The author, Niamh Hayes standing on top of a rock at Harriman State Park, one of the day trips from NYC

21 Best Day Trips from NYC in 2023 (By a Local)

There are so many things to do in NYC, but sometimes you need a break from the city that never sleeps. In this list, we’ll explore my picks for the 21 best day trips from NYC.

As a New York local, I spent my childhood traveling around the state and visiting many small towns close to NYC. From scenic hiking trails to local breweries, I’ve crafted a summary of the best NYC day trips – including popular spots but also hidden gems that often go overlooked. 

Let’s dive in: 

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Best Day Trips from New York City


A hidden gem full of history, waterfront dining, and stunning views of the Hudson River. 

The River Rose Cruise boat on the water
The River Rose Cruise boat docked on the Hudson River (photo: Liz Van Steenburgh / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 1.5 hours | 📍 Google Maps

Newburgh is a historical town just a short trip north of NYC. Here, you’ll find many fun things to do.

Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site is a must-visit for history lovers. Previously the headquarters of the nation’s first President during the Revolutionary War, the site is now converted into a museum. 

For a more relaxing day, Downing Park is a 35-acre landmark that’s part of the City’s East End Historic District. The summer hosts tons of concerts and events, while the winter offers ice skating and sledding.

Be sure to visit the stunning Newburgh Waterfront. Enjoy a selection of fantastic restaurants, such as the highly-rated Hudson Taco. Enjoy a bike ride along the river. Or get out on the water with boating, fishing, and sightseeing cruise boats for the whole family.


This stunning town in the Hudson Valley is renowned for apple picking, wineries, and a lively downtown featuring boutiques and restaurants. 

View from the Pennings Farm in Warwick
Pennings View from the Hill

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 1 hour, 43 minutes| 📍 Google Maps

Warwick is located less than two hours from New York City. The town offers picturesque mountain views and a guaranteed day of family fun. 

Warwick’s Main Street features popular restaurants like Eddie’s Roadhouse American eatery and Opa! Greek Grill, as well as historic sites and local vintage shops like the Reclaimed Consignment Boutique. For a drink, check out Baird’s Tavern, a unique historical tavern with a fascinating history. 

On the outskirts of Warwick, you can visit one of the wineries or breweries offering local wine and spirits. Pennings Farm is especially exceptional. 

On your way back to New York City, stop at Bellvale Farms Creamery, a 200-year-old dairy farm that serves up some of the best-ranked ice cream in the United States, according to TripAdvisor!

The best time of year to visit Warwick is the fall when apple-picking season is in full effect.

🛎️ Looking for a movie? The Warwick Drive-In has gorgeous surrounding views while you enjoy the big screen. Open since 1950, the outdoor theater is the perfect place to enjoy a summer night.


An underrated town full of charm and history, that makes for a unique NYC day trip.

Overlooking view of a railway in Washingtonville during autumn season
Autumn leaves surround a train near Washingtonville

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 1 hour, 44 minutes | 📍 Google Maps

Washingtonville is an upstate town that might fly under the radar, but is worth a day trip from New York City. The national historic landmark district in Washingtonville was first settled in 1731. America’s oldest winery, Brotherhood, was established here in 1839.

Brotherhood Winery is a perfect day trip from NYC for adults looking for wine tasting and a tour of the stunning grounds. The winery hosts many events and live music for guests. Oh, and the wine’s made with 100% New York-sourced grapes from family farms.

West Point

Come and enjoy this former Revolutionary War fortress to experience tradition, good food, and even better views. 

Overlooking view of the Hudson River from West Point
View of the Hudson River from the Overlook at West Point

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 1 hour, 36 minutes| 📍 Google Maps | Visit West Point Website

West Point, home to the United States Military Academy, makes for the ideal NYC day trip for anyone interested in military history.

West Point’s famous grounds host an 18-hole golf course, the country’s oldest federal museum, guided tours, and seasonal Army football games.

