Are you looking to get away this weekend? But time and/or money is not on your side?
Well, have you considered going on a day trip?
If you have the travel itch but don’t have a lot of time then we have you covered.
These day trips from NYC are perfect if you’re looking to get out of the city.
Where Can I Go Outside of NYC?
If you are looking for something quick. I am talking less than an hour outside of the city here some great options.
Harriman State Park
Harriman State Park is a great, easy day trip from New York City.
Only one hour drive from Manhattan, this is one of the closest parks to the city where you can truly be immersed in the forest without the noise of cars and helicopters going by.
If you are without a vehicle, it is also possible to take the Port Jervis Line train on New Jersey Transit to Sloatsburg and then walk about a mile to the edge of the park.
As with all major parks in the area, all sections of Harriman State Park are officially open and functioning from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
In particular, there are several lakes with swimming and boating options in the summer. For those that are interested in extending their day trip there are even camping spots! However, you should note that summer weekends definitely get busy!
As an alternative, the park is open year-round and the shoulder seasons of spring and fall are an excellent time to visit and explore the many hiking trails. With over 200 miles of trails and a myriad of streams and lakes, this forested park is one of the best ways to get out in nature and still stay in the vicinity of New York City.
Recommended by Daphna from A Tiny Trip.
White Plains, NY
With just a short train ride and in less than one hour you can take a day trip to White Plains from NYC.
Ranked as one of the top places to live in New York, White Plains makes a great day trip if you’d like to connect with an inner suburb of New York City. Filled with everything from shopping malls, parks, bars, restaurants and coffee shops. Here is an ideal place to visit which offers something for everyone.
One of the most prominent aspects of the success of the city is diversity. The vastness of the culture in White Plains brings much excitement to the suburban town.
Summer is my favorite time to visit and with Mamaroneck Avenue been a focal point you can easily reach it from the train station and it is seen as the go-to place to have a great time on the weekends.
Many people come here in search of the many Latin dance clubs and restaurants the town has to offer. The whole area is neither too big nor not too small, and with Kensico Dam Plaza around 3 miles north of downtown, you have another interesting and peaceful place to visit which is home to a 9-11 memorial dedicated to the people of the local area.
Recommended by Daniel James of Layer Culture.
What Are Some Good Day Trips from NYC?
A perfect day trip from New York City is 90-minutes south in the equally lovely city of Philadelphia.
You can get to Philadelphia by train, bus or renting a car. However you choose to travel, the trip is under two hours.
The most budget-friendly option is usually by bus. If your schedule is flexible you can find a far as low as 99 cents, but expect to pay about $25 USD. Also, search for last-minute deals on car hires as low as $50 USD for 24 hours. An Amtrak train ticket can be as low as $49 if you book online in advance.
Once there, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Philadelphia. Must-see attractions include spending time in Old City. There you’ll have American national landmarks like The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and The Presidential Mansion from Philadelphia’s 10-year run as America’s capital. If you visit Independence Visitor’s Center, you can book free tours of Independence Hall and arrange your day in Philadelphia’s historic Old City.
After a fix of history, move to the midtown neighborhood of Philadelphia’s Center City. Some of the best restaurants in the city are located on the 12th street corridor. Locals love Lolita, Sampan and El Vez. If you want to try some local cuisine look for a Philadelphia soft pretzel and a cheesesteak. Avoid the most well-known spots, Pat’s and Geno’s. They’re tourist traps and inconvenient to get to from Center City.
The best times to visit are Spring and Fall. The weather is best and the crowds are lower than in summer.
You can find good hotel prices if you decide to spend the night. Whatever you’re looking for, Philadelphia has it and is a great day trip from New York City. You may even decide to return for a longer visit on a future trip.
Recommended by Derek from Robe Trotting.
Minnewaska State Park
Minnewaska State Park makes the perfect day trip from New York City.
It’s located in the Hudson Valley, not far from New Paltz, about a two-hour drive from the city. You will need a car to get there.
