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10 Best Day Trips From New York City

While there is no shortage of activities to do in New York City, you may be looking for something new to escape the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. With a multitude of neighboring places to explore, there is no shortage of fun adventures that can help you to escape for the day. To help you get started, we compiled a list of the 10 best day trips you can take from New York City. From exploring the monuments of the nation’s capitals to roaming beautiful gardens, keep reading to find your next adventure.

1.  Mohonk Preserve

Approximate distance: 90 miles
Estimated travel time: 1.5 hours

Mohonk Preserve is a large private nature reserve located around 90 miles north of New York City. The preserve seeks to protect the Shawangunk Mountain Region and offers a variety of activities such as hiking, camping, climbing, horseback riding, and birdwatching. The main visitor center and public lands are free to the public. However, in order to access the land, you need to purchase a membership or pay a day-use fee. Some popular hiking trails include the Spring Farm Trailhead, West Traff Trailhead, and Coxing Trailhead. It only takes about 1 and a half hours to get to Mohonk Preserve, making this a short day trip from New York City. 

2. Atlantic City, NJ

Atlantic City Boardwalk

Approximate distance: 130 miles
Estimated travel time: 2.5 hours

Known as “America’s Playground” due to the city’s reputation as a place where people commit rebellious acts, Atlantic City, NJ boasts many activities that are sure to excite. Some of which include riding roller coasters at Steel Pier Amusement Park, walking along the boardwalk, perusing the many shops, or visiting Ripley’s Believe It or Not! – a unique museum filled with unusual artifacts. It takes roughly 2 hours and 30 minutes to get to Atlantic City, NJ, and is around 130 miles from New York City. The best time to visit Atlantic City is during the summer months when the weather is in the low 80s. 

3. Washington, DC

The Washington Monument

Approximate distance: 230 miles
Estimated travel time: 4 hours

Located around 230 miles southwest of New York City, Washington, DC is best known as the nation’s capital filled with a rich history. There are many things to do in Washington, DC like visiting memorials including the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial, checking out the White House where the president lives, or visiting the Smithsonian Museum, one of the world’s largest museums. This is a longer day trip from New York so plan for around 4 hours of travel by car or 3 hours of travel by train. When in Washington DC, you can get around using the robust metro system, the second busiest subway system in the U.S. only second to New York. 

4. The Poconos 

Fall foliage

Approximate distance: 14 miles
Estimated travel time: 2.5 hours

About 2 hours and 30 minutes and 14 miles west of New York City, The Poconos are a mountainous region in Pennsylvania that provides access to a multitude of outdoor activities. Many people go to The Poconos to take in the views of the beautiful fall foliage. However, there are many other activities to do such as playing in the adventure park, taking a train tour, or going zip-lining. While a popular day trip from New York, this is also a great weekend adventure as there are many vacation resorts, cottages, condos, and hotels that families can rent to explore the area. 

5. Bear Mountain State Park

Fall colored trees and a bridge

Approximate distance: 50 miles
Estimated travel time: 1.5 hours

Bear Mountain State Park, located on the banks of the Hudson River, is a park in New York that provides outdoor opportunities such as picnicking, fishing, biking, sledding, boating, cross country skiing, and swimming. It is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes and 50 miles north of NYC, making it a quick day trip from the city. Some of the fun activities you can check out at Bear Mountain State Park include the Trailside Museum and Zoo, paddleboarding, and walking across Bear Mountain Bridge.

6. Old Westbury Garden

Pink flowers

Approximate distance: 30 miles
Estimated travel time: 1.5 hours

If you are looking for some fun and excitement, take a trip to Old Westbury Garden. Located roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes east of New York City, Old Westbury Garden is best known as the former country estate of John S. Phipps and his wife Margarita Grace Phipps – an American lawyer and businessman. The estate was converted to a museum in 1959 and is considered a U.S. National Register of Historic Places. There are a lot of activities you can do during this day trip, such as strolling around the garden, roaming around the estate, and visiting the museum. They also offer tours during the spring, summer, and fall months. 

7. Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown

A river

Approximate distance: 30 miles
Estimated travel time: 1 hour

Looking to get your scary on? Just about 1 hour and 30 miles north of New York City lie Sleepy Hollow, NY and Tarrytown, NY, two villages known for their spooky and haunting atmospheres and for being the location of Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” If you make your way to Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown, some of the fun activities you can do include checking out Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Kykuit Estate, and Philipsburg Manor. During October, there are many fall-themed events that you can attend like evening lantern tours and haunted hayrides.

8. Philadelphia, PA

The Philadelphia skyline

Approximate distance: 95 miles
Estimated travel time: 2 hours

Located nearly 2 hours by car from New York City, the city of Philadelphia, PA is best known as the City of Brotherly Love and the birthplace of the United States. There are many ways to get to Philadelphia from New York, but the easiest way is by train from Penn Station which takes around 1 hour and 10 minutes. When in Philadelphia, make sure to check out the Liberty Bell, visit Independence Hall, or eat a Philly cheesesteak at Pat’s King of Steaks or Geno’s Steaks.

9. Princeton University

Princeton University

Approximate distance: 50 miles
Estimated travel time: 1.5 hours

Known as a world-renowned research university in the Ivy League, Princeton University is roughly 50 miles southwest of New York City located in Princeton, NJ. The campus is filled with beautiful statues, sculptures, gardens, and architecture. While at the university, there are a lot of things to keep you entertained including the Princeton Art Museum, Carnegie Lake, and Princeton Battlefield State Park.

10. Coney Island, NY

Coney Island Amusement Park

Approximate distance: 15 miles
Estimated travel time: 30 minutes

If the idea of visiting the Coney Island Museum, walking along Riegelmann Boardwalk, and visiting Feltman’s of Coney Island (a gourmet hot dog stand) sounds like fun to you, then you should consider taking a day trip to Coney Island, NY. Located about 15 miles south of New York City, Coney Island is a quick day trip from the city that has a ton of beachside entertainment so you’ll never get bored of exploring. There are many weekly events that happen during the summer, however, weekends can get very busy so plan to go early. 

Source
10 Best Day Trips From New York City is written by Ryan Castillo for www.redfin.com

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