25 Best Day Trips from New York City

If you’ve ever wondered about the best day trips from New York City (NYC), then you’re probably planning a trip to New York City, or live in New York City. There is so much to do in New York City, but there are times when you need to remove yourself from the hustle and bustle of city life. When that happens, you will want to take one of the many fabulous day trips from NYC.

There are so many day trips from New York City to choose from, so do not think you are going to be limited with your options. Instead, embrace all the different cities near New York City and the day trip ideas that come with them. When you do that, you will quickly discover that there are tons of road trips from NYC, as well as train trips from NYC that will transport you to amazing destinations you will fall in love with. You may even find yourself at some of the best beaches near NYC for those family-filled afternoons in the sand and the water.

25 Best Day Trips from New York City

1. Philadelphia, PA

One of the best day trips from NYC by train will take you to Philadelphia, PA. This city was the first capital city in the US, and it is filled with history and culture. You can spend hours walking around Philadelphia, while stopping at all the historical sites.

Philadelphia Art Museum - Best Day Trips from New York City
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

A few you must make sure are on your list include Benjamin Franklin’s grave, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the Reading Terminal Market. Oh, and if you have watched the Rocky Movies a million times, check out the stairs at the Philadelphia Art Museum. There is a Rocky Statue at the bottom of the seventy-two steps. This city is also the best place to devour a Philly cheesesteak, but you may need to eat a couple to find your all-time favorite.

2. Oyster Bay, NY

Four hundred nine acres of beautiful land is what you can explore when you take a day trip from New York City to Oyster Bay, NY. This land is part of the Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park. Your visit will include long walks along the paths and in the formal gardens. However, the best part of your trip will be the time you spend taking a tour of Coe Hall. This is a mansion that has a Tudor style and there are sixty-five rooms in all. During your tour, you will see the antique furniture that was owned by the Coe family, as well as the paintings they fell in love with and purchased. There are stained glass windows in this home, so pay close attention so you do not miss any of them.

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3. Providence, RI

Providence is a little further from NYC, but it is still a doable New York City day trip option. You can easily drive from New York City to Providence, but you may prefer the train if you do not love traffic.

RISD Museum - Best Day Trips from New York City
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

There are many attractions scattered throughout the downtown area, but you must plan your time wisely if you want to fit it all in. A couple must-see sites include the RISD Museum and Benefit Street.

4. The Catskills, NY

If you are looking for hiking trails near NYC, you may find exactly what you are looking for in the Catskills. This is one of the best fall day trips from NYC, because you can hike, see the leaves changing color, spend time out in nature, go apple picking, and so much more. This is also a prime spot for camping near New York City. If you happen to visit this area for a NYC day trip during the winter months of December through March, your attention will turn to skiing and snowboarding.

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5. Cape May, NJ

One of the best day trips from NYC by car is going to take you to Cape May, New Jersey. All you need to do is drive down the Garden State Parkway until you hit this gorgeous Jersey Shore town. This is a popular day trip from NYC with kids, because there are clean beaches that you can spend hours on.

Cape May, NJ - Best Day Trips from New York City

Of course, if you all get tired of the sand and water, you can always drive over to the National Historic Landmark District. This district is filled with colorful Victorian homes that look like they just came out of a storybook.

6. Mystic, CT

Mystic is a small village over in Eastern Connecticut and you can easily get there in a few hours from New York City. This is a NYC day trip you can do by car or train and you will want to choose carefully depending on the day of the week you are visiting. As you escape from NY, you will see how different village life is in Mystic. We prefer doing weekend trips from New York City to this area, because there is so much to do and see. You can easily walk around the village, eat pizza at Mystic Pizza, see the marine life at Mystic Aquarium, and explore the old boats at the Mystic Seaport. You can even do a little shopping at the boutiques and unique shops at Olde Mystick Village. If you take this day trip from NYC during September or October, you will discover this is the perfect apple picking location near NYC. Clyde’s Cider Mill is a must-visit, because you can watch them press apples for cider and even taste their homemade apple wine.

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7. Hartford, CT

Hartford is the capital city of the state of Connecticut and it is the perfect destination if you are looking for a day trip from New York City by train.

Mark Twain House - Best Day Trips from New York City

There are many historical attractions in this city, but the most popular one is the Mark Twain House and Museum. If you are tired of exploring history when you escape NYC, you can always choose to go to one of the multiple golf courses and play a round or two.

8. Hyde Park, NY

Hyde Park is filled with history, but there is so much more to this part of the state. Your day will be filled with trips to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s home, as well as the cottage of his wife. You can also plan a quick visit to the Vanderbilt Mansion. The best thing to do in Hyde Park though is visiting the Culinary Institute of America. The infamous cooking school is where many chefs begin their cooking career. You must make reservations for a guided tour of this school in advance of your visit. You should also make reservations to dine at one of the restaurants that are run by the students on campus.