The main attraction is Minnewaska Lake. There is an easy trail that goes all the way around the lake. You can do the entire walk in about an hour.
Walking in a counter-clockwise direction, you will go down a short hill to the lake level. There is a small beach here where you can swim in summer. Continue along the flat path to the far end of the lake, where there are some flat rocks that make a nice picnic spot with views of the lake. Just a little further on, just after you start to go uphill, there is a trail off to the left that goes down to the lakeshore. There is a long-distance swimming spot, which you need to register for. Back on the main trail, there is a narrow spur trail off the right a short way on. It’s a short trail that is well worth taking. When you reach the end, you will be rewarded with stunning views over the surrounding forest.
This is the best spot for incredible fall colors in October. (Read more about this and other fall Hudson Valley spots here).
Continue along the main trail until you get to the top of the cliffs where there are wonderful views over the lake.
Minnewaska is beautiful throughout the year, but my favorite seasons are fall (this is one of the best places in the Hudson Valley for fall color) and spring when hundreds of mountain laurel bushes are covered in beautiful pink flowers. It costs $10/ car to enter. The parking area can fill up in peak season, so get there early. Park your car at the upper parking area for easier access to the lake.
Poor In a Private Plane Bonus: There are picnic tables near the parking area. So make sure to pack a lunch.
Recommended by James Ian from Travel Collecting
Beacon checks all the boxes for a perfect day trip.
Located 70 miles north of the city, it’s an easy drive but if you don’t want the hassle of renting a car or giving up your parking spot, the Metro-North takes just over 90 minutes. From Beacon Station, the Beacon Free Loop / G Route bus
stops at all of Beacon’s major destinations.
For some of the best art in the Hudson Valley, go straight to Dia: Beacon. Large-scale installations—set inside a former Nabisco box printing factory—spiral up towards the ceiling or span across several rooms. The industrial setting of the old factory contrasts dramatically with the contemporary, often futuristic, artwork.
If you’re escaping the city for the great outdoors, hike up Mount Beacon, the highest peak in the Hudson Highlands. It’s a steep incline to the summit but your efforts are rewarded with sweeping views across the valley.
Or visit mysterious Pollepel Island and tour the ruins of a 19th-century castle that was built primarily to store munitions. Bannerman Castle Trust hosts numerous events on the island, including guided tours, movie nights, and live theater.
Once you work up an appetite, head to Main Street, which is lined with cafés and restaurants that serve some of the best locally-sourced dishes in the Hudson Valley. Then browse in the boutiques, many of which specialize in handmade items from local artisans.
To enjoy Beacon’s indoor and outdoor scene, April – October is the best time to visit.
Recommended by Michele DeBella from From Inwood Out
The Catskills is one of the most beautiful regions of New York and a day trip to Kaaterskill Falls and the community of Woodstock is a perfect way to enjoy this part of the state.
Located an approximately 2.5-hour drive from New York City, Kaaterskill Falls is one of the most impressive waterfalls in all of New York. This waterfall is a total of 260 feet in height split between two drops. A hiking trail takes you to the base of both drops of this impressive waterfall, or you can simply take the easy and short path to a great viewing area above the falls.
A short drive away, the community of Woodstock is a quaint artist colony that features a great selection of art galleries, shops, and places to eat. While this is not the location of the famous Woodstock Festival, it is still a fun place to come if you want to experience some of the state’s great local art. Explore galleries like the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild or catch a show at the Woodstock Playhouse or Colony.
While this trip is best done in spring to see the power of Kaaterskill Falls, it is also a great area to visit in the summer or fall.
Recommended By Jim Cheney from Uncovering NewYork
North Fork (Wineries) on Long Island
Where We Can Go For One Day Trip from NYC?
So are you ready to go on a day from NYC. Next time you feel that itch to do something new or explore a new spot keep in mind that there might be a hidden gem close to home.
While these places make for great day trips they also can make for amazing weekend getaways as well. And you don’t even need a car for some of them.
Now if you will excuse me I am off to check out some of these awesome spots. See you around.