If there's one thing COVID taught me (other than how rarely I used to wash my hands), it's the importance of finding fun things to do close to home. Hell, at the beginning of lockdown in 2020, I even picked up model train building to stay sane.

Fun Close to Home

The good news is that even though things are opening back up, there are still awesome things to do right here in our own back yard. Airbnb experiences, while usually geared towards out-of-town tourists, are an awesome option for a staycation or even a random day trip when you're looking to mix things up. From hugging pigs to hiking secret ruins, here are the 6 highest-rated Airbnb experiences to check out in the Hudson Valley.

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Sanctuary Tour and Pamper a Pig, Kerhonkson. 4.97 stars

Lets start off with what I may have to do the next time I visit my parents in Accord. "Sanctuary Tour and Pamper a Pig" in neighboring Kerhonkson, cuts straight to the cute.

How often do you have the chance to spend time with an adorable pot belly pig? Well, here is your chance! All of the pot belly pigs at Wayward Ranch Animal Sanctuary have been rescued, whether from abuse, neglect, or simply owners who were not properly educated about how to care for them.

So not only are you supporting an organization that rescues animals, you get to have one-on-one time with one of the cutest (and smartest) animals on the planet.

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Private Chef Charisse, Catskill. 5 stars

Forget travelling, this private chef will come to you. And unlike those meal kits that make you pony up your own butter or salt, they'll show up completely prepared:

I will arrive 90 minutes before your preferred dining time in order to begin working my magic. I won't arrive empty-handed! No-no, I will show up at your doorstep equipped with every ingredient needed in order to prepare your meal.

Want to plan a romantic dinner but don't actually want to cook it? This may be your answer.

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Shakti Yoga Woodstock Outside & Indoors, Woodstock. 5 stars.

I feel a little hypocritical including this one, since I haven't been able to touch my own toes since I was an infant, but if you're like me, this might be just the thing to give your flexibility a jumpstart. Or maybe you just need to release some stress. Either way, a 5-star rating from 53 people points to a great experience.

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Secret Ruin Hike Tour, Woodstock. 4.97 stars.

Overlook mountain in Woodstock is the focus of this excursion, but there's more than just a hike to enjoy. Panoramic views, bald eagles, "secret" ruins, and a Buddhist monastery all add up to be quite an experience.

We will meet at the trailhead entrance and hike a moderate incline up Overlook mountain to the skeletal ruins of the Overlook mountain hotel... Our trail leads us to Eagles Point. Not only is this an awesome outlook for memorable views of the Catskill Mountains but an excellent place to spot Eagles... Our hike ends at the Tibetan Buddhist Monastery where we will visit the golden shrine room temple.

Maybe they should link up with the yoga people... downward dog on a rock ledge sounds exhilarating.

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Unique Trail Riding on Horseback, New Paltz. 4.87 stars.

I love this one because it's only for 2 people, meaning not only will you get the undivided attention of your guide, but it makes for a perfect date. This experience offers beautiful views and a personal touch

This guided trail ride provides an intimate and tailored trail riding experience on horseback for everyone to enjoy. We have over 85 acres of trails and guides will tailor the ride to what suits your experience and wants.

Over 140 reviews, from couples to friends to a parent with their child, all shared positive rides.

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Magic On Main - An Intimate Parlor Experience, Windham. 5 stars.

Going skiing? This could be the perfect after-slope entertainment.

Sean will weave his very personal story of transitioning from a trial lawyer to a magician in interactive, mind-blowing magical routines. In this parlor show, Sean will demonstrate the limitations of the human mind through techniques he learned as a student of the ancient art of sleight of hand

I'm a sucker for closeup magic, so if you have room in your party, let me know. Want somewhere to stay, too? Check out these awesome options below.

Tour This Tiny Glass House Airbnb with 360 Degree Views of the Hudson Valley

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7 Unique Airbnbs in the Hudson Valley