Guide to Visiting West Point Academy and Nearby Attractions

West Point Academy is a beacon of American history and military tradition in the picturesque Hudson River Valley. For visitors seeking a blend of scenic beauty, historical significance, and cultural enrichment, use this handy guide to visit West Point Academy and nearby attractions. Beyond the hallowed halls of the academy, the surrounding area boasts a wealth of activities to suit various interests.

Historical Significance

Although established in 1802, the Academy was vital in the American Revolutionary War. Washington considered the location critical and had additional fortifications designed. His headquarters transferred near West Point in 1779, and Washington had a 65-ton iron chain installed across the Hudson to block British invasions. Despite Benedict Arnold’s efforts, West Point was never captured by the British and remains the oldest continuously occupied army post in the United States. 

Graduates of the Academy are not only known for their battlefield successes. They are also responsible for designing and constructing many waterways, harbors, the Washington Monument, and, in a spectacular engineering feat, the Panama Canal. Famed graduates include Ulysses Grant, William T. Sherman, Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton, William Westmoreland, and Norman Schwarzkopf.

How to Tour West Point

Because of the active military presence and obvious security concerns, the only way to tour the grounds if you are not a family member of a cadet is with a guided tour. West Point Tours is the only company allowed on the grounds; they offer two tours.

The first is a history bus tour lasting 1 hour and 15 minutes, including walking stops. You will see the Trophy Point, Battle Monument, the Plain, and Cadet Chapel. The second includes the areas on the first tour and adds a tour of the West Point Cemetery and Old Cadet’s Chapel. There is a bit more walking on this tour. They require reservations with appropriate identification for a background check.

Technically, off-site is a visitor’s center with a gift shop and a recreation of a cadet’s living quarters. Behind the visitor’s center is the West Point Museum, which has the most extensive collection of military collectibles in the Western Hemisphere and is well worth a visit.Army band performing at a parade

Attending a Concert or Sporting Event

Other than a tour, you may also visit West Point for a concert or theatrical performance at Ike Hall. The West Point Band performs here and outdoors in the summer. Tickets are also available for sporting events; football games are especially popular. Purchase your tickets in advance for sports and entertainment events and expect a security check when you arrive.

Skiing or Golfing at West Point

You may not know that West Point is home to a cross-country and downhill ski area and an 18-hole Golf Course, both open to the public. Check with Caldwell House innkeeper John for his personal appraisal of the course!

Other Nearby Attractions

For the History Buff:

The Hudson Valley is rich in history! Take your choice of the Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site, the site of one of the final battles of the Revolutionary War, the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, or Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site, to name a few.

For the Outdoor Enthusiast:

There are many state parks and preserves with excellent hiking and biking trails. The Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve has 70 miles of trails of varying difficulties.

For the Arts and Culture Lover:

Spend an afternoon exploring the outdoor sculptures at the Storm King Art Center, or stay inside at the Dia Beacon.

Your Hudson Valley Basecamp

We are happy to provide this guide to visiting West Point Academy and nearby attractions and share our love of the Hudson Valley. There are many other suggestions for our favorite local dining spots and things to do. Call us, or book a romantic (and historic) getaway now!

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