Credit: @saltyvisionz on Instagram

It’s no secret that the Empire State has it all. Just hours away from the city that never sleeps is an abundance of outdoor adventures, pristine white sand beaches, scenic hiking trails, family-friendly amusement parks, idyllic small towns, and more. Whether you’re experiencing the Big Apple for the first time and want to extend your trip or you’re a native New Yorker looking for a brief escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 trips you can easily take from New York City this summer.

Originally published 06/28/2023

Woodstock (Catskills)

A white sign that says "Tinker Street" in black font with a list of shop names underneathCredit: @pamelacapri on Instagram

Escape to the scenic Catskills on an easy two-and-a-half-hour bus ride north on Adirondack Trailways, putting you right in the heart of Woodstock. While you might associate this town’s name with a historic musical celebration, the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival actually took place about an hour west at what is now the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, but there’s still lots of peace, love, and fun to experience.Shop and stroll on lively Tinker Street lined with local businesses with neat trinkets, crafts, souvenirs, restaurants, and Food Network competition-winning baked goods from Peace, Love and Cupcakes. Experience the wonder of the Catskills on a mild 2.7-mile hike around the Ashokan Reservoir or the more challenging 2.5-mile Overlook Mountain Path. Get your summer music fix at the Woodstock Playhouse’s Summer Theatre Festival or Bearsville Theater’s lineup of summer concerts. If you’re up for a mini-road trip, the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope, Opus 40, and the famous Phoenicia Diner are all easily driveable within 20 minutes or less. Looking to extend your stay? Check out some of Woodstock’s lodging options like the comfortable Woodstock Inn on the Millstream, the quirky Herwood Inn, or music-themed Woodstock Way Hotel, all steps away from Tinker Street. 

Garden City (Long Island)

Blue airplane with U.S. Navy yellow lettering suspended inside the Cradle of Aviation MuseumCredit: @vtom61 on Instagram

Take a 45-minute ride on the LIRR from Manhattan or hit the highway to kick-off your history-filled adventure in Garden City. Enjoy hours of high-flying fun at the 150,000-square-foot Cradle of Aviation with over 75 air and space craft including planes that flew in WWII. The kids will love playing (and learning) at the Long Island Children’s Museum with 44,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibit space with 14 interactive exhibits, a sensory garden, and more. For more museum experiences, be sure to stop at the Nassau County Firefighting Museum to learn about firefighting heroes or the Hofstra University Museum of Art with over 5,200 works of art. If you’re all museum-ed out, relax with some retail therapy at Long Island’s largest shopping mall, Roosevelt Field with over 200 stores to choose from. Plus, if you plan on taking the train, MTA Away offers a discounted train ticket and bus ride to and from the mall (until May 31, 2024). A trip to Long Island isn’t complete without fresh seafood, so be sure to stop at Waterzooi for a mussel pot. If you’re seeking adventure this summer, Long Island’s got that too! WildPlay Jones Beach and Jones Beach State Park are just a 20-minute drive away. The Garden City Hotel will be the perfect homebase for this easy getaway. 

Beacon (Hudson Valley)

BeaconCredit: @beacon_transplant on Instagram

Renowned art, breathtaking Hudson Valley views, and a main street filled with quirky local businesses await in Beacon. The hour-and-a-half train ride on Metro-North from Manhattan will land you at Beacon Station, where you’re only a 10-minute walk from all the Main Street fun. Stroll through a street lined with friendly and welcoming local shops including Beacon Bread Company, Dickinson’s Antiques, and Bank Sq. Coffeehouse. If you’re up for adventure, hike to the Mount Beacon Fire Tower or admire sparkling waters on an island cruise to Bannerman Island and tour the Scottish-style Bannerman Castle. MTA Away currently has a deal offering a discounted round-trip ride, boat cruise of the island, and tour admission. For a more artistic experience, visit the 300,000-square-foot art collection at the famed Dia Beacon, or take a glass blowing class at Hudson Beach Glass, which also has a remarkable fine art gallery. Sample Beacon brews at favorites like Two Way Brewing and Hudson Valley Brewery. If one day isn’t enough to do it all, check out comfortable lodging options like the industrial-chic Roundhouse with tasty dining options or the award-winning Beacon B&B which was voted best B&B in the region by Hudson Valley Magazine. 

