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New York City has so much to offer that many visitors and even locals almost never venture outside of Manhattan. But for those who know how to look, there are also some incredible places just beyond the city limits.
These nine incredible day trips offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan life. With varied transportation options available, planning a day trip outside the city doesn’t really require a ton of effort, making it super easy to explore the state of New York beyond its sky-high buildings.
And because they’re so close, these day trips are perfect for taking spontaneous weekend getaways with friends or family members!
From picturesque historic towns to spooky villages and lush state parks perfect for horseback riding, these are some of the best (and easiest) day trips from New York City you absolutely need to place on your bucket list!
9 Incredible Day Trips from New York City
Bear Mountain State Park, NY
Bear Mountain State Park in Westchester is a family-friendly nature preserve with trails and carriage roads as well as a zoo.
Bear Mountain State Park is a great way to spend the day outdoors while still being close enough for a day trip from New York City. Sitting atop Schunemunk Mountain, this park features expansive grassy fields, hiking trails, and carriage roads for horse-drawn carriages.
The trails lead past ponds, streams, and even to an ice skating rink in the wintertime! There’s also a zoo at the top of the mountain that features animals such as llamas and red pandas.
North Fork, Long Island
The North Fork of Long Island offers excellent beaches as well as gorgeous vineyards for wine tasting.
Only an hour from Manhattan lies the North Fork of Long Island, a picturesque region with rolling hills and vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see.
This quiet getaway is home to East Marion, an adorable little town with fantastic seafood restaurants. For nature lovers, there are also tons of wonderful hiking trails just beyond the village limits, including one that leads right to the coast.
Those who prefer their hikes with a side of wine tasting will love the North Fork Winery Trail, which leads to three wineries that each offer various styles of wine and wonderful views over the surrounding greenery.
Home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown has become synonymous with “baseball”. This charming village in central New York is a must for baseball aficionados, who’ll be fascinated by the museum’s vast collection of memorabilia that tells the history of America’s national sport.
If you’re not into Baseball, fret not! Cooperstown has a ton more to offer, including Glimmerglass State Parks, acclaimed opera shows at the Glimmerglass Festival, and the Fenimore Art Museum, a neo-Georgian farmhouse that houses amazing folk and Native American art!
If you’re feeling up for some seriously good food, great drinks, and a lively art scene, this quaint city in Dutchess County boasts exactly that and more.
Set just under two hours away from New York City amid the lush Hudson countryside, Beacon is an easy day trip to take in order to escape the bustle and hustle of the city.
The historic town oozes old American charm, with red-brick architecture lining Main Street and Victorian-era buildings that now house local art galleries, charming coffee shops, and trendy restaurants awaiting visitors!
Philadelphia may be located in an entirely different state, but it still makes for a pretty perfect day trip from New York City thanks to the fact that it’s located just an hour and a half away by train (in fact, many people commute on the daily between both cities!).
Despite their closeness, both cities are very different in ambiance, with Philadelphia still oozing a small-town aura and New York City being, well, New York City!
Spread all over Philly, you’ll find tons of chic art museums, art galleries, trendy restaurants, and shops.
If history is your jam, you’ll fall head over heels in love with the Old City district, a one-square-mile historic section of downtown Philadelphia filled with landmarks such as Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence was adopted), the Liberty Bell, Congress Hall, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, the Betsy Roth House and the Museum of the American Revolution.
2 hours and 15 minutes from NYC lies the town of Woodstock. Contrary to what you might think, this isn’t the place where the 1969 festival was held (it actually took place in Bethel, two hours away).
Despite that, the town of Woodstock does brim the festival’s vibe, with retired hippies and artists having adopted it as their home. Its quaint downtown area is home to shops and restaurants as well as several historic buildings now used as art galleries and museums.
If you’re into healthy eating and local shopping, you’ll find yourself in heaven here, with an organic dining scene like no other and locally-owned shops selling all sorts of unique goodies to bring back home!
Love riding horses or want to take a shot at it? Head to Mohonk Preserve!
Home to more than 8,000 acres of forests perfect for hiking, cycling, and rock climbing Mohonk is a nature lover’s slice of paradise only 90 miles away from the city.
Unlike most other hiking grounds near the city, something unique about Mohonk is that it offers horseback riding opportunities within designated roads, with a lot less foot traffic than other places!
Can you imagine getting to personally visit the setting of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow?
This small town was once famous for its milling and farming, but today, its fame comes from its Halloween festivities throughout the month of October, when the town bursts to life with haunted hayrides, parades, live music, and spooky decor all over.
Of course, the Headless Horseman is part of the festivities!
While you’re there, make sure you check out The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, with tours available day and night.
A charming town with a river lined by sidewalk cafés and restaurants? Yes, please!
Considered one of the best-preserved 19th-century towns in the Hudson Valley area, Cold Spring is set just 50 miles north of Manhattan, making it a perfect day trip if Instagram eye candy is what you’re after.
As you stroll through its picturesque historic center, you’ll find riverside restaurants, boutiques, antique stores, and quaint coffee shops dotting every corner.
During the summer, a favorite activity is having coffee at sidewalk cafes and dining by the riverfront or at outdoor patios, many of which feature live music.
If you’d like to enjoy a little nature during your day trip, Cold Spring got a lot of that as well.
There are also several hiking and biking trails in the outskirts of town, as well as water sports, including boating, canoeing, paddle-boarding, kayaking, and waterskiing on the river. During the autumn, fall foliage cruises are quite popular.
Have you ever been to these locations close to New York City? Which one did you enjoy the most? Please tell me about it in the comment section below!
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If you enjoy reading, then my recommended books about New York City are an excellent starting point for planning your trip.