1. Old Westbury Garden, NY
Drive Time: 51 min
Once the property of the Phipps family, the Old Westbury Gardens and Estate is located in Old Westbury, New York, Long Island. It is a 44-room English mansion spread across 200 hectares. Stroll through the beautiful gardens, tour the house and learn about American land architecture, gardens, and landscaping-inspired history.
The garden is dedicated to the public as a public gathering place with extraordinary architectural and decorative features. Once you're there, you can expect an array of stunning formal gardens, lovely architecture, woodlands, impressive landscaped grounds, lakes, and ponds. Besides offering concerts, auto shows, a Scottish festival, and family events, Old Westbury Gardens also offers numerous activities, such as tours and classes.
2. Hamptons, NY
Drive Time: Around 2 hrs
Surrounded by lush greenery and dotted with many small fishing villages, the Hamptons is a dream holiday spot for most people. From the numerous holiday cottages to the many wineries and breweries within easy reach, visitors will find plenty to do here.
Southampton’s beaches and yachts, Montauk’s surf and sun, and Sag Harbor’s art scene are merely a few among the countless other things to do in the Hamptons that will allow you to enjoy your summer vacation like a local while still feeling like a tourist!
The Hamptons are located on the ocean, and therefore you will definitely want to taste the delicious seafood there. You can also camp at Hither Hills State Park in Montauk or go surfing, which is pretty popular in the Hamptons.
The Hamptons is famous for its beaches, restaurants, celebrities, and shopping. The area was once a haven for the rich and famous, but it has also become a place for people who simply work in the city to escape to. It isn’t difficult to see why so many people flock to Long Island from all over the world.
3. Coney Island, NY
Drive Time: Around 40 min
For anyone who has lived in New York, Coney Island is an important part of the city. The neighborhood is covered in a delightful layer of nostalgia, attracting tourists, thrill seekers, and natives who have seen the town change over the years.
Once you get off the subway, you will find a lively strip full of restaurants, bars, and street food that leads to the boardwalk.
The ocean and sand run for almost three miles and the whole area is free to anyone who wants to embrace the intense metropolitan heat. For those who adore rides, especially carnival games and roller coasters, the neighboring boardwalk is an absolute heaven, offering rides, concessions (which mostly offer funnel cakes and hot dogs), and souvenir shops loaded with beach apparel.
New York Aquarium- the city's only major aquarium, is located in Coney Island. The 14-acre water world is home to over 300 marine species. You can see a variety of exhibits, including outdoor touch pools with sea stars, turtles, and other sea creatures. Acrobatic sea lions can be seen stealing the show by dancing, diving, and competing for your attention.
The two beaches of Coney Island and Brighton Beach are just a few blocks away from each other, and they have the same boardwalk and beach. You can find a wide array of restaurants and cute little shops around to explore or relax in.
As one of the city's landmarks, the Cyclone Roller Coaster on Coney Island is popular with tourists. The rollercoaster is a great memory of Coney Island's past. Although this rollercoaster has been around for more than eight decades, it's as popular today as it was when it was first installed.
The Coney Island Museum is one of the most fun museums in Brooklyn. There are over 5,000 items in the permanent collection of the Coney Island Museum, with the majority of them consisting of photos, paintings, and vintage signs. This is a fantastic change of pace from the boardwalk to visit the different aspects of Coney Island, from its history to its influence on the city, all in one place. Admission costs $5 for adults and $3 for children and seniors.
The Coney Island Art Walls are an outdoor museum showcasing over 30 artists from all over the world each year who paint murals and street art. The Art Walls at Coney Island change every year, providing an incentive to come back to this attraction year after year.
Some Coney Island and Brighton Beach Restaurants and Bars that you definitely want to try include Nathan’s Famous, which is famous for their hot dogs, Totonno’s Pizza, Ruby’s Bar & Grill and Grimaldi’s.
4. Rockaway Beach, NY
Drive Time: Around 1 hour
Rockaway Beach is one of the most amazing beach escapes in New York. This place is great if you want to relax on the beach, enjoy some good food, and enjoy the ocean. Since it is within the city, you can get to it via public transit or on foot.