Albany (Capital-Saratoga)

NY State Capitol Building

Do some city-hopping this summer and pay a visit to the state’s capital. Admire the changing scenery as you travel north on a two-and-a-half-hour Amtrak train ride directly to the Albany-Rensselaer station. Walk to some of Albany’s must-see stops like the New York State Capitol with intricate 19th-century architecture, the Empire State Plaza, the Egg, and Corning Tower which is the tallest skyscraper in the state, outside of New York City. Choose from exciting activities such as catching a live show at the Palace Theatre, exploring the state’s history at the New York State Museum, taking a stroll through Washington Park, or touring Albany by water on a Dutch Apple Cruise. Foodies and history buffs alike will want to pop by the Olde English Pub and Pantry, found in the historic Old Quackenbush House, where you can sample authentic British beers and English pub fare. Nine Pin Cider Works’ tasting room is worth a visit, crafting delicious ciders made 100% from New York State apples. Explore more and extend your stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites, just steps away from popular attractions or The Desmond Hotel which was voted the region’s best by the Capital Region Living Magazine. 

Montauk (Long Island)

Waves crest in front of the beaches of the Montauk LighthosueCredit: @saltyvisionz on Instagram

A three-hour ride on the LIRR from Manhattan will put you in the center of picturesque views, sandy beaches, chic hotels, and more on Long Island’s easternmost tip. The first stop on your seaside adventure to “The End” has to be the Montauk Point Lighthouse, found at Montauk Point State Park which offers some of the best surf fishing in the world. The lighthouse itself was the first to be built in New York and it’s the fourth-oldest working lighthouse in the country! Soak up the sun as you lay out on the white sand at Kirk Park Beach, relax with a cold beverage on the patio at Montauk Brewing Co, or explore Long Island Wine Country on a Tapped Enterprises wine tour. Discover why Montauk is considered by some to be the fishing capital of the world on a boating day trip with Ebb Tide Fishing or the Miss Montauk II yacht. If you’d rather not catch your meal, but still want to experience fresh local seafood, stop over at the Lobster Roll Restaurant, the Clam Bar at Napeague, or Gosman’s Dock. Stay at chic hotels like Gurney's Montauk Resort and Seawater Spa or Hero Beach Club to get the full Montauk experience. MTA Away is offering an LIRR Escorted Tour that includes round-trip rail and bus transportation, a visit to Montauk Village, admission to Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum, and a stop at Gosman’s Dock to eat and shop ($83.75 per adult, $65.50 per child ages 5-11).

Hudson (Hudson Valley)

The white exterior of WM Farmers and Sons with a grey car parked on the left of the corner and a red car on the right of the corner with the sun setting outside the frame creating a cotton candy skyCredit: @wmfarmersandsons on Instagram

A quick two-hour Amtrak ride directly to Hudson Station will put you in the center of eclectic shops, delicious dining options, and the wonder of the Hudson Valley. Start out with a stroll of Hudson’s charming and walkable Warren Street. There’s truly something for everyone with dozens of antique shops, jewelers, art galleries, and boutiques as well as breweries and restaurants like Wm. Farmers and Sons and Hudson Brewing Company. Just 10 minutes outside of town is the 250-acre Olana State Historic Site which is home to Hudson River School painter Frederic Church’s persian-inspired estate with unrivaled views of the Catskills and the Hudson Valley. If you’re visiting on a Saturday, take a gander at the fresh summer produce grown throughout the region at the Hudson Farmers Market or take a boat tour of the Hudson Athens Lighthouse, with tours running on select Saturdays throughout the summer. Looking to make Hudson a weekend adventure? The Rivertown Lodge, Hudson B&B, and The Amelia Hudson all make for great stays.

