Your Top Pick Picnic Spots

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

Top picnic spots

Because of the changing rules and regs, we suggest visiting each location's website and giving them a call to see if you can visit and use their facilities. We update these lists frequently but find it difficult to keep up with things that are going on.

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. An award-winning handicapped accessible playground area features swings, tunnels, and two separate play structures for different age groups. The park also contains a nature center and nearly seven miles of hiking trails, with two boardwalks offering views of wetland wildlife.

“What makes Bowdoin Park stand apart are the extras, like the miniature golf course, the nature center, hiking trails, and the events like the summer concert series,” said Nancy Lutz of the Dutchess County Tourism Office. “You can easily spend an entire day enjoying all of the park’s recreational activities.”

The park opens every day at 9am, and closes at dusk.


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

PARK PERK: During the hot summer months, a water play area is open, featuring a splash pad with three spouting turtles to climb on.



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. This is temporarily closed due to the pandemic.

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 will likely be closed this season if proposed state budget cuts go into effect. The park is open every day from dawn to dusk, year-round, with varying hours for the carousel, museum and Wildlife Center. The parking fee is $8.

Lemon Rd., 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. This is temporarily closed due to the pandemic.



Orange County


Covering more than 700 acres, Thomas Bull Memorial Park is the largest in the Orange County parks system. The recreational amenities include paddleboats, 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 35-acre arboretum is a great place to stroll through an artful display of trees, shrubs, plants, raised gardens and cascading water features.

Ulster County


This interpretive nature center located in Kingston is open year round, with 15 animal exhibits, five gardens and a calendar full of nature based programs for children and adults. Picnic tables are available under an attractive gazebo, allowing you to bring lunch and extend your visit. Note: the upper picnic area is open with additional picnic tables, the lower area is still closed.


A looping path leads you on an exploration of the animal pens containing a menagerie of peacocks, chickens, goats, turtles, ducks, rabbits, and turtle. More wildlife can be observed from the boardwalk circling the pond.

During the summer, the center is open  9am–5pm, daily.


Lucas Ave., Kingston. 845-331-1682.


PARK PERK: Educational programs, like “Buzz on Bees” and “Turtle Talk” are offered regularly to introduce kids to different species. These are temporarily closed due to the pandemic.



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 swimming, picnic areas with grills, a group picnic pavilion, rowboat and paddle boat rentals, full service food concession, fishing, volleyball court and a playground for ages 5-12. There’s another picnic area by the lake’s dam with tables and grills.

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.

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


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

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

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