snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, ice skating and snowshoeing. If you’re visiting in the summertime, there’s golfing, hiking, mountain biking and more. Book a hotel in Windham with AAA.

Fly-fishing

The Catskills have been touted as the birthplace of American fly-fishing and for good reason. It’s home to the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum and the town of Roscoe, aka Trout Town USA. Trout Town Adventures & Guide Services is a family-owned business in Roscoe that offers guided fly-fishing tours with New York state certified guides.

Glamping

If you’re an adventure seeker, forgo a lodge or hotel and try glamping (glamorous camping) in a cozy tipi in Roxbury or a rustic cabin in Olivebridge. These gems are tucked away in the mountains and will allow you to fully immerse yourself in nature and forget about your 9 to 5 job.

Animal sanctuary

The Catskill Animal Sanctuary rescues animals and welcomes visitors for tours, events, kid’s camps and overnight stays. The sanctuary is a 148-acre refuge in Saugerties for 11 species of farmed animals. Visitors can take a tour and learn about farming animals and can even volunteer or sponsor an animal at the sanctuary.

Vineyards & breweries

There are many vineyards and breweries nestled throughout the Catskills. Millbrook Vineyards and Winery has been around for over 30 years and offers wine tastings and guided tours exploring the vineyard and cellars. If you’re more of a beer person, West Kill Brewing is located on a 127-acre farm and is known for its locally grown ingredients that add to the delicious flavors of its seasonal brews.


Horses in Ashland, N.Y. (Photo: Jeanette Zinno)

Horseback Riding

If you’re looking for fun things to do in the Catskills, there are ranches and riding stables in almost any town in the region that offer horseback riding lessons, pony rides and scenic mountain trail rides. Most horse stables cater to beginners or experts, making this a great family activity and a must for your things to do in the Catskills list.

Spa

If outdoor activities aren’t your thing, opt for some rest and relaxation at one of the numerous cabin themed spas in the Catskills, known for their locally inspired signature treatments. The Windham Spa has a signature treatment that pays homage to its mountain roots with local and homegrown botanical oils, complimented by a blend of massage with cupping, and hot and cold stones. The Copperhead Retreat & Spa in Shandaken invites guests to book a massage on a private outdoor deck overlooking the Esopus Creek, where the sounds help with releasing any tension.

Hiking at Kaaterskill Falls

There are hundreds of hiking trails in the Catskills, but one of the most popular hikes in the area is Kaaterskill Falls in Palenville, in part because it is a relatively short hike to a huge, 260-foot waterfall that you can snap a photo under. The trails around Kaaterskill Falls were recently updated to improve safety conditions, but this hike can still be dangerous if you wander off the path. Be safe and stay on the hiking trail.

White water rafting

Tubing down the Esopus Creek in Phoenicia sounds like the perfect way to cool down in the dog days of summer and a fun thing to do in the Catskills. Battle the rapids with The Town Tinker Tube Rental, which rents tubes and gear to anyone capable of maneuvering down the creek. The best part is that they provide a bus that takes you back to the starting point, so you can ride down the river as many times as you’d like! After you’ve worked up an appetite, visit the Phoenicia Diner, a popular watering hole that offers classic dishes using seasonal ingredients sourced from many Catskill farms.

Drive-in movie theaters

Who knew drive-in movie theaters still existed? Well, they do in the Catskills. A common past time in the 1950s and 1960s has had a resurgence of popularity throughout upstate New York. Drive-In 32 in Greenville and Hi-Way Drive-in Theatre in Coxsackie are two theaters that will reopen for the summer season with concessions. So grab your popcorn and pile in your car for some country fun!