Day trips from New York City
[ Insider Tips ]

7 Day Trips from New York City Worth the Drive

As much as I love the city, I get it. Sometimes the noise, rush, and concrete gets to be too much. When you need to escape, why not go on one of these quick day trips from New York City?

With NYC’s prime location, you can access everything from the beach to historic towns in a matter of a few hours or less via car, train, bus, or ferry. These seven day trips from New York City combine an easy commute with an exciting destination and activities for a memorable visit.

Bushkill Falls in the Poconos Mountains
Bushkill Falls in the Poconos Mountains

1. The Poconos

Distance from NYC: 2 hours by car

If you’ve ever spent an extended period of time in the New England or Tri-State area, chances are you’ve heard someone talk about going to the Poconos for the day or weekend.

Thanks to the natural beauty of the area, the Poconos Mountains offer visitors a year-round escape from the hustle of NYC. The area is especially appealing to those who love exploring the great outdoors. Top outdoor activities in the Poconos include:

  • Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
  • Pocono TreeVentures
  • Bushkill Falls
  • Shawnee Mountain Ski Area
  • Hickory Run State Park
  • Camelback Mountain Resort

Plus, if you’re into history or museums, the Poconos’ have that too. Take a day to discover more at the Asa Packer Mansion, No. 9 Coal Mine & Museum, and Pocono Indian Museum.

The Poconos is easily accessible by car and offers visitors a wealth of resorts and accommodations to choose from, if you elect to stay for more than a day.

The Fire Island Light Station at dawn
Don Fick [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

2. Fire Island, LI

Distance from NYC: 1 hour and 30 minutes via the Long Island Railroad and Sayville ferry.

Sometimes all you need to cure your city blues is a day at the beach. Fire Island is located off the southern shore of Long Island and is only accessible via ferry. To access the island, start at New York’s Penn Station and take the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) to the Sayville station. From here, take a taxi or ride-share to the ferry terminal.

In fact, you cannot drive on the island. These car-free communities offer an abundance of nightlife, restaurants, and of course, beachside paradises to walk and/or bike to.

Some of the top things to do and destinations on the island include:

  • Robert Moses State Park
  • Smith Point County Park
  • Fire Island Lighthouse
  • Sailors Haven
  • The Sunken Forest Boardwalk
Atlantic City Beach at sunset
Bruce Emmerling [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

3. Atlantic City, New Jersey

Distance from NYC:  2 hours by car

Although Atlantic City is known for its casino scene, the seaside city also offers a variety of fun for families traveling from NYC.

Parents and kids will love the abundance of family-friendly attractions including:

  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
  • Atlantic City Boardwalk
  • Steel Pier Amusement Park
  • Atlantic City Aquarium
  • Central Pier Arcade

Of course, if you’re not visiting with kids, Atlantic City is home to an abundance of adults-only fun. No matter which casino you choose to stay and play at, you’ll experience top games, entertainment, shopping, and of course, dining.

And, if you’re in search of beachside day trips from New York City, Atlantic City can help with that, too. Grab your bathing suit, towel, a good book, and soak up the sun at Atlantic City Beach.

Philadelphia's cityscape along the river
Philadelphia, PA

4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Distance from NYC: 1 hour and 30 minutes by train.

From historic sites to delectable Philly cheese steaks, there are hundreds of reasons to take a day trip to Philadelphia. And with a quick 1.5-hour train ride from Penn Station, you can be there and home in the matter of a day.

Those who are self-proclaimed history buffs will love Philadelphia’s wealth of historic landmarks, buildings, and stories. Among the top visited sites in the city are the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Old City. If you have time, sign up for a history tour of the area to learn more about our nation, the notable figures, and each site along the way.

If you’re not big into history, there’s still plenty in Philly for you to enjoy (besides the delicious food.) Some of the top things to do in the city include:

  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Reading Terminal Market
  • Philadelphia Zoo
  • The Franklin Institute
  • Adventure Aquarium
  • Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

Those who are big into sports may even have the chance to catch one of Philly’s teams such as the 76ers, Eagles, or Flyers play one of NYC’s pro sports teams!

A man stands next to the Montauk Lighthouse at sunset
Wolfgang Wander [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

5. Montauk, Long Island

Distance from NYC: 2 hours and 30 minutes by car and 3 hours and 15 minutes via the Long Island Railroad.

Among the possible day trips from New York City, you have to visit Montauk at least once. Located at the end of Long Island, Montauk is a laid back beach town known for having some of the best surfing spots in the Northeast.

Filled with breweries, lighthouses, beaches, and history, everyone can enjoy a quick jaunt to “The End” for a day. Aside from lounging on the beach and eating seafood, a few of the top things to do in the area include:

  • Catamaran Mon Tiki
  • Montauk Point Lighthouse
  • Hither Hills State Park
  • Lake Montauk
  • Deep Hollow Ranch
  • Montauk Brewing Company
  • Montauk Point State Park

While you’re there for the day, be sure to take in as much of the culinary scene as possible. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

The Philpsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, NY
The original uploader was Daderot at English Wikipedia. [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

6. Sleepy Hollow, New York

Distance from NYC: 30-45 minutes via Metro-North to the Tarrytown station.

Chances are, you’ve heard of Sleepy Hollow from the famed tale by Washington Irving, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” featuring Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. The quaint New York town plays off of the folklore with cemetery tours and spooky Halloween activities like the Horseman’s Hollow.

But if you’re not into scary ghost stories, there’s more for you to explore in this little town. A few of the top activities and places in the area include:

  • Kykuit, the Rockefeller Mansion
  • Rockefeller State Park Preserve
  • Tarrytown Music Hall
  • Philipsburg Manor
  • Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse

Many New York City locals love to visit Sleepy Hollow in the fall when the foliage is at its peak. Between the spooky stories and the fall landscapes, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped right into Washington Irving’s tales.

Yale University in New Haven, CT
Gunnar Klack [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

7. New Haven, CT

Distance from NYC: 2 hours via train.

I know NYC pizza is a hot button topic, but hear me out: New Haven pizza is a whole other world. Although there’s a wicked debate over Pepe’s vs. Sally’s (the right answer is Pepe’s), trying New Haven pizza for the first time is worth the day trip.

But if pizza isn’t your thing, there’s far more to experience in New Haven. While you’re there, stroll through Yale’s campus or visit Lighthouse Point Park. Or, take advantage of these popular things to do:

  • Peabody Museum of Natural History
  • West Rock Ridge
  • Yale University Art Gallery
  • It Adventure Indoor Ropes Course
  • Long Wharf Theatre

Or, if you are a self-proclaimed foodie, a trip to Louis’ Lunch, where the hamburger was first invented, is likely on your bucket list. And, you can continue your food journey on a culinary walking tour run by the New Haven Register. Come hungry!

Day Trips from New York City: Your Escape from the Concrete Jungle

No matter which day trips from New York City you choose to embark on, the New England and Tri-State area is full of adventure. Whether by car, train, or ferry, you’re in for the day trip of a lifetime.

Tags: