With everything New York City offers, most visitors and locals never really venture outside the city.
Even though we encourage you to explore every single corner of NYC with your family, there are a ton of fabulous destinations just a stone’s throw away from Manhattan that are worth checking out as well.
Thanks to the many transportation options available, planning a day trip from the city is a super easy feat, making day-tripping away from the Big Apple an absolute breeze.
From spooky towns filled with legends to verdant state parks and picture-perfect historic villages, here are some of the best day trips from New York City you’ve got to start planning right away!
9 Incredible Day Trips from New York City
1. Sleepy Hollow, NY
Distance from NYC: 32 miles ~ via I-87
Yep, the town of Sleepy Hollow is real, and it makes for a perfect day trip if you’re into all things spooky!
Sleepy Hollow was originally put on the map due to its farming and milling activities, but today, it’s a popular getaway for fans of Washington Irving’s infamous novel.
You can check out the main attraction of the town, the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery any time of the year, but we highly recommend visiting during the month of October, when the entire town becomes a Halloween wonderland with festivities, live music, decoration, and haunted hayrides bringing life to the setting of the Headless Horseman!
2. Cold Spring, NY
Distance from NYC: 61 miles ~ via Palisades Interstate Parkway
Dreaming of lovely riverside cafes, sidewalk restaurants, and historic eye candy? Cold Spring’s got your back!
Deemed the best-preserved 19th-century town in the Hudson Valley, Cold Spring is a delightful getaway from the city if picture-perfect settings are what you’re after.
While strolling its colorful downtown, you’ll stumble across antique shops, cozy sidewalk coffee shops, riverfront restaurants, and boutique shops selling all sorts of local goodies.
If you’d also like to spend time practicing outdoor activities, Cold Spring also offers a ton of that, with lots of hiking and biking trails available in the outskirts of town. Moreover, watersports are a huge thing here, with canoeing, boating, paddleboarding, and kayaking on the river being favorite activities for locals and visitors alike.
3. Storm King Art Center
Distance from NYC: 62 miles ~ via NJ-17
A truly extraordinary 500-acre outdoor museum situated just an hour and a half north of Manhattan, it’s a bucket list destination for most New Yorkers and visitors to New York state alike. Witness over 100 artwork installations, surrounded by the Storm King and Schunnemunk mountains.
Once on the grounds of Storm King, you can walk at your own pace around the rolling meadows and woodlands, or settle in for a tram ride and audio tour. Children’s interactive booklets make it a fun day out for the whole family with picnicking on the grounds a top priority for this perfect day trip from New York.
4. Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park
Distance from NYC: 63 miles ~ via Taconic State Parkway
If it’s a brilliant nature escape from the big smoke you’re after, Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park won’t disappoint. Boasting over 100 miles of hiking trails to choose from, many intersect with the Appalachian Trail, giving hikers a little taste of this famous journey.
The 14,000-acre park is most beautiful when in full fall colors, but winter can also bring opportunities to cross country ski and snowshoe at the Fahnestock Winter Park.
5. Beacon, NY
Distance from NYC: 73 miles – via I-87
Beacon, NY is a synonym of a great foodie scene, mouth-watering cocktails, and art. Located in the lush Hudson countryside, this picturesque city is located less than two hours away from Manhattan and makes for a perfect day trip to escape the bustle and hustle of the city while still having city comforts available.
The main thing to do at Beacon is strolling through its Victorian-era buildings, most of which have now been upscaled into local art galleries, trendy restaurants, and adorable coffee shops!
Visit in early May if you want to experience the annual Cupcake Festival, but your littles won’t be disappointed year-round with the culinary scene also offering copious donuts and ice creams! Walk it all off at Long Dock Park, or even rent a paddleboard of kayak and get out on the Hudson in the warmer months.
6. Mohonk Preserve, NY
Distance from NYC: 90 miles ~ Via I-87
If a day spent riding horses sounds like your idea of a perfect getaway, there’s no better place to do it than at Mohonk Preserve. Located only 90 miles away from the city, Mohonk boasts more than 8,000 acres of forests featuring designated roads for equestrian activities.
Moreover, Mohonk is also a prime destination close to the city for hiking, biking, and rock climbing, making it a perfect day trip for those eager to spend a day breathing a dose of fresh air and enjoying the outdoors.
7. Philadelphia, PA
Distance from NYC: 95 miles ~ via I-95
Even though Philly may be located in an entirely different state, it’s still close enough to New York City that it makes for a perfect day trip! Despite the fact that they’re both major cities located just an hour and a half away by train from each other, Philadelphia and New York ooze two completely different atmospheres.
Philadelphia is all about that small-town feeling, with plenty of chic restaurants, trendy art galleries, and lots of boutique-style cafes and shops.
A must during your visit is strolling the Old City District, which is a small section in Philly’s downtown where you’ll find history galore, including several important landmarks like the Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, the Betsy Roth House, the Museum of the American Revolution, and Congress Hall.
8. Woodstock, NY
Distance from NYC: 108 miles ~ via I-87
Nope, the famous 1969 festival wasn’t actually held at this hippy-style locale, but in a town two hours away named Bethel. Despite this fact, though, Woodstock, NY brims with the festival’s atmosphere, with tons of retired hippies and artists now calling it their home.
A visit to Woodstock is all about simple living, with tons of delicious organic food on offer, locally-owned shops selling all sorts of handmade trinkets to bring back home, and nature spread all over.
9. Cooperstown, NY
Distance from NYC: 195 miles ~ via I-87
Love baseball? Cooperstown is home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and this town has pretty much become the go-to in order to dive deep into the history and present of America’s national sport.
During your visit, the main attraction for all things baseball is, of course, the museum, where you’ll get to spend hours browsing through collections of memorabilia that tell the story of this amazing sport.
If you’re not exactly a baseball fan, Cooperstown’s got a ton more to offer, including several entertainment options and museums worth checking out (Fenimore Art Museum is a wonderful spot for all things folk and Native American art).
Moreover, Glimmerglass State Park is located right outside the city, which makes for a great day spent out in the outdoors
10. Waterdrinker Farm, Long Island
Distance from NYC: 67 miles ~ via I-495
A family road trip to Long Island is just what the doctor ordered! There’s no better way to escape for a day or weekend away from the big smoke than visiting Long Island.
Waterdrink Family Farm and Gardens in Manorville always has something happening for families to enjoy. Spring brings lavender fields followed by the colorful array of the Tulip festive; Roll into summer to experience the magnificent Sunflower Festival, followed by a Fall Festival and Winter Wonderland.
A full day’s experience can be enjoyed with the new Long Island Farm Brewery set up in an old potato barn on the farm, and endless hay rides to tractor toys, obstacle courses and farm animal interactions for the little ones.
It’s an easy drive (weekend traffic dependent)
We hope you’ve found some inspiration to get behind the wheel, or even hop on a train to enjoy some of these easy but incredible day trips from NYC!
More New York Road Tripping Tips & Inspiration
- For more east coast driving inspiration, check out our favorite scenic drives in New York, or why not visit one of these unique destinations in New York state?
- Further afield, here’s what you can enjoy on a complete road trip from New York to Bar Habor, Maine, or head south on this fabulous road trip from New York to Florida.
- Always check driving conditions before you hit the road in New York, 511ny.org is your best source for up to date traffic information across the state.
- Whether it’s just a day trip or a longer journey with your family, never forget an important road trip item again with our road trip essentials checklist.
© Family Road Trip