Looking to escape the hustle and bustle of New York City for a day? Luckily, there are plenty of options for day trips just a short distance away.
Whether you’re looking for a scenic hike, a quaint historic town, or a relaxing beach day, there’s something for everyone within a few hours’ drive.
20 Day Trips from New York City
Beaches and Lakes
If you’re looking for a day trip from New York City that involves sun, sand, and water, there are plenty of great beaches and lakes to choose from. Here are a few options to consider:
The Hamptons are a popular destination for New Yorkers looking to escape the city for a day or a weekend.
The area is known for its beautiful beaches, including Main Beach in East Hampton, which has been named one of the best beaches in the country. Other popular beaches in the area include Cooper’s Beach in Southampton and Georgica Beach in East Hampton.
In addition to the beaches, the Hamptons offer plenty of other attractions, including art galleries, wineries, and restaurants. If you’re looking for a day trip that combines relaxation with culture, the Hamptons are a great choice.
2. Jones Beach
Jones Beach is a popular beach destination for New Yorkers, located on Long Island.
The beach is known for its long boardwalk, which offers beautiful views of the ocean. There are also plenty of activities to enjoy, including swimming, sunbathing, and fishing.
If you’re looking for a more active day trip, Jones Beach also offers a wide range of recreational activities, including mini-golf, shuffleboard, and volleyball.
There are also several restaurants and snack bars on site, so you can enjoy a meal or a snack while you’re at the beach.
3. Lake George
If you’re looking for a day trip that involves a lake rather than a beach, Lake George is a great choice.
Located in the Adirondack Mountains, Lake George offers stunning views and plenty of recreational activities, including swimming, boating, and fishing.
In addition to the lake, the area offers plenty of other attractions, including hiking trails, historic sites, and amusement parks. If you’re looking for a day trip that offers a little bit of everything, Lake George is a great choice.
No matter which beach or lake you choose for your day trip from New York City, be sure to pack sunscreen, plenty of water, and a picnic lunch or snacks. And don’t forget your swimsuit!
Hiking and Nature
If you’re a nature lover, New York City has plenty of options for you to explore. From the Adirondacks to the Mohonk Preserve, there are plenty of places to go hiking and take in the natural beauty of the area.
The Adirondacks are a beautiful mountain range located in upstate New York. With over 6 million acres of wilderness to explore, there are plenty of hiking trails to choose from.
Some of the most popular hikes in the area include Mount Marcy, Algonquin Peak, and Cascade Mountain.
The Adirondacks are also home to many lakes and rivers, which offer great opportunities for fishing and kayaking.
5. Mohonk Preserve
The Mohonk Preserve is a nature preserve located in the Hudson Valley region of New York. With over 8,000 acres of land to explore, there are plenty of hiking trails to choose from.
The preserve is home to many different types of wildlife, including black bears, bobcats, and bald eagles. Some of the most popular hikes in the preserve include the Bonticou Crag and Skytop Tower trails.
6. Breakneck Ridge
Breakneck Ridge is a popular hiking trail located in the Hudson Highlands State Park. The trail is known for its steep inclines and stunning views of the Hudson River.
The trail is only 3.5 miles long, but it’s a challenging hike that’s not recommended for beginners. If you’re up for the challenge, though, the views from the top are definitely worth it.
Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike or a leisurely stroll through nature, New York City has plenty of options for you to explore.
From the Adirondacks to the Mohonk Preserve to Breakneck Ridge, there are plenty of places to go hiking and take in the natural beauty of the area.
Small Town Charm
If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of New York City, there are plenty of small towns within a few hours’ drive that offer a relaxing and charming atmosphere. Here are a few options to consider:
7. Lake Placid
Located in the Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid is a picturesque town that’s perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.
In the winter, you can go skiing or snowboarding at Whiteface Mountain, while the summer offers opportunities for hiking, fishing, and kayaking.
The town also hosted the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, so you can visit the Olympic Center and see where some of the events took place.
Check out these wonderful things to do in Lake Placid for ideas on things to do!
8. Cold Spring
If you’re looking for a quaint and historic town, Cold Spring is a great option.
The Main Street is lined with 19th-century buildings that house antique shops, cafes, and restaurants. You can also take a stroll along the Hudson River or explore the nearby hiking trails.
Beacon is a small town that’s quickly becoming a popular destination. It’s home to the Dia: Beacon Museum, which features contemporary art in a former Nabisco factory.
