Road Trips from NYC: the 47 Best Spots to Visit Soon

Are you craving a little adventure beyond the daily grind? With so many incredible road trip destinations within reach of New York City, you’ll never run out of places to explore. Each direction has something to discover, whether you’re a wine enthusiast, history buff, or nature lover. Get ready to hit the road with our top picks for road trips from NYC and find cool things along the way.

Road trips from New York, heading North

Some New Yorkers think there’s nothing between the City and Montreal. Or that there’s nothing of interest in comparison, at least.

But there’s so much to explore in Upstate New York State. And the contrast between there and home can be quite pleasant.

First option for road trips is heading north from the mouth of the river New York City occupies: New York’s Hudson Valley.

The Hudson River Valley of New York

Distance from NYC:

Anywhere from an hour to over 5 hours.

The Hudson Valley provides a scenic and easy-to-access road trip. Begin in Nyack or Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, depending on which side of the river you’d like to explore. Either is a charming village filled with historic homes, boutiques, art galleries, and hip cafes.

Cold Spring

It’s difficult for New Yorkers to imagine the city’s western boundary river in the context of a small town. And yet Cold Spring is a riverside hamlet with an Americana feel that’s almost gratuitous. It’s where Don McLean wrote “American Pie,” after all. If you need more reasons to visit, there are antique shops, a trolley, and a country store. Plus, one of the most challenging hiking trails close to NYC, the Breakneck Ridge Hiking Trail, is just off of Route 9.

Or head across the river to hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail at Bear Mountain State Park. Either trailhead is only about an hour distance from NYC by car.

New Paltz

Mohonk Mountain House

New Paltz, NY is a lovely town in the Hudson Valley. It has a vibrant music scene, farm-to-table restaurants, and cute shops. You can also find the SUNY New Paltz campus and the historic Mohonk Preserve there. You can enjoy the Shawangunk Mountains’ natural beauty with 70+ miles of roads and trails. You can hike, bike, run, ski, snowshoe, or ride horses along various trails. The historic district, near downtown, honors the original settlers, refugees from France.

Kingston

Kingston, New York’s first capital, dates back to the 17th century and is now as vibrant as it is historic. This riverside city used to be known for manufacturing. Now, there are three vibrant areas making-up the city. Each offer amazing eateries, renowned museums, and old landmarks. Though only one offers stunning river views, Rondout. Kingston is 91 miles north of New York City and 59 miles south of Albany.

Hudson

Main street of Hudson

Hudson is a lovely town on the Hudson River, just over two hours by car or train from Manhattan. Warren Street, which is about a mile long, is home to the vast majority of downtown Hudson’s businesses and historic buildings. Despite its small population of just under 7,000 people, it is home to a quirky collection of shops, galleries, and businesses. It’s one of those small towns in America that’s worth at least a weekend visit. And it’s a must if you’re into antiquing in New York state.

Catskills

Sunrise in the Catskills

The Catskills region is amazing for outdoor enthusiasts. It has majestic waterfalls, unique towns, and stunning scenery. The highest waterfall in New York state is Kaaterskill Falls, in Haines Falls. The trail is about a mile and a half round-trip and is open all year. A stop in Round Top to see Glen Falls, which serves as a popular swimming hole during the summer, is also highly recommended.

Cooperstown

Cooperstown, New York, is a charming town located just a four-hour drive from New York City, passing through the Catskill Mountains. The town is known for its diverse attractions, including the Baseball Hall of Fame, an opera house, a grand mansion, and a Farmers’ Museum. The Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard, a 160-year-old establishment, is a standout attraction for food and drink enthusiasts. The Mill Marketplace specializes in making cider and hard cider. They also offer daily free tastings of speciality foods made on-site. Cooperstown is not ideal for a day trip, but a weekend trip is recommended to get a good feel for the town. Staying overnight allows visitors to explore the local brewery scene. The Inn at Cooperstown, a historic hotel built in 1874, offers 18 beautiful guest rooms and is close to Otsego Lake and Glimmerglass State Park.

