17 Fantastic & Quiet Weekend Getaways From NYC
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When you think of New York City, your mind conjures up images of honking yellow taxis, bright flashing lights of Times Square, people bustling on its wide streets and crowded subways full of worker bees living that office hustle-life.
As a tourist, it can be exciting to see the city that never sleeps, but as residents or visitors who have spent a while in the city, you might be thinking it’s time for a weekend getaway from NYC.
A weekend getaway, in my opinion, should be about escaping the noise of the city. As much as I love living in NY, I feel like it’s important for my sanity to escape once in a while.
In this guide, I’ve listed some of my favorite quiet weekend getaways from New York City so you can find a tranquil escape to reset.
Weekend Getaways From NYC
Although there are a ton of cool cities that make easy weekend getaways from NYC – namely Boston, New Jersey, 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 in NYC.
In this list of weekend fun getaways from NYC, you’ll find places that are a little bit calmer and offer a refreshing break from the noise of the city.
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!
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.
If you have a group, it’s fun and fairly affordable to rent a house but if not, B&B and hotel options abound.
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 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
Distance from NYC: 2 hr 21 min (145.1 mi)
Where to stay: ICONA Windrift
Located on the beautiful beaches of New Jersey, the neighboring towns of Avalon and Stone Harbor are nothing like the Jersey Shore stereotypes you might be imagining.
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 vacation rentals there too.
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 called Ashmill Farm, 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 a weekend in 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 bursting with New England charm and 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 Mystic aquarium and some gorgeous oceanfront.
Be sure to check out the Mystic Seaport museum which offers an interesting glimpse into the history of the town.
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.
6. Windham, Hudson Valley
The Hudson Valley is the perfect weekend getaway from NYC for nature lovers! Spanning over Albany, Troy and through to Westchester County, the region boasts incredible natural beauty, from majestic mountains, rolling countryside hills, and stunning river views, the landscape is a dazzling contrast from the city of New York.
One of the most popular attractions in Hudson Valley are the numerous wineries scattered throughout the valley. Spend a day tasting local wines and exploring the vineyards before heading to one of the many unique restaurants which offer some of the best farm-to-table cuisine in the US.
You can also explore shops selling local artisanal products such as cheese, olive oil and specialty meats – perfect gifts for friends back home!
The Hudson Valley has also been home to many influential figures throughout history. Take a tour of homes owned by founding fathers such as George Washington, who’s Hasbrouck House is located in Newburgh, or visit a museum dedicated to their legacy such as The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum located in Hyde Park.
If outdoor activities are more your thing then you won’t be disappointed either; there are plenty of trails leading through lush forests and open fields where you can take part in cycling, hiking or horseback riding activities as well as camping trips along rivers and lakes.
With so much to see and do, it’s easy to understand why Hudson Valley is a top visited weekend destination from New York City!
7. Lake Placid, The Adirondacks
Lake Placid is a 5-hour drive from NYC but is definitely worth the trek, since it offers an abundance of things to do no matter what time of year you visit. It’s a small, sleepy village in the Adirondack Mountains in Essex County and while many people think it’s the setting of the 1999 horror movie, don’t worry, that movie was actually referring to the Lake Placid in Australia – you won’t find any crocs here!
If you’re looking for winter getaways from NYC, this is the place to go. It was the home of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics and has world-class skiing amenities. There is around 22 miles of trails to explore!
If you visit in the summer, you’ll find the ski trails have turned into incredible hiking opportunities. You can go hiking in 22 acres of High Falls Gorge nature park which takes you to several beautiful waterfalls, or go swimming in the town’s Mirror Lake, which sits in the middle of town.
Head over to the nearby Saranac Lake for some cross-country skiing and ice fishing in the winter. Here you’ll also find an annual winter carnival in February, which features a fireworks display and parades.
If you’re travelling with kids, then they will love riding on the Adirondack Carousel in downtown Saranac.
8. Lake George
Lake George is a picturesque and vibrant weekend destination from New York City that has something to offer everyone with its array of activities, sights and attractions.
With the majestic Adirondack Mountains as its backdrop and beautiful crystal-clear waters, it’s no wonder that Lake George has become a popular tourist hub.
In the summer, you can enjoy fishing in some of the best lakeside spots or take part in exciting water sports such as swimming, kayaking and boating. In the winter, the lake is often frozen over with ice which makes it a great spot for ice fishing.
For those looking for a more relaxing experience, there are plenty of scenic trails for hiking or biking and an abundance of cultural sites to explore. From visiting the 18th century Fort William Henry Museum to riding the Lake George Steam Boat – there will never be a dull moment in Lake George!
9. North Fork Peninsula, Long Island
If you don’t have time to spend driving, then a short weekend getaway near NYC is the 30-mile long North Fork peninsula on Long Island.
The North Fork has some small towns that are all about beaches and being on the water. There are also several vineyards, wineries and tap rooms – so if wine is your thing, this is the place to go!
There’s also a few apple orchards in the region, so its the perfect place to try some local wines or apple cider in the Autumn if you’re looking for weekend getaways from NYC in fall.
After visiting the vineyards, head to Town Beach or South Jamesport Beach for a quiet sunset spot and an evening swim.
Woodstock in New York State is a beautiful countryside destination with rolling hills and gorgeous scenery, showcasing the best natural beauty of upstate New York.
There are plenty of activities to enjoy throughout the year, such as visiting cultural attractions such as the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony or enjoying outdoor activities like hiking and biking in the summer.