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9. Fire Island, NY

If you are looking for a unique day trip from New York City by train, we recommend heading over to Fire Island. Your entire day can be spent lounging on the sand at Fire Island National Seashore. However, you can also walk around Robert Moses State Park if you want to stay active during your visit.

Fire Island, NY - Best Day Trips from New York City
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

If you only visit this island for a day trip, you won’t be able to take advantage of the extraordinary nightlife. But you may get an idea of how wonderful it is and plan a weekend getaway there for your next adventure.

10. Montauk, NY

Montauk is a city on the eastern end of Long Island, and it is one of the easier day trips from NYC by train. This is an amazing day trip from NYC with kids, because you can literally spend all day at one of the best beaches near NYC. When you are not swimming or surfing, you can hike through Montauk Point State Park and see the lighthouse that is two hundred years old. This is one of the best places to grab a meal that contains seafood, because locally caught seafood is used in every dish.

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11. Woodstock, NY

The Woodstock area in New York State has been quite popular for many years. It doesn’t really matter that the actual Woodstock event happened over in nearby Bethel either. This area is perfect for camping near New York City, but this road trip from NYC offers so much more.

Overlook Mountain - Best Day Trips from New York City
Credits: Paul VanDerWerf, Flickr CC BY 2.0

This area is also known for the hiking trails near NYC and we recommend hiking up Overlook Mountain for the picturesque views. You must walk along Tinker Street, which is the main street in Woodstock, before you leave. There are no chain stores in this little town, so you will have the opportunity to find many different unique gifts and souvenirs. Oh, and don’t worry, there is plenty of tie-dye to purchase to relive those Woodstock days.

12. The Poconos, PA

The Poconos is a fantastic day trip from New York City by car and it will take you approximately two hours to get there. On this New York City day trip, you will find that you can do so many different activities. There is a massive waterpark in this part of Pennsylvania and it is called Kalahari. You can spend the entire day there in the water. You can also go on long hikes, but the best hikes are over at Bushkill Falls, because they lead you to the many waterfalls in the area. The Pocono Snake and Animal Farm is an option if you love animals and interacting with them, while the rapids of the nearby river are waiting for those who are looking for an extreme adventure.

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13. Bear Mountain State Park, NY

Bear Mountain State Park is only an hour from NYC, so it is the perfect option for a 1-day trip from New York City. This park contains more than five thousand acres, as well as Dunderburg Mountain, West Mountain, and Bear Mountain.

Bear Mountain State Park, NY
Credits: Jason, Flickr CC BY 2.0

The must-see items on your list for this NYC day trip include the Perkins Memorial Tower, the Trailside Museums and Zoo, and the merry-go-round. During the winter months, this should be your go-to area for ice skating, sledding, and skiing.

14. Sleepy Hollow, NY

When you hear the words Sleepy Hollow, visions of the Headless Horseman probably come to mind. This spooky village is only thirty miles from New York City, so it is a perfect option when you are looking for day trips from NYC by car. One of the first things you should do during your visit is tour Kykuit, which is a Rockefeller mansion. In addition to the rooms inside the mansion, there are underground galleries filled with Picasso art, gardens filled with sculptures, and a garage filled with carriages and vintage cars. The cemetery at Old Dutch Church should always be next, followed by Washington Irving’s Lyndhurst.

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15. Beacon, NY

Beacon is a charming city that is known for the arts and the food that is served. This is one of the amazing train trips from NYC and you can easily walk from the train station to the modern art museum called Dia:Beacon.

Dia Beacon - Best Day Trips from New York City
Credits: 1000zen, Flickr CC BY 2.0

After a full day of seeing the sights, you must stop for a tasting of liquor at the Dennings Point Distillery. You can try everything from bourbon, whiskey, vodka, and gin, so take your pick or give them all a taste.

16. Cold Spring, NY

Cold Spring is a village that is only fifty miles from Manhattan, so it is a wonderful day trip by car from New York City. Main Street in this village is lined with antique stores, boutiques, and restaurants. However, you may spot the babbling brook that runs right through the village first. While you can stay busy with kayaking, paddleboarding, and waterskiing during your visit, you can also simply stroll through the gardens at the riverside park. This is an excellent option for fall day trips from NYC, because you can see the changing colors of the leaves and experience the ambiance of the season.

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17. Atlantic City, NJ

Atlantic City has long been known for the gambling that has gone on in the casinos for decades now. However, there is so much more to this area that you will fall in love with if you simply take a chance and go there for your next New York City day trip! You can easily spend all day wandering along the boardwalk, while stopping in stores and eating saltwater taffy.