Fire Island (Long Island)

Fire Island

There won’t be a car horn in ear shot on this car-free beach paradise and LGBTQ+ haven just around two hours outside of New York City. Simply hop on the LIRR or into the car for about an hour-and-a-half to one of three ferry stops: Bay Shore, Sayville, or Patchogue. Then, just sit back, relax, and take in the sights on a majestic 30-minute boat ride over to Fire Island. Soak up the sun on five miles of white sandy beaches at Robert Moses State Park or the Fire Island National Seashore which can be accessed from the Patchogue ferry. Pay a visit to some of the island’s most popular destinations like the Fire Island Lighthouse or the Sunken Forest. Boardwalks are abundant, making it easy to explore the area by foot or bike rental, or if you’d rather hit the waters, try a kayak or canoe rental. Two of the country’s most LGBTQ-friendly neighborhoods also call Fire Island home, The Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove which can be reached by the Sayville ferry. Make this relaxing island your weekend getaway and book a night (or two) at the luxurious Palms Hotel or the Grove Hotel (21+), home to the famous Ice Palace Night Club

LEGOLAND® (Hudson Valley)

The entrance to LEGOLAND New YorkCredit: @chrissyschmittz on Instagram

The only thing you need to worry about is catching the hour-and-25-minute Coach USA bus ride straight to the largest LEGOLAND theme park in the world for your next weekend of ultimate fun. Climb, build, and adventure through seven different LEGO-themed lands spread over 150 acres with over 50 rides, shows, and attractions. Escape the summer heat and cool off at the Water Playground with awesome waterslides and a cascading splash. Keep the Bricktastic fun going at the LEGOLAND hotel with LEGO-themed rooms, kid-friendly accommodations, and a resort-style pool. Check out summer events like Summer Saturday Nights and the five-day Red, White, and Boom! July 4th celebration.

Saratoga Springs (Capital-Saratoga)

Five horses and jockeys race to the finished line at the Saratoga Race CourseCredit: on Instagram

While the three-hour-and-40-minute ride to Saratoga Springs might seem like a long journey, there aren’t any transfers, so you’ll be able to sit back, relax, and take in the sights as you travel north on Amtrak or Adirondack Trailways. This historic area is home to one of the nation’s oldest organized sporting venues, the Saratoga Race Track, where you can watch some of the world’s best thoroughbreds compete in races like the Travers Stakes (August 24) and the Belmont Stakes (June 8). Discover the beauty of the region at the 2,200-acre Saratoga Spa State Park. Explore seven miles of nature trails alongside mineral springs, journey through history at the Saratoga Automobile Museum or National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame, relax and unwind at Roosevelt Baths and Spa at the Gideon Putnam, or rock out to live music at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Don’t leave Saratoga without taking a stroll down Broadway. It’s voted one of the best main streets in the country by USA Today’s 10Best and filled with local shops, boutiques, and restaurants like Druthers Brewing Company with tasty bites and brews. With so much to do, plan to stay the night in the luxurious Gideon Putnam or the Saratoga Arms Hotel just steps away from all the fun.

Port Jefferson (Long Island)

Aerial view of the blue waters and town of Port JeffersonCredit: @davidomalley_captures on Instagram

An easy hour-and-50-minute train ride east on the LIRR will land you at this Long Island coastal gem. From the station, the town center is less than a 10-minute cab ride away. Take in beautiful views of the Long Island Sound from the Old Field Point Lighthouse or Harborfront Park, the latter hosting a lively summer concert series on Wednesdays from July - August. Immerse yourself in the area’s maritime history at the Maritime Explorium at Port Jeff Harbor or let the kids discover intriguing exhibits at the Long Island Explorium. Set sail on a family fishing adventure aboard an Osprey Fishing tour for a true seaside experience. Shop small “down port” at a medley of local businesses like the Pindar and Duck Walk Wine Outpost, Toast Coffee House, or specialty sweets and ice cream shop, Roger’s Frigate which has been a Port Jeff staple for over 30 years. Walk along the water from McAllister Park’s sandy beach or venture down one of the hiking trails. After an exciting day of adventure, unwind at the Danfords Hotel and Marina with gorgeous waterfront views.

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