How Safe Is New Paltz for Travel?

Updated On August 23, 2023
New Paltz, United States
Safety Index:
79
* Based on Research & Crime Data

New Paltz, New York, looks like it was plucked right out of a fairy tale and dropped into the Hudson Valley–complete with a castle!

Founded in 1678 by French Huguenots, New Paltz retains its historic charm with stone houses and buildings dating back to the 18th century along Huguenot Street.

The presence of the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz, located right in town, there’s an eclectic, youthful vibe included with more historic hallways.

The university dates back to 1828.

Beyond its historic appeal, New Paltz is known for its artistic community and progressive values.

You’ll find cool coffee shops, unique boutiques, and great restaurants.

Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the nearby Shawangunk Mountains for hiking and rock climbing, with trails for all experience levels–including a challenging rock scramble to an epic peak.

Dozens of wineries dot the landscape, offering tastings along wine trails.

Just outside of town, the majestic Mohonk Mountain House resort perches dramatically on a cliff overlooking the serene Shawangunk ridge, looking like a real-life castle from a fairytale.

With scenic beauty, small-town charm, and cultural vibrancy, New Paltz is the perfect Hudson Valley getaway for those looking to experience this special region of upstate New York.

NOTE:

New Paltz is a town and village, as many New York locations have the same name of a town/city/village/hamlet with a certain region.

New Paltz, the village, is surrounded by New Paltz, the town.

Both are served by the same law enforcement agency.

Warnings & Dangers in New Paltz

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK: LOW

The risk is low here, with crime rates well below state and national levels. Plus, you get numerous outdoor and indoor spaces to explore safely.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW

Ulster County Area Transit provides public transportation in New Paltz. Students at SUNY can ride the New Paltz shuttle for free. Taxis and rideshares are easy to find. Rental cars offer more flexibility. No matter what you choose, there's a low risk.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW

This is another low risk. Theft rates are well below the national average and are down more than 250% in the past decade. While you should always keep a close eye on your stuff, there's not a trend of pickpockets here.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

New Paltz is vulnerable to flooding during heavy rains and spring snow melts. Its location inland provides some protection from hurricanes, but powerful storms can still bring high winds and rain. Forest fires are a risk in the Shawangunk Mountains during droughts. Winter can bring some pretty intense snowstorms. While these risks all come with plenty of advance notice, you can deal with the medium risk by staying informed.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK: LOW

The town and village haven't had more than three robberies in a year since 2015, and in 2022, no robberies were reported. This is a low risk.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

We welcome this low-risk as well. As a more remote location, there are no potential targets in New Paltz. While gun violence and domestic terrorism can happen anywhere in the U.S., do your part by reporting anything suspicious.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK: LOW

The most common scams reported here target the residents, like scammers posing as police officers and demanding money. You can check the New Paltz Police Department's (NPPD) website to see more recent scams. Overall, it's a low risk.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

Common safety steps keep the risk low for women here. As a college town, you might be tempted to go to parties near campus. Unless you know someone there, not someone you just met, stay in public areas.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK: LOW

I'm surprised at how many New York locations have outdated water quality reports, and New Paltz hasn't posted one since 2021. That means it was for the year 2020. You can request the newest report by calling (845) 486-1030. If you check out the Water/Sewer section of the Town of New Paltz website (not the village website), you'll see a list of more recent water issues, like hydrant flushing and a water main break. The risk is low here, but you should be aware of any potential water pressure or discoloration issues that can come from these incidents.

Safest Places to Visit in New Paltz

As of late 2023, there’s not a good tourism site for New Paltz.

The Chamber of Commerce website gives me a dead link, but hopefully, that gets fixed soon.

The “I Love New York” branded website has a New Paltz section with a suggested itinerary.

With all that said, I’m going to mention the places you can visit that have their own respective websites.

You can visit the town and village websites for some of these links and other local activities throughout the year.

  • www.villageofnewpaltz.org
  • www.townofnewpaltz.org

Begin your journey with a leisurely stroll through the historic Huguenot Street (www.huguenotstreet.org), where well-preserved stone houses whisper tales of the past.