Meanwhile, the picturesque Catskills town of Roxbury is only a three-hour drive from New York City. The Roxbury at Stratton Falls is a charming boutique hotel with eclectic decor. If you like looking at the stars, book the Galileo’s Gate cottage. It has a special deck with a glass ceiling for observing the night sky.

Adventure in the Adirondacks: Lake Placid, NY

An adventure in the Adirondacks: Lake Placid, NY

Lake Placid, NY, is a great place for nature lovers who want a charming village feel and beautiful drives. During winter vacations, Whiteface Mountain has fun activities such as skiing, bobsledding, and tobogganing. Hiking routes in the summer include the Avalanche Lake Trail, Cascade Mountain Trail, and Mount Jo Loop. Mirror Lake is a stunning watercourse where camping, kayaking, and paddleboarding can be enjoyed. High Falls Gorge, a nearby park with an easy hiking trail over rushing waterfalls, is also recommended for a memorable experience. The Adirondacks are one of the most beautiful mountain ranges with a rich history and a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy.

Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs is a popular destination from NYC. It has attractions like Saratoga Spa State Park and Geyser Island Spouter. This town gets its name from the abundance of mineral springs (there are 18 of them), which have drawn spa-goers since the nineteenth century. The city is also known for the Saratoga Race Course, where legal bets can be placed.

Lake Placid Village

Lake Placid, a charming village famous for its Olympic past, provides a relaxing respite from city life. The climate is mild because the village is surrounded by conifer-covered mountains and the 122-acre Mirror Lake. The Brewster Peninsula Nature Trails is worth a trip. And the Lake Placid Olympic Center, near Lake George, is a must-see for anyone interested in sports history. The high elevations create a micro-climate that keeps the climate mild, making it an ideal location for a relaxing summer vacation. And the relative big city of Albany is nearby, if you all that peace and quiet starts to get to you.

Keene Valley

Keene Valley

The Adirondacks are stunning in every season. And Keene is situated among the highest peaks of the Adirondacks. As such, it offers excellent downhill and cross-country skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer. We recommend the Giant Mountain trail at the base of Roaring Brook Falls.

Extending the road trip

Depending on your direction, it’s easy to tack-on a few pit stops or extensions. Or plan a multi-day or longer road trip up north to knock everything off this list.

After all, getting there is such a major aspect of a road trip, not just the destination. 

Kent, Connecticut

Brook in Kent Falls State Park

Kent, Connecticut is best visited in the spring or fall, when the waterfalls are at their peak, the air is fresh, and the colors are vibrant. A scenic drive through the CT shoreline and Route 7 provides a scenic drive, grassy countryside, and numerous ice cream stops. Drive through Kent to Kent Falls State Park, where you can hike up to 250 feet of waterfalls in under a quarter mile. Return to town for dinner at a cozy pub and explore local shops like the House of Books and Kent Coffee and Chocolate Company after a satisfying hike.

Berkshires, Massachusetts

Distance:

3 hours

Fall foliage in the Berkshires

Western Massachusetts is known for its lush forests and rural charm, making it ideal for picnics and exploring the Berkshires. Six Depot Roastery & Cafe serves iced coffees and croissants three hours from New York City. Picnic along Shaker Mill Pond for a charming New England visit. Enjoy the beauty of dense forests, and keep an eye out for black bears eating blackberries.

Killington, Vermont

Distance:

5 hours

Killington, the biggest ski resort in the east, has more than 150 slopes. It offers 28 easy trails for beginners and 65 challenging trails for experienced riders. If the weather is questionable, the resort’s snow-guarantee’ program ensures a healthy dose of white snow. If you exchange your pass before 10 a.m., you’ll get a coupon to return when the weather improves. The ski season begins in early November and runs until mid-May. The drive to Killington passes through four states and allows for stops in cities like Hartford and Springfield along the Connecticut River. Along the way, you’ll see beautiful state parks and nostalgic roadside diners.