For true history buffs, the West Point Foundry Preserve is a 97-acre site transformed into an outdoor museum open year-round. Explore the many ruins and waterfalls mixed in with abandoned buildings. 

West Point is also just a 15 minute drive from Bear Mountain State Park, the next entry on this list of the best day trips from New York City. 

Bear Mountain State Park

Located in the lower Hudson Valley, this 5,205-acre destination is full of activities for every season. 

Aerial view of Bear Mountain State Park during fall season
Fall foliage at Bear Mountain State Park

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 59 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Bear Mountain State Park Website

Bear Mountain State Park is located an hour from New York City, and is perfect for families and nature lovers. The rugged mountains feature fishing access, hiking, cross country skiing, and trails for biking.

If you’re up for a moderate hike, the 5.2-mile Popolopen Torne Loop is popular and well worth it for the stunning views. 

I also recommend Iona Island Bird Sanctuary for wildlife spotting. 

Bear Mountain State Park offers a swimming pool, picnic tables, and a large play field for year-round fun. The Perkins Memorial Tower sports breathtaking views of the Hudson Highlands to Harriman State Park, and is open seasonally from April to November. 

Finally, the Trailside Museums & Zoo is a great option if you’re doing your NYC day trip with kids.

Closure Notice: As of late summer 2023, Bear Mountain State Park is temporarily closed due to flooding. Check the park’s site for updates.


A charming town with a rich culture in the arts that offers a peaceful getaway from the Big Apple. 

People enjoying their view from the riverfront of Nyack Beach State Park
Riverfront view at Nyack Beach State Park (photo: quiggyt4 / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 1 hour, 4 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Visit Nyack Website

Nyack is a Rockland County village full of rich history, located less than an hour from Manhattan. Nyack makes for one of the best family-friendly day trips from New York. 

Nyack Beach State Park has some of the best hawk and raptor watching in the United States. The park also offers hiking and biking trails, fishing, picnicking spots, and cross-country skiing.

Downtown Nyack has a great small town vibe. Enjoy plenty of cafes and restaurants, unique art galleries, and antique shops 25 miles North of New York City. Memorial Park is 11 acres packed with a playground, climbing wall and net, and a skateboard park for the kids. To top it off, you’ll get a stunning view of the Hudson River!

👉 Read Next: Best Hiking Trails in New York

Rockaway Beach

Enjoy a peaceful day or family-friendly fun at this 170-acre beach heaven, featuring a 5.5 mile boardwalk!

Blue sky over the sand in Rockaway Beach
Rockaway Beach, Queens, NY

🗺️ Distance from New York City : 49 minutes  | 📍 Google Maps | Rockaway Beach Website

Rockaway Beach is a popular summer hotspot and one of the best NYC day trips for ocean views. Easily accessible by subway, this urban beach haven has plenty to offer. Enjoy surf lessons, jet skiing, biking, shopping, and a 5.5-mile-long boardwalk with plenty of bars and restaurants.

Jacob Riis Park is on the southwestern end of the peninsula and has a 90-year-old Art Deco bathhouse, golf course, and ball courts. For the explorers, check out the abandoned hospital and buildings! 

Bayswater Park has many events like the Rockaway Fall Festival. Here, you’ll experience fun and relaxation at the same time.

For adults interested in a unique way to get from NYC to Rockaway Beach, check out this Rockaway Beach party bus tour

Minnewaska State Park

This state park on the Shawangunk Mountain ridge will take your breath away with picturesque lakes, waterfalls, and forestry. 

View of a lake at the Minnewaska State Park during autumn season
Autumn season in Minnewaska, New York

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 2 hours, 8 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Minnewaska State Park Website 

Here’s a personal take – Minnewaska State Park is one of the best state parks in New York State

Minnewaska State Park Preserve is 22,275 acres of outdoor adventure in Ulster County, two hours from the city. Some of the most popular things to do are hiking, biking, swimming, rock climbing, horseback riding, picnicking, and boating. 