Guided tours are available but limited to 10 per tour group.

Reserve your spot on the website.

This is more than a series of historic homes.

It’s truly an immersive experience in the past.

For nature enthusiasts, a visit to the Mohonk Preserve (www.mohonkpreserve.org) offers breathtaking hiking trails that wind through lush forests and unveil awe-inspiring vistas of the Shawangunk Ridge.

More than 70 miles of carriage roads are available for hiking or biking.

Those transition to snowshoes or cross-country skiing trails in winter.

Horseback rides are popular, but the most extreme challenge here is climbing the Gunk Cliffs, with spectacular views worth the effort if you are able.

The New Paltz Kayaking adventure (npkayaking.com) on the Wallkill River adds a refreshing aquatic perspective to your journey.

Guided tours are available, or you can go on your own.

Quench your thirst for art and culture at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art on the SUNY New Paltz campus (www.newpaltz.edu/museum), where contemporary exhibits ignite the imagination.

To savor local flavors, embark on a tasting expedition at the Robibero Family Vineyards (www.robiberofamilyvineyards.com), relishing the fine wines amid scenic vineyard landscapes.

For a tranquil interlude, the serene setting of the Dressel Farms (www.dresselfarms.com) entices with fruit-picking escapades, painting the landscape with vibrant apples and berries.

Unearth hidden treasures at Water Street Market (www.waterstreetmarket.com), a Bohemian enclave brimming with artisanal crafts, antiques, and quaint boutiques, all locally owned.

As the sun sets, discover cosmic wonders at the John R. Kirk Planetarium (www.newpaltz.edu/planetarium), where starry spectacles foster celestial appreciation.

Check out the Planetarium Shows schedule to make a reservation.

I highly suggest staying at Mohonk Mountain House, a massive castle on a cliff dating back to 1869.

The reservation price includes three meals a day, access to hiking trails, free rentals on the lake, fitness/yoga classes, and nightly entertainment.

Places to Avoid in New Paltz

Honestly, there aren’t bad parts of town here.

You can freely explore the region without worrying about stumbling upon a dangerous neighborhood.

Definitely avoid thinking this is “just” a college town.

The university adds to the already enticing charm of the region and holds several great attractions on campus that are open to the public.

You don’t have to avoid New Paltz in winter, either, as festivals, trails, and recreation cater to the cold weather and snowfall.

Safety Tips for Traveling to New Paltz

  1. New Paltz does have its own police department, as I mentioned before, that’s for the village and the town. You can follow them on Facebook @NewPaltzPolice and store their phone number now – it’s (845) 255-1323.
  2. Sign up for NY Alerts to get updated weather and emergency information. If a serious event occurs, there’s a Hudson Valley 211 line that provides helpful information.
  3. You might want also to follow @UlsterNY, which is the county’s website for the surrounding region. The safety information is updated more often there and covers all the places in the region you might explore, not just New Paltz.
  4. The rock climbing area here is known as “The Gunks.” Plenty of trails and outdoor recreation websites have information about the different paths and equipment required. There are some pretty intense climbs here, and should not be tackled by beginners. You can hire an adventure guide or find the safer path to the summits.
  5. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) website is a treasure trove of information. You can check lake and river water quality, buy a required fishing license for all anglers over 16, and check wildfire risks.
  6. While you’re on the DEC website, please review the bear safety and be practices. Black bears are in this region, and it’s not uncommon for them to come into town, especially after winter hibernation. If you’re going into the wilderness, always bring bear spray and carry food in bear-proof containers. Even one protein bar wrapper can get a bear on your tail.
  7. NY 511 is the best way to track road conditions around New Paltz and the state. Live cameras are available along most highways and interstates. Live traffic conditions, road construction, and weather-related issues will be highlighted on the map.
  8. If you want to get into NYC, the closest Metro station is 30 minutes away in Poughkeepsie. You can buy a Metro card online, so you’re ready to go when you get there and don’t have to pull out your wallet.
  9. There’s a mix of free and paid parking throughout New Paltz. Unfortunately, there’s not one website that covers all of them. The village has parking meters that take coins or credit cards. Some parking lots are by permit only for residents or students.
  10. Once more than two inches of snow falls in the winter, street parking will be banned, and some parking lots will close to get the snow plows through. These restrictions will be posted on the town and village Facebook pages.

