Now that summer is officially here it's time to get out there and enjoy it before the leaves start falling again. Here's a list of things you absolutely need to do this summer while it's still here.

Living in the Hudson Valley is great during any season, but there's something special about summers in Dutchess, Orange and Ulster Counties. Unfortunately, is seems like summer is the shortest season of the year. While winters seem to last forever, those precious summer days melt away in a blink of an eye.

That's why it's important to start the summer with a plan of attack to make sure you create a season full of memories to last you through those cold months. I've fallen into the trap of thinking I had all summer to make plans only to discover at the end of August that I've done none of it. So, this year I've got a bunch of things on my list and am going to do my best to get them all in while I can.

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Kayaking

I've actually already ticked this one off the list. You can read about my incredible experience kayaking on the Wallkill River. Even if you've never taken to the water before, renting a boat and spending a few hours on the river is extremely easy for beginners and isn't quite as expensive as you might think. It's a low-impact and rewarding activity that is something the whole family can enjoy together.

Hitting the Rail Trail

We've got an extensive biking trail that winds throughout the entire Hudson Valley. I always say I'm going to put the bike rack on the car and go, but never seem to get around to it.  Last summer I took my son on a bike ride from LaGrange all the way through Poughkeepsie into Highland. We stopped along the way for food and had a great day away from screens and distractions. I'm certainly adding this to the list again this year.

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Hiking a Path You've Never Been To Before

Hiking is fun, but there are so many places to explore it would be a shame to miss the opportunity to discover a great new trail. While we've gone hiking throughout Ulster County I hate to admit that I've never actually been to the top of Mount Beacon. That's on my list this year.

Go to a Drive-In Movie

The Hudson Valley is lucky to have not one, but several drive-in movie theaters. This is another one of those activities that we always say we need to do, but never seem to get around to it. This year, we're packing dinner, throwing out the picnic blanket and enjoying a double feature under the stars.

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Catch Some Music in the Park

When my son was a toddler we used to spend Friday nights at the local park listening to live music while he ran around and chased fireflies. There wasn't much else to do back then, so we were happy to have something to fill the time. Now that he's older we're running around to sports practice and parties and never seem to make it to the park. This summer we're going to make a point to get back there for at least one night. Most communities in the Hudson Valley have some sort of Music in the Park series, and if you haven't been, it's certainly worth checking out.

Road Trip

If you don't have a vacation planned yet, now is the time to get something on the calendar. If you can't spend a week away from work, maybe a long weekend or a day trip is just what you need. This year we've vowed to finally visit Niagra Falls and will be taking a road trip through some of the other great parks in New York State, like the waterfall trail at Watkins Glen.

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Get Sand Between Your Toes

For me, it's not summer unless I've been to the beach. If a trip to the Jersey Shore or Connecticut is out of the question, we've got some great beaches right here in the Hudson Valley that you might want to consider exploring.

What's on Your List?

Is there something on your summer bucket list that you've vowed to do this year? We'd love to hear about it. Drop us a text on our app or let us know on Facebook.

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