That special midsummer weekend is approaching—school's out, the office is closed, and you've got a few days to enjoy summer in all its glory. No matter what you do on the Fourth of July, it's the perfect time to get outside—whether lounging by the river or plummeting through the sky with a view of the Hudson Valley in its awe-inspiring entirety. Here are our top five picks for celebrating America's birthday:
There's just nothing quite like watching multicolored, pom-pom-shaped explosions in the sky, and the Hudson Valley's got a number of opportunities to do it on the Fourth. The Walkway Over the Hudson offers some of the best views of the Hudson River and surrounding area. On Independence Day, these sights serve as the perfect backdrop for fireworks. Sit on your lawn chair or picnic blanket as you enjoy the show from 212 feet up. On the other side of the river, you can catch the Ulster County Fairgrounds fireworks. Park your car at the Shawangunk Ridge overlook on 44/55, just past the hairpin turn, for the best seat in the house.
2. Swim 'n' Camp
Try some local camping near one of the Hudson Valley's famed swimming spots, like Peekamoose Blue Hole. The swimming hole on the Rondout Creek gets its name because of the water's crystal-clear, cerulean hue. There's free camping along Peekamoose Road in three different areas (upper, middle, and lower fields). Lounge waterside all day, then cozy up by a campfire when night falls. For some neat DIY camping ideas, click here. For more info and directions to this summer oasis, click here.
During the Revolutionary War, the Hudson River was a very important transportation route. To celebrate the Fourth, relive the days of the historic waterway with a kayaking trip. Storm King Adventure Tours is offering a kayak tour out to Bannerman Island on the fourth, with a picnic and live music at the historic castle. You can also rent kayaks at A Day Away Kayak in Kingston or Mountain Tops Outfitters in Beacon to venture out on your own.
4. Three-Day Weekend
Wear your red, white, and blue all weekend for patriotic fun throughout Kingston during the city's Independence Day Celebration from July 4 to 6. In addition to the traditional waterfront fireworks display on the Fourth, performers like the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, The Cagneys, and Mister Kick will play free sets and local restaurants offer special discounts.
While some people are looking up at the sky at fireworks, you can be falling through it. What better way to celebrate the day of our nation's freedom than with a free-fall over the Hudson Valley. At Skydive the Ranch in Gardiner, you can jump from 13,500 feet, and see the Shawangunk Ridge in true panoramic view. A videographer can even film your epic fall.