Living in New York City can feel as living in the centre of the universe so it is no wonder many look for getaways from NYC. With so many world-famous attractions to visit and a myriad of activities to do and enjoy, NYC is a magnet for tourists and an attractive place to live for thousands of men and women every day.
However, some features of this stunning city such as cramped subways, crowded sidewalks, the smell of steamy garbage and its electrifying buzz can take a toll on even the most dedicated city dwellers. That said, whenever New Yorkers yearn for a weekend getaway to refill their energy or for a longer holiday trip to explore new lands, they have an interesting number of nearby places to consider.
From stunning natural scenery to hot spots for history buffs or food lovers, there are many areas surrounding New York City that are easily reachable by car, train or plane. So, after you have spent at least 5 days in New York exploring the city, why not plan a few days away to see a little more of the USA.
Exploring Upstate New York
New York is much more than New York City. It may be surprising for many but it’s a very large state that offers locals great opportunities to unwind and be in close contact with nature.
Located on the eastern flank of the Hudson River and only 90 minutes from NYC, Beacon is a charming town with a folksy atmosphere. Its main street offers beautiful cafés where you can enjoy a delicious bite and a coffee before exploring the town further, collectible shops, and lifestyle boutiques, all packed in a town that combines a rich historic past and modern-day culture. Dia: Beacon is an interesting art gallery where you can admire artworks by Dan Flavin or Walter De Maria amongst others.
Beacon is a great getaway for those who don’t want to spend hours on end in the car. Riding a bike or taking a stroll to the waterfront, are great ways to enjoy the green scenery and recharge your batteries!
Bursting with new restaurants and nice boutique hotels, Hudson is one of New Yorkers’ favorite places where they can enjoy a delicious meal without the hassle of the city. There are plenty of antique shops, a scenic waterfront, and many things to see and do. New Yorkers can easily reach Hudson with the Amtrak at Penn Station and then a short walk into town.
The superb Olana house is a must-see; built by US landscape painter Frederic Church and inspired by the Persian designs he’d seen while traveling in the Middle East and is now home to the Hudson River School of painters.
Hudson is a small charming city and a favorite amongst foodies because of its amazing and varied culinary scene. It’s also a great place to go antique shopping and enjoy scenic views of the Hudson River. New Yorkers like taking their time to stroll the streets and browse their antique stores, one-of-a-kind shops, and art galleries, and lovely scenic trails. It’s a great escape from the chaos of the city.
Known as the playground of the rich and famous, the Hamptons is an eastern section of Long Island surrounded by the villages of East Hampton and Southampton. It’s known for its magnificent beachside mansions, magnates and stars that spend their summers here, historic homes, and elegant stores and restaurants. The Hamptons are around a 2-hour drive from New York City and it’s a popular getaway destination. It’s a great place to visit by car. If you don’t own one, you can easily rent a vehicle and purchase a car rental insurance policy for a trouble-free experience.
Get ready to enjoy white, sandy, and peaceful beaches, boutique shops, and to-die-for seafood! With quaint villages, quiet retreats, and artsy enclaves, the area offers something for everyone.
With six million acres of dense, mountainous greenery and unspoiled lakes, the Adindoracks seduces New Yorkers with the chance of having a great time enjoying the outdoors. Kayaking, biking, fishing, and hiking are amongst the favorite summer activities to enjoy in summer while winter invites novice and expert skiers to put their skills to the test. In the evening, you can relax in any of the nearby breweries and wineries while enjoying the delicious local dishes.
It’s easy to set up a home base in any of the lake towns that make up the Tri-Lakes region and enjoy a welcome break from the hassle of NYC. If you’re not a sports person, you can always enjoy the stunning scenery as well as its many historical treasures.
Exploring nearby States
New Orleans, Louisiana
Famous for its tasty, international cuisine and its always-ready-for-partying vibe, New Orleans is a naturally favorite holiday destination for New Yorkers. Culturally rich, New Orleans attracts New York locals with its interesting jazz scene. Bourbon Street is a must-see amongst the tourist spots and Frenchmen Street is the place to go for nightlife with a more local flair. If you can fly down to the city and spend a few days here, there are plenty of day trips from New Orleans to choose from as well.
There’s something peculiar about Philadelphia: it’s large in size but it feels like a small town, especially when compared to New York.
New Yorkers with a soft spot for history, find in Philly a wonderful weekend getaway. They can’t miss Elfreth’s Alley (the oldest street in America) nor stop and see a copy of the Constitution and more of the American history at theNational Constitution Center.
When it’s time to grab a bite, the Reading Terminal Market is definitely the place to go! Admire the Liberty Bell or Independence Hall and spend the evening in any of the local breweries.
New Yorkers that have walked through the Met quite a few times already can satisfy their thirst for great art at Philadelphia’s “Museum Mile”, where they can appreciate the works of art displayed at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Rodin Museum, The Pennsylvania Academy of Arts or the Barnes Foundation.
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is a cozy coastal town famous for its iconic mansions. They are so jaw-droppingly gorgeous that you’ll want to spend quite a lot of time browsing through their otherworldly rooms, magnificent staircases and stunning furniture.
The Vanderbilt’s summer cottage, the Breakers house or the Rose Cliff and Chepstow inspired in Versailles are just a few you can’t miss.
When the sun comes down, New Yorkers walk the elevated path along the ocean known as the Cliff Walk and enjoy some of the most beautiful sunsets. Being a coastal town, it’s the place where to eat seafood: crabs, fresh lobster, and shrimp are a must-order!
Washington DC is much more than the country’s political center; it’s a hot destination in terms of culture, things to see and do, and food to eat. Close to the Big Apple, it gives New Yorkers the perfect excuse for some serious tourist exploration while visiting New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland on the way.
The Capitol, the White House, and the Senate are the must-sees of your trip. The Smithsonian Museum is a cultural institution you cannot miss as well. It has an impressive collection of works of art, and historic and cultural artifacts that are worth checking out. The National Air and Space Museum, the National Zoo, and the National Museum of Natural History are also very interesting museums that New Yorkers enjoy visiting.
Washington DC is one of the most popular cities to visit from NYC. New Yorkers like visiting the monuments built in commemoration of different Presidents, wars or the Pentagon. They are always dazzled by the sunset at the Lincoln Memorial or the paintings by Monet at the National Gallery of Art!
But DC has much more to offer! It’s got a great jazz scene and a wide range of outdoor activities for sports fans! There are many food markets as well where you can try delicious local food.
- We LOVE this camera for our travel photography.
- For a cheap, easy and compact camera, we use this to vlog and take photographs.
- We use this travel drone (but make sure to check drone laws in your chosen destination first).
- This is our favourite travel insurance because it covers so many activities and travel situations that could arise on longer trips but also offer year coverage.
What to pack
- No matter where we travel to, I always take these trusty hand sanitizers and a mini first aid kit.
- We love these toiletry bags (especially great for smaller bathrooms) and choose a laptop bag like this as our hand luggage.
- We keep our devices charged on long travel days with these lightweight battery packs and bring these worldwide travel adaptors on all our trips.
- I still struggle not to overpack so stick to using an expandable suitcase like these and always take my trusty luggage scales to avoid being charged at the airport.