Plan A Trip To This Small Upstate New York Town For A Picture-Perfect Fall Vacation

In an article published by Appalachian State University, one researcher attempted to count the revenue so-called "leaf peepers" generate across 24 Eastern states. It turns out that fall tourism in this part of the country is a $30 billion business. That means many Americans are spending a good chunk of change looking for the perfect fall vacation. 

Upstate New York is a popular place to see the changing leaves every year. Destinations like Lake Placid and Lake George often appear on best-of lists. But there's somewhere much closer to New York City where you can plan an ideal picture-perfect fall getaway.

New Paltz, about an hour and a half by car from Manhattan, epitomizes the quintessential charm of upstate New York. When fall descends upon the town, New Paltz is transformed into a canvas painted with fiery reds, deep oranges, and gleaming golds. New Paltz sits on the Wallkill River and offers visitors a bohemian small-town feel, a ton of activities, and breathtaking nature all in one place.

Things to do in New Paltz

There's no chance of getting bored in New Paltz in the fall. Mohonk Preserve is one of the best places in the area to see the changing leaves. Here, you can hike, cycle, climb, and horseback ride in the area. Right next door is the privately owned Mohonk Mountain House. User Jemlnlx on Tripadvisor loved their visit in the fall. However, they warn that getting a hiking trails pass to enter the preserve for fall weekends can be a challenge — passes are released 72 hours before entry, and you need to jump on them fast. 

Another great place for a hike is the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. The 22-plus-mile trail is open for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding as well. Blogger The Hoboken Girl loved this gentle trail and the views it offered of the mountains.

Back in the center of town, a walk around Historic Huguenot Street is a must. You can discover more about French-speaking Protestants — the town's earliest residents — and see well-preserved 17th-century buildings. In the fall, you can dive into the haunted history of the area with events like Boos and Brews, a Halloween craft fair, and a fully immersive, fully spooky theater experience.

Food, drink, and shopping in New Paltz

If fall for you means apple picking and cider donuts, you won't be disappointed in New Paltz. There are several pick-your-own places to choose from. At Dressel Farms and Jenkins-Lueken Orchards, you can pick apples and pumpkins, and both places sell their own apple cider. Jenkins-Lueken also has a bakery selling pies, caramel apples, and, of course, apple cider donuts. Adults might particularly enjoy visiting Twin Star Orchards, where hard cider is brewed on the premises.

Lastly, you'll want to explore the independent shops and restaurants in Water Street Market. You can pick up some souvenirs, listen to live music, and grab a warming cup of coffee at Mudd Puddle Coffee Roasters & Cafe. Around town, there are more restaurants and bars. The Hoboken Girl loved Huckleberry for a bite to eat and drinks around the outdoor fire pit. Another firm favorite is Bacchus, a craft beer bar serving classic pub food and hosting live music.