New York City is a great place to visit, but if you live there, a long weekend like Memorial Day can be a nice chance to escape the city and explore somewhere new.
From charming towns to outdoor paradises, there’s no shortage of great getaway options. Here are 14 fun destinations worth a weekend trip, roughly in order of distance from the city. (Many of these also make for nice day trips).
Located in the Hudson Valley, the town of Beacon, New York, has great options for art lovers ― from the Dia:Beacon museum to the Hudson Beach Glass studio and gallery. Storm King Art Center is also a short drive away.
New Hope & Lambertville
Sitting on opposite sides of the Delaware River, the “picturesque” towns of New Hope, Pennsylvania, and Lambertville, New Jersey, are a favorite of travel writer Tracy Kaler, who runs the blog Tracy’s New York Life. “You’ll find art galleries, fantastic restaurants, one-of-a-kind shops, and general prettiness all around.”
New Hope and Lambertville are also full of cultural attractions like the historic New Hope & Ivyland Railroad, ghost tours and antique stores.
The town of New Paltz, New York, about two hours north of NYC, offers hiking, orchards, historic architecture and more.
“The grounds are beautiful and perfect for taking hikes, as well as taking boat rides out on the lake,” she said. “I recently visited and went ‘forest bathing,’ which is a form of meditation where you practice mindfulness in nature through your senses. The spa there is also a great way to treat yourself!”
“My favorite place to escape New York is the North Fork of Long Island,” Kaler said. “Beaches, farms, wine, sunsets ― what more do you need on a weekend away from the city?”
Indeed, the North Fork peninsula boasts popular wineries, boutique hotels, seafood restaurants and even a lavender farm. And it’s less than three hours from the city by car or train.
Trains and buses between New York and Philly are abundant, and the city’s charming cobblestone streets and robust food scene are an added bonus.
“For something beachy, I love Sunset Beach on Shelter Island,” travel expert and Passported founder Henley Vazquez told HuffPost. “It’s not new, but it’s always fun, and the laid-back pace of Shelter Island offers a nice alternative to the busy Hamptons scene.”
The Shelter Island area features beaches, nature walks and waterfront restaurants.
“On long weekends, I love traveling up to Litchfield County in Connecticut,” travel photographer Marie Frei told HuffPost. “That area of the state is only about a two-hour drive from New York City, but the quaint, rural towns and the winding, forested back roads instantly make you feel like you’re very far from the city.”
“There are some great hikes near Bear Mountain and Mount Frissell, the highest point in the state. At Lake Waramaug State Park, you can rent canoes and kayaks from Memorial Day through Labor Day,” she added. “There are a number of farms in the area, so you can’t visit the region without stopping by Arethusa Farm Dairy in Litchfield for ice cream ― it’s the best.”
Featured in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” Montauk is an increasingly popular spot for people fleeing the city for the Hamptons.
A weekend in the Catskills is a classic New York getaway for nature lovers.
New Yorkers like to poke fun at New Jersey, but the Garden State has plenty of places to visit, from the casinos of Atlantic City to the beaches of Sea Girt.
On the beach side of things, Cape May is a beloved spot, with wineries, historic homes and beachfront resorts like Congress Hall.
Fans of America’s pastime know Cooperstown, New York, as the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
This mountain getaway, about a four-hour drive from the city, attracted prominent New York families in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
On the southern end of the lake is Fort William Henry, a British fort from the French and Indian War that appeared in the movie “The Last of the Mohicans.”
Tucked in the Adirondack Mountains, the village of Lake Placid is most famous for hosting the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games. Today, it is a popular destination for travelers looking for beautiful outdoor landscapes and, in the winter months, opportunities for sports like skiing and snowboarding.
Visitors also have the chance to visit the site of the famous “Miracle on Ice” hockey game. The drive is about five hours from New York City, depending on traffic.
“For a longer drive, I recommend Montreal,” Kaler said. “It’s about six hours, but a gorgeous trip through the Adirondacks.”
“The food is some of the best you’ll eat anywhere and the people are incredibly welcoming and hospitable,” she added. “Plus, you’ll feel immersed in French culture. Montreal really is the Paris of North America.”