In the winter, head to the nearby Hunter Mountain Ski Resort for some incredible skiing, or visit nearby Catskills for more snow adventures.
The town also offers a variety of arts and cultural attractions, with music festivals, art galleries and museums featuring some of the most talented artists in the area.
For those interested in shopping and dining, Woodstock has some unique stores and restaurants to explore. There’s something for everyone to experience in Woodstock – from its vibrant culture to stunning nature – making it a great place for an unforgettable getaway from NYC.
11. The Finger Lakes
The Finger Lakes are a group of 11 lakes in the Lake Ontario area of New York State. They are so-named because of their long and narrow shape, which looks like a finger.
The most famous lakes are Cayuga and Seneca Lakes, which are some of the deepest lakes in the country, with Lake Seneca being the largest lake.
The most popular thing to do in Finger Lakes is go hiking. The Watkins Glen State Park has a beautiful gorge to explore, and the Buttermilk Falls State Park and Taughannock Falls State Park are filled with incredible cascading waterfalls and dense woodland.
For nature lovers, you’ll find a flock of migrating birds at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.
Don’t miss the region’s top historic attractions such as Harriet Tubman’s home, the Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park and the Women’s Rights National Historical Park, and of course, Yale University.
You may even want to do some goat yoga in the Finger Lakes.
12. Harriman State Park
Another great option for those who don’t like to travel far for their weekend away from NYC is the Harriman State Park. Boasting over 11,000 acres of pristine wilderness and more than 200 miles of trails, it is one of the best outdoor destinations near New York City.
It offers plenty of activities for all types of visitors from camping and picnicking to fishing and boating at Lake Welch or Tiorati Lake.
Go hiking along scenic trails that offer breathtaking views of Harriman State Park from one of its 58 named peaks (Fingerboard Mountain is the highest) or simply taking the time to admire nature’s beauty while birdwatching or wildlife viewing.
There are also cultural sites like Trailside Museums & Zoo and an extensive network of historic sites from colonial times. The park is open all year round with a variety of events planned throughout the seasons. This makes Harriman State Park an amazing place to explore and experience something new every single time you visit!
Although quite a journey, a ferry ride over to Nantucket is a great idea for a long weekend away from NYC. Located just off the coast of Massachusetts, it’s an easy trip from many East Coast cities, and there’s a direct ferry leaving from Seastreak Ferry Terminal in New Jersey.
From its breathtaking beaches and rolling waves to its iconic cobblestone streets and colonial architecture, Nantucket has something for everyone.
Tour Sankaty Head Light, one of the first lighthouses in America to receive a Fresnel lens, or take a leisurely bike ride along one of Nantucket’s picturesque beaches.
There are also plenty of opportunities for fun on land such as golfing, tennis, kayaking and more. No matter how you choose to spend your time there, you’ll fall in love with this magical island.
14. Cape Cod
Cape Cod is a picturesque peninsula in Massachusetts and is home to some of the most stunning natural beauty in the country, boasting miles of beaches, lush wetlands and forests, and plenty of open space.
There are plenty of activities available as well; from exploring the historical lighthouses, experiencing world-class local seafood cuisine, or visiting the John F. Kennedy Museum, and of course, Princetown University.
For a more laidback experience, you can stroll through quaint coastal towns and villages, paying visits to local galleries and boutiques. With its mix of culture, history, wildlife and rugged landscape, Cape Cod promises something for everyone.
15. Rhode Island
Scenes around newport rhode island
A New Yorkers favorite weekend escape is to Rhode Island, the smallest state in the U.S. Though it’s small, it’s packed with things to do and see!
The state is home to some stunning beaches and historical sites such as Newport Mansions, Fort Adams, and Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark where visitors can explore the rich culture of New England.
Visitors can also explore and experience outdoor activities like kayaking and biking in Narragansett Bay, to a cliff walk in Newport, touring the Block Island National Wildlife Refuge, or visiting the pristine beachfront at Misquamicut State Beach.
Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway from NYC or an adventure with family, Rhode Island has something special waiting for you!
16. The Hamptons, Long Island
Distance from NYC: 1 hr 37 min (83.1 mi)
Where to stay: The 1708 House, Southampton
Another destination close to New York City is the Hamptons on Long Island. They are made up of Southampton and East Hampton, and offer a quiet escape to the seaside where the more affluent New York City residents come for their summer vacations.
It’s famous for its long stretches of beach and vast farmlands, and sleepy villages with 18th-century shingle buildings.
East Hampton is more high-end with luxury bars, spas and designer stores. For a more casual atmosphere, head to Southampton.
Relax on Coopers Beach or check out modern art pieces at Southampton Arts Center. For golfing enthusiasts, check out the driving range at Southampton Golf Range.
17. Montauk, Long Island
Distance from NYC: 2 hr 25 min (117.9 mi)
Where to stay: Montauk Manor
Our last weekend getaway destination from NYC is Montauk, also located on Long Island at the very tip of the island. Montauk is for anyone looking to experience a picturesque coastal getaway.
With its white sand beaches and glimmering waters, it’s no wonder why many flock to its shores. Have a go at surfing, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding and if you visit at the right time, even whale watching.
If you’re looking for more relaxing activities, you can wander the quaint streets of downtown Montauk and explore local attractions such as the Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum or wander through the Montauk Point State Park and see if you can spot some migratory birds.
There’s so much to love and enjoy, it’s the perfect nature lovers retreat.
More NYC Travel Tips
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Can you suggest any fun weekend getaways from NYC? Please share in the comments below.