Field Trip: Beacon, NY

For the next couple months, I’ll publish a day trip suggestion on Sundays, and I am counting on readers to send submissions to share. Follow the template below (no need to write if you don’t want to — you can just send the basic info) and send a few pics to The trip can be by car, train, ferry or bike, and should include at least one pit stop (ie, a meal). 

Beacon, NY

1.5 hours by car (66 miles)
1:50 by train from GCT (you will need to walk a bit or take Ubers once you get there for some things on this list)

Breakfast at Kitchen & Coffee on Main Street in their backyard (don’t be scared off by the vegan or gluten free thing; the food is great)
Dinner at the pop-up BBQ restaurant at the Roundhouse hotel, Smoke on the Water, which they opened to give their events staff some work; or their patio restaurant, The Roundhouse. NB for kids: Smoke on the Water has fields surrounding it for running around while you wait for your order.

We managed to eat breakfast, kayak, hike and have dinner in one day by car. But you can replace either of those two events with a visit to the DIA or a walk on the trails along the Hudson if you don’t have wheels. Also, kids would love this trip, though anyone younger than 10 probably should not do the Breakneck Ridge hike.

We wanted to get out on the river and arranged for a kayak tour with Mountain Valley Guides out of Cornwall (there are also other companies doing the same thing). I was not all that keen to join a tour and be forced to paddle with a group, but it turned out to be fine since there were two young guides who were casual and fun and who could split the group based on speed. Start to finish it was 2.5 hours, but you are on the water for about 1.5. We paddled up river a bit and then across the Hudson and around Bannerman Castle, which is the former home and armory of a Scottish arms dealer from the early 1900s. You can also take tours of the island and the castle from the Bannerman Castle Trust.

We had heard the Breakneck Ridge hike is one of the best in the Hudson Valley, and it is definitely worth it for a solid workout (the first mile is a rock scramble up the face of the cliff) and amazing views. Plus it’s a loop, which is always more fun. The second two miles are much more mellow going down through the woods. The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference stations helpers at the start of the hike, and has more info here. Plus fun tidbit: part of the hike is on New York City property.

There’s a rails-to trails path along the Beacon waterfront called the Riverfront Trail that goes for 1.5 miles from Pete Seeger Park through Long Dock Park to Dennings Point Park. Lots of beaches along the way to stop for a view.

We bought sand chairs at Target and sat on the riverfront in Long Dock Park for some of the afternoon. I dunked in the river because it was a thousand degrees, but the signs say no swimming.

See art
DIA: Beacon just reopened to the public, and the entrance is right at the train stop. (They were closed when we were there, so we missed it). Timed entry tickets are here, hours and opening days are here.

Storm King is about 13 miles south of Beacon, and on the other side of the river, and a visit there requires some planning, which we did very little of, so we were shut out. But if you are organized, they are taking reservations now here.

We like to explore New York State and Beacon has been on our list of day-trip-worthy cities that have resurrected themselves after a bit of a downturn. (We did Hudson for a weekend a couple years ago, adding in the Culinary Institute and West Point, and that was great.) The DIA put Beacon back on the map, and I was there years ago, but had never explored the town. There’s one main drag and it’s typical small town cute, with little shops along Main Street including one that only sells marshmallows (yes, that’s right). But mostly we used the town to eat and explored the river and the landscape from there.



  1. This is great. We may try to plan a trip before school starts. Keep the suggestions coming. Thank you!

  2. Great idea. There are so many places which are within reasonable reach.

  3. What a GREAT idea!! thanks for this

    I did Storm King Art Center yesterday… we did get our tickets in advance, I became a member which gives you the option of booking more freely (ie, you get your pick of dates and times) AND also gives you a discount when booking

    It was very organized, they check that you have a valid reservation and then send you to a specific parking (they are separating visitors to different parking areas (our 2 car group got separated)… once there it feels very comfortable. Most people where wearing masks even out in the open … the picnic areas socially distanced and felt totally ok. There are no bikes to rent, and the little shuttle was not working. Also the main building is closed. All in all it was a good time out of the city.