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What to Do in Dutchess County During College Move-In Weekend

Date Published: August 18, 2023

It's time to move your college student into their new Hudson Valley home! While you're here, you should get a taste of their Dutchess County experience. Vassar College and Marist College residence halls are open the last weekend in August, and Bard students return Labor Day weekend. 

Read on for hidden-gem hikes, craft beverage destinations, top free things to do and activities for every generation of the family.

Have questions about planning your trip to Dutchess County? Call us at 845-463-4000

Hikers exploring fall Bannerman Island
Bannerman Island, Beacon


Dutchess County Fair in Rhinebeck, August 22-27

Hudson Valley Renegades games, August 25, 26 & 27

Sunflower Festival at Barton Orchards in Poughquag, August 25-27

Animals After Hours at the Trevor Zoo in Millbrook, August 25

Poughkeepsie PorchFest, August 27

Hudson Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival in Union Vale, September 1-3

For more Dutchess County events, click here

Eating Here

Dutchess County is home to The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, making it a premiere destination for foodies. Many chefs at local restaurants are CIA-grads, so menus at eateries pop with creative ideas, Hudson Valley ingredients and industry-leading innovation. Plus, diners can choose from a massive variety of styles, including but not limited to Italian, Indian, New America, Puerto Rican, Middle Eastern, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Irish, Mexican and Brazilian. To browse through our eclectic assortment of eateries, click here

TIP: Monday and Tuesday tend to be off nights for restaurants, bars and other Dutchess County businesses. Check hours of operation for each place you plan to visit, and make reservations for guaranteed seating at our most popular dining hotspots.

Prettiest Places to Dine Outdoors

Bundle of apples at Fishkill Farms
Fishkill Farms, Hopewell Junction

Pick-Your-Own Apples, and More at These Dutchess Farms

Few destinations in the world are more iconic for autumn than the Hudson Valley. Luckily for parents during Family Weekend, Dutchess County has several farms and orchards open for apple and pumpkin picking. Enjoy fruit fresh off the trees, dig into the region's famous cider donuts and get the cutest fall photos with the family. For pick-your-own apple orchards, click here. 

Poets Walk Park
Poets' Walk Park, Red Hook; Photo by Marist alumn Zachary Gawron

Top 10 Free Things to do in Dutchess County 

Dutchess County has many completely FREE activities that are excellent experiences for families. Hike Peach Hill Park in Poughkeepsie, discover classic art at Francis Lehman Loeb Art Museum and contemporary works at the Wassaic Project, stroll through our Great Estates and more! For the full top 10 list of free things to do in Dutchess, click here. 

Kid celebrates after racing down a water slide
SplashDown Beach, Fishkill; Photo courtesy of SplashDown Beach Water Park

Activities for the Perfect Kids Summer Vacation

Are you traveling with younger siblings to move your college student in? Make a real trip out of it with these incredibly fun summer spots for the whole family to enjoy. Read on for waterparks, drive-in movie theaters, unique farm activities and more.

Top 10 Hidden Gem Hikes 

Late summer is one of the best times of the entire year to go hiking in the Hudson Valley. Get ready to traverse tranquil trails! Choose from our list of under-the-radar destinations for peaceful jaunts into nature. Conquer these upward paths for stunning views of the Catskill Mountains, Berkshires and Hudson Highlands. For 10 stellar outdoor experiences, click here

Women enjoying Zeus Brewing Co rooftop
Zeus Brewing Company, Poughkeepsie

Use Your Dutchess Tourism Taste Finder Passport to Sip and Save in Style 

Any craft beverage fans in the family? Select a 1-day or 3-day pass for all 21+ members of the family to score free tastings, merch and more at your choice of 13 Dutchess County hotspots. Spend time at breweries, cideries, wineries, distilleries and meaderies, several of which are located on breathtaking farms! In fact, Poughkeepsie itself is home to several producers on the list, including Slate Point Meadery, Plan Bee Farm Brewery and Zeus Brewing Company. For the full list of destinations on the Taste Finder craft beverage passport, click here. 

Related: The Dutchess Tourism Trail Finder is a mobile passport program featuring attractions, experiences, and can’t-miss sights throughout the region. For your convenience, they’re presented in four carefully crafted trails, each catering to a distinct set of interests. To find the perfect trail for you, click here

Kitchen and Coffee
Kitchen+Coffee, Beacon; Photo by @anjueatsfoods

Top 10 Eateries for Vegetarian and Vegan Diners

Searching for restaurants that have vegan and/or vegetarian options? Luckily, Dutchess County hosts dozens of vegan-friendly eateries. For those with dietary restrictions, every meal of the day is covered by our top 10 list. From farm-to-table cafe fare and smoothie bowls to authentic Indian and Thai, there's something for everyone's palate. For vegetarian and vegan dining, click here. 

Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome biplane ride
Biplane ride at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, Red Hook

Top 10 Activities for Every Generation of the Family 

Visiting with a multi-generational family? We have plenty of experiences for groups of all ages. Fascinating historic sites, bucolic farms and breathtaking brunch spots overlooking the Hudson River are on the table. Plunge into the lives of the Roosevelts at the FDR Presidential Library & Museum, watch WWI biplanes soar over Red Hook (or take a ride in one yourself), stroll across a Chinese and Japanese-inspired landscape at Innisfree Garden and more! For our top 10 activities for every generation to do together, click here. 

Plus, download our FREE Connection Finder family fun trail for deals and discounts. Visit alpaca farms, bring the little ones to climbing gyms and trampoline centers, enjoy ice cream made with local dairy and catch late-season flicks at a retro drive-in theater. To download your passport, click here. 

Stroll Across the Walkway Over the Hudson

The bridge now known as the Walkway Over the Hudson opened in 1889 as the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge – at the time of its opening it was the longest bridge in the world. In 1974, a fire that was likely started by a spark from a train’s brakes destroyed the tracks. In 2009 the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park re-opened as the longest, elevated pedestrian bridge in the world and it’s the perfect spot to view the majestic Hudson River. Want another vantage point? Take the 21-story, ADA-compliant, glass elevator from the Poughkeepsie waterfront up to the bridge. Plus, a wheelchair-accessible electric tram means everyone can experience this world-class view!

Related: Ways to Enjoy the Hudson River

Dog at Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, Hyde Park; Photo by @heytherestan

Dog-Friendly Jaunts in Dutchess 

Wondering where you can go and bring along your pup in Dutchess County? Here’s a few of our dog-friendly hiking trails, historic sites, craft beverage hotspots and more in the Hudson Valley!

Plan your trip to Dutchess County with the trip planner tool!

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