The nature trails are full of stunning scenery, from waterfalls to hardwood forests that amplify the rugged, rocky terrain. Sam’s Point Preserve is at the southernmost end, with white cliffs, and ice caves. Avid hikers should check out Verkeerderkill Falls Trailhead. 

Only a twelve minute drive away, New Paltz is full of great local restaurants to end the perfect family day trip from New York City. 

Storm King Art Center

Spend the day combining art and nature at this unique outdoor museum. 

Blue sky over a sculpture in Storm King Art Center
One of the many sculpture pieces on the grounds

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 1 hour, 36 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Storm King Art Center Website

Storm King Art Center in New Windsor makes for the perfect NYC day trip for families and art lovers. The 500-acre open-air art museum features large-scale art installations surrounded by mountains on an open field. 

With over 100 sculptures, expect to do a ton of walking! The incredible pieces are made of material ranging from iron to steel. There’s also a cute outdoor café on the property when you feel like you need a break. 

Just a ten minute drive away, I recommend checking out nearby Storm King Mountain for a hike. The views of the surrounding Hudson Valley will make it worth the trek! 


This mini Napa Valley is the perfect getaway with oceanfront views and delicious waterfront dining options in Long Island.  

Bottle of wines and souvenirs displayed in Rose Hill Vineyards
Rosehill Vineyards in Mattituck, a few minute’s drive north of Greenport

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 2 hours, 27 minutes| 📍 Google Maps

Greenport is a quaint fishing village on the North Fork of Long Island, just a few hours drive from the city. You can spend the day exploring or visiting one of the 40+ wineries in the Greenport area. 

Greenport is situated on Long Island’s North Fork, which is renowned for its wineries, beaches, and farms. I recommend Kontokosta Winery, which has exceptional views of the Long Island Sound on the 62-acre farm. Note there is a $5 entrance fee. If you prefer to winery hop, you can take this popular Long Island winery tour.

Downtown Greenport Village is great for families. Downtown has a carousel, ice skating rink, local shops, and the East End Seaport Museum. There’s no shortage of fantastic waterfront restaurants in this Long Island wine country. I recommend Little Creek Oyster Farm & Market for seafood fanatics!

For more inspiration, check out Travel Lemming’s guide to what to do in Long Island.


This famous town in Ulster County, New York, is an artist’s dream surrounded by mountainous beauty. 

Colorful staircase on an antique store in Woodstock
An antique store in Woodstock, NY (photo: James Kirkikis / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 2 hours, 17 minutes| 📍 Google Maps | 👉 Woodstock NY Rock and Roll Tour

This two-hour drive from NYC to Woodstock will be worth it for this famous New York town in the Catskills. Woodstock is the perfect New York town for art and music lovers, offering plenty of shopping and food on Main Street.

The Opus 40 Sculpture Park features an abandoned quarry-turned-6.5-acre stone sculpture. Take a stroll through Tinker Street to enjoy food, art, and music during live events. 

The Catskill Mountains offer breathtaking views, hiking trails, and lookout points. Overlook Mountain Trail is the most popular hike and has stellar views of the area from the summit. 


A hidden gem in the Catskill Mountains offering family-friendly activities. 

View of store signages at the East Market Street in Rhinebeck
East Market Street in Rhinebeck, NY (photo: Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 2 hours,  9 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Enjoy Rhinebeck Website

Rhinebeck is a hidden gem in Dutchess County and an underrated NYC day trip. Located two hours away from city life, this small town has activities for the whole family.

Ferncliff Forest is a 12-mile nature preserve open year-round and is great for easy hiking. The 80-foot observation tower has incredible views. Look out at the Hudson River, Catskill Mountains, and the nearby Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge.

Downtown Rhinebeck has museums, performing arts, galleries, and restaurants. This town packs a punch, and deserves more recognition as one of the best day trips from NYC!

