Grand Central Station is as useful as it is worth visiting, and New York is surrounded by wonderful day trip attractions. Looking for the top day adventures from NYC that are simple and accessible by rail, bus, or car? These exceptional and interesting spots to see outside of New York City make for the best day trip ideas. We hope you enjoy this collection of famous day trips from New York City as well as some lesser-known off-the-beaten-path hidden treasures.
A sizable sandy beach called Rockaway Beach may be found just outside of New York City. Rockaway Beach is the ideal place to get away from the city in the summer for beach volleyball or peaceful sunbathing thanks to its 5.5-mile boardwalk, which is a popular attraction. You can easily spend a half-day at Rockaway Beach, though you’ll definitely want to stay longer. By car, it takes less than an hour to get to the beach; by public transportation, it takes around an hour and a half. This beach is a lovely location to catch a coastal breeze and cool down in the waves because the city can get humid during summertime.
Even if New York City is amazing, you can still travel to a neighboring treasure. Philadelphia is a city renowned for its history, and there seems to be a significant historical site around every corner at times. The Liberty Bell is the most well-known landmark in Philadelphia and is viewed as a representation of American independence and individual freedom. In addition to Liberty Bell, other attractions include Independence Hall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Museum of the American Revolution. Philadelphia is a great day trip from NYC if you’re interested in American politics and history. Additionally, it takes slightly over an hour to drive or a little over an hour to use public transportation between the cities.
Bear Mountain State Park
For those who enjoy trekking and the outdoors, Bear Mountain is a great day trip. Located in the Hudson Highlands at a height of 1289 feet (393 meters), Bear Mountain is only a one-hour drive from the heart of New York City. For stunning views of the highlands, visitors may drive up Perkins Memorial Drive; even better, doing so just takes a half-day. Because it is a short distance from New York City and offers a picturesque yet practical climb, Bear Mountain is famous. In addition to its well-known summit, Bear Mountain State Park’s 5,000 acres provide visitors opportunities for boating, skiing, fishing, and other sports. It’s one of those natural treks you yearn for after a few days of city life, so take some strong hiking boots and be prepared for a little scrambling.
You’ve undoubtedly heard about Woodstock if you enjoy music. One of the greatest day trips from New York City is to the Ulster County village, which is located two hours outside of the city. The Woodstock Festival, which was essentially a hippie get-together as people came to use music as an outlet for escalating socio-political tensions in 1969, is famous for the town. The Woodstock Festival served as a platform for a message of peace and togetherness in the face of circumstances like the Vietnam War.
Woodstock is still well-known for its music and art today. Visit the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum or visit the Woodstock Waterfall Park to get in touch with nature. Even though the first Woodstock Festival took place on a neighboring farm, a lot of people regard going to Woodstock as a musical pilgrimage. It is a fantastic day trip from NYC if you are moved by the tale of 1969 or enjoy music history.
In the Hudson Valley, there is a little settlement called Cold Spring. Cold Spring, well-known for its antique stores and adorable café scene, is a great day trip from New York City. If you want a small-town feel after a few days amid the nonstop commotion of New York, this is a great option. You could easily spend a half-day browsing all the little stores and eating breakfast. Additionally, you may have picnics along the Hudson River in the summer. Driving or taking public transportation will take you less than two hours to go from the center of NYC to Cold Spring.
The additional selections of attractions in Cold Spring contribute to its popularity. Included in this are the Boscobel House and Garden which provide 68 acres of varied gardens to explore, including woods and delicate flowerbeds. Additionally, there is the West Point Foundry Preserve and the Putnam History Museum. Although Cold Spring has a small-town feel, there are always entertainment alternatives available, earning it a spot on our list.
Off the south coasts of Long Island, there lies a stunning barrier island called Fire Island. Fire Island is an exciting day trip from New York for anybody looking to get away from honking cars and avoiding crowds. It is rural, distant, and still somewhat “wild.” The Fire Island National Seashore, a coastal preserve, is its most famous feature. Only cars can get to Fire Island, which is an hour and a half away from the heart of New York City. The island offers visitors a variety of activities, including sailing, cycling, and viewing the renowned Sunken Forest. The distinctive twin dune structure that safeguards the trees gave the submerged forest its name. The island is a fantastic location for outdoor pursuits.
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Outside of New York City, Minnewaska State Park Preserve is a lovely place to appreciate nature. The preserve is home to three lakes, many waterfalls, and miles of hiking paths. If you want to go a little more adventurous and take off your hiking boots, Minnewaska State Park Preserve is also great for bicycling and rock climbing. Rent a car, strap up, and get ready for a two-hour trip across the Hudson Valley to reach the preserve, which can only be reached by a car.
The preserve is in a unique setting, located atop Shawangunk Mountain Ridge and gazing out over Ulster County’s farmland. Cliffs, expansive vistas, and natural water features are the preserve’s most notable characteristics. This, together with the more than 50 miles of hiking trails, make it clear why the area is so popular. Minnewaska State Park Preserve is a fantastic day trip from NYC for a day of hiking and natural wonders.
The 172-acre Governors Island was the early residence of Dutch colonists who were hesitant to settle on the mainland. After the island was given to His Majesty’s Governors, the British took control of it in the late 17th century, giving it the moniker “Governors Island.” Right in the midst of New York Harbor, Governors Island makes for the ideal day getaway from the city.
A connected bridge allows you to travel directly to Governors Island from Brooklyn in less than 30 minutes (depending greatly on traffic). You might also take the ferry to the island. A day trip to Governors Island is one of the most convenient in NYC. This is a feasible choice for your list if time is of the essence. The island is accessible to the general public and offers recreational spaces, cultural exhibitions, and ongoing events and activities. You could even go on a bicycle tour. The best tour on the island, this one is probably going to sell out.
Do you desire a party getaway or another opulent metropolitan adventure? A vibrant, glitzy beachfront city in New Jersey, Atlantic City is about two hours from New York. The city is well-known for its beaches and casinos, making it a favorite destination for partygoers. New Jersey is also an easy option if you wish to see many states in one trip, and you can always make stops at sights like Bass River State Forest along route.
Long Beach has long been a popular day trip destination for residents of New York City. You’re much better off taking the LIRR train from Penn Station to get to Long Beach from Manhattan because it will take you about an hour and 35 minutes total, whereas taking the LIRR from locations in Brooklyn like the Atlantic Avenue terminal or Nostrand Avenue terminal will only take an hour and 22 minutes at most. Without traffic, the drive would take between one hour and one hour and fifteen minutes.
Along with a beach town that will slow down your speed of strolling and get you a drink in hand at any of the bars, restaurants, and pubs in the “State Streets” district, Long Beach boasts a pretty lengthy beach. With its clusters of nearby homes that are inhabited by residents and available for weekend rentals, this area of the city resembles the scene of a beach town movie.
Have you completed this list? The sites to visit for day trips and side trips, which are some essential components of what to know before going, are now at your fingertips. Whether you go by car, train, bus, bike, or rental car, we hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of the most interesting and enjoyable day adventures. Never stop taking day trips!