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20. Watch balloons take flight: Drink in the (Credit: Caylena Cahill)

20. Watch balloons take flight: Drink in the colorful spectacle of hot air balloons lifting off and floating through the sky at the Dutchess County Balloon Festival in Poughkeepsie, taking place July 5-7. The balloons will be launched en masse with the Hudson River as a backdrop. Walkway Over the Hudson (87 Haviland Rd., Highland) is a popular place to gather and watch the show, so get there early to secure a prime viewing spot. >>See photos from last year's festival

50 things to do this summer in the Hudson Valley

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, and from hitting the beach to rocking out at a music festival to visting a county fair, there's plenty to do in the region over the next three months. Here are our picks for 50 things to do this summer in the Hudson Valley.

1. Have dinner with a river view: The
(Credit: Leslie Barbaro)

1. Have dinner with a river view: The summer months are a perfect time to have an outdoor meal. Hudson Valley has many restaurants with spectacular views of the Hudson River, such as X20 in Yonkers and Hudson Water Club in West Haverstraw (pictured). >>Read more about waterfront dining

2. Celebrate other cultures: Enjoy the traditional food,
(Credit: Georgette Yacoub)

2. Celebrate other cultures: Enjoy the traditional food, music and dance of countries and cultures from around the world at Westchester County’s Cultural Heritage Festival, taking place at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla. The festival features a variety of heritage events throughout the summer, including Italian, Polish and Indian (the latter event from last year is pictured). >>Read more about cultural heritage festivals

3. Take a Sunday bike ride: An annual
(Credit: Westchester County Parks)

3. Take a Sunday bike ride: An annual tradition since 1974, Bicycle Sundays take place on a 6.5-mile stretch of the Bronx River Parkway that are closed to vehicular traffic every Sunday in May, June and September, creating a suburban cycling heaven. Bicycle Sundays run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., excluding May 26 and Sept. 1. >>Read more about Bicycle Sundays

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4. Visit Bannerman Island: By kayak, by private
(Credit: Angela Gaul)

4. Visit Bannerman Island: By kayak, by private charter or by tour boat, get yourself out to Bannerman Island this summer to see the Bannerman Castle ruins and rehabilitated gardens. The island hosts a number of events from July to September including a Hudson Valley chefs dinner. >>Read more about Bannerman Castle

5. Watch Shakespeare outdoors: The picturesque Boscobel estate
(Credit: William Marsh)

5. Watch Shakespeare outdoors: The picturesque Boscobel estate is an ideal place to view Shakespeare’s classic works. This season the festival is staging of two of The Bard’s plays plus "The Three Musketeers.” >>Read more about the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival

6. Bar crawl in White Plains: The summer
(Credit: Georgette Yacoub)

6. Bar crawl in White Plains: The summer months are a great time to take a tour of White Plains’ vibrant nightlife scene, since many of the local bars, such as The Brazen Fox (pictured), offer outdoor seating. >>Read more about White Plains bar crawl

7. Hit the beach: Get your summer fix
(Credit: Faye Murman)

7. Hit the beach: Get your summer fix of sun and sand at one of Westchester County’s beaches, such as Harbor Island Park in Mamaroneck (pictured). If you’d rather go swimming without driving out to the coast, head to one of the area’s county-supervised pools. >>Check the schedule for Westchester and Rockland's beaches and pools

8. Work out in the great outdoors: The
(Credit: Donna Blaney)

8. Work out in the great outdoors: The Hudson Valley offers many opportunities for outdoor workouts at all levels, from tai chi and kayaking to boot camp and yoga. Exercising at scenic spots such as Boscobel in Garrison (pictured) allows you to get in shape while connecting with nature. >>Read more about outdoor workouts

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9. Visit a local garden: The Hudson Valley
(Credit: Leslie Barbaro)

9. Visit a local garden: The Hudson Valley is home to many scenic gardens and arboretums that are ideal for a summer stroll. Many of these green spaces offer seasonal events, nature walks and educational programs. A garden at Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate in Sleepy Hollow, is pictured. >>Read more about local gardens

