The stretch of river between Manhattan and Albany is just 150 miles long. But what the Hudson lacks in length, it more than makes up for with outstanding scenery, history, and riverside activities. All of the major cities and towns were founded during Dutch and English colonial times, and the Hudson Valley played a pivotal role in the American Revolution. It has spawned one of the first major American art movements (the Hudson River School) and during the Gilded Age was a playground for the rich and famous. Framed by the Catskills and the Taconic Mountains, the river valley is also a scenic treasure that's particularly lovely in autumn when most cruises operate.
What We Love
Modern Art: Between the DM Weil Gallery near New Paltz, the Storm King Art Center near Cornwall-on-Hudson, and the Rockefeller collection at Kykuit, the Hudson Valley is a world-class showcase of contemporary art.
The Four Seasons: Autumn colors are incredible up and down the Hudson, especially when those chromatic trees are reflected in the river. Spring produces a billion blossoms, summer is all about lush riparian forest, and winter brings a romantic mantle of snow.
Best Known For
West Point: Established in 1802, the U.S. Military Academy is a feast for both the eye and the intellect, a gorgeous campus that includes Cadet Chapel and West Point Museum.
Hyde Park: Forever linked to FDR, this east bank burg lays claim to both the Franklin D. Roosevelt home and the separate FDR Presidential Library and Museum.
Shop for Cruises
Poughkeepsie: Stroll the leafy grounds of Vassar College and an old railroad bridge turned hiking path called the Walkway Over the Hudson. The city is also the gateway to the nearby Vanderbilt Mansion and the FDR shrines in Hyde Park.
Sleepy Hollow: The legend of Washington Irving runs through the author's home and the local cemetery. But the town is also home to Kykuit, the Gilded Age mansion where three generations of Rockefellers stayed and played along the Hudson.
Kingston: The Old Dutch Church and the Hudson River Maritime Museum are the top attractions in a town that became New York's first state capital during the American Revolution.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Albany Isn't a Quaint Capital City: Construction of the Empire State Plaza wiped out the city's old Italian and Jewish neighborhoods and transformed downtown into a concrete jungle.
Joe Yogerst is a California-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Travel + Leisure.