Many people associate New York with the city that shares its name, but there is plenty to see not too far from the popular metropolis. As part of the greater Appalachian Mountains, southeastern New York’s Catskills are saturated with some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States.

Both city dwellers and country lovers flock to the forested mountains to enjoy nature during every season. The Catskills have even more to offer than their springtime blossoms and colorful fall foliage. The quaint towns scattered throughout the mountains are full of personality, and these are the best of the best of them.

8 Woodstock

Although it's not the home of the 1969 music festival, the town of Woodstock's nod to art and culture make it a genuinely groovy place to either get away or settle down. The Overlook Mountain trailhead is only a seven-minute drive from town, offering panoramic views of lush forest. Artist colonies made their way to Woodstock in the early 1900s, and the devotion to culture lives on to this day with its abundance of welcoming galleries, museums, and small shops. This artsy small-town sanctuary is as full of heart as it is of charm.

7 Roxbury

Stay for a night (or more) in Roxbury! This small town located on the western edge of the Catskills offers a friendly hometown feel in a historical setting. The 1850s Roxbury barn, home to a vast pine grove that perfumes the air, provides the perfect backdrop for wedding ceremonies. Guests have the opportunity to stay in The Roxbury Motel, which has twenty-eight wickedly unique themed rooms. As expected, there is plenty to do outside. Popular activities include hiking to Minekill Falls, kayaking, and horseback riding.

6 Hobart

There are more books than people in the extremely small Catskills town of Hobart. Established as a book town in 2005 by bibliophile Don Dale, the small village features eight unique book stores all within walking distance of each other. Enjoy a good read with a cup of the good stuff at The Coffee Pot, a local cafe serving up some serious diner feels. Aside from being a haven for book lovers, Hobart is right in the middle of the Catskill Scenic Rail Trail, open for hiking, cycling, and geocaching.

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5 New Paltz

College towns have to have a hipness factor to keep the students happy, and New Paltz delivers in the cool department. Modern Main Street, with its bounty of coffee shops and boutiques, attracts locals and visitors on the hunt for the best vintage digs. There's a diverse menu of restaurants featuring multicultural eats as well as farm-to-table cooking. 1,000 climbing routes are anchored into the rock faces of the Gunks, drawing 80,000 visitors to the area every year. For less of an adrenaline rush, the 10-acre historic district has several buildings dating back to the seventeenth century, including colonial houses and a reconstructed church.

4 Bethel

Bethel gained international fame as the host of the 1969 Woodstock festival, and the beat goes on in this small town in The Catskills. The original site of the festival is now home to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, featuring live performances of all kinds. Nearby, whisky lovers rejoice at the Dancing Cat Saloon, which serves up local spirits and delicious dishes in a classy setting. Not to be forgotten, Bethel pays tribute to its small-town side with plenty of farms and shops dedicated to the local economy.

3 Tannersville

The Catskills hamlet of Tannersville is home to a brightly colored "downtown" asking to be explored. The Mountaintop Arboretum pays homage to its location with over a hundred acres of preserved natural landscapes. Treasures can be found in every nook and cranny of the Tannersville Antique and Artisan Center. After searching for treasure, visitors can search for something to eat and drink on the extensive menu at the Last Chance Restaurant. The summertime annual car show brings in droves of vintage vehicles, revving the engine of old-school cool. In the winter, skiers hit the slopes at Mountain Trails Cross Country.

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2 Margaretville

Take the bridge into Margaretville, the biggest town in the Catskills. The community is a perfect blend of historical and new-age charm. Warmly known as "The Cauliflower Capital of the World," an annual festival pays tribute to the location of the cruciferous vegetable's first cultivation in the United States. Find refuge in one of Margaretville's many cozy cabins surrounded by forest, or head to town to enjoy an eclectic blend of shops and restaurants. A growing art community fills two galleries with local masterpieces, and every year the fire department puts on an impressive fireworks show and carnival.

1 Windham

Known as "the gem of the Catskills," Windham is a picturesque place with plenty to enjoy. Ski down immaculate slopes or take a chairlift to the summits at Windham Mountain Ski Resort to view the Catskills in all their glory. The Windham Adventure Park is a mountain biker's playground, featuring "the largest jump trail on the East Coast." The town has an array of cuisine to choose from, including an authentic old-country French bistro and more casual farm-to-table cooking. For a more upscale retreat, sojourn to the spa for a treatment or two and follow it up with a wine and cheese tasting at the bar.

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