Westchester NY has a lot of history and culture to explore for those looking for a nice day trip from New York City. By train or by car, you can be in Westchester County in under an hour! There are so many cute places to explore with the whole family that you can certainly make a day out of it and better yet, have your next family photo session here. Check out my recommendations below.
Westchester Scenic Outdoor Locations
Westchester NY is a natural beauty and offers some of the most idyllic outdoor locations for photography. Some highlights include:
- Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Pleasantville- great for the adventurous and outdoorsy family with lots of space to explore. Fall is especially a pretty time with all the autumnal colors.
- Croton Dam and Croton Gorge Park in Croton-on-Hudson – for those soothed by expansive nature views and cascading water the Croton Dam is a true natural beauty.
- Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park – for those wanting to explore the history of Westchester while hiking or biking from Croton to the Bronx. You can do as much or as little of the trails that you want and go into the different times when you want to stop for lunch!
- Hudson River Waterfront in towns such as Peekskill or Tarrytown – great for wandering into little shops and stores as well as taking in the views of the Hudson River.
- Botanical gardens, such as the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy in Yonkers or Lasdon Park and Arboretum in Katonah – good for young families for the paved paths and beautiful trees and flowers. Untermyer overlooks the Hudson River and Lasdon Park has a Dinosaur Park for children and adults alike. Just be aware that there is a fee for photo sessions for both places and you should inquire in advance about a photo permit.
- Westchester Parks and other scenic hiking trails – endless list of parks that offer the chance for walking, hiking, biking and playing!
Westchester Urban and Architectural Locations
While technically labeled as a suburb, Westchester has some high density urban locations that include fun architectural and iconic sights similar to New York City. These are the best photo locations if you are looking to combine the urban vibe of the city with the relaxed vibe of Westchester.
- Downtown White Plains colorful murals make for a fun and playful backdrop.
- Yonkers Waterfront has a nice esplanade lined with interesting buildings with views of the Palisades. This would make for a fun photo session at sunset!
- The historic villages of Rye, Irvington, and Hastings-on-Hudson are very picturesque with brick buildings and cute storefronts.
- The new Tappan Zee Bridge (or Gov Mario M. Cuomo Bridge) is an architectural sight and can be viewed from the bike and pedestrian path that connects Westchester to Rockland County which is the longest shared bike/pedestrian path in the nation. It would make for an exciting photo session location!
- The Spanish architecture of the Bronxville Metro-North Station is unique and adjacent to the downtown area and the Bronx River Pathway giving you the best of both nature and city for a photo session.
Westchester Cultural and Historical Locations
Like much of New York City, Westchester is rich in history. It was one of the original twelve colonies in NY and home to many notable figures from John Jay to Ella Fitzgerald. Check out my recommendations for cultural and historical photography in Westchester County.
- The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, similar to the expansive and historic Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, is the final resting place for numerous historical people such as William Rockefeller, Washington Irving and Andrew Carnegie. There is no fee to visit although a donation is suggested.
- The Bedford Oak tree which is presumed to be the oldest and largest oak tree in Westchester County sits just north of historic Bedford village and has a canopy that spans 130 feet. It is a relaxing and pretty place for photos.
- The historical homestead of John Jay located in Katonah has much history to offer. The house is only open certain months of the year but the grounds are always open and a beautiful backdrop for photos.
- The mansions of the Hudson River Valley, such as Kykuit in Sleepy Hollow offer a glimpse into life as a Rockefeller and the grounds make for a wonderful photo location. Just note that professional photography is not allowed inside the mansion.
If you’re wondering where to take photos in Westchester, I hope you have found this helpful. There are a variety of locations depending on what you’re looking for – scenic, urban/architectural, or historical. Consider the time of year you are visiting to decide where to go and always double check opening hours for venues and parks. For more information on things to do and places to visit in Westchester County, check out the tourism site Visit Westchester NY. I am a Westchester and NYC family and newborn photographer specializing in candid moments in childhood and parenthood. If you’re looking to hire a photographer, contact me today.