10. Visit a county fair: Nothing quite evokes
(Credit: John Meore)

10. Visit a county fair: Nothing quite evokes summer fun like the county fair, and there are three local fairs to check out this season: the Orange County Fair (July 12-28), the Ulster County Fair (July 30-Aug. 4; last year's fair is pictured) and the Dutchess County Fair (Aug. 20-25). >>See photos from last year's Ulster County Fair

11. Play a different kind of ball: Adult
(Credit: Handout)

11. Play a different kind of ball: Adult bocce and kickball leagues can be a lot of fun and a great way to make new friends while exercising and enjoying area parks. Signups for the summer leagues are underway. >>Read more about the summer leagues

12. Rock a hot swimsuit. Spice up your
(Credit: Elizabeth Daza)

12. Rock a hot swimsuit. Spice up your summer style with the latest trends in swimwear, available for purchase at local shops. Brandhyze Stanley models a crocheted one-piece from Robin Piccone, available at Great Shapes in Hartsdale. >>Read more about swimsuit trends

13. Tour historic sites: The Hudson Valley is
(Credit: Leslie Barbaro)

13. Tour historic sites: The Hudson Valley is home to many places of historic interest, including Lyndhurst, Boscobel and Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate (pictured). Many of these sites host summer programs that are both fun and educational. >>Read more about historic sites in the Hudson Valley

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14. Saddle up: Whether it’s horseback riding lessons
(Credit: Jeremy Bales)

14. Saddle up: Whether it’s horseback riding lessons or exploring trails with your own horse, many places offer a variety of ways to giddy up. Take a lesson or hop on a horse-drawn wagon at Rocking Horse Ranch Resort in Highland (pictured), check out the 19th century carriage roads at Mohonk Preserve in Gardiner and the trails at Payne Farms Too in New Paltz, or put your toddler on a pony at Pinegrove Ranch and Family Resort in Kerhonkson. >>Visit the Rocking Horse ranch site

15. See an air show or fly
(Credit: Handout)

15. See an air show or fly in a vintage plane: Whether you want to watch an air show from the ground or enjoy a vintage plane from the skies, Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome has what you’re looking for. Weekend air shows begin June 8, featuring planes from the pioneer era and World War I. Twenty-minute plane rides are also offered by appointment during the week and on a first come, first served basis on the weekends. >>Read more about going for a flight in a vintage plane

16. Party at Newburgh waterfront: This Hudson River
(Credit: Caylena Cahill)

16. Party at Newburgh waterfront: This Hudson River waterfront is well-known for its sizzling nightlife scene. Hit up local watering holes such as Gully’s and Torches on the Hudson (pictured) for some summer fun under the stars. >>See photos of Gully’s and Torches on the Hudson

17. Hit the books: Sometimes a hot summer
(Credit: Angela Gaul)

17. Hit the books: Sometimes a hot summer day calls for wandering the cool confines of an independent bookstore. The Hudson Valley has several that cater to readers and offer eclectic selections, including Arcade Booksellers in Rye and Pickwick Book Shop in Nyack (pictured, with customer Marie Tienou). >>Check out a guide to independent bookstores

18. Dine at the Sound Shore: Westchester’s 17-mile
(Credit: Faye Murman)

18. Dine at the Sound Shore: Westchester’s 17-mile coastline is home to quite a few fun and casual dining spots. Take in the gorgeous views at restaurants like Pier Restaurant and Tiki Bar in Rye (pictured) while feasting on seafood, margaritas and more along the picturesque waterfront. >>Read more about dining at the Sound Shore

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19. Batter up!: The Rockland Boulders baseball team
(Credit: Angela Gaul)

19. Batter up!: The Rockland Boulders baseball team kicked off its third season at Pomona’s Provident Bank Park in May. Besides baseball, the venue also hosts events all summer long, including concerts by stars such as Darius Rucker and the Beach Boys. >>Read more about the Rockland Boulders

20. Watch balloons take flight: Drink in the
(Credit: Caylena Cahill)

20. Watch balloons take flight: Drink in the colorful spectacle of hot air balloons lifting off and floating through the sky at the Dutchess County Balloon Festival in Poughkeepsie, taking place July 5-7. The balloons will be launched en masse with the Hudson River as a backdrop. Walkway Over the Hudson (87 Haviland Rd., Highland) is a popular place to gather and watch the show, so get there early to secure a prime viewing spot. >>See photos from last year's festival