Greenwood Lake

Small-town charm and lakeside fun combine for the perfect family-friendly NYC day trip. 

View from the Greenwood Lake before night time
An evening on the water

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 1 hour, 37 minutes| 📍 Google Maps

Greenwood Lake is a small village in New York’s bustling Hudson Valley, just over an hour from New York City. The town’s main attraction is Greenwood Lake, one of the best lakes in New York State, stretching 9 miles long across the New York-New Jersey border.

Greenwood Lake is perfect for kayaking, paddle boarding, boating, and fishing. In the winter, the frozen lake offers ice skating and snowmobiling. 

The village offers a great selection of restaurants. The Helm is a personal favorite, with a clear view of the water and even a pirate ship!


This town’s incredible Main Street is full of culture, art, and festivities suitable for all age groups.  

The Bannerman Castle ruins from the outside
The ruins of Bannerman Castle

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 1 hour, 45 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Beacon Website

A visit to the town of Beacon is one of the best day trips from NYC. Full of rich history, enjoy the galleries, parks, theaters, and farm-to-table restaurants.

Well known for its natural beauty, take in the surrounding nature with views of the Hudson River and wander the famed Mount Beacon Park. Tour the ruins of Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island or hang out on the riverside at Long Dock Park. 

Beacon Main Street has great food, live music, boutiques, and art galleries. Dia Beacon is a fantastic contemporary art museum close to the train station. A stone’s throw away, Newburgh has plenty of fine dining on the Hudson River. 


The county seat of Orange County, Goshen is a hidden gem combining New York charm and old-world history. 

View of the Legoland at Goshen in New York
Legoland in Goshen, NY (photo: Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 1 hour, 46 minutes | 📍 Google Maps

Goshen in the Hudson Valley is a noteworthy trip from NYC for some small town charm. An hour’s drive north of the city, the 1700s town has a farm, beer, and wine tours, and a bird watching sanctuary for kids and adults to enjoy. 

I highly recommend visiting The Historic Race Track, the oldest continuously operating horse race track in North America and a National Historic Landmark. For children, Legoland New York Resort offers rides, attractions, and interactive studios. 

Goshen’s downtown area has plenty of great dining options. Outside of town, Soons Orchard in New Hampton has incredible farm-to-table food. The tap room offers local cider brews from nearby distilleries. 

Cold Spring

This Putnam County town has scenic views, gardens, art, and adventure for a perfect day trip from New York City. 

View of the entrance to The Pig Hill Inn Restaurant and B&B on Main Street in Cold Spring
Main Street on a beautiful fall day in Cold Spring, NY (photo: Rabbitti / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 1 hour, 31 minutes | 📍 Google Maps

Cold Spring is 60 miles north of NYC and is accessible by taking the Hudson Line from Grand Central Terminal, making it one of the best NYC day trips without a car. 

Hudson Highlands State Park features 70 miles of trails, river views, and fishing. The Magazzino Italian Art Center is perfect for history lovers, showcasing post-war Italian Art. The central downtown has a collection of antique shops and a wonderful selection of restaurants.

Stonecrop Gardens is open seasonally and has 15 acres of diverse plants and gardens. It makes for a relaxing kid-friendly activity in Cold Spring,

New Paltz

Founded in 1678 by French Huguenot settlers, day trippers can enjoy picturesque views of the Hudson Valley.

View of sunset on a street in downtown New Paltz
Evening sunset from downtown New Paltz

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 1 hour, 58 minutes | 📍 Google Maps

New Paltz is a college town with a rich history, located 90 minutes north of New York City. With attractions including museums, a sculpture garden, and great food, New Paltz is on the list of best things to do in the Hudson Valley

A visit to the Historic Huguenot Street is a must, with seven historic stone-house museums and a 1717 French Church on ten sprawling acres. Mohonk Preserve is a ten-minute drive, with 70 miles of carriage roads and trails. 