Nestled in between 67-69 Street and 87-92 Street, this is the city's only legal surfing beach. Visitors can enjoy the sand and water, and, while doing so, have the opportunity to take advantage of all the various attractions and
The Rockaway Beach neighborhood is at its busiest in the summer months, especially for people who are vacationing. They come to the beach for swimming, lounging in the sun, surfing, and participating in various sports and games on the expansive sandy beach and 5.5-mile boardwalk. During the spring and summer, vendors that sell pizza, arepas, and Italian ice are found. Restaurants with outdoor seating tend to be most active during the warm months. Just about everywhere along the coast, surfers can find good waves year-round.
A sea of pastel condos and houses stretches along the streets as far as the eye can see, and many of them have been reconstructed since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Rockaway Beach also serves as a powerful symbol of New York's strength and resilience, and as a case study of sustainable rebuilding.
5. Jones Beach, NY
Drive Time: 1 hr 40 min
Long Island's most popular beach and tourist destination, Jones Beach, offers breathtaking views and ambience for its visitors. This great stretch of sand at Jones Beach offers beachgoers many excellent features such as building sand castles, relaxing on the beach with a picnic basket, playing sports such as volleyball and surfing.
The waterfront at Jones Beach is abuzz with a number of bars and restaurants, several smaller parks, and vast stretches of natural land that are relatively untouched.
If you like the idea of enjoying nature while at Jones Beach, the Jones Beach Nature Center is definitely something you should see. While you're here, be on the lookout for any of the many dozen shorebird species, and if you are there during their migration season, you might even spot a hawk or a falcon! However, make sure to bring your binoculars.
You can visit the Jones Beach State Park when you are in the area. Not only do you have the opportunity to swim, surf, lie out in the sun, and have a picnic here, but you can also use the nearby marina, 2-mile boardwalk, pool, nature center, amphitheater, snack bars, and mini-golf.
6. The Poconos, PA
Drive Time: 2 hr 20 min
The Poconos is a popular destination for vacationers in the US state of Pennsylvania because of its numerous forested mountains, lakes, and valleys. Nature enthusiasts, vacationing families, nature lovers and just about everyone else have found the Poconos beautiful and captivating, thanks to their idyllic forested mountain slopes, crystal-clear lakes, and flower-carpeted valleys. The gorgeous natural landscape is beautifully woven into every element of the Poconos.
You can spend a day golfing, rafting, or viewing the fall colors from the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, and make the most of your day trip to the Pocono Mountains.
In addition to Hickory Run State Park and Lehigh Gorge State Park, along with the massive Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the several state parks located in the region are very popular with those who enjoy the great outdoors.
During the warmer months, these parks are popular for hiking. However, in the winter, they draw cross-country skiers and snowshoers as well as providing opportunities for downhill skiing and snowboarding.
7. Oyster Bay, NY
Drive Time: 1 hr 27 min
This city's history dates back to the 16th century, when a Dutch explorer, taken by the abundant shellfish in the area, named it Oyster Bay. Because it is located further away from the city, you will experience a small town feeling when you visit this location. This town's major draw is the Oyster Bay Festival, which brings in vacationers all summer long. On Long Island, this hamlet offers some of the area's most impressive nightlife, as well as plenty of exciting attractions and things to do.
There are lots of historic sites to visit in Oyster Bay such as the Sagamore Hill and Raynham Hall, that will take you back in history.
You can visit Sagamore Hill, which was the private residence of Theodore Roosevelt from 1885 until his death in 1919. Since he frequently held speeches on the porch of this house, people referred to it as the “Summer White House.” This place is well worth a visit for those who love nature, as it has 80 acres of grounds. While individuals can not access the site, guided tours are an option.
You can also visit the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park and Beach, Ride a bike around Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve, or walk the trails of Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park and indulge in all the delicious food nearby.
8. Bear Mountain, NY
Drive Time: 1 hr 10 min
A place that is both majestic and mysterious, Bear Mountain holds many tales of hiking pastures, expansive views, and old-growth trees thriving with life. Bear Mountain State Park, located on nearly 5,000 acres between Rockland and Orange counties, is possibly New York's most well-known state park.
