Budget-Friendly Day Trips Near the Hudson Valley

There’s no need to blow the family budget to enjoy a day trip in the Hudson Valley

National Park Service
National Park Service
Written by Kathleen Reilly

A majestic and royal adventure could mean visiting castles in the British Isles. Or not. Save the airfare. Instead, fill up the tank and tour the majestic Hudson Valley.  You’ll find sites that are not only beautiful but also budget-friendly. The best part? You only need a tank of gas (or less) to get there.

The Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt 

4097 Albany Post Rd.

Hyde Park

(845) 229-9115 

Why Go? Springwood, the spectacular home of our nation’s 32nd president, overlooks the Hudson River and invites visitors to ramble the periphery at no cost. “The museum is all new, after a $35 million renovation over the last few years,” park ranger Damon Thomas said. “They have included state-of-the-art technology and more exhibits for young children.” 

Insider Tip: Visitors are invited to take self-guided tours of the library, but to see the home they must join a docent-guided tour. Tour schedules vary. 

Must Do: Kids shouldn’t miss the Discovery Center, which houses interactive and exploratory exhibits and activities. The site even offers a free Junior Secret Service Program best suited for children ages 7 to 12. You can visit the Rose Garden where Franklin and Eleanor are buried. 

The Fine Print: The Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site is open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., year-round, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Grounds are free and open from sunrise to sunset. Guided tours of both the historic home and presidential library are priced at $18 for adults; children under 15 are admitted free. 


Hudson River Museum 

511 Warburton Ave.


(914) 963-4550 

Why Go? Bridges, tunnels, planes and . . . artwork. The museum’s Industrial Sublime exhibit shares landscape paintings reflecting the role of the United States as a major industrial player. “The exhibit highlights artwork focused on the industry of bridges, tunnels and trains from 1900 to 1940,” said Corey Dawkins, the museum’s operations manager. “We even have artwork from the famous 1913 art show held at the 23rd Street Armory, which was first in displaying a large collection of non-traditional art forms.”

Insider Tip: The exhibit travels to Florida in March, so be sure to see it before then.

Must Do: Hudson Riverama. This film explores key places along the Hudson, including the river’s headwaters in the Adirondacks. 

The Fine Print: Open Wednesday through Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and children. The planetarium portion is undergoing renovation and will reopen in January. 


US Military Academy

New South Post Rd.

West Point

(845) 938-2638 

Why Go? With military history dating back to the American Revolution, intercollegiate sports, Hudson River views and consummate academics, the nation’s oldest service academy offers a long list of reasons to visit. “All the main exhibits related to military history are in the museum,” said Sharon Lodge, a visitor’s center associate. “The visitors center displays relate to cadet life at the academy.”

Insider Tip: Guided tours might not be available when the West Point football team is hosting a home game.   

Must Do: Check out the Thayer Hotel, on the grounds of the academy, where numerous celebrities and presidents have spent the night. 

The Fine Print: The grounds and museum are open daily, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free for the grounds, chapel, museum and cemetery. A private company, West Point Tours, hosts guided tours, which cost $13 for adults and $10 for children under 12. Adults 16 and over must bring a photo ID.


Palisades Center Mall 

1000 Palisades Center Dr.

West Nyack   

(845) 348-1000

Why Go? Seriously, a mall? Hear us out: The Palisades Center, one of the largest malls in the United States, has plenty to offer, including an IMAX theater, multiple cinemas, an NHL-sized skating rink, 250 shops and, with four levels of elongated space, a terrific indoor walkers paradise.

Insider Tip: If you bring your own skates, the price for admission to the rink is reduced. There are dining choices to fit all budgets. 

Must Do: The Palisades Climb Adventure. Even if you’re not up to the challenge of climbing 85 feet on the world’s tallest indoor rope course, at least stop by to watch others brave the intricate network of ropes. 

The Fine Print: Open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For early risers, the mall, but not the stores, opens at 5 a.m. for walkers. Rope climbers must be at least 3' 6" tall. 


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