New York City may have everything you could possibly need and more, but sometimes it’s good to get out of the city for a while. Day trips may be the last thing you’re thinking about while planning to visit NYC, but there are wonderful things around if you decide to head out. Here are 19 of our favorites.
Storm King Art Center – See Art in a Big Way
At just an hour outside the city, Storm King offers 500 acres of larger than life sculptures in a variety of artistic styles. Visitors can walk the grounds, take scheduled tours, and enjoy special programs for families, teachers, students, and more.
- Check out their website for a list of talks happening so you can broaden your understanding.
- Plan your trip to coincide with one of their many outdoor concerts.
- Take in temporary exhibitions nestled in with permanent ones.
- Escape the hustle of the city for serene views of the Hudson Valley.
The area closes for the winter so keep an eye on the calendar for opening dates and special “winter weekends.”
North Fork – Get A Glimpse of Wine Country
You may not think of Long Island when you think of wine, but North Fork is a quaint area of the country where growing wine grapes is not only possible but thrives. The area hosts world-class wineries for you to enjoy.
- Visit Bedell Cellars for wine tastings and local art.
- See how everything is done in-house with one of the originals, Palmer Vineyards
- Try a sparkling wine tasting at Pugliese.
- Get a full summer tour at Kontokosta.
Plus, try clam chowder at one of the local eateries, or if cider is more your speed, head to Woodside Orchard.
Hudson – Take in the Sights
With views of the river and a quaint, hillside feeling, the city of Hudson is well worth the trip.
- Take in birds-eye views of the surrounding Hudson Valley
- Stay in a converted guesthouse with tons of history.
- Get your foodie on with all of the best cuisines, and none of the reservation waits.
It’s well worth the day trip, but you may find that you want to stay overnight in one of the former shops now converted into a stylish guest house. Plus, the river meandering by is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Kripalu Center – Honor Your Wellness
Located in the Berkshire countryside, the Kripalu center offers visitors not just an escape from the city, but actionable benefits for health and wellness.
- Take a yoga class to stretch out after hours in NYC traffic.
- Get targeted nutrition advice to take with you after your trip is over.
- Sample meditation classes for serene spirits.
It’s an all in one experience where you can build tools for relaxation and stress relief, ask questions, and get a handle on your health and wellbeing.
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania – Try Your Luck and Win Big
Bethlehem has enough casino action to get you excited. It’s a day trip of excitement and intrigue with plenty to do for those of you who don’t want to take the risk.
- Head to the Sands to try your luck at one of the many gambler’s games and tables.
- Eat at one of the ten exceptional dining experiences, including three of Emeril’s.
- Try out what Historic Downtown offers with dining and sights.
This small town packs a high impact on a small area with plenty of options for things to do, even if you aren’t going to try your hand at the casino.
Fire Island – Perfect for Sun Bathers
No matter what season you’re in, Fire Island’s beaches are prime real estate. In the summer, they’re a pristine, warm stretch of coast, and the winter boasts that classic New England windswept look.
- Enjoy all-ages, and lifeguard protected swimming along the 31-mile coast.
- Take a walk at the Sunken Forest Preserve.
- Relax in the evenings at one of the many locations for nightlife.
Fire Island is a beautiful spot for both families, singles, and a variety of people. It’s a great way to get a casual bit of nature on your trip while you’re traveling, and you absolutely cannot beat the views.
Cape May New Jersey – Whale Watching and More
Cape May offers the chance to go whale and dolphin spotting with a knowledgable crew ready to answer any questions you may have about sea life. It’s a great day trip for those of you who prefer the open waters.
- Head out on the Cape May Whale Watcher, and if you don’t spot anything exciting, you might get a free trip in the future.
- Eat enough fresh seafood to last a lifetime.
- Take part in classic family activities like mini-golf or visit one of the ice cream parlors in town for an old fashioned scoop.
Atlantic City – A Lively Historic Town
Atlantic City has always been an exciting town. You can make it from NYC in about two hours.
- Walk the historic boardwalk for sun and fresh air.
- Catch one of the many airshows right on the shore.
- Sample saltwater taffy from one of the best at Fralinger’s
- Get a bird’s eye view from the lighthouse for just a small fee.
This is a fantastic day trip, especially if you’re a fan of Springsteen. It provides family fun and enough to do for singles or adventurers that you won’t be disappointed.
Freeport – Perfect for Fishing Enthusiasts
Freeport is yet another seaside town, but this one is focused on fishing. It features a blend of activities for fishing and seafood enthusiasts.
- Go Fluke-fishing on a super cruiser for the ultimate fishing experience.
- Check out Hempstead Marina for land-based casting-off.
- Get your fill of seafood at one of the many restaurants offering fresh fare and local brews.
If you aren’t into fishing, you can still get some outdoor time in and make the trip about the seafood, which comes in fresh every day. Plus, the town is simple to get to and fun for walking.
Kent, CT – Picturesque Americana
For the quintessential American town experience, the gorgeous, bucolic views of Kent can’t be ignored. It’s practically a postcard.