The state park is free to explore, but there is a parking fee charged. The main entrance to Bear Mountain State Park is from Seven Lakes Drive, off of Route 9W
The Bear Mountain hiking area is vast and magnificent. With over 50 trails spanning over 200 acres, you're likely to discover one you'll like. You can pay a visit to the Trailside Museums & Zoo, which houses injured and rehabilitating animals, or take a ride on the Bear Mountain Carousel Merry-Go-Round.
During the summer, you can enjoy a picnic along the water, go boating, or swim in the pool. On Hessian Lake, paddleboat rentals cost about $10 per person/hour. Biking, strolling, hiking, running, jogging, and sports like volleyball and basketball on the playing grounds are some popular outdoor sports during the warmer months in Bear Mountains.
During the winter, you can enjoy ice skating at the Bear Mountain Ice Rink. Adults pay about $5 for skating and $5 for skate rental. Hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are some popular winter activities.
9. Catskills, NY
Drive Time: 2 hr 23 min
Only 2 hours away from NYC, the drive to Catskills takes you through some of the best views. With clouds covering the peaks of the mountains and lush green trees towering above you from both sides of the road, a day trip to Catskill is definitely worth it. Catskills NY has such an abundance of things to do that it can be difficult to decide where to begin. Once at Catskills, you may want to consider cycling, hiking, or whitewater rafting.
The area offers an array of activities for hikers of all ability levels. Close to the heart of the city, it is a quick getaway to a beautiful natural retreat, offering plenty of room to roam and a peaceful atmosphere in which wildlife can be observed. You can visit Catskill Park, explore Thomas Cole's house, go ziplining or go for the fastest and highest zipline canopy tour in North America at the Catskills. One of the more popular options is to tour the historic Hudson-Athens Lighthouse.
One of the most popular times to visit The Catskills is in the fall. The foliage is picturesque and provides a great backdrop to a weekend away in this New York state region that you definitely don’t want to miss.
10. Beacon, NY
Drive Time: 1 hr 33 min
From New York City, a short trip by train leads to Beacon, an emerging artists' community that sprang from the remnants of abandoned industrial areas, with Main Street as its throbbing center. Because it is near the Hudson River and in the Highlands, this is an excellent location for folks who enjoy art and the outdoors. The city has fantastic food, drinking, and art culture.
You can visit the Hudson Valley and enjoy the view of the Hudson River or the undulating mountains as you sip on a glass of wine or walk around the downtown historic district.
One of Beacon's most popular attractions is the intriguing modern art museum and area known as Dia Beacon, where you can view some jaw-dropping modern art.
If you like hiking, then Beacon and the surrounding area is a great place for you, especially Mount Beacon. The Hudson Valley is famous for day hikes, especially among New Yorkers doing day trips.
If you want to do tours and tastings of bourbon, whiskey, gin, and vodka, then Dennings Point Distillery on Main Street is a wonderful spot. These tours are available every Friday and Saturday. You can watch the sunset over the Hudson at Long Dock Park which will help you wind down before boarding the train back to the city.
11. Philadelphia, PA
Drive Time: Around 2 hours
Whether you want to indulge in an authentic Philly cheesesteak, take in the epic views of City Hall, or click some amazing shots in front of the liberty bell, Philadelphia makes an amazing day trip from New York City. One of the prettiest places in Philadelphia is the Shofuso Japanese Garden, one of Philadelphia’s most visited places. The garden, located in Philadelphia’s West Fairmount Park, offers many green spaces for relaxation and contemplation. You can feed the beautiful koi fish swimming around in the pond for around $2 only. In addition to the Shofuso Garden, there are numerous other attractions in and around Philadelphia that make this a great city to visit.
12. Amish Town, PA
Drive Time: Around 2 hr 40 min
The Amish culture is quirky and mysterious. They live as if they were in their own little world, with little interest in joining the mainstream world. This keeps true to the way they've lived for generations, preserving simple ways of life with very special rules. The typical form of mobility for the Amish is by horse and carriage.