Atlantic City, NJ - Best Day Trips from New York City

The Absecon Lighthouse is on the beach and it is the tallest lighthouse in the state. You can choose to walk up the two hundred twenty-eight steps to the top of the lighthouse to see the magnificent views. We recommend planning your day trip to NYC for when the annual Atlantic City Airshow takes place. Yes, it will be extremely crowded, but the experience will be worth every minute.

18. Central Valley, NY

Central Valley is the day trip destination many people choose when they want to go shopping. The Woodbury Common Premium Outlets are located in this area and it is a phenomenal location for purchasing designer clothing at bargain prices. The Sugar Loaf Art and Craft Village is not too far away from the outlets and that is an artisan boutique that will capture your attention quickly as well.

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19. Kerhonkson, NY

This is one of the more natural spots near NYC that is perfect for day trips. We recommend spending the entire day within the twenty-two thousand acres of Minnewaska State Park Preserve.

Kerhonkson, NY
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

There are fifty miles of hiking trails there, as well as old carriage roads you can ride mountain bikes along. If you plan your visit for June, July, or August, you can easily jump into Lake Awosting or Lake Minnewaska for a swim.

20. Cornwall, NY

One of the best car trips from New York City will take you to Cornwall, NY. You will want to begin your day trip memories over at the Storm King Art Center. There are massive sculptures installed there and they were created by more than one hundred different artists. We recommend taking a guided tour of this area first and then wandering off on your own to see things from different vantage points. Before you leave to return to NYC, you should stop at Cornwall-on-Hudson. This is a riverfront village and you must eat at Painter’s, which is a restaurant and art gallery all in one.

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21. Washington DC

Washington DC must be one of the day trips from NYC by train that you consider, due to the distance between the two cities. You will want to leave extremely early if you only want to spend one day there, because the train ride is three and a half hours one way. You can spend your day walking around the National Mall, seeing the monuments and memorials, exploring the museums, or going to the zoo and botanical garden.

Washington DC - Best Day Trips from New York City

Your day will be full and long and you most likely won’t cross everything off your list of things to do. You will want to catch the latest train back to NYC as possible, so you have more time to do what you want. The good news is you can easily sleep the entire trip home. If this doesn’t seem like a pleasant experience for you, or the time just seems too short, then you might want to consider adding this to your weekend trips from New York City list.

22. Long Valley, NJ

One of the best fall day trips from NYC is heading out to Long Valley. This is a wonderful destination for horseback riding, apple picking, pumpkin picking, and simply enjoying the great outdoors. Over at Willow Grove Farms, you can take a horse drawn wagon ride, while it is all about the cheese over at Valley Shepherd Creamery.

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23. Newport, RI

Newport is a coastal town in Rhode Island, and it is one of the top day trips from NYC. It is best to do this day trip from New York City via train to save you some time.

Rose Cliff - Best Day Trips from New York City
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Once you are in this city, you can spend some time at the Breakers, Rose Cliff, and Chepstow. You must take the Cliff Walk for the stunning views at sunset. There are a few music festivals held in Newport, but the two popular ones are the Folk Music Festival and the Jazz Festival.

24. Saratoga Springs, NY

Saratoga Springs, NY is a little closer to New York City than Lake George, so it is a better option if you do not want to drive as far. The best time to visit this city is during the months of July and August. This is when horse racing takes place and the entire city comes to life. You can also attend music concerts, ballet performances, orchestra performances, and the Jazz Festival at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. The fall season in this part of the state brings apple picking, cider donuts, and corn mazes. While there are no mountains directly in Saratoga Springs, you can easily go cross country skiing in the state park.

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25. Lake George, NY

The best time to take a day trip from NYC to Lake George, NY is during the months of June, July, and August. The weather is nice and everything in this charming village is open. You can easily wander around the streets and do a little shopping at the local stores.

Lake George, NY - Best Day Trips from New York City
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

However, you may prefer to spend your day at Million Dollar Beach or taking a boat ride out on the lake. You can even do a little water skiing or parasailing to gain views of this area from different vantage points. If you happen to do a fall day trip from NYC, there are plenty of hiking trails to conquer during your visit. A couple of the popular ones in the Lake George area include Sleeping Beauty, Pilot Knob, and Prospect Mountain. The winter months in this town are perfect if you want to get a little skiing in on the nearby mountains.

If you are looking for weekend trips from New York City instead, you must consider adding trips to Niagara Falls from New York to your list. The drive to Niagara Falls will take you a good amount of time, but once you arrive and hear the rushing falls, you will quickly realize you have found your weekend paradise.

These are the best day trips from New York City, but there are many other day trip options from NYC you can consider as well. A few of the New York day trips might be a little further away than others, but they will still be worth the experiences you have when you arrive at them all. So, if you are ready to escape from NY, start planning your next day trip from New York City today!

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