Cruising in the Catskills

By Vik Kachoria, Real Adventures

Many people think about visiting the Northeast when the leaves change in the fall. But summer can be an especially good time to escape the city heat for quaint towns and lush woods.

With lots of campgrounds, bringing your RV is a great way to save money while enjoying nature.

A good way to start your trip is by heading up route 87 North from New York City. In a few short hours, you’ll find yourself in the heart of the Catskills, with hiking, antiquing, lake swimming and a laid-back atmosphere.

Here are some ideas for your trip:

Giant sculptures and rolling fields: Driving just one hour north of New York on 87 you’ll pass the Storm King Arts Center. Visible from the highway, the estate boasts 500 acres of land nestled in the Catskill Mountains. Have a picnic on one of its lawns underneath the shade of a post-war sculpture. An all-day adult pass is just $12.

The Shawangunk Ridge: Around 45 minutes north of Storm King on 87 is the artist community of New Paltz. The town offers beautiful mountain views and local mom-and-pop stores. Drive just 10 minutes out of town to the summit of Mohonk Mountain and you have some of the best rock climbing and hiking in all of Upstate New York.

For a great day of hiking head to the Mohonk Mountain House, which is located at the summit of Mountain Rest Road. The sprawling hotel sits over a glacial lake and has roughly 85 miles of hiking trails. Look here for a list of good hikes.

Nearby New Paltz is Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort at Lazy River. You can park your RV and enjoy the convince of on-site laundry, free cable TV and a general store. The site also has a pool, basketball courts and fishing. To get there, just take Route 44/55 seven miles toward Gardiner.

Summer of Love: 30 minutes north of New Paltz is a small town that has grown to represent an entire generation. Woodstock lies about 20 minuets west of 87 at Exit 19.

The town has amazing views, eclectic food and shopping options. Walk by the village square and check out the characters who look perpetually stuck in the 60s.

Drive up Meads Mountain Road to the top of Overlook Mountain to visit the Northeast’s largest Tibetan monastery. Then hike up to the top of the mountain for a 360-degree view of the Catskill Mountains. Be sure to check out the Overlook Mountain Trail for an interesting hike.

Sunday Drive: Head west out of town on Route 212 for a scenic drive on curving country roads. Stop at Cooper Lake where you can ride bikes around the water’s edge.

The drive will leave you at Route 28, where you can continue west toward Phoenicia or head back toward 87.

If you continue west on 28 toward Phoenicia, you’ll come to Slide Mountain, which is the largest peak in the Catskills and offers great hiking. Drive through Phoenicia and take a left on County Road 47. Follow the route 9.4 miles until it turns into Frost Valley Road – the parking area will be on the left side of the road.

Hudson River School: Continue up 87 to NY 23A. Head west on the road until you see signs for Kaaterskill Falls. The double-tiered waterfall is a quick hike off the road and offers one of the most dramatic views in all of New York State.

The falls were one of the original attractions of the Thirteen Colonies and made famous by Hudson River School painters, who were inspired by its natural beauty.

With so much to do and summer already upon us, you’ll want to start planning your trip soon!

About the Author

Vik Kachoria combined his love of travel and photography to found Real Adventures. He has traveled around the world mining opals, delivering luxury vehicles, biking, snorkeling and meeting people where he went. His passion for hiking trips and hiking tours is reflected by the trips found at

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2 Responses to Cruising in the Catskills

  1. dowens says:

    Check out the Frost Valley YMCA website before you venture down Route 47! We have lots of Catskill activities like Fly-Fishing, Syruping, guided hikes, and cabins and dining available. Check out:!

  2. Myriam Bouchard says:

    This itinerary is just for the west side of the Hudson River! There is as much to be seen on the other side!

    Don’t bypass quaint Phoenicia. It is a small village, but worth the stop. In the summer, one can go tubing down the Esopus. It is pretty exciting and quite a beautiful setting to boot. Or grab a stack of pancakes at Sweet Sue’s, all made from scratch on premises.


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