As the weather gets warmer, we are itching to take some quick day trips out of the city. There are so many places that are easy to get to for a nice day out of New York City. When it comes to a day trip, usually the agenda is to have a jam-packed day, full of activities, since we are only there for so long.
A really cool new site I just discovered is Hotels By Day, where you can rent a hotel room just for the day, you don’t need to stay overnight! The perks to doing this are that you get all the amenities the hotel offers their guests, so access to the pool, gym, spa, free continental breakfast and more! You can block a room out for 3-12 hours. Rates are cut by at least 50% and it’s a cool thing to do if you’re going to take a day trip or you’re on a trip and need something to do for the day!
Here are 10 day trip ideas from NYC to take this spring!
What isn’t there to do at the nation’s capital? This is a great trip to bring your kids to because there are so many educational sights to see. Going to see the white house and museums themselves will keep you occupied for a full day. This trip is 4 hours by either car or train, but it is fairly easy to get there! If you are interested in planning a full day in DC, consider the cultural tours, historical tours, specialty museums, and of course, the parks.
Central Valley, NY
Woodbury, New York is not normally a place people might think of to take a quick day long trip to, but hear me out: shopping. The Woodbury Commons are there, and if you haven’t heard about them, let me just tell you that they are some of the very best outlet stores in the tri-state area. The deals are amazing, so if you need to shop for the next few seasons, have trips coming up, special occasions, you name it, you can find any item you need there for a fraction of the price! It’s about an hour and a half from the city and you can hop on a bus if you don’t have access to a car. They feature both high end and lower end brands, which is great because they literally have everything from Balenciaga to Abercrombie.
Another obvious must-go day trip is to Philly! We have been a bunch of times and always have the very best time! Being only 2 hours away, this city is a top destination. It’s also one of the few on the list that’s a major city, so it’s fun to get out and go to a different city. Obviously first on the list is get a cheesesteak! We love Geno’s and Pat’s King of Steaks. This is a great place to bring kids, too because there are fantastic museums like Barnes Foundation, Rodin Museum, The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Science History Institute, and Please Touch Museum. Seeing the Liberty Bell and going to Independence Hall are up there on the list of things to check out! By bus or car, leave your worries behind because you can walk everything once you get there!
Hunter is a great place to go to if you are looking to do outdoor activities or fully immerse yourself in the things locals are doing. Does anyone like ziplining? They have ziplining canopy tours that my kids would love! Or take a skyride and discover the stunning views all the way to Vermont on a good day! Other honorable mentions are visiting farms, horseback riding and of course, hiking. I love any place that can get my kids outdoors and active. That’s how we make the best memories. Two and a half hours both ways, this is a pretty quick trip!
Photography: Hunter Mountain, Vail Resorts Management
Looking for a two hour trip away from the city? Mohonk Mountain has so many fun activities that are family friendly! There are children’s activities, pools, hiking and even an award-winning spa! You can totally take a day trip out of town just to go to the spa, if you were wondering. If you want to extend your trip, they also have plenty of rooms for you to choose from. They have a huge ice rink, as well, if you can get there while it is still open, it’s so much fun!
Photography: Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz NY
Fire Island, NY
Fire Island is so close and I feel like everyone always forgets about it. They have an adorable lighthouse that was built in the early 1800’s. Smith Point County Park is a great place to walk and be calmed by the sounds of nature. My family loves to walk through parks when we get out of the city, it’s just such a different vibe from here. If you haven’t heard of the Sunken Forest, it is below sea level, which is very rare to find, so you will want to see what that looks like!
Cold Spring, NY
When I was looking into day trips from the city, this spot kept popping up. I knew I had to see what all the fuss was about and honestly, you have to take a trip there! There are ruins of a century old castle called Bannerman Castle that you will definitely want to see in person, there is no way pictures do it justice. You can hop of a ferry tour or kayak to it! Which takes us to kayaking- this is a great place to do it, we have it in the city but it’s not the same when you are fully immersed in nature, it’s more special. If you are looking for breathtaking views you can hike the Breakneck Ridge Loop, but bring your camera, you’ll need it! A few other hiking spots are Hudson Highlands and Dock Park, but for a more leisurely walk, I recommend Stonecrop Gardens.
Just a 3 hour trip away, Shelter Island is a great spot to check out! You can go to Havens’ House Museum, where they have a store section where you can purchase books and things written and made by local artists. I love supporting local businesses and people! The Pharmacy is a local restaurant that has a milkshake you will be dreaming about for months after. Finally, the Tavern at Shetler Island House has Petanque lawns where you can gather around with friends and family and share drinks while you play a game!
Photography: Shetler Island House, Shetler Island Heights, NY
Bear Mountain State Park
When you hear state park, it’s normal to think just of hiking trails. While they have plenty of those, and great ones at that, there is so much more to Bear Mountain. There are museums and a zoo to bring your kids to, those are both things that are always way cooler out of town. See Perkins Memorial Tower, it has telescopes and viewing benches with a 360 sight of the river. Another great thing to do there is the Merry Go Round Pavilion, it’s like a taste of a carnival.
Photography: Visit Bear Mountain, Bear Mountain Inn
Last, but certainly not least, Beacon is your ultimate day trip destination! Only about an hour and a half away by train or car, an hour longer by bus, this place is super close. Main Street is a super cute part of town, that is like the center of it all. It looks like a typical cute town in the movies and there are so many local shops and businesses to pop into and support. While you’re there, you can check out the Hudson Beach Glass, it’s a local gallery and glass blowing studio that has been around for over 30 years! How unique! This town has a bunch of farmers markets and flea markets, which are always fun to go to. There’s nothing like fully immersing yourself in the culture of a new town. You can also see the Bannerman Castle, as it is very close to Beacon!
This post was originally published March 15th, 2022*
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13 thoughts on “Day Trips from NYC to Take This Spring”
I love this post so much. I can’t believe it never occurred to me how close NYC is to so many different places in the northeastern US.
I grew up near Philly, and there is so much to do there! I also love DC – it’s such an educational experience.
It’s been ages since I’ve visited or Woodbury, will have to visit again. I would also add Atlantic City to this list, a great day trip and there is always more to do than just gamble.
So lucky! I would love to go to all of these places. One day we hope to take a road trip up the east coast.
Spring is finally here! It’s a great time to seize the season and take day trips. Washington DC is a good one.
Wow I didn’t know there were so many great day trips you could do from NYC. I will definitely keep these in mind next time we’re visiting.
You have such a beautiful family and these trips look so fun!
You’ve got some great day trip ideas there. I would love to visit Fire Island and also Bear mountain state park. They sound like they’d make a great day out.
This is amazing, so many things to do and explore. I can’t wait to travel again and enjoy trips!
All these activities look fun! I’d like to go to Washington someday, see the place for myself 🙂
Okay, I am going, to be honest. I live in Upstate, NY, and have never visited many of the towns listed in this post. I am so embarrassed. I really need to get on it.
Sounds like you guys had a wonderful time there and plenty of beautiful sceneries as well.
Thank you for sharing with us this awesome post. Hope to visit NYC soon, especially during Spring Season. Most of these activities don’t need to spend a lot of your travel budget. I love to visit NYC’s famous parks!