It is a tradition for the Amish to make everything from scratch, and their food is exceptionally tasty! You can indulge in handmade ice creams, watch horses pass you by, and take in the sweet smell of grass and flowers in the spring and summer. The Kitchen Kettle Village is an attraction you can visit. It is a charming little area that is home to 42 cute shops, 2 restaurants, and a hotel. Their jams, jellies, and bakeshops are widely known and many of their items are also available for sampling. You can even watch them being made in front of you.
13. Washington, D.C.
Drive Time: 4 hr 6 min
You'll be pleasantly surprised to find that D.C. is much closer than you realize and that it is brimming with various things to do, from touristy activities to seeing historic landmarks to exciting hikes in the great outdoors.
Free monuments, memorials and museums are all around, including the famous Lincoln and Jefferson memorials and the popular National Museum of African American History and Culture.
There are many places to visit in Washington, D.C., but the one that definitely promises a memorable experience is the National Mall. With millions of tourists flocking to see its sights and monuments, it is one of the most popular attractions in the world. But there's more to this area than just seeing the famous buildings—there's a lot to do in it. Visitors can use their free time to explore the city or choose from a number of fine restaurants located within a short walking distance of the mall.
Visiting the Lincoln Memorial is among the many things to do while visiting Washington, D.C. The monument was built in commemoration of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. It is in the form of a neoclassical temple located on the western end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., just west of the Washington Monument.
Visiting the Washington Monument, a well-known landmark of the Washington, D.C. area, is certainly a memorable way to spend an afternoon. It was built as a tribute to George Washington, the first President of the United States. There is a clear view of Washington, DC from the observation deck, and the deck is accessible to the public.
The Tidal Basin is a pond that was once attached to the Potomac River. The cherry trees there are given to Washington by Tokyo and bloom in the spring, attracting a lot of visitors.
You can rent Paddle boats from the boat dock near Maine Avenue for around $18 per hour for a two-passenger boat or $30 per hour for a four-passenger boat .
In addition to the featured attractions, you can also visit these other attractions in D.C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Theodore Roosevelt Memorial, and Island and National World War II Memorial.
14. Fire Island, NY
Drive Time: 2 hr 25 min
Fire Island, located on the south shore of Long Island, is a popular day trip location from New York City. It’s just far enough away to feel like you’re escaping the city, while still remaining close enough that you can easily venture over to it for the day.
A journey to an unspoiled, pristine wilderness in New York's South Shore offers an intriguing adventure on 32 miles of dazzling white sand with some of the state's most pristine beaches.
The island includes several small communities, some of which were founded before the area was designated as a National Park beach. With places to eat, shops, and plenty of other things to do, Fire Island offers plenty of different experiences.
No cars or high-rise buildings can be found on this scenic island. It feels as if it were located in another universe distant from the New York metropolitan way of life, free of the noise and distractions of the city. Since there are no roads, locals and visitors utilize red wagons to transport luggage over delightful boardwalks.
Located in between the Great South Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, the island has become a haven for beach-goers, outdoor enthusiasts, and water sports lovers.
The weekend on Fire Island connects you back with nature with all the biking, hiking, swimming, surfing, beach volleyball, kayaking, and tennis.
Sailing is a Fire-Island legacy that is proudly upheld by clubs in Point O’ Woods, Saltaire, Summer Club, and Dunewood. Bitter rivals, Point O’ Woods and Saltaire compete in the annual regatta for bragging rights over Fire Island sailing mastery.
When it comes to recreational activities on Fire Island, surfing is a favorite pastime. While locals use the numerous fishing chances on the island all year round, visitors also take advantage of the many options.
A visit to the Fire Island LightHouse is a must. This historic location is a valuable trove of maritime history in that it is one of the first discoveries indicating that humans voyaged across the Atlantic Ocean and settled in America.
There are only a few remaining maritime forests on the east coast, and the Sunken Forest in Sailor's Haven is one of them, covering over 40 acres of wildlife. This part of Fire Island is fascinating to those who hike, bird-watch, or are interested in ecology. In addition to many other trees that are estimated to be more than 200 years old, holly, bayberry, blueberry, sassafras, and shadblow grow in the forest.
