Your top pick picnic spots

Here are your picnic destinations for Dutchess, Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties

Top picnic spots

There’s hardly a more quintessential summertime activity than a family picnic on a beautiful, sunny day. Hudson Valley residents are lucky to have a wide selection of picturesque spots to choose from for their al fresco dining.  


Dutchess County


Located on the eastern banks of the Hudson, Bowdoin Park offers an unobstructed view of the river, framed by trees. The 300-acre park is spread over rolling hills, with numerous choice picnic spots throughout. The park contains a playground area, seasonal splash pad (open daily 10 am -7 pm weather permitting), soccer fields, two softball fields and a sand volleyball court, and a Gaga ball pit. There are also nationally recognized cross-country course that utilizes the parks well-maintained hiking trails. Sledding hill and ice skating rink in the winter, plus wetland observation areas.

The park opens every day. Hours change seasonally. Check the website before you go.


85 Sheafe Rd., Wappingers Falls. 845-298-4600.

PARK PERK: The splash pad is a great spot for cooling off in those dog days of summer.



Orange County


A full day is required to enjoy all the amenities within Bear Mountain State Park’s expansive 5,000 acres on the west bank of the Hudson. Its unexpected features include an indoor carousel featuring hand painted scenes of the park and 42 hand-carved seats of native animals including black bear, deer, fox, swans, and bobcats. 

There’s also a Trailside Museum and Wildlife Center, a sizeable playground, pedal boats on Hessian Lake, a walking path around the lake, and numerous picnic tables. The swimming pool is a nice place to cool off after a fun day of seeing the park. Bear Mountain is open every day from dawn to dusk, year-round, with varying hours for the carousel, museum and Wildlife Center. The parking fee is $10.

Palisades Parkway or Route 9W North, Bear Mountain. 845-786-2701.


PARK PERK: A drive up to Perkins Memorial lookout tower atop Bear Mountain will reward you with wide open scenic views of the park and the Hudson Highlands. 



Orange County


Covering more than 700 acres, Thomas Bull Memorial Park is the largest in the Orange County parks system. The recreational amenities include a fishing, tennis and volleyball courts, and horseshoe pits. The trail loop has various exercise stations alongside the six-acre pond. The facility also includes an arboretum and the Hill-Hold museum, a 1769 stone farmhouse.


The spacious country setting provides a range of scenic locations for a picnic. The main area, Picnic Grove, is a 20-acre area with shelters, charcoal grills, and tables. It’s ideally situated next to “Sally’s Dream” Playground, one of four within the park. This facility not only includes traditional swings and slides, but also special equipment for children with disabilities, such as activity boards and swing sets with platforms for wheelchairs. The park is open daily, from dawn to dusk.

211 State Rte. 416,Montgomery. 845-615-3830.

PARK PERK: The 8-acre arboretum is a great place to stroll through an artful display of trees, shrubs, plants, raised gardens and cascading water features.

READ MORE: Top 15 perfect picnic essentials


Ulster County


This seasonal park was recently re-named in honor of Sojourner Truth, the African-American abolitionist and women’s rights activist who was born in Ulser County. It’s located directly on the Hudson River, with a beach and broad views of the Kingston–Rhinecliff Bridge from the observation deck.

The amenities include playgrounds, hiking trails, basketball and volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, and a boat launch area. A covered pavilion with picnic tables is located within view of the river. Barbecue grills are available at the pavilion for your use. The park is open from sunrise to sunset. Swimming permitted through Labor Day.

916 Ulster Landing Rd., Saugerties.845-336-8484.

PARK PERK: The small sandy beach is one of the few, and most scenic, places to swim on the west banks of the Hudson River.



Sullivan County


The serene, lushly wooded Lake Superior State Park is managed by Sullivan County under license from the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. The park, which is open year round, consists of over 1,400 acres, including Lake Superior and Chestnut Ridge Pond.


Lake Superior’s seasonal beach area features features a swimming area, sand beach, picnic areas with grills, group picnic pavilion (fee) rowboat and pedal boat rentals, boat launch (electric motors only), vending machines, restrooms, shower/changing area, fishing (New York State DEC fishing license required), volleyball court and playground (ages 5-12). 

The park is open from 9am–dusk. There is a fee to access the beach through Labor Day. The day pass is $5 per person, and free for children under three.

342 Dr. Duggan Rd., Bethel. 845-583-7908.


PARK PERK: This park is “off-the-beaten-path,” meaning the beach is rarely crowded.

Traci L. Suppa is a family travel writer living in Dutchess County. 

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