- Hike, walk, bike, or just take in the sights with stunning outdoor views.
- Sample Gelato at a family-owned parlor or find the perfect diner.
- Picnic at Kent Falls State Park and get into the perfect scenery.
Kent is stunning, and there’s no way you’re getting out of there without the perfect picture for your social media.
Thunder Ridge – Hit the Slopes for the Day
The chance to ski is strong, especially if you’re in the city during the winter months. These slopes are only about 75 minutes outside of NYC and offer plenty for a variety of levels.
- Catch a lesson with one of the staff and get yourself off to a good start.
- Choose a variety of slopes for different ability levels, including Black Diamond.
- Take advantage of the eateries and still make it back to the city before nightfall.
Skiing is a wonderful option, whether you’re a complete beginner or you’ve been around a slope or two. It’s the perfect way to blow off some steam.
Edward Hopper House – An Art Classic
The “Painter of Light and Shadow” still has a house in Nyack. It offers exhibits, talks, and memorabilia from the artist nestled in some beautiful scenery.
- Catch exhibits and memorabilia from the artist as well as guests.
- Attend a talk or check out music in the garden on some evenings.
- Choose public transportation to get there and watch the beautiful Hudson Valley go by
The museum is a nice change of pace and offers plenty, whether you’re a fan or not. You can’t miss it.
Woodbury Common – Mall of America “But Make It High Fashion”
This shopping area boasts stores from high fashion houses instead of the usual mall fare. It’s all in outlet form so you can save some cash and get pieces you love.
- Check out the outlet with Celine, Tory Burch, Ralph Lauren, and many more.
- Eat at some of the local restaurants right in the center.
- Fly in by helicopter. No seriously.
This is a luxury trip worth taking if you love wandering around shops, and you love saving money. It’s shopping at its fanciest.
Princeton NJ – Nerds Unite
Princeton is home to one of the best universities in the world, plus many sights and things to do.
- Take a tour of the university and see what everyone is talking about.
- Visit Princeton Cemetery for the final resting place of Aaron Burr
- Eat at one of the many local hotspots for Princeton students.
You can get there by quite a few methods, including trains and busses. Car drivers shouldn’t have any trouble either.
The Adirondacks – The Ultimate Outdoor Experience
The Adirondacks are miles of outdoor spaces. You’ll be able to refresh and get some sunshine during miles of trails.
- Rent a canoe and head through the middle.
- Visit Wild Walk for the chance at some close encounters with the local Wildlife on elevated trails.
- Find a spot for an outdoor meal and watch the sunset before heading back to the city.
The Adirondacks are perfect outdoor spaces, and you’d be well served to make this trip if you have the time.
Philadelphia – A Day of American History
Philadelphia is just 100 miles from New York and offers plenty of history for the American history buff.
- See the classics: the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Revolutionary War sites
- Run up the steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum and be like Rocky.
- Eat a real Philly cheesesteak at Pat’s or Geno’s. The lines are long but fast.
Taking in a whole other city during a trip to one of the most famous cities in the world may seem strange, but Philadelphia is a classic.
Coney Island – Beach-Filled Nostalgia
For a long time, Coney Island was the beach trip to end them all. Lately, the area has been revitalized with all the classics.
- Ride the Thunderbolt or Cyclone for old fashioned thrills.
- Grab a hotdog at Nathan’s Famous and enjoy it on the beach
- Walk the boardwalk and sample the local cuisine.
- Check out a baseball game with the Brooklyn Cyclones.
The area is filled with all the things kids and young people of yesterday loved, and you can find it all here. Plus, the historical vibe of its heyday is particularly impressive.
Montauk – “The End”
Made famous most recently by “The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” Montauk is part of the Hamptons. Don’t let that turn you off.
- Stroll along the coast and have an evening bonfire.
- Grab a Lobster Roll at one of the best locations to have one.
- Head to Surf Lodge for notorious people watching.
- Check out the ocean at night to understand why it’s nicknamed “The End” as in, the end of the world.
Montauk is a beautiful little place easily accessible with public transportation. You’ll get the scenery, and in some train cars, you can bring your cocktail with you.
Bannerman Castle – Abandoned Buildings Without Trespassing
Bannerman Castle was built by Frank Bannerman in an old Scottish style. You can explore the abandoned building today without worrying about someone calling the cops.
- Take a ferry or kayak tour and learn the island’s history.
- Wander the grounds and note the designs initially created by Mrs. Bannerman.
- Catch an outdoor concert.
The area was once considered haunted. If you’re lucky, you may get a glimpse of some of the residents’ long past.
Planning Your Trip
There are so many things to do in NYC and the surrounding area. Planning your trip should give you time to do a few different things for fun.
If you’re moving to the area, this list is a great way to get to know what’s around and find something to explore. You can also plan a trip or two to relax from the hustle and bustle of the city itself if you’re just visiting.
No matter what you love to do, there’s something on this list that can catch your eye. Make sure you build in time for rest and relaxation and take in the sights surrounding the city.