I also recommend a walk through the Nyquist-Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary. 

Sleepy Hollow

Check out the haunting town that Washington Irving famed, and take in the beauty of the Hudson Valley. 

The author, Niamh Hayes with her friends at the Headless Horseman Attraction
Me with friends at the Headless Horseman Attraction

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 1 hour| 📍 Google Maps | Visit Sleepy Hollow Website

Sleepy Hollow is a great town for families and those who enjoy history, fun, and spooky mystique in the fall! Take the metro north from Grand Central Station to this Westchester County town a short 25 miles north of the city. 

Visit the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to find famous burial sites and walk across the Headless Horseman Bridge. Check out the historic Philipsburg Manor, and have dinner at the Bridge View Tavern for views of the Hudson River to end the day trip. 

Princeton, New Jersey

Experience the nation’s former capital city and historical adventure for the whole family!

People wandering at the Witherspoon Street
Tudors Style building on Witherspoon Street (photo: Benjamin Clapp / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 1 hour, 36 minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Princeton Website

Princeton, New Jersey, is more than just an intellectual town home to a famous university. This unique New Jersey town is also one of the best day trips from New York City. 

Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park spans 77 miles and is perfect for nature lovers. 

History fanatics should check out the Princeton Battle Monument, Nassau Hall, and the Morven Museum & Garden. Carnegie Lake is a breathtaking reservoir on the Millstone River, a 15 minute drive away. 

Vernon, New Jersey

A day trip for skiing, hiking, and adventure with stunning New Jersey mountains to take your breath away!

People enjoying skiing at Mountain Creek
Mountain Creek

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 1 hour, 34 minutes | 📍 Google Maps

Vernon, NJ, is 60 miles northwest of NYC and great for family fun with plenty of things to do in all seasons. Mountain Creek Resort has a waterpark during the summer and converts into a ski resort for the winter. 

Outside of amusement park fun, the Stairway to Heaven Trail is a 2.6-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail. 

For couples seeking a romantic getaway, I can’t recommend Elements Spa at Minerals Hotel enough!

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Visit Pennsylvania’s largest city for history, food, and rich culture. 

The Independence Hall from the outside in Philadelphia
Independence Hall

🗺️ Distance from New York City: 2 hours, 29  minutes | 📍 Google Maps | Visit Philadelphia Website | Best Places to Stay in Philly | 👉 Washington DC and Philadelphia Day in One Day from NYC 

Philadelphia is just a few hours away from NYC but offers a unique mix of history and a fast-paced city feel distinct from the Big Apple.

There are so many fun things to do in Philadelphia for all ages. From the great Independence Hall to the Philadelphia Museum, explore the city where the Founding Fathers adopted the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. 

See the Liberty Bell, an iconic symbol of American independence, to complete your NYC day trip. Don’t forget to grab a cheesesteak at Pat’s or Geno’s, and see the Rocky Statue in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art! 

FAQs About New York City Day Trips

What are the best day trips from NYC?

The best day trips from NYC include Newburgh for history, New Paltz for the arts, Bear Mountain for nature, Greenwood Lake for swimming, and Long Island for wineries. 

What are good destinations within 2 hours of NYC?

Good destinations within 2 hours of NYC include Governors Island, which is accessible by ferry, and Brooklyn Botanical Garden and Rockaway Beach, both accessible from NYC via train. 

What are good day trips from NYC for families?

Good day trips from NYC for families include Warwick, Beacon, and Bear Mountain State Park. New Paltz is another great NYC day trip for families who enjoy the arts.

What are good NYC day trips in winter? 

Good NYC day trips in the winter are Vernon, NJ, and Bear Mountain State Park for skiing. Greenwood Lake has activities during the winter when the lake freezes. Atlantic City is a good option for casinos. Long Island has many wineries offering winter hours.


I hope this guide inspired you to find the best day trips from NYC for your trip. Next up, check out our guide to the best places to stay in NYC.

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