5 Reasons To Visit The Sullivan Catskills

Woodstock, rafting, a beautiful kid-friendly resort, and much more!

By Kara Murphy August 4, 2022

New York's Sullivan Catskills, just a five-and-a-half-hour drive from Erie, proved a gorgeous, interesting, and one-of-a-kind family getaway on a recent visit with other Macaroni KID publishers. 

Here are five reasons I loved the Sullivan Catskills and why I think you should add a visit here to your bucket list of family road trips:

The author was hosted to facilitate the review. All thoughts and opinions are their own.

1. A stay at the totally fun Kartrite Resort

The Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark was so incredibly family-friendly. It's home to New York state's largest indoor waterpark. It was very clean and the glass ceiling let in beautiful natural light. I particularly loved the lazy river — the current really pushed you along!

But the waterpark isn't the only kid-friendly attraction here: There are also nightly movies, a bowling alley, arcade, yard games, firepits (with s'mores!), and a ropes course. There is even a candy shop, along with eight bars and eateries. Seriously: The Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark is heaven for families! 

Our room was spacious and comfortable, with plenty of room to stretch out. Definitely a place I'd choose again!

The Kartrite is a beautiful modern resort. Want a more traditional Catskills alternative? If the Catskills makes you think of the movie Dirty Dancing or the show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, you might want to consider the Villa Roma Resort. We toured this wonderful resort, which features activities ranging from skiing, snowtubing, bowling, and an indoor pool and spa in the winter, to outdoor pools, bounce park, ziplining, and bumper boats in the summer. Plus it offers an all-inclusive package, making the Villa Roma the perfect all-seasons getaway in the Catskills. Save 10% on a booking at Villa Roma now!

Photos courtesy Villa Roma

2. A chance to visit the hill where 500,000 people gathered for Woodstock in 1969

Here's something I learned: Woodstock didn't take place in Woodstock, N.Y. It took place on the Yasgur Farm in Bethel Woods, N.Y., a charming tiny town that became the fourth largest city in New York for those three infamous days in August 1969.

The rolling hill where Woodstock took place has been beautifully preserved — there's even a peace sign mowed into the lawn. It's open to the public so you can visit any time to sit on the hill and pretend you were there listening to Jimi in 1969 ... or roll down the hill in glee, as we saw a few kids do!

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3. A step back into the tie-dyed 1960s 

The Woodstock site and surrounding acreage is now owned by a nonprofit called Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. Along with maintaining the site of Woodstock, the center hosts big-name concerts, welcomes kids to summer camp, and much more. We had a chance to visit the Museum at Bethel Woods, which is a tribute to not just Woodstock, but the entire 1960s. It's amazing how many of the issues then remain relevant today.

Many of the volunteers at the museum have a connection to the 1969 festival. Our tour guide, John, was there that weekend. It was fascinating to get a tour of the museum from someone who had his own experience to share. Even if you don't get that lucky, there is an augmented reality tour that makes you feel like you've been transported back to the summer of 1969.

Photo courtesy of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

4. An opportunity to float with the eagles

We headed out for an afternoon rafting trip on the Delaware River with Lander's River Trips. Lander's offers more than water fun though — the family-owned business also has three riverfront campgrounds in Sullivan County (all dog friendly!)

They told us to keep an eye out for bald eagles on our journey. We weren't disappointed! We spotted seven bald eagles in all and were lucky enough to have one soar above our heads. Totally beautiful. 

The river was clear to the bottom, so many of our party jumped out to float part of the way. It was a wonderful way to spend a beautiful summer day in the Catskills!

My friend Kat caught this bald eagle soaring by us:

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Insider tip: After working up your appetite with a day on the river, head to Albella Pizzeria & Restaurant ... our meal there was AMAZING. Try the martini chicken.

5. A chance to go on a dove hunt

The Sullivan Catskills Dove Trail commemorates the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. The Dove Trail includes 50 large dove sculptures "perched" in villages, towns, and businesses throughout Sullivan County. Each dove was handpainted by a local artist, which means they are each a beautiful piece of art. They are so popular with visitors the Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association has put together a Dove Trail map so you can find all 50! Find the map here.

Check out this video I put together of our trip!

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Thanks so much to the Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association and their partners for the incredible hospitality they offered Macaroni KID during our visit to your beautiful and unique area! Want to plan your own visit? Request a free travel guide today!