You can also explore the town’s many galleries, shops, and restaurants, or hike to the top of Mount Beacon for stunning views of the Hudson Valley.
10. Woodstock, NY
Known for its hippie culture and music festivals, Woodstock is a charming town that’s full of personality.
You can browse the quirky shops and art galleries on Tinker Street, or take a scenic drive through the Catskill Mountains. The town also has a rich history in the arts, with many famous musicians and writers calling it home.
11. Cornwall, NY
Located in the Hudson Valley, Cornwall is a small town that’s perfect for a day trip.
You can explore the historic West Point Military Academy, or take a hike to the top of Storm King Mountain for panoramic views of the Hudson River. The town also has a variety of restaurants and shops to check out.
No matter which small town you choose to visit, you’re sure to find a relaxing and charming atmosphere that’s a welcome break from the city.
History and Architecture
If you’re interested in exploring the rich history and stunning architecture of the Northeast, you won’t want to miss these day trips from New York City. Here are a few must-see destinations:
12. Independence Hall
Located in Philadelphia, Independence Hall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the birthplace of the United States.
This historic building is where both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were signed.
You can take a guided tour of the hall and see the very room where these important documents were created. You’ll also get a glimpse of the stunning Georgian architecture that makes this building so iconic.
13. Princeton University
Just a short trip from New York City, Princeton University is a must-see for anyone interested in architecture and history.
The campus is home to many beautiful buildings, including the iconic Nassau Hall, which was built in the 18th century and played a key role in the American Revolution.
Take a guided tour of the campus to learn more about the university’s rich history and see some of the stunning Gothic architecture that makes it so unique.
14. Old Westbury Gardens
If you’re looking for a day trip that combines history and natural beauty, Old Westbury Gardens is the perfect destination.
This stunning estate is home to a beautiful mansion that was built in the early 1900s and is filled with period furnishings and artwork.
You can take a guided tour of the mansion to learn more about its history and architecture, or simply stroll through the stunning gardens and admire the beautiful landscaping.
Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or both, these day trips from New York City are sure to delight and inspire you. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to explore some of the most beautiful and historic destinations in the Northeast.
Whitewater Rafting and Caves
If you’re looking for an exciting day trip from New York City, whitewater rafting and exploring caves could be just what you need. Here are a couple of great locations to check out:
Located in the heart of the Pocono Mountains, Bethlehem is a great place to go whitewater rafting.
The Lehigh River offers Class II and III rapids, making it perfect for both beginners and experienced rafters. You can choose from a variety of guided tours, ranging from a couple of hours to a full day. Some tours even include a BBQ lunch or dinner.
After your rafting adventure, head over to Lost River Caverns. These limestone caves are over 200 million years old and offer a unique underground experience.
You can take a guided tour through the caverns, which includes a visit to the Crystal Chapel, where you’ll see beautiful crystal formations.
If you’re looking for a day trip that’s a little closer to the city, head to Riverhead on Long Island. Here, you can go whitewater rafting on the Peconic River.
The rapids are Class I and II, so it’s a great option for beginners or families with kids. You can rent equipment and go on a self-guided tour, or take a guided tour with an experienced instructor.
After your rafting adventure, head over to the nearby Indian Island County Park. Here, you’ll find the Indian Island Golf Course, which offers 18 holes of beautiful golfing. You can also take a stroll along the riverfront, have a picnic, or go fishing.
No matter which location you choose, you’re sure to have an exciting day of whitewater rafting and cave exploring. Just make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and water, and be prepared to get wet!
17. Long Island
Just a short train ride away from the city, Long Island offers a variety of day trip options.
You can explore the beaches and boardwalks of the Hamptons, visit the historic lighthouse at Montauk Point, or take a wine tasting tour of the North Fork vineyards.
Hop on a train or drive up to Connecticut for a day trip filled with history and charm.
Visit the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, stroll through the picturesque town of Mystic, or take a scenic drive along the Connecticut River.
19. New Jersey
Cross the Hudson River and explore the Garden State for a day.
Visit the sprawling grounds of the Princeton University campus, take a hike in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, or indulge in some outlet shopping at Jersey Gardens.
Take a longer day trip and head to Pennsylvania for some outdoor adventure.
Hike the trails at the Delaware Water Gap, explore the historic town of Bethlehem, or visit the Hershey’s Chocolate World and indulge in some sweet treats.
No matter where you choose to go, there are plenty of options for day trips from New York City. Just pack a bag, grab your camera, and hit the road!