21. Watch summer movies with Hudson Valley ties:
(Credit: Getty Images)

21. Watch summer movies with Hudson Valley ties: The summer movie season is under way, and many of this year's popcorn flicks feature celebs with connections to the Hudson Valley. Former Manhattanville College student James Badge Dale (pictured) stars in three major blockbusters -- "Iron Man 3," "World War Z" and "Lone Ranger" -- while Katonah resident Chris Wedge directed the highly anticipated animated "Epic." >>Read more about summer movies with local ties

22. Visit the Neuberger Museum of Art: Located
(Credit: Courtesy of Neuberger Museum)

22. Visit the Neuberger Museum of Art: Located on Purchase College’s campus, the museum reopened in April after an $11 million restoration. Featuring more than 6,000 works of fine art, Neuberger is the nation’s 10th-largest university-based art institution. Don’t miss the exhibit that marked the museum’s re-opening, “Pre-Columbian Remix," running through July 14. Nadin Ospina's "Jefes (Chiefs)," in the current show, is pictured. Read more about the Neuberger Museum and its new exhibit

23. Vive la France!: July 14 is Bastille
(Credit: Susan Stava)

23. Vive la France!: July 14 is Bastille Day, a day that commemorates the storming of the Bastille Prison in France in 1789, which marked the beginning of the French Revolution. The village of Piermont celebrates Bastille Day with an annual celebration that includes traditional French food, live bands and a costume party, and takes place July 13. Zinora Koven-Szumsk, who attended last year's event, is pictured. >>See photos from last year's event

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24. Tour a sculpture garden: Summer is the
(Credit: Elizabeth Daza)

24. Tour a sculpture garden: Summer is the ideal time to visit Storm King Art Center, a 500-acre sculpture park in Mountainville. The center features massive outdoor artworks by Roy Lichtenstein, Maya Lin, Alexander Calder and others. Expect to spend at least three hours touring the expansive grounds, and don't miss seasonal events such as outdoor yoga and beekeeper tours. The venue is open rain or shine Wednesdays through Sundays. >>See photos of Storm King Art Center

25. Relive the '80s at The Cap: Port
(Credit: AP)

25. Relive the '80s at The Cap: Port Chester's Capitol Theatre has a line-up of top acts this summer, including artists who hit it big during the Me Decade. They include Billy Idol (May 31), "Weird Al" Yankovic (June 1), the B-52s (June 6), former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne with St. Vincent (June 29) and Cyndi Lauper (July 12, pictured). Before the show, drop by The Cap's new lobby bar, Garcia's, named after the late Grateful Dead singer and guitarist Jerry Garcia. >>Check out upcoming concerts at the Capitol Theatre

26. Visit the Edward Hopper House: Nyack is
(Credit: Kris Burns)

26. Visit the Edward Hopper House: Nyack is proud to claim Edward Hopper, the famous realist painter, as a native son. The artist's birthplace has been transformed into a non-profit art center that exhibits works from a variety of artists, in addition to Hopper. An upcoming show will feature the work of legendary documentary photographer Dorothea Lange from June 22 to Aug. 18. Hopper's painting "Pretty Penny," based on a location in Nyack, is pictured. Visit the museum website

27. Listen to jazz. The 7th Annual
(Credit: Angela Gaul)

27. Listen to jazz. The 7th Annual Peekskill Jazz & Blues Festival is a groovy way to spend a Saturday. The free, open-air concert event draws big crowds every year, and in addition to concerts from local musicians, also features a variety of family-friendly activities. The event will take place July 27 in downtown Peekskill. >>See photos from last year's festival

28. Ride the rapids: Adrenaline seekers will enjoy
(Credit: Handout)

28. Ride the rapids: Adrenaline seekers will enjoy tubing down Hudson Valley’s Esopus Creek. F&S Adventures and Town Tinker Rental both provide tubing packages from now through September. >>Read more about tubing

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29. Explore the great outdoors at Mohonk Preserve:
(Credit: Newsday/Ulster County Tourism)

