12 Best Day Trips From New York City – Hand Luggage Only


New York City, the Big Apple, is an incredible city to visit! With top spots in Manhattan, cool places in Brooklyn and heaps of free things to do, it’s the kind of place you can spend years exploring and never fully see it all. On top of that, there are loads of epic and best day trips from New York that are well worth taking if you’re wanting an escape from the streets.

Over the years, we’ve travelled all across New York State, hiking the mountain areas and visiting nearby cities in other states, too. 

So, I wanted to share some of my favourite and easily the best day trips from New York. This way, you can plan your time before you arrive and make the most of your holiday in New York. 

Have an amazing time. 

1.) The Hamptons

Best Day Trips From New York City Hamptons

Look, the Hamptons are just gorgeous. Perched on Long Island, it’s an area that includes Southampton and East Hampton. Though, informally, it includes the wider area around these towns, too.

Now, it can be a little more expensive than other spots in Long Islands, especially in the best restaurants in the Hamptons. But they’re so worth it. 

Best Day Trips From New York City Fire Island

After arriving, be sure to check out Coopers Beach that’s totally beautiful. Plus, it’s a great spot for surfing and the sandy stretch is totally pristine to spend the day. Just be sure to take sunblock, although it can be blustery, the sun is strong in the summer months.  

To make your trip easy, book this Hamptons tour from New York City. This way, you can relax and chill and just enjoy the places you visit. Just be sure to book your tour in advance. Tickets sell out fast at peak times. 

Read more: Best things to do in the Hamptons

2.) Stamford

Best Day Trips From New York City Stamford

Easily reached by train in about 55 minutes, visiting Stamford is one of the best day trips from New York that’s well worth a gander. 

Fancy a show? Head over to the Stamford Center for the Arts which has productions year-round. Oh, and for a tasty dinner, reserve a table at Prime Stamford. Their Blue Point oysters and branzino (cod) are so good. 

Oh, and if you’re fancying a longer trip, be sure to check out Cove Island and the Mianus River Park. Both are great for rambling and hiking in the area. 

3.) Atlantic City 

Best Things To Do In Atlantic City

Love it or hate it, Atlantic City is a mere 130 minutes by car from Manhattan.

Now, although it will be a long day, it’s easily one of the best day trips from New York – especially if you’re looking for a historic seaside town. 

Once here, make sure to walk the Atlantic City Boardwalk, grab some salt water taffy and visit Steel Pier. If you’re not in Atlantic City for the kitsch factor, then head over to Atlantic City Art Center. It houses heaps of artefacts and art from all over the world. 

Best Things To Do In Atlantic City

Oh, and don’t forget to book this dolphin-watching boat tour. It’s a great way to get out onto the ocean, with a qualified guide and spotter. It’s so much fun. 

Read more: Best things to do in Atlantic City

4.) Harriman State Park

Best Day Trips From New York City

Just under an hour from Midtown Manhattan, Harriman State Park is one of the best day trips from New York to enjoy the great outdoors. 

Of course, you can spend some chill time at the cosy little Lake Welch Beach and Lake Tiorati Beach. Both are stunning and are a great chillout spot on a sunny summer day. 

Best Day Trips From New York City Hike

Fancy a hike? Join the Pine Meadow Trail that’s just over 6 miles in length. Just be sure to take some comfy shoes and plenty of water. Temperatures can get pretty hot in summer. 

Read more: Best hikes in New York State

5.)  Fire Island

Best Day Trips From New York City Long Island

Looking for a place similar to The Hamptons but a midge closer to New York City? Then Fire Island is your spot.

Consisting of a slither of an island (or barrier), Fire Island is the perfect place to escape the city and enjoy gorgeous beaches (like, Robert Moses State Park) or head over to Fire Island Lighthouse. 

Found on Long Island’s south shore, you can find various bars and boutiques, casual restaurants, and hiking trails in the area. Just be sure to grab a lobster roll at Island Mermaid. 

Best Day Trips From New York City Beach

You can even purchase a Beach Getaway Pass valid for a day from Long Island Railroad to enjoy ferry passes and water taxi rides. This makes it totally easy to navigate. 

6.) Philadelphia

Best Things To Do In Philadelphia view

Around 90 minutes by train or car, Philadelphia is one of the best day trips from New York if you’re wanting to explore other US cities. 

Once here,  be sure to check out historic sites like; Independence Hall, Elfreth’s Alley Museum, the Liberty Bell, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, the Museum of the American Revolution, and so much more. In fact, you can spend days here. 

Honestly, you’ll be spoilt for choice. It’s such a great way to get a hands-on understanding of American history and well worth a gander. 

