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Poets' Walk Park is a cultivated outdoor space near the city of Red Hook that was designed to inspire poetry, not just passively but actively. It was created in approximately 1850 by Hans Jacob Ehlers, a landscape architect who wanted to take the next step in using nature to inspire people. The landscape is arranged as a series of outdoor “rooms” separated by walls of foliage and actual stone fences with breaks in strategically-placed locations. Local myth suggests that American author Washington Irving was inspired to write Rip Van Winkle while sitting on a bench looking at the Catskill Mountains off in the distance. Camp in an RV near Red Hook and all of this and more will be at your doorstep.
The park is open year-round, from around sunrise to early evening, depending on the season. It primarily consists of a single path that loops through the park, with a couple of side trails and benches placed intermittently so you can sit and appreciate the scenery. There are several points you won't want to miss: the arbor, the overlook pavilion, and the flagpole lot. There are a few bridges along the way. The park is managed and maintained by the Scenic Hudson Land Trust, and you are encouraged to bring some poetry to read while you're sitting or even to try writing some of your own.
Big Indian Wilderness is another scenic spot to explore while camping near Poets' Walk Park. It's an idyllic destination for hikers and those who like to observe nature and wildlife. It has a rugged, mountainous landscape with miles upon miles of trails that are designated for hiking only. On your journey, you'll have an opportunity to spot resident wildlife, including bears, deer, bobcats, and porcupines, plus birds and reptiles. Fishing and hunting are allowed in season, and in the winter, you can use the trails to go snowshoeing.
Sundown Wild Forest is a diverse nature preserve that incorporates mountains and valleys, rivers and waterfalls, and forested areas. Fishing is allowed in the park for stream trout, and hunting is allowed for some mainstream mammals (deer, bear, bobcat, and coyote); these activities can be practiced in season. There are numerous trails within the forest where you can hike to the peaks of mountains and enjoy the views below; in the winter, these trails are perfect for snowmobiling. One of the peaks has a fire tower with panoramic views.
Minnewaska State Park Preserve is a rugged, rocky terrain located along a steep ridge on Shawangunk Mountain. The preserve also features crystalline sky lakes, sheer cliffs, valleys with clear streams, hardwood forests, and numerous waterfalls. There are access roads into the park where you can use your Red Hook camper rental to enjoy a self-guided auto tour; these roads and the park's trails are suitable for hiking and mountain biking. In addition to the usual activities, you can also enjoy rock climbing, bouldering, and scuba diving.
There aren't any facilities for camping at Poets' Walk Park, but there are many good options within a short distance of the park. One of them, Interlake RV Park, is a full service, family-friendly RV campground with high-definition cable TV channels, WiFi, a large swimming pool, a wading pool for younger kids, and much more. A nearby lake and pond make it possible for you to enjoy fishing and boating, and the campground is ideally placed a short distance from many local attractions.
Across the Hudson River and also nearby, Saugerties / Woodstock KOA Journey is another family-friendly RV campground near the Catskill Mountains. The campground is blended into a forest of maple and pine tree stands, creating a perfect atmosphere of tranquility. The campground has planned activities for kids on weekends plus miniature golf, disc golf, barrel train rides, and other attractions suitable for kids and families. You can explore a local nature trail or, if the weather isn't cooperating, make use of a game room and a pool table. Some of the individual campsites have pull-through access.
If you feel the need for some urban entertainment, Rhinebeck is a small town that incorporates a village of the same name and a hamlet, Rhinecliff, which has an Amtrak station. The town has several landmarks such as the Wilderstein Historic Site and the Omega Institute; there are antique markets and museums, commercial farms you can visit, and a botanical garden. The town is also the home of the Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra. The town has a long list of restaurants, some of which specialize in Indian food, French, Italian, Japanese, Thai, and other cuisines.
Tivoli is a small village that is included in the Hudson River Historic District, an entry on the list of National Historic Landmarks. Tivoli has existed since as early as 1872 and is the home of an international dance center plus many shopping opportunities for books, artwork, clothing, and more. The village has an impressive restaurant industry for its size, with Mexican, Cuban, and German restaurants, pizzerias, and cafes, to name a few. Most of the establishments are locally owned and operated, providing an authentic dining experience.