A few months ago I got a serious itch to get away to somewhere cold, where I can breath in fresh air and surround myself in nature. My ideal trips are about 60% nature and outdoor activities and 40% exploring little towns and trying out delicious coffee and food. The Catskills delivered exactly that. So today I’m sharing What to do in the Catskills during Winter.
One of my favorite ways to experience new places is to visit them during their less popular seasons, which is often the winter, right before or right after the holiday rush, and that works perfectly for my husband and I since we love the cold and spending time outdoors during the wintertime.
My biggest tip if you like to travel the same way or want to try it out is if you are visiting smaller towns and less populated cities, be sure and research what will still be open and what may be closed for the season. Unless it’s a big resort town or ski-city, the smaller snowy towns tend to take a seasonal break since tourism is slower. Besides the less-busy streets, not having to make reservations or wait for a table and more isolated hikes (all positive things IMO) traveling to destinations during their slow season also changes the vibe of the place.
We always notice locals, both pedestrians and service industry folks, are more chill and more willing to spark conversation and engage with travelers. I’m guessing it’s because the rush of tourists is over-no judgement as I can imagine high-season place must be exhausting. So, that’s another plus.
The best part of visiting the Catskills is that it’s made up of several cute little towns, each offering their own special charm. All of them are within 1 hour and 45 minutes from each other-with most being 30 minutes or less from one another. A Catskills getaway makes for a great road-trip, with plenty of beautiful drives-so be sure and rent a comfy car.
I think 5 days is the perfect amount of time to visit if you want to really explore a good amount of the towns and prefer to get in both hikes and sight-seeing. We hit every single town we wanted to, I think 6 total, it could be more because some of them are so small if you blink you may miss the fact that you drove into them.
If you prefer a more laidback trip, just doing lots of eating, drinking, strolling the towns and enjoying your hotel/airbnb (there are plenty of great, cozy options in the area!), then 3 days should be just fine.
We decided to split our time in 2 airbnbs, both were lovely enough to spend the entire time in either, but I’m glad we got to experience two different places. That’s another benefit of visiting the Catskills too, with one home-base, you can visit plenty of different towns and hiking areas, without having to jump from location to location.
Here I am in front of our first airbnb, those red barn doors-so cute!
And here is the absolute darling inside. The chandelier, the peak roof with loft and ladder. Everything was just so cozy and cute-we loved it.
Our second airbnb was another lovely guest suite that was on the second floor. Since this stay was located in more secluded woods, being on the second floor felt like we were amongst the trees-almost treehouse like. The decor was impeccable and we had everything and more we could ever need.
How to Spend 5 Days in the Catskills In the Winter
We ate amazing food. We drank delicious drinks. We hiked incredible trails with wonderful views. Yet, without a doubt the highlight of our trip was visiting Catskills Animal Sanctuary. What a special experience for any animal lover to see these beautiful animals that have been rescued from everything from in-humane slaughter houses to unsafe and abusive circumstances. I can’t recommend it enough.
Travel tips I’ve been using for years while creating my itinerary:
- Create your itinerary in google docs, so links and addresses can be clicked and opened right there on your phone while on your trip. I find this especially helpful with the addresses.
- Which brings me to my second tip, I not only put the places like restaurants and trailheads we’re visiting on the itinerary, but also their exact google maps address. This helps make traveling around from place to place more seamless.
- I also like to add what the distance between each stop is on the itinerary and also how far they each are from my home-base (hotel or airbnb). It helps you feel more in touch with the distance of everything.
- I keep all reservations I have made and their times in my itinerary.
- Lastly, I put the open and close times to all of the restaurants/places on my itinerary.
How to Spend 5 Days in the Catskills In the Winter
Now onto where to eat, drink and hike!
Cafes and Coffee
Maggies Crooked Cafe: 6000 Main St, Tannersville, NY 12485
The Mud Club: 43 Mill Hill Rd, Woodstock, NY 12498 (Really fresh breakfast sandwiches.)
Twin Peaks Coffee & Donuts: 5950 Main St, Tannersville, NY 12485 (The best cinnamon sugar donuts we’ve ever had.)
Circle W Market: 3328 NY-23A, Palenville, NY 12463
Bread Alone Bakery: 22 Mill Hill Rd, Woodstock, NY 12498 (We ate here twice-so good.)
Phoenicia Diner: 5681 NY-28, Phoenicia, NY 12464
Meredith’s Bread: 415 NY-28, Kingston, NY 12401
Miss Lucy’s Kitchen: 90 Partition St, Saugerties, NY 12477 (A lunch here kicked off our trip-so cozy and yummy!)
Dutch Ale House: 253 Main St. Saugerties, New York
The Prospect at Scribners: 13 Scribner Hollow Rd, Hunter, NY 12442
Foxfire Mountain House: 72 Andrew Lane, Mt Tremper, NY, 12457, United States
The Peekamoose Restaurant and Tap Room: 8373 NY-28, Big Indian, NY 12410 (Award winning, magazine and tv featured-this restaurant didn’t dissapoint. We loved the vibes in this place too.)
Silvias: 42 Mill Hill Road Woodstock, New York
58 Mount Airy Road Guest House, Saugerties, NY 12477, United States
Kaaterskill Falls: Kaaterskill Falls, Hunter, NY 12436
Indian Head Mountain: Hunter, NY 12427
Overlook Mountain: Woodstock, NY 12498
Mohonk Preserve West Trapps Trailhead, 50 minutes: 3142 US-44, Gardiner, NY 12525
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Falling Waters Preserve: Dominican Ln, Saugerties, NY 12477
Huckleberry Point Trail, Hunter, NY 12427
Devil’s Path Trail, Prediger Trail Head Road, Elka Park, NY 12427
That’s it for my tips on What to do in the Catskills during Winter.
Does it seem like I LOVED visiting the Catskills? Because I absolutely did. What a perfect 5 days this destination brought us in a time where we really needed it. Isn’t that what traveling is all about? Allowing places you’ve never experienced to fill your heart and raise your spirits in their own special way.
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