To sum it up, the island’s uninhabited and unspoiled beauty makes it an ideal getaway or a great place to enjoy alone or with a small group of friends or family.
15. Cape May, NJ
Drive Time: 3 hr
Cape May offers an array of amenities including beaches, restaurants, galleries, museums, and shopping. Visitors from all over the world find themselves drawn to this coastal area due to its natural beauty and historical significance.
If you enjoy the outdoors, you can go bird watching or whale watching. Adventurers will appreciate going on ghost tours around Cape May, as well as parasailing above the area's crystal clear waters. Even if you just want to unwind, you can go to a local golf course or a nearby theater and watch a show. The Emlen Physick Estate, the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum, the Historic Cold Spring Village, and the Nature Center of Cape May are among some of the most popular attractions in Cape May. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of distinctive eateries, wedding venues, and tours.
You can visit The Jersey Shore Alpacas, which is an intriguing tiny farm located about 10 miles north of Cape May, near Green Creek, New Jersey. There are around 20 friendly alpacas living on the farm, along with a store where customers can purchase products produced from alpaca fleece, including clothes, capes, socks, sweaters, and gloves.
For one-of-a-kind retail, head to the Washington Street Mall, located in the heart of Cape May, which boasts a vast array of unique shops, including apparel, household items, booksellers, and more. The three-block outdoor shopping zone is accessible year-round and is less than a half-mile from the beach. The charming section features restored Victorian businesses and brick paths, as well as fanciful fountains and chairs. There are numerous different food establishments and dessert shops to pick from, such as the Cape May Fish Market, an Irish bar, and a fudge shop.
Enjoy a journey back in time to discover what life was like for people of Cape May over 200 years ago, at the Historic Cold Spring Village which is located on 30 acres of land and dates back to the early 1800s. Blacksmiths and woodworkers, as well as a variety of other craftspeople in historical attire, can be found working within the confines of the museum.
The lighthouse at Cape May Point State Park stands roughly 50 meters tall and serves as a signal for sailors going off the coast of New Jersey. When you reach the summit, you will be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views.
Aside from the lighthouse, the park's beaches, dunes, wetlands, and forested areas are also popular. There is also a park museum and a World War II bunker in the park. The lighthouse is free to visit, however admission to the park is normally $8 for adults and is discounted for children.
From the best museums to some of the best beaches in Cape May, there are many things to see and do in this wonderful small town.
16. Atlantic City, NJ
Drive Time: 2 hr 36 min
Most of the activity in Atlantic City is centered around the beach and the 4-mile-long boardwalk, which is lined with casinos. Branching off the boardwalk are piers, which offer kid-friendly alternatives. There are a few novelty-specific attractions visitors will find in Atlantic City as well, including Lucy the Margate Elephant and Storybook Land.
The resort city makes for a great vacation spot because it has a bit of everything: beaches, casinos, outlet malls, and state-of-the-art restaurants.
A stroll over the famous Boardwalk is essential to anybody visiting Atlantic City and is best known for its entertainment. The Boardwalk is made up of bars, restaurants, stores, and carnival-themed games that extend over four miles. The Boardwalk connects several of Atlantic City's major hotels and casinos, making it quick and easy to move from one to the other. If you don't want to walk the four-mile stretch, you can ride your bike or rollerblades on the Boardwalk. The boardwalk is a family-friendly destination with activities for all ages, such as eateries, miniature golf in the dark, and an escape room.
You can also visit the The Absecon lighthouse, which is reminiscent of coastal Maine, is 171 feet tall and is New Jersey's tallest lighthouse. Following its renovation, Absecon Beach reopened to the public in 1999. The top of the lighthouse offers breathtaking views of the shore and lake. It is located near the Boardwalk and is open throughout the summer months of July and August and is open five days a week on weekdays. Visitors can enter the lighthouse museum for free, however there is a small fee to climb to the top.
Caesars Atlantic City Casino is also a must-see; since it is one of the world's most recognizable casinos. In the preceding decade, various renovations and improvements have been made to this Roman Empire and Greek-themed casino.