29. Explore the great outdoors at Mohonk Preserve: Go for a hike or bike ride on carriage roads and trails that meander through some of the 8,000 acres of mountains, forests and ponds at this preserve in Gardiner (not to be confused with the adjacent Mohonk Mountain House). Serious outdoor enthusiasts can also go mountain climbing on the Shawangunk Mountains. >>Learn more about the preserve

30. Hang out at a summer nightspot: Just
(Credit: Courtesy of Red Hat on the River)

30. Hang out at a summer nightspot: Just because the sun has gone down doesn’t mean you want to spend the evening indoors. The Hudson Valley boasts a number of outdoor and/or rooftop bars and beach-side restaurants where you can enjoy the balmy weather under a starry sky. The rooftop lounge at Red Hat on the River in Irvington is pictured. >>Read more about local summer nightspots

31. Go on a local getaway: Interested in
(Credit: Caylena Cahill)

31. Go on a local getaway: Interested in taking a day trip or weekend jaunt in the area? Every week through Labor Day, we're offering a closer look at great places to eat, drink, play and stay throughout the Hudson Valley. The Long Dock Park in Beacon is pictured. >>Read more about local summer getaways

32. Take a stroll on Walkway Over The
(Credit: Chris Serico)

32. Take a stroll on Walkway Over The Hudson: Enjoy a scenic walk along this Poughkeepsie pedestrian bridge that spans the Hudson River, which just happens to be the world's longest elevated pedestrian park. >>See photos of Walkway Over The Hudson

33. Take a kayaking tour on the Hudson
(Credit: Julie Ransom)

33. Take a kayaking tour on the Hudson River: Whether you want to find a hidden waterfall, visit castle ruins or watch fireworks from the middle of the Hudson River, kayaking is the way to get there. A number of places offer kayak tours in the Hudson Valley, including Mountain Top Outfitters, Storm King Adventures and Hudson Valley Outfitters (pictured here). >>Read more about kayaking

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34. Travel the Shawangunk Wine Trail: Go wine
(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)

34. Travel the Shawangunk Wine Trail: Go wine tasting at one of the wineries on this celebrated wine trail in the Hudson Valley. Besides tastings, many of the wineries feature live music on the weekends and host summer events. >>Read more about the wine trail

35. Go to a drive-in movie theater: Watch
(Credit: Helge Bernhardt)

35. Go to a drive-in movie theater: Watch your favorite summer flicks at a drive-in. The Hudson Valley is home to four: The Hyde Park Drive-In, The Overlook Drive-In in Poughkeepsie, The Warwick Drive-In, and The Fair Oaks Drive-In in Middletown. >>Read more about drive-in movie theaters

36. Go ziplining with Big Bear: Get your
(Credit: Handout)

36. Go ziplining with Big Bear: Get your adrenaline pumping with a ziplining tour through scenic woodlands. Big Bear Ziplines offers tours daily through the summer where zipliners can soar to heights of up to 80 feet and speeds of up to 30 miles per hour on the eight zipline course. >>Read more about ziplining

37. Laugh it up: Who doesn’t need a
(Credit: Dan Dion)

37. Laugh it up: Who doesn’t need a good laugh -- especially in the middle of the work week? Empire City Casino in Yonkers has a weekly Wednesday night comedy series that tickles the funny bone, and features comedians such as Eddie Brill (pictured) and Andy Hendrickson. >>Read more about comedy night

38. Visit an art gallery -- but not
(Credit: Paul Weinschenck)

38. Visit an art gallery -- but not just for the art: If you're looking to get cultured in more ways that one, check out a local gallery. In addition to displaying art, several throughout the Hudson Valley offer attractions such as live music, poetry readings and even dance parties. >>Read more about local art galleries

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39. Have a great
(Credit: John Meore)

39. Have a great "weekend": You won’t run out of things to do at the 32nd Great American Weekend, held annually in Goshen's historic village square. The year's lively Fourth of July celebration, taking place July 6 and 7, will feature hundreds of vendors, as well as crafts, live music and food. Attendees from the 2012 event are pictured. >>See photos from last year's celebration

Tossing a Frisbee is a great way to
(Credit: AP)

Tossing a Frisbee is a great way to get the whole family moving.

