As much as I love living in New York City, I feel like it’s important for my sanity to escape once in a while.
And although there are a ton of cool cities that make easy weekend getaways from NYC – namely Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC – I’m often craving something that’s a far cry from the buzzy bars, world-class museums and hectic streets that I can find here.
So my favorite weekend getaways from NYC are a little bit calmer: think small towns, lake houses, one-lane highways, farmers markets that are a stone’s throw from the actual farm. And the amazing thing is, there are actually a ton of options within a three-hour drive of Manhattan (as long as you don’t leave at 5pm on a Friday).
The only downside is that I end up asking myself why I’m paying so much to live in the city when I could have so much more outside of it!
Weekend getaways from NYC
1. The Berkshires
The Berkshires is my #1 choice for a weekend away from New York City: located on the borders of Western Massachusetts and New York State, it’s only a two-hour drive away from the city—and it rarely has traffic.
The Berkshires is a pretty general term that covers a mountainous region dotted with villages, lakes and waterfalls. There are spots to hike the Appalachian Trail, (public and private) golf courses, boats to rent and row, plenty of little art galleries and places to go antiquing.
In short, a variety of activities to suit every interest – although my favorite thing to do is sit with a good book in a backyard, soak up the exquisite silence and watch the sun set.
Pro Tip: stop at the Red Rooster for a burger and a cherry dip on the drive there and/or back.
If you’re looking to getaway from NYC but you don’t want to go too far, Nyack is essentially an upstate suburb with an artsy flair. It’s only about 45 minutes without traffic, and easily accessible by train or car service.
The Time Nyack is a brand-new hotel in the region, and it’s worth visiting just to spend a day by the pool there. The hotel is a short walk from the main street that’s lined with cafes, restaurants and bars and overlooks the Hudson River.
I especially liked visiting the ivy-covered stone Nyack Library and stopping for a morning treat at Gypsy Donuts. And if you’re a cyclist, make sure to bring your bike: the Hook Mountain trails are especially popular.
3. Avalon/Stone Harbor
Instead, these small towns have a nostalgic feel to them: must-do activities include getting a scoop at Springer’s Ice Cream at night (prepare to wait in line!), getting a sticky roll at Kohler’s in the morning (also prepare to wait in line), playing mini golf at the myriad courses and picking up your sunscreen and beach toys at Hoy’s 5&10.
And, of course, the beach! The waves are perfect for boogie boarding and body surfing, and they’re full of surfers in the early morning and at dusk.
Renting a house with a big group is really the way to go (we usually go down for a week in the summer with my boyfriend’s extended family), but there are lots of hotels and some quirky options on Airbnb (like this log cabin!).
4. Bucks County
Bucks County is actually one of my favorite places to spend a weekend, although I feel like it’s super underrated, especially by the New York City set.
Located in Pennsylvania, it’s a collection of adorable towns and quintessential Main Streets. You can even take a scenic driving tour of covered bridges! And if you’re more interested in beers than bridges, there’s an “ale trail” (and places to go wine tasting, and a few distilleries).
One thing that I haven’t done but that’s on my list – a hot air balloon ride when the fall foliage is at its peak! Although we stayed in a cute B&B not far from Peddler’s Village, I think it’d also be fun to stay in the little town of New Hope – it’s full of great restaurants and bars (also very gay and family-friendly).
Although Connecticut doesn’t usually spring to mind when you think of great oceanfront and aquariums, Mystic is doing its best to change that.
This tiny seaport town is best known for being the backdrop to Julia Roberts’ breakout role in Mystic Pizza (yes, there is a Mystic Pizza, and yes, you can have a great pie there), but it’s also home to a world-class aquarium and some gorgeous oceanfront.
Don’t miss having a lobster roll at Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock in the next town over, but note that it’s only open in the summer.
Need more tips for NYC?
Check out these posts:
- 5 best places to stay in NYC
- 6 tips for a girls getaway in NYC
- Things to do in Central Park
- 10 places to eat in NYC for iconic food
Can you suggest any weekend getaways from NYC? Please share in the comments below.