Catskills NY Getaway Guide- Best Activities, Where to Stay, Best Restaurants

Catskills NY Getaway Guide- Best Activities, Where to Stay, Best Restaurants

Have you ever been to the Catskills in Upstate NY? If not, you simply must go! It’s a favorite hideaway for NYC residents, and for good reason. About 2 hours from the city, The Catskills make a perfect getaway from hectic city life.

In the past, the Catskills has been known as a resort haven for wealthy Manhattanites. Ever seen the movie Dirty Dancing? That movie was set in a Catskills resort! People would take the whole summer off and spend it socializing, doing classes, and generally lounging around.

Nowadays, people love The Catskills for SO many reasons, including hiking, skiing, camping, and more. It’s a favorite of artsy folk, and has been a haven for writers, artists, and musicians for decades. And it’s no wonder why. Its outdoorsy charm and woodland vibes just seem to say “RELAX.”

And if you didn't know, the Catskills is tranquil and peaceful in the snowy winter weather, and busy and buzzing with forest life in the warmer months.

I don’t know about you, but I’m here for it!

So let’s talk about a few of the best things to do in the Catskills, NY. I know you’re dying to see!

Enjoying the Catskills in NY in the snow


First of all, you’ll need a place to stay! There are plenty of resorts in the Catskills, at plenty of price points. They’re all super cute, and will make you feel like you’re staying in a fairy forest wonderland. Here are a couple of my top picks!

  • East Wind - This is one of the premier boutique hotels in the Catskills! You might have seen this hotel on Instagram, as they have beautiful A-frame cabins that face directly face the woods and mountains. It’ll be a super Instagrammable vacation for sure.
  • Full Moon Resort- This hotel is like our home away from home! Conveniently close to the Slide Mountain trailhead, it’s perfect if you’re going for a hike there. They also host live music and have recently upgraded their accommodations and property. It’s a great budget option, as you can get a minimalist cabin with heated floors in the bathroom for around $100/ night!
  • Tiny House resort - This is a collection of extremely adorable cabins in the Catskills. They also offer activities such as tubing, volleyball, etc, and even a petting zoo! Be prepared to be charmed by a gaggle of baby goats.
  • Gather Greene has the same idea as Eastwind, except it’s a little further north in the Catskills. Here, you’ll stay in a super unique cabin that gives you a tranquil view of the woods. The grounds are secluded and expansive and will make you feel right at home.

Full Moon Resort in the Catskills NY


In case you didn’t know… the Catskills is a hiker’s delight! People come from all over to hike on these beautiful mountains. So if you’re craving some outdoor activity and want to partake in nature, I’d definitely recommend checking out these spots!

  • Giant Ledge - 4 miles. The trailhead is located right next to the campsite in Phoenicia! So you can walk right over if you're camping.
  • Mt. Wittenburg - Also accessible by the Woodland Valley Campsite. At about 6.8 miles roundtrip, you should plan a full day to do it.
  • Kaaterskill Falls - If you’re not a fan of super intense, day-long hikes, this one is for you! This hike is only 260 feet elevation, so it's super mild with a great payoff!
  • Hunter Mountain Fire Tower - 8 miles, 1900 elevation.
  • Slide Mountain - a 5.3 mile hike with 1700 foot elevation. Estimated time- 3 1/2 hours.
  • Twin Mountain- Trail called Dolan’s Notch. Some of the best views in the Catskills!

Top of Mt. Wittenburg in the Catskills NY
Hiking Mt. Wittenburg, Catskills NY


Outdoor lovers, come one come all! One thing's for sure- there are always cool things to do in the Catskills, no matter what the season. So you should definitely make time to explore any (or all!) of the following activities-

  • Hunter Mountain Sky Ride - This 6-passenger chairlift straps you in for an unbelievable ride. You'll go 3,200-feet in 11 minutes to the summit, with gorgeous views of the Northern Catskill Mountains the whole way.
  • Hunter Mountain skiing - If you're a ski bunny, you'll need to check out Hunter Mountain for skiing in the winter! An interesting fact is that 100-percent of the snow here is due to snow-making. Still, it's the perfect place to get your ski on.
  • Rail Explorers in Phoenicia- All aboard! On the Rail Explorers, you get to explore the woods of the Catskill Mountains by peddling along on a train track beside the Espous Creek. Such a unique experience!
  • Town Tinker Tube rental- For thrill-seekers only! Experience the Esopus Creek through a 2-hour tubing adventure in class II whitewater rapids. Be advised- it’s not a fun lazy river ride... these are rapids! You have to sign a waiver and everything. Storytime- on a trip with some friends, we tried it. Every single one of us was thrown out of the tube at least once during the ride!


Of course, one of the best ways to REALLY experience nature in the Catskills, is to be one with it… literally! Camping was my first introduction to the Catskills. I’m so glad because it really helped me see what this region is all about.

  • Woodland Valley Campground- Lovely and green, most of the campsites are shaded over with trees. You can book a reservation right next to the creek if you want, and it's right near several trailheads! Just be prepared to keep your food in your car when you're not eating- there are black bears in the area.
  • Devil’s Tombstone Campground- An even better location for serious hikers! This campground has access to trailheads that go all the way to Hunter Mountain. Again, if you're a hiker, this spot is for you!

Camping at Woodland Valley Campground, Catskills NY


  • Woodstock Brewing Company- We just love this microbrewery! It's super spacious and always filled with interesting people. There's a picnic area outside that's especially charming at night when they get the campfires going. We always come here for a casual dinner here during our trips... get the tacos!
  • Peekamoose- This is a great farm-to-table restaurant located in Big Indian. The menu changes frequently based on the season, and I love that every part of the restaurant feels like a unique space.

  • You will need a reservation to get into the main dining areas, but we've always gotten lucky scoring some cozy seats in the tap room. Oh and one of my favorite parts... the bread and butter! It's beyond delicious. Last time, our server brought out a fresh order at the end of our meal and urged us to take it home! 
  • Brio’s- This is a great restaurant option to grab a quick meal, any time of day. It's attached to another restaurant next door called Sportsman's Alamo Cantina. They have pretty much the same menu, but the Cantina has more of a bar-like feel in my opinion. Great pizza, salad, and breakfast options!
  • Phoenicia Diner - For me, coming here is always a must on my way out of town! It's mostly upgraded diner fare, but to me the special part is the people. It's a great mix of out-of-towners and locals, and you really get a community feel. 

Phoenicia Diner, Catskills NY


If you're coming from NYC or New Jersey, the Catskills is really just a hop, skip,  and a jump away! That's one of the things that make coming here so attractive for city folk... how easy it is

After about 3 hours of riding on I 87 North, you'll be seeing those beautiful mountains in the distance, and you'll know you're here!

If you're coming from Boston and New England, you would take Route I-84 or I-90 (then connect with I-87 and I-86)

And if you're coming from Albany or northern NY, you'd take Route I-90 to I-88.

If you're without a car, trains have stops in New Paltz and Bethel. And you can take a bus to Catskill, NY and Andes, NY.

Happy in the Catskills, NY

♥♥♥ Follow me on Instagram! @chantillysongs


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