It’s hot, and staying in the city during a heatwave can be a real drag. We look forward to that “5 o’clock whistle” on Fridays when we can pack up and escape for the weekend. Say goodbye to the hustle and bustle and hello to the Catskills – where you’ll find boundless acres of landscapes ripe with opportunities for outdoor adventure.
If you’re looking that perfect escape from city life, here are 10 reasons why you need to take a quick trip to the Catskills:
1. The Drive:
It’s only a 2 hour drive from NYC to the Catskills, but there is a lot of beauty to be seen along the way: farms, animals, mountain ranges and scenery. You won’t be bored, and neither will your dog who will most likely stick their head out the window the entire way to enjoy the fresh country air.
2. The Farmstands:
You will pass several farmstands on your way north through the Catskills, but there is only one that you have to stop at: Vinnie’s Farm Market in Saugerties, NY. Pulling up to this farm will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The old-fashioned atmosphere and the smell of fresh pies just makes you want to move right in. Dogs are welcome to explore the land, shop for produce outside and even say hello to the chickens (at your own risk!) You may even run into Vinnie himself who will be happy to help you pick out fresh fruit, apple cider donuts or baked goods!
3. The Hiking Trails:
Our family loves to hike. The Catskills offers hundreds of trails, including both short and long hikes, that deliver a serious view or thundering waterfall. One of the most rewarding experiences is getting to the top and taking in the breathtaking view (and snapping a photo with your pooch, who successfully made it as well!)
Not to miss: The Great Ledge at Panther Mountain in Phoenicia, NY. A total distance of 6.87 miles round trip averaging a 5 hour hike. Being a moderate hike, your dog will also enjoy walking this trail by your side.
4. The Waterfalls:
Roaring falls or delicate streams compose a great majority of the Catskill Mountains. While some might be too dangerous to visit with a pet, there are others, like Kaaterskill Falls, that offer a comfortable place to relax after a quick hike. One of the most popular spots in The Catskills, Kaaterskill Falls is a two-stage waterfall that is often underestimated as a hike because of the short distance. The falls, New York States’s highest waterfalls and one of the most celebrated scenic sites in 19th Century America, have a large, flat ledge below them which is ideal for picnicking or relaxing.
5. The Lodging:
There are several dog friendly accommodations throughout the area, however, one stands out as going above and beyond: Cripple Creek Cabins in Middleburgh, NY. The beauty and allure of these cabins is the seclusion. You can sit on the porch and and see only woodlands and meadows surrounding you. There is plenty of land for your dog to explore. (Don’t forget to ask about their homemade maple syrup tapped right from the trees around the property!)
6. The Views:
You can’t compare anything to the epic views seen from the various mountain ranges that compose the Catskills! Looking for a great photo op? What better background than mountain ranges, clear skies and beautiful foliage!
7. The Fall Activities:
There’s something to do in the Catskills year round: In the spring, the waterfalls are at their fullest. In the summer, hikers are seen exploring every mountaintop. In the winter, everyone breaks out their skis. And the fall? The fall is our favorite time of year in the Catskills because of the apple picking! Curious where can you find the most delicious (and abundant) apples? Be sure to visit Wright’s Farm in Gardiner, NY where you can pick your own apples, pumpkins, cherries and more!
8. The Swimming Holes:
If you have been to the Catskills before, then you know that there are hidden “pools” and swimming holes at the bottom of several mountains. Some are visible from the roadside, but others are hidden gems just waiting to be found. The fresh water streaming though them provides a cool (and safe) place for you and your dog to swim on a hot summer day. At the very bottom of Plattekill Falls, you will find a calm, flat pool to swim and relax at inside of an overhang. When we arrived at this “secret” spot (which happened to have several dogs already swimming), our pups jumped right in and never wanted to leave.
Know Before You Go: The walk from your car to the falls is only 5 minutes, but it’s pretty steep and can be dangerous.
9. The Other Dogs:
No matter where we hike, swim, eat or drive, it’s hard to avoid meeting other dog owners in the Catskills. When the air is this fresh and the land is begging to be explored, who wouldn’t want to bring fido along?
10. The Restaurants:
After all of these activities, you must be hungry! Take a drive to Chicken Run in Windham, NY where you can sit outside by the cozy fire pits and reflect on all of the fun things you just did in the Catskills. They offer live entertainment and drink specials almost every night of the week!
Have you been to the Catskills with your dog? Share some of your favorite dog-friendly destinations in the comments below!