The dining selections offered by Caesars are really impressive as well, including Gordon Ramsay's Pub & Grill, KWI Restaurant, and Noodle Bar, as well as Nero's Italian Steakhouse. The Caesars Atlantic City Casino is located at the epicenter of the boardwalk, and is thus referred to as the “hub” of the boardwalk.
For more excitement, you can visit The Steel Pier. It is a 1,000-foot-long amusement park that connects to the Boardwalk, and offers a variety of rides, including ones suitable for kids and adrenaline junkies. When it comes to food and drinks, there are several options as well.
17. Hamilton, NJ
Drive Time: 1 hr 34 min
Magnificent mountains, beautiful beaches, charming villages, and ancient landmarks are only the beginning of what you'll find when you explore Hamilton. While this destination is less well-known than many other renowned beach spots, it offers all of the summer pleasure that any other popular destination does.
The 30-acre Sayen Botanical Gardens and the Sayen House, conveniently located in historic Hamilton Square, are retreats for those interested in history, wildlife, and gardens.
Veterans Park, Hamilton's largest municipal park, is home to the state's largest playground. The park contains a variety of playing fields, walking paths, tennis courts, a dog park, fitness equipment, a skate park, a pavilion, a lake, and monuments honoring the troops and branches of the military.
Because there are so many wonderful restaurants in Hamilton, it is sometimes referred to as the "restaurant capital of the area." There are Italian, French, Portuguese, Indian, Chinese, and Irish restaurants, as well as Jersey diners for exquisite and casual dining. Aside from local businesses and retail stores, there are a variety of service providers to choose from, all of which are conveniently accessible nearby.
18. Stonecrop Gardens, Cold Spring, NY
Drive Time: 1 hour 10 mins
Stonecrop Gardens is located in the Hudson Highlands and it was originally built by Frank and Anne Cabot, which was part of their home. It has subsequently become a lovely and environmentally significant park in the Hudson Highlands. Frank and Anne Cabot built their home and the garden on the hilltop, and later decided to open it to the public in 1992, to inspire a love of gardening in others and to encourage them to be passionate and creative with their plant choices.
Some of the most distinctive features of the garden include the magnificent rock garden, alpine stone beds, lush woodlands, and water gardens, as well as the beautifully-landscaped English style flower garden, which displays exquisite order beds for more than 50 plant families. In addition to the breathtaking 12,000-square-foot conservatory that accommodates many delicate species such as tropicals, succulents, and greenhouse alpines, the Gardens have a wonderful 2,000-square-foot conservatory with incredible plant diversity such as succulents, and greenhouse alpines.
19. The Adirondacks
Drive Time: 4 hr 58 min
The Adirondacks are perfect for folks who are looking to take off from the hustle and bustle of city life in order to rediscover the simple pleasures of nature.
Some of the most highly recommended and popular camping locations may be found in the Adirondacks, a large stretch of lovely, quiet landscape that is home to some of the world's most beautiful forests and waters. You can see more of the natural landscape when you do things like kayaking, skiing, and just walking.
The "Wild Walk" allows guests the opportunity to get up and personal with the trees and animals in the canopy, allowing for exciting encounters.
20. Providence, RI
Drive Time: 3 hr 28 min
Providence is easily accessible by public transit, making it an excellent choice for a day trip from New York City.
Anyone who likes architecture will love the attractiveness of Providence's historic downtown region, which is replete with architectural landmarks going back to the 1800s. While there are many small businesses and art galleries in the area, shopping is the main draw.
You can go to the Roger Williams Park Zoo, which is not only one of the country's oldest zoos, but also one of the most peaceful. The zoo is cage-free, pet-friendly, and family-friendly, and guests may see a red panda, snow leopard, giraffe, elephant, zebra, wildebeest, alligator, kangaroo, and a camel, among many other wonderful creatures.
Roger Williams Park's Botanical Center is also a must-see.
A trip to Waterplace Park might also be a memorable experience. During Waterfire, which is held in Waterplace Park, there are bonfires all along the waterway. During the summer months, visitors to the location include pedestrians, bicyclists, joggers, concertgoers, and other tourists.