Things to do / Travel Guide
There are five airports travelers use to provide access to the Catskills and Hudson Valley region: The New York city area airports of John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), LaGuardia Airport (LGA), and - closer to the region - Stewart International Airport (SWF), and Albany International Airport (ALB).
JFK: This airport, while located outside the region in New York City (New York City), offers a near-endless amount of ground transportation, and easy access to Penn Station and Port Authority (for trains and buses into the region). JFK is the central hub of several airlines, and is New York City's point of connection to hundreds of cities around the U.S. and the world. Flying in to JFK is often cheaper than flying into other airports closer to the region.
LGA: Also located outside the region in Flushing, Queens, this airport is a hub for Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and US Airways. Prices and ground transportation options are comparable to those of JFK's.
EWR: Another New York City-area connection to the region is this airport, actually located in New Jersey. Slightly smaller than JFK, this airport also handles international as well as domestic flights from nearly every carrier imaginable. The quality and quantity of ground transportation available into the region is comparable to that of JFK, but it costs a bit more. EWR has the advantage of being outside of New York City, so, if driving, you will avoid some of the traffic and generally unpleasant driving through the city towards the north.
SWF: A former Air Force base, this airport holds the distinction of being the U.S.'s first privately-owned airport. Small in size, it serves a handful of airlines, including the budget carriers Air Tran and JetBlue. It is the only commercial airport actually located within the region, just outside Newburgh. You can fly non-stop from major Florida cities, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, and Atlanta.
ALB: The airport serves 20 major destinations, such as Chicago, Buffalo, Minneapolis, Washington DC, Atlanta, and numerous airlines. Roundtrip prices to Albany are surprisingly cheap, even cheaper than JFK sometimes. Note, however, that there's very little in terms of ground transportation from the airport into the region. You can rent a car and then drive south into the Catskills and Hudson Valley.
If you're traveling by car coming from New York City or points further south, there are several highways heading north out of the city.
Robert Moses, foremost urban planner , was very influential in the design of the parkways and some of the historical points - when completed in 1925, the Bronx river parkway was the first modern parkway in the United States. Of course, it was designed for a 25 m.p.h. speed limit. The Palisades Parkway was built partially on land donated by the Rockefellers. A 1930s gas station lies abandoned on the side of the road near Tuckahoe.
- I-87, the New York Thruway begins in the Bronx as the Major Deegan Expressway (often featured on morning traffic reports - “bumper to bumper on the Deegan”). This is the most popular route to the Catskills.
- The Taconic State Parkway starts in the Bronx as the Bronx River Parkway, becomes the Sprain Brook Parkway in Westchester and then the Taconic. This is often used by travelers to the eastern side of the Hudson.
- Palisades Interstate Parkway starts at the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey and heads up the west side of the Hudson. The route is quite scenic with several rest stop overlooks. It extends north to Harriman State Park and connects with I-87 and State Route 17.
- The Henry Hudson Parkway hugs the Hudson River in Manhattan heading north to I-87.
Travel on the parkways provide a pleasant alternative to the interstates. These are limited access highways, similar to interstates, but they mostly predate the interstate system. Their highway numbers are either little-known or no longer in use, but they are historic landmarks and pleasant to drive - surrounded by trees on all sides, wide medians, stone arch bridges, and wooden guardrails. Best of all – no trucks.
Possibly the slowest route out of New York City would be to follow Broadway out of Manhattan. It is called Broadway much of the way north and is designated U.S. Highway 9.
From Albany and points north, I-87 is the route to take into the region. The major east-west highway crossing through the region is I-84, which runs from Boston, enters the region at Newburgh, and terminates in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Poughkeepsie is a nice central city in the Catskills and the Hudson Valley region, so all approximate distances and times from the places listed below are to there.
- New York City: 85 miles, 2 hours 10 minutes
- Boston: 205 miles, 4 hours
- Philadelphia: 190 miles, 4 hours
- Washington DC: 330 miles, 6 hours 20 minutes
- Albany: 80 miles, 1.5 hours
- Toronto: 465 miles, 8 hours 20 minutes
- Rochester: 300 miles, 5 hours
- Buffalo: 360 miles, 6 hours
- Burlington, Vermont: 230 miles, 5 hours
Greyhound and Peter Pan buses have stops in a number of the cities in the region. Aside from these two, there are two other bus companies offering transportation to and from the many cities and towns of the region.
- Adirondack-Pine Hill Trailways runs its lines from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City, to Albany. Along the way it has stops at a number of cities and towns on the western side of the Hudson River. Most of the smaller cities are visited by one or two buses a day.
- Short Line Bus also departs from Port Authority, and its routes are more extensive than those of Adirondack-Pine Hill Trailways.
The Hudson Line of the MTA Metro-North Railroad extends 74 miles north of Grand Central Terminal in New York City to Poughkeepsie, the central city of the region. The route follows the Hudson River and offers stunning views of the river. The trains run every 30-60 minutes. Go off-peak for lower fares (approximately $25 round trip) and to avoid commuters talking on their cell phones. Northward, sit on the left side of the train.
Amtrak provides service on its Adirondack, Ethan Allen, Lake Shore Limited, and Empire Service routes from New York City to Croton-on-Hudson, Poughkeepsie, Rhinecliff-Kingston, and Hudson in the region. The southbound trains for the Adirondack and Ethan Allen routes reach the region's cities once in the afternoon each, while the northbound trains for these routes pass through the region once each every the morning. These routes are always scenic.
Both southbound and northbound trains for the Empire Service route reach the region's cities throughout the day, around every other daytime hour. From Croton-on-Hudson to Hudson the train takes a bit more than an hour. Reaching Poughkeepsie via train from Toronto takes about 11 hours, and about 7.5 hours from Niagara Falls.
On the Lake Shore Limited service, to Poughkeepsie from Albany is about an hour; from Rochester, five hours; from Cleveland, 9.5 hours; and from Chicago, almost 16 hours.
If you want to use New York City for your point of arrival/departure for visiting the Catskills and the Hudson Valley, you'll have a number of choices of train routes and times. Fully nine Amtrak routes enter into the city from all over the East Coast and points further west.
Airports Serving Woodstock, Cooperstown, New Paltz, Catskills and Hudson Valley
Albany County Airport (ALB)
John F Kennedy Intl Airport (JFK)
Westchester County Airport (HPN)