To make things easier, book this guided day trip to Philadelphia from New York City. Plus, it also includes your Liberty Bell visit. Just be sure to book well in advance, spaces are limited on the tour, especially on weekends. 

Read more: Best things to do in Philadelphia

7.) Washington DC

14 Best Things To Do In Washington D.C. (2)

Best undertaken by train, Washington DC is around 200 minutes away from Manhattan. Yes, it’s a very long day trip from New York; but it’s still worth a visit if you’re short on time. 

That being said, if you do have a few extra free days, book an overnight stay and explore more of Washington DC. 

You see, Washington, D.C. has a totally rich heritage which architectural monuments and grand museums in the area that’s well worth a visit. Two of the most notable monuments found in the area are the Capitol building and the White House which you can see as you wander the city. 

Oh, and don’t forget to visit places like the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

Finally, don’t forget the museums! There are so many in Washington DC and they’re world-class. The Smithsonian National Museum of American History and the National Museum of African American History are both incredible. You can spend days inside each of them. 

Short on time? Book this epic trolly tour of the main sights. This way, you can focus on experiencing Washington DC without the hassle of getting around. 

Read more: Best things to do in Washington DC

8.) Beacon

Best Day Trips From New York City Beacon

Around an hour and a half trip from New York City, you can reach the smaller city of Beacon with ease by train or car. It’s one of the best day trips from New York if you’re fancying a smaller and more chilled-out city experience.

Not only that, it has one of the best art galleries in the state of New York. The Dia Beacon is huge and houses a huge array of modern art to explore.

Oh, and don’t forget to spot Bannerman Castle (on Pollepel Island) which can be reached by boat from Beacon itself. It’s well worth a gander and a totally beautiful ruined folly. 

Aside from the museums, you can also hike to reach the top of Mount Beacon using the Incline Railway Trail. The view at the top is breathtaking and all your sweat and time will be worth it if you fancy stretching your legs. 

Read more: Best things to do in New York

9.) Bear Mountain State Park

Best Day Trips From New York City

Often considered one of the most popular state parks in the US, Bear Mountain State Park has heaps of trails to follow.

Specifically, the Bear Mountain Summit Loop is one of the most famous hikes. This leads up to the top of Bear Mountain after 3.6 miles. Though, access is weather dependent, so always make sure to check conditions before leaving. 

Best Day Trips From New York City

Regardless of the season, you can do many things in Bear Mountain State Park. This makes it one of the best day trips from New York at any time of the year.

If you visit in the springtime, wildflowers will accompany you. Meanwhile, doing picnics and bonding on the fields are what visitors enjoy doing during summer. The outdoor rink is open during winter, too, so that guests can ski and ice skate. However, it is said that autumn is the perfect time to go to Bear Mountain.

Read more: Best hikes in New York State

10.) Storm King Art Center

Best Day Trips From New York City

Dedicated to supporting modern-day artists, the Storm King Art Center is a magnificent garden which is also an open-air museum that’s well worth a visit

This place houses astonishing artworks dating from the 1950s, and even artworks from the present can be found here. With this range, you can admire and see how art styles and artworks change and differ through time.

Not only does this museum house striking artworks, but this is also dedicated to environmental protection. Best of all, you can easily include this with a visit to Harriman State Park (if you’re visiting by car). 

Read more: Best things to do in New York

11.) Sleepy Hollow

Best Day Trips From New York City

Historically a centre of farming and milling, a colonial-era village can be found on the Hudson River, and this is called Sleepy Hollow.

This might be familiar to you as this was the setting of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a story written by Washington Irving which is world-famous. Know it?  You can even visit Irving’s grave, that’s right here. 

Once here, check out the Philipsburg Manor which dates back to the 18th Century or head to nearby Rockefeller State Park Preserve for some of the great outdoor trails. 

After visiting Sleepy Hollow, you can also go to another village which is Tarrytown to see the Lyndhurst, the Gothic Revival mansion. If you travel a little farther, you can reach the home of Washington Irving, which is in Sunnyside and is open for tours.

12.) Woodbury Commons

Best Day Trips From New York City Commons Designer Discount

Love a good bargain? Well, about a 90-minute drive north of New York City, Woodbury Commons is a designer outlet village. It’s one of the best day trips from New York if you want to do some luxury discount shopping. 

It’s got everything from Bottega Veneta, Fendi, Gucci, and Balenciaga – name it, they all have it!

However, if you prefer artisan boutiques, you need to head to Sugar Loaf Art & Craft Village, 11 miles away from Woodbury Common. You can find handmade paintings, furniture, jewellery, pottery, and other local products made by the villagers in this area.

Read more: Best things to do in New York

24 Very Best Things To Do In New York

 


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