41. Rock out at Bethel Woods: The outdoor
(Credit: Getty Images)

41. Rock out at Bethel Woods: The outdoor amphitheater, situated on the site of the original 1969 Woodstock Festival, will host quite a few concerts this season headlined by some of the biggest names in music. Artists scheduled to play the venue this summer include The Eagles (July 25), John Mayer, (Aug. 20, pictured) and Kid Rock and ZZ Top (Sept. 6). >>Read more about summer shows at Bethel Woods

42. Take sailing lessons: Summer is a
(Credit: Leslie Barbaro)

42. Take sailing lessons: Summer is a perfect time to get out on the water. With waterfront access on both the Long Island Sound and the Hudson River, the Hudson Valley is a great place to learn how to sail. >>Read more about sailing lessons in the Hudson Valley

43. Shop at a local flea market: Looking
(Credit: Lisa Weir)

43. Shop at a local flea market: Looking to score a great deal on collectibles or new merchandise? Bargain hunters should check out one of the many flea markets in the region, such as the Empire Flea Market in Port Chester, Rinaldi's Flea Market in Poughkeepsie and The Stormville Airport Antique Show and Flea Market (pictured), which is celebrating its 43rd year. >>See photos from last year's Stormville Flea Market

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44. Take a day trip to Cold Spring:
(Credit: Faye Murman)

44. Take a day trip to Cold Spring: This Putnam County village is home to more than 20 antique shops, making it a shopper's paradise. In addition to the excellent antiquing, the quaint restaurants and cafes and jam-packed events calendar make it an ideal destination for day-trippers. Check back throughout the summer for additional recommendations for local getaways. >>Read more about Cold Spring

45. Enjoy the arts: Just because it’s summer
(Credit: Stephanie Berger)

45. Enjoy the arts: Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you only have to watch movie blockbusters. For more high-brow entertainment, attend Bard Summerscape, an annual festival at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson that features classical music, films, cabaret (held in the Spiegeltent, pictured here) and more. The event runs from July 5 to Aug. 18 (an event from last year's festival is pictured). >>Read about last year's Summerscape

46. Play paintball: Grab some friends and clothes
(Credit: Craig Ruttle)

46. Play paintball: Grab some friends and clothes you don?t mind messing up and get ready to go splat. Action Paintball in Ulster Park sets you up with paintball guns, face masks and gear so you can roam the grounds shooting gobs of paint at your nearest and dearest. Pictured is a player at High Velocity Paintball in Coram.>> Visit the website

47. Hit a hole in one: If you’re
(Credit: Faye Murman)

47. Hit a hole in one: If you’re aspiring to be the next Tiger Woods or just looking for a relaxing outdoor activity, perfect your swing at at a local golf course. Dunwoodie Golf Course in Yonkers is pictured. >>Check out a guide to Westchester golf courses

48. Spend the day at the park: The
(Credit: John Meore)

48. Spend the day at the park: The Hudson Valley is home to many beautiful parks, including Bear Mountain Park, which straddles Rockland and Orange counties. You can walk the trails, and visit the zoo and Iona Island Bird Sanctuary. >>See photos of Bear Mountain Park

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49. Rent a boat at Mohansic Lake: Give
(Credit: Kirsten Luce)

49. Rent a boat at Mohansic Lake: Give your legs or arms a workout as you pedal or row around scenic Mohansic Lake at Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park in Yorktown Heights. Children who fit in the provided life vests can ride in the boats with an adult. The park also has sports courts, picnic areas and a newly renovated playground with climbing walls. Pictured is a paddle boat at Belmont Lake State Park in West Babylon, NY. >>Visit the site

50. Learn to mountain bike: You probably know
(Credit: Getty Images)

50. Learn to mountain bike: You probably know how to ride a bicycle, but for outdoor enthusiasts, mountain cycling offers a whole new set of thrills. Mountain bikers can cover terrain as diverse as wooded areas to steep hills. Local groups specializing in the sport include the Westchester Mountain Biking Association and the Gunks Mountain Biking Association. (Local cyclist and Olympic competitor Todd Wells is pictured here.) >>Read more about mountain biking

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