So... How Safe Is New Paltz Really?

New Paltz has a very low violent crime rate.

For example, the New York average is 364 incidents per 100,000 people.

In New Paltz, it’s 22 per 100,000.

SUNY New Paltz has its own police department (www.newpaltz.edu/police).

You can sign up for crime and safety alerts through the website if you’re visiting campus.

Theft rates are low, with a rate of 424 per 100,000 people.

The national average is 1398 per 100,000.

However, neither the police department nor university police detail what kinds of thefts those are.

We know that car break-ins usually account for about 30% of thefts, so always lock your car door.

Crime is just not a big problem here, and all categories have been substantial declines in the past decade.

At the same time, the town and village are dealing with a surge of illegal drug overdoses.

This is quite common in America in 2023.

The city has issued an alert about these risks and installed 16 Overdose Emergency Kits throughout town.

The drug surge is due to lethal levels of non-traceable fentanyl being mixed in with popular street drugs.

That’s the biggest risk facing New Paltz into 2024.

There are also inherent risks that come with outdoor activities, especially when climbing or scrambling over rocks.

Rocks are always more slippery than they look, and people can try to go beyond their physical abilities to reach the top.

As long as you stay aware of the weather, read through the websites we’ve mentioned, and use common sense, you’ll truly enjoy this slice of outdoor wonderland.

How Does New Paltz Compare?

CitySafety Index
New Paltz79
Houston59
Atlanta58
St. Louis58
Los Angeles56
Oakland57
New Orleans57
Sao Paulo (Brazil)45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61
Niagara Falls (Canada)87

Useful Information

Visas

Visas

All international guests will need a visa or visa waiver. The visa you need as a student is different from a tourist, and don't apply for the wrong one, or you'll have to start over. You will also need a passport that isn't within six months of expiring.

Currency

Currency

Only the U.S. Dollar will be accepted here. Credit cards be used widely, but if you want cash, your lowest fees will come from your home bank. Most international airports have currency exchange options. Certain ATMs will allow international cards to disperse U.S. currency.

Weather

Weather

Plan for four seasons and realize that the fall foliage brings a lot of crowds to this region. You'll want to err on the side of it being colder than you think. Even summer nights can get chilly. Bring hiking boots, bug spray, bear spray, and sunscreen. Check with Customs to see which materials can travel with you and those that will need to be purchased stateside.

Airports

Airports

New York Stewart International Airport is less than 20 miles away. That's the closest commercial international airport. You can get to New York City's airport region within two hours by car or train.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a smart investment when you're doing so many outdoor adventures while visiting a place prone to disruptive weather. If you don't have health insurance in America, you should consider a travel health insurance policy. Out-of-pocket healthcare costs can be staggering.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

New Paltz Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -2° C
Feb -1° C
Mar 4° C
Apr 12° C
May 18° C
Jun 22° C
Jul 25° C
Aug 24° C
Sep 20° C
Oct 14° C
Nov 7° C
Dec 2° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
24917232729282418115
Low
°C
-6-5-16121720191593-2
High
°F
363948637381848275645241
Low
°F
212330435463686659483728

New York - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Albany77
Binghamton61
Brooklyn74
Buffalo58
Cooperstown78
Elmira64
Fair Haven75
Greenport Village78
Ithaca62
Jamestown54
Lake George78
Lake Placid82
Lewisboro88
Long Island83
Manhattan82
Mt Vernon62
New Paltz79
New Rochelle77
New York City67
Niagara Falls63
Oswego75
Poughkeepsie79
Queens73
Rochester67
Rye76
Saranac Lake77
Saratoga Springs74
Schenectady52
Seneca Falls79
Shelter Island85
Sleepy Hollow77
Syracuse71
Utica57
Watertown63
Watkins Glen81
White Plains77
Yonkers59

Where to Next?

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