5 Outdoors-y Diversions in and Around New York City

by  Tommy Burson | Feb 26, 2014
The Cloisters
The Cloisters / Meinzahn/iStock

Imagine a New York City speckled with greenery, forests, and maybe even some 15th century medieval architecture. That New York City exists, sort of. For those of you planning an extended stay in the Big Apple, the urge might arise to escape the hustle and bustle for a day. Here are five NYC day-cations to tack on to your vacation...

Hike and Howl
Just a couple hours west of the city, New Jersey’s Kittatinny Mountains are home to some of the best hiking in the country. Head here for an invigorating hike, as well as panoramic views of the Delaware Water Gap. Unlike most hikes that end in itching unwanted mosquito bites, this trail actually leads to a wolf sanctuary. Watch these beasts – from behind two rows of safe fencing – in their natural habitat and witness a howl or two.

Price: $95 includes transportation, a hike through the Kittatinny Mountains, and a few hours at Lakota Wolf Preserve.

How to get there without a car: A bus picks hikers up and drops off at Union Square.

Sail Around the City
Circle Manhattan in style aboard an 80-foot luxury yacht with Classic Harbor Line, whose tours depart from Pier 62 at Chelsea Piers Park, located at 22nd Street and 12th Avenue. Aboard the Gatsby-style yacht, you’ll voyage past Ellis Island, The Statue of Liberty, and Battery Park, enjoying picture-perfect views of the skyline. This isn't a tour with a captain yammering over a loudspeaker, but it’s an intimate sail around the city with a knowledgeable crew willing to answer your questions. In another nod to Gatsby, guests also enjoy a champagne.

Price: $52 includes a three-hour ride at sea along with a complimentary glass, or two, of champagne.

How to get there without a car: Take the M23 bus that runs along 23rd Street.

The Cloisters
An extension of New York’s famed Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cloisters offers a touch of Medieval Europe in the midst of NYC – minus the jousting. Prepare to be amazed by over 5,000 medieval artifacts inside the museum such as the "Hunt of the Unicorn" tapestries, as well as the gorgeous outdoor gardens that distinguish the site from other museums around the city. In warmer weather, spend a day soaking up the sun in nearby Fort Tryon Park, as fragrances from over 250 herbs, originally cultivated during the middle ages, waft up from the garden.

Price: Pay as you wish to enter the museum; $25 is the recommended price.

How to get there without a car: Take the A train to 190th Street.

Zipline through a Forest
New York's concrete jungle doesn't allow zip-lining from the Empire State Building to the Freedom Tower, unfortunately. But in Hunter, New York, a two-hour drive north of the city, thrill seekers can navigate an intricate zip-line, high ropes, and canopy course on this epic SkyRider Tour on Hunter Mountain, which should help you overcome your fear of heights and perhaps inspire a Tarzan-like yell or two. Spending a day on the course, guests navigate from tree to tree, walking over ropes and bridges, and exploring the 4.6 miles worth of ziplines.

Price: $139 for eleven hours in the forest; or enjoy a half-day for $89, which includes six ziplines, four bridges, an an exciting rappel.

How to get there without a car: With the help of Discover Outdoors, you’ll be picked up and dropped off at Eastern Mountain Sports at Broadway and 76th St.

Wander through Wave Hill 
What do Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and Charles Darwin have in common? Each stayed at the famous Wave Hill House, which overlooks the Hudson River and New Jersey Palisades. The house was built in 1843, and sits on a 28-acre estate designed for guests to connect to the natural world, and has a variety of botanical gardens and conservatories including a perennial flower garden, aquatic garden, and ten acres of woodland forest.

Price: Admission to the public gardens and cultural center is $8.

How to get there without a car: Take the #1 train to West 242nd Street. From there, a free Wave Hill shuttle meets passengers near the subway stop. The shuttle also returns visitors to the same location departing from Wave Hill’s front gate.

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