Bordering New York City, Westchester is an easy escape for city dwellers and those from points beyond. It truly has something for everyone – from the acres of countryside that offer a respite from big-city living and the breathtaking views of the Hudson River and Long Island Sound to the historic sites and quaint towns filled with shopping and standout dining experiences.
Here a few of the many outdoor attractions available in this treasured region.
Sleeping With Wolves
The Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem offers a chance to camp under the stars with its resident wolves. The environmental education center has “Ambassador” wolves and almost 20 endangered wolves that are part of a national recovery plan. You’ll learn all about the majestic animals while enjoying pizza, a movie and s’mores by a fire. You may even hear their howls and chatter during the night; just don’t forget your sleeping bag!
Scenic Helicopter Tour
If you’ve never been in a helicopter, this may soon become your preferred method of travel. Whether you want to take a scenic flight or create a custom trip, Wings Air Helicopters has you covered. Flights take off from Westchester County Airport and are the perfect way to view the natural beauty of this diverse county from 1,500 feet in the air. Some of the most requested sights in Westchester include Croton Falls, Lyndhurst Mansion, Kykuit – the Rockefeller Estate, Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse, the new Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, Hudson River Palisades and the Sing Sing Correctional Facility. Wings Air also offers flight lessons. Hey, you never know!
Get ready to celebrate Pride 2019. New York City will host the 2019 WorldPride celebration in June, and Westchester County will host two Pride festivals of its own in White Plains and Yonkers. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, the birth of the modern LGBTQ movement, so there is much to celebrate. You can expect each fete to be filled with exciting entertainment, food, merchandise, activities and overall merriment. Both events will be held rain or shine. Learn more about Westchester’s Pride offerings here.
Grab your helmet, because the biking routes in Westchester County are endless. With hundreds of miles of bikeable terrain, it may just take you all summer to get through them all. The cycling trails offer something for everyone. If you want to be fully immersed in nature, opt for a trail with picturesque scenery, parks and picnic spots. Or pick a trail that has more sightseeing options, with restaurants and historic sites along the way. Cyclists can also take on the scenic Bronx River Parkway in May, June and September during Bicycle Sundays, when a 7-mile stretch from Yonkers to White Plains is closed to vehicles. You can find maps, guides, paved bicycle paths and mountain biking routes throughout Westchester here.
Leave your limits at home and get ready to challenge yourself mentally and physically at Boundless Adventures in Purchase. Test your balance and spend the day outside, maneuvering through a range of obstacle courses that include extreme tree climbing, zip lining and bridge traversing. There are nine courses that include more than 90 bridges, 17 zip lines and three leaps of faith. Four levels of difficulty meet the needs of adventure seekers from beginners to adrenaline-addicted climbing pros. Admission to the park includes three hours for climbers to conquer as many courses as they’d like.
For the Foodie
Westchester has become a mecca for foodies. With thousands of restaurants to choose from, why not put al fresco dining on your summer to-do list? Fin & Brew is a new seafood restaurant located right on the Hudson River waterfront in Peekskill. It’s part of the Factoria at Charles Point, an event space that’s home to a craft brewery, catering kitchen, and activities like laser tag, shuffleboard, rock climbing, ropes courses and a full arcade. Fin & Brew supports regional, seasonal and sustainable farming and it shows in the menu. You can’t go wrong with its selection of East Coast oysters, citrus carpaccio and burrata. Find more great dining choices here.
Warm weather awakens the desire to be near the water – or better yet, on the water. And with so many rivers and lakes to choose from in Westchester, why not take a cruise with Trinity Cruise Company, learn to sail with Croton Sailing School or charter a luxury vessel with Prestige Yacht Charters? If you want a quieter option, you can also rent a kayak at Hudson River Recreation, which has multiple Westchester locations. There are also boat launching ramps throughout Westchester; you can find a full list here.
Visit a Farm
With thousands of acres of countryside, Westchester has a thriving farm culture with plenty to offer the warm-weather visitor. Go to a farmers market, pick your own fruits and vegetables or learn about the latest sustainable agriculture practices; there are tons of ways to get involved. If you want to do something out of the box, schedule a visit to Faraway Farm in Yorktown Heights to meet the alpacas and learn about their care, natural history and fleece. Another popular destination in Yorktown Heights is Hilltop Hanover Farm, a nonprofit working farm and environmental education center. There, you can attend workshops ranging from beekeeping to knitting to cooking. It also hosts camps for adults and children.
Horseback riding is a great way to experience the beautiful Hudson Valley scenery in Westchester County. Enjoy a guided trail ride with the sun on your face and the wind in your hair. Westchester Trail Rides in Croton-on-Hudson offers rides for all ages and levels of expertise, while Twin Lakes Farms in Eastchester offers horseback riding lessons for children and adults, and summer camp. Giddyup!
To learn more about all Westchester has to offer, go to VisitWestchesterNY.com.