New York City
Day Trips from New York City
Rugged, rustic, and, at 6 million acres, bigger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon combined, America’s first designated wilderness area (and part of the world’s largest, still intact temperate forest) is a paradise for campers, kayakers, and hikers alike. Located roughly 200 miles north from Manhattan (a gorgeous 4-hour drive), the park hosts 179 campgrounds (42 of which are state-run), endless nature trails, and scenic byways galore. Combine a trip to the park with a visit to Lake George, where plenty of activities (from boating to mini golf, rafting to relaxing at a spa) are on hand.
A skinny barrier isle off Long Island’s south shore, this beachy, car-less paradise attracts weekend and summer refugees from the asphalt jungle. Winter is mostly dead.
Hudson River Valley
This scenic river valley is home to state capital Albany, historic estates like Van Cortlandt Manor, the esteemed military academy at West Point, and charming towns like Woodstock and Sleepy Hollow. It’s a 3-hour drive from Manhattan; trains depart from Penn Station (Amtrak) and Grand Central Terminal (Metro-North Railroad and Hudson Line). Woodstock is best reached by bus; Adirondack Trailways departs from Port Authority and takes 2.5 hours to get there.
The Catskills have been called the Borscht Belt, the Jewish Hills, the Swish Alps, and America’s First Resort Town. Regardless of what you call this woodsy, four-season destination, New York’s hipster- and hippie-haunted mountain playground is as diverse as the neighborhoods of Manhattan, each with its very own flavor. Whether you’re seeking a snowboarding run, an organic farm, a Buddhist yoga retreat, or an Orthodox Jewish resort, the Catskills offers a tranquil spot for everyone. Commuter trains to Hudson, N.Y., depart daily and roughly every hour from Manhattan; the mountains are located roughly 120 miles (just over 2 hours) from the city. See our Catskills Travel Guide.
Long Island’s South Fork seems to draw descendants of The Great Gatsby crowd, who have created ritzy estates, fancy boutiques, and society parties among beach grass, potato fields, and whitewashed colonial architecture. In lieu of a car, hop on the Hamptons Jitney (www.hamptonjitney.com), a shuttle service that runs from various points in Manhattan to South Fork towns, or the MTA Long Island Railroad (www.mta.info/lirr). See our Hamptons Travel Guide.
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Discounts aside, off-season travel also brings more chances to interact with locals and make friends in immersive, stress-less experiences.
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