No matter how much you adore bustling city life in the Big Apple, a weekend retreat is always a welcome change of pace. New York City is conveniently located within quick driving distance, or a scenic train ride, of many new places to explore. Here, we share 10 of our favorite day trips from the city, in no particular order. Pack some snacks, create a playlist with your favorite tunes, and hit the road; fresh air and open skies are just a few hours away!
- Philadelphia, PA Take a car, bus, or train south to Philadelphia. The 100-mile trip takes about 2 hours. See the Liberty Bell, satisfy your Philly Cheesesteak craving, run the steps like Rocky, and more in the City of Brotherly Love.
- Sleepy Hollow, NY Even if you adore NYC so much you can’t fathom leaving for a weekend, there is a perfect trip for you just an hour away. Visit Kykuit, where four generations of Rockefellers lived. The house is filled with fine art, and the gardens are not to be missed.
- Atlantic City, NJ Zip along the east coast to Atlantic City in your car, on a bus, or on the train. We recommend having a few sites in mind because there is plenty for visitors to explore! Just make sure you stroll along the Atlantic City Boardwalk while you’re there. You might need to visit the Entertainment Capital of the Jersey Shore more than once!
- Fishkill, NY Think you have to head to Europe to climb around castle ruins? Think again! Take the train through the Hudson Valley to explore Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island. Get there in under two hours by car or three hours by train. Be sure to check the schedule online for available tickets before you leave!
- Trenton, NJ Hop on the NJ Transit line from Penn Station right after work on Friday. In just less than an hour, you’ll be in the capital of New Jersey. Don’t miss:
- Grounds for Sculpture – be sure to get tickets before you go!
- Washington Crossing Park – take a tour of the site where George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River
- Old Barracks Museum – tours are not offered on Sunday, so plan to visit on a Saturday
- New Jersey State Museum – houses a collection of art and objects relevant to the state’s cultural history
- Fire Island, NY On your three-hour drive or train ride to Fire Island, you can chat about what you think is the most likely origin of the island’s name. Once you arrive, enjoy the protected parkland by unpacking a picnic on the beach after a hike around the island to see the lighthouse. Check out the Fire Island travel guide here.
- Cold Spring, NY If you seek stunning fall foliage, plan a trip to this village. If you challenge yourself to the three-mile Breakneck Ridge Loop trail, you’ll be rewarded with a view of Bannerman Castle, mentioned above. Only about 50 miles north of Manhattan, Cold Spring is a best-kept secret for savvy New Yorkers (you can arrive via Grand Central Station in an hour). Be sure to check the events calendar, as there are many fun things happening year round here.
- Montauk, NY If you like wine, white sandy beaches, history, hiking, or eating, then you’ll enjoy a weekend getaway on this island. The Montauk Chamber of Commerce site is an excellent resource to help plan your trip. At three hours by car or train, you can easily escape the City that Never Sleeps for some much-deserved rest.
- Patterson, NY Got cabin fever? Head to Thunder Ridge Ski Area because weekend trips shouldn’t be reserved for warm weather weekends only. Strap on your snow boots and in under two hours, you can be speeding down the slopes. Lessons are available for beginners, and there are 22 trails to entertain every level.
- Cape May, NJ With a travel time of about 4 hours, the journey to Cape May is one of the longer trips. However, your time on the island will be well worth it once you arrive. Time your visit so you can attend the classic jazz festival, and be sure to observe the preserved Victorian architecture around town. If you have a long weekend, consider stopping in nearby Atlantic City, Philadelphia, or Trenton on your way.
Is your favorite trip missing from our list? Leave a comment to share the best things to do in your ideal getaway destination!