Deciding where to go and what to do this summer can be an arduous task. Keeping everyone happy and entertained can feel more like a full time job rather than the vacation you were looking forward to. Each year I find myself glued to the computer for hours on end searching for that “perfect” family getaway; that classic combination of relaxation and exhilaration. Normally I would consider a shore vacation, but let’s be honest, with shark attacks on the rise the last place I want to be is sitting on the beach wondering if my sons are going to be sampled as an afternoon snack. Still, if you’re looking to interject a little adventure into your vacation, hiking the parks and preserves of Ulster County New York will definitely speak to your inner explorer.
Why You Should Explore: Encompassing 5,400 acres, Sam’s Point Preserve provides the best examples of the globally rare Ridge-Top Dwarf Pines as well as nearly 40 rare plant and animal species; including bobcats, fishers, timber rattle snakes and spotted salamanders. Sam’s Point Preserve also offers a unique opportunity to hike through the greatest open fault in the United States (known geologically as the Ellenville Fault and locally as the ice cave); capturing snow and ice in the winter and preserving some of it as late as August!
Minnewaska State Park
Why You Should Explore: Situated on the dramatic Shawangunk Mountain ridge, which rises more than 2,000 feet above sea level, Minnewaska State Park offers hikers a rugged and rocky terrain that encompasses numerous waterfalls, lakes, dense hardwood forests, and incising sheer cliffs; perfect for canyoning, mountaineering, and scrambling. Not sure where to begin? Mountain Skills Climbing Guides provides hikers and climbers of all ability levels with guided excursions. Now that’s an adventure!
Why You Should Explore: Offering educational programs for children and adults as well as a children’s corner and interactive exhibits in the Visitors Center, Mohonk Preserve promotes an understanding of and excitement about nature. Situated on 8,000 acres of mountain ridges, forests, fields, streams, ponds, and other unique and beautiful places, this preserve affords hikers with phenomenal views and trails that are suitable for novice and advanced hikers alike.
After your hike, kick back and take advantage of the full resort experience at Honor’s Haven Resort & Spa. Featuring 232 rooms and suites, spa services, golf, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis, and basketball courts as well as tai chi, yoga, and Zumba classes, Honor’s Haven is the ideal escape for those looking for a getaway that’s close to New York City, but provides an experience that feels worlds away.