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New York City is sometimes referred to as the center of the universe, offering a long list of things to see and do. It’s a premier hub for business, food, fashion, arts & culture, and so much more. But that still doesn’t mean that residents couldn’t use a break from the city every once in a while.
Fortunately, New York City is conveniently located near so many other amazing places to visit on the East Coast. It’s easy to reach quaint New England towns, peaceful areas in the countryside, and even the beach with just a few hours of driving time. So next time the hectic lifestyle of New York City starts to wear you down or you could use a change of scenery, consider one of these fun weekend getaway destinations from NYC!
Vermont is a lovely place to visit when you live in NYC, not just in the autumn to see the fall foliage but during any time of year. The central part of Vermont is home to many dairies and cheese shops, which are fun to stop at while taking in the peaceful views of the countryside. While driving through the area, make sure to stop in Woodstock and stay at the Woodstock Inn & Resort on the village green. In the winter, Woodstock is a prime skiing destination because it’s close to Killington Resort. When the temperatures are warm, go for hikes along a portion of the Appalachian Trail in Marsh-Billings National Historic Park. This town is also known for its covered bridges, the Quechee Gorge, the Ottauquechee River, and charming boutique shops that feature local artists. Woodstock is less than five hours from New York City by car.
For outdoor recreation, romance, and arts & culture, New Yorkers love going to the Catskills throughout the year. The legendary “Summer of Love” concert town of Woodstock, New York is part of this region, and outdoor recreation options run the gamut from hiking to skiing and kayaking. Phoenicia is another town in the Catskills that’s just 2.5 hours from NYC and is a place to float down the creek’s rapids on a lazy day in summer. Local gear shops will rent out everything you need for a day on the water. And to make your getaway more rustic, stay at the Phoenicia Black Bear Campground on Esopus Creek and enjoy easy access to all the hiking, biking, and horseback riding you can squeeze into a couple of days.
Drive about 180 miles east of New York City (about 3.5 hours) and you’ll reach Newport, Rhode Island, which has an amazing seaside location that’s been favored by the vacationing elite for generations. Today, this friendly coastal town is a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts looking to walk or jog along the 3.5-mile paved Cliff Walk that overlooks the Easton Bay and a few historic mansions. There are a few beaches here to visit when the weather is warm, but if you visit after Labor Day, you’ll enjoy the perk of free parking. This is also a great getaway spot for foodies because the seafood is fresh and plentiful in Newport.
You’ll only need to sit in the car for about an hour and 15 minutes to reach Bear Mountain, which is a state park in the mountains along the Hudson River. This is an ideal getaway to get your nature fix with hiking, biking, fishing, and picnicking. Just a few miles away is West Point, which is a great place to visit for history buffs and anyone interested in the military.
To feel like one of the “rich and famous,” head to Greenwich, Connecticut from NYC for the weekend. It typically only takes a little over an hour to get here by car. Check out the sailboat and yachts at the harbor while you enjoy scenic views of the NYC skyline and the surrounding beaches and outlet malls.
Everyone who enjoys a good game of baseball owes it to themselves to take a weekend trip out to Cooperstown, New York. This is where the Baseball Hall of Fame is located, and any trip here is destined to be filled with history, nostalgia, and charm. The town is about 200 miles from NYC but feels like a world away, transforming you into rural, small-town America. Other baseball-themed sights to see include the Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum and Doubleday Field. Aside from baseball, there’s the Fenimore Art Museum, the Farmers’ Museum, the award-winning Ommegang Brewery with expertly crafted Belgian brews, and Fly Creek Cider Mill with its 40+ specialty wines, hard cider, and food tastings.
Just an hour and 45 minutes from NYC lies New Hope, Pennsylvania, a quaint town known for independent boutique shops, relaxing B&Bs, and an unrushed lifestyle. You can take a guided walking tour of Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve to invigorate your senses and surround yourself with beauty. Nearby Lambertville, New Jersey is also worth a stop while you’re in New Hope. The towns are on opposite sides of the Delaware River, so take a canal ride on the river, visit some local wineries, and make a stop for homemade ice cream.
The Berkshires are the perfect place for a romantic getaway or a girls’ weekend break from NYC. This destination is about 169 miles from NYC is known for excellent art, music, museums, dance festivals, and antique shops. It’s easy to get active here with hiking and biking in the mountains, and plenty of spas to relax and rejuvenate as well.
With less than a two-hour drive from NYC, New Paltz is a popular fall getaway for history lovers. You can learn about the Huguenot settlers of the 17th century and tour historic churches and homes. It’s easy to get outside and active at Minnewaska State Park and the Mohonk Preserve, then you can wind down at Robibero Family Vineyards just outside of town.
About 160 miles from NYC, the best time to visit Cape May, New Jersey is during the summer. This historic seaside resort town is a budget-friendly getaway that captures the essence of Victorian-era history and natural beauty. The town will change your perceptions of the Jersey Shore while allowing you to tour historic homes, hike along the beaches, and slow down the pace of life with some bird-watching. Even if you don’t have a car you can visit Cape May via bus from NYC. To get around town, it’s easy to walk pretty much everywhere in Cape May, but it is advisable to make dinner reservations a couple of days in advance during the summer.
A trip to Pennsylvania may sound like a long journey, but the Poconos, by way of a city named Jim Thorpe, is only 120 miles away. This is a great area to visit for mountain bikers and outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds during the warm months. And when winter comes, visit Camelback in Tannersville for ski trails and lifts. Recommended places to stay are the Inn at Jim Thorpe in the Poconos and the Camelback Mountain Resort. The town of Milford is also a charming place to visit in the northeastern part of the Poconos if you enjoy hiking trails and antique shops.