Stowe, Vermont

Stowe

Stowe, Vermont, is a charming town surrounded by a mix of sugar maple, beech, and yellow birch trees. Visitors enjoy canoeing or kayaking on Lake Elmore, the Green River Reservoir, or the Lamoille and Winooski rivers. Summer shows are put on by the Stowe Theater Guild, and Whetstone Station serves up unique craft beers and food truck fare. Smuggler’s Notch State Park, Moss Glen Falls, and Sterling Falls Gorge are among the other outdoor attractions. The Vermont Ski & Snowboard Museum is a popular attraction, and Ben & Jerry’s Factory sells delicious ice cream in their home turf. The Trapp Family Lodge is a must-see for fans of The Sound of Music.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Distance:

6 and a half hours

Residential street in Montreal

Montreal is a unique city in Quebec and Canada. It is known for its old-fashioned buildings and French-speaking population. The city’s charming streets, bakeries, and cafes have a Parisian vibe that makes the trip worthwhile.

When you arrive in town, take in the ‘Aura’ light show at Notre-Dame Basilica and a poutine for dinner. The following day, visit the city’s top attractions, such as the Mount Royal lookout, museums, and the Old Montreal district. The Ramparts of Montreal were built in 1716 to protect the city, and are still impressive. The Château Frontenac is a castle-like hotel and National Historic Landmark. Dufferin Terrace, a beautiful waterfront promenade along the St. Lawrence River, is a great place to people-watch.

If you’re planning on heading straight there, take the scenic route through the Hudson Valley. Pause for lunch in Albany and take a break at Lake George. Finally, continue on to Canada. To complete the journey, you will need a passport and, depending on your nationality, a visa. Expect to spend approximately 40 minutes crossing the border and an additional 40 minutes in Montreal.

Anytime of year is great for the drive, except winter. Then, the drive is longer and the temperatures are lower. And even natives of Montreal admit that winter is not the time to see the city.

And be sure to avoid speeding in the more remote sections of the interstate. Towns along this route made a sizable portion of their annual revenue from giving outsiders speeding tickets.

Road trips from NYC heading northwest

The Finger Lakes region has 11 lakes, a national forest, ski resorts, wineries, and state parks. The Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, the Corning Museum of Glass, and hiking trails welcome all visitors. You can easily drive from New York City to visit Finger Lakes waterfalls like Buttermilk Falls State Park and Watkins Glen.

Exploring the Finger Lakes of NY

A road trip to see waterfalls in upstate New York

The Finger Lakes in Upstate New York provide an ideal escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. It’s an ideal weekend road trip from NYC, with wineries, outdoor adventures, and charming towns. Avoid crowds by visiting the Heart & Hands Wine Company and hike in Watkins Glen State Park or Robert Treman State Park.

This cluster of lakes are a five-hour drive from New York City.

Ithaca

Ithaca

Ithaca, New York’s most populous college town, is a popular weekend destination for students and hipsters alike. This is the largest town in the region, located on the southern tip of Cayuga Lake. Ithaca is famous for its museums, including the Museum of the Earth, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, and the Cornell Botanic Garden. It also has excellent hiking, dining, coffee, beer, art-house cinema, and, of course, Cornell University. Because of its location between New York City and Niagara Falls, Ithaca is a popular weekend getaway in New York State.

Seneca Falls

Seneca Falls, a charming former mill town on the shores of Seneca Lake, is known for its history and charm. Its wide streets, old houses, and antique storefronts add to the charm. And its fertile lands are dotted with vineyards. Seneca has always been a hub for social progress, especially for women’s rights. It hosted the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1848, in fact. The Women’s Rights National Historical Park commemorates this struggle today. The town is also close to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, a bird sanctuary.

Weekend Getaway to Niagara Falls, NY

A weekend getaway to Niagara Falls, NY

New Yorkers may think massive waterfalls in Africa and South America are more exotic. But come on, Niagara Falls are still impressive. It is the largest flow of water on the continent, after all.

At a distance of 408 miles from New York City, it is a bit of a drive. But it’s worth it!

The American side has stunning views and activities that range from thrilling to romantic. Two amazing things to do here are: visit the Cave of the Winds and take the Maid of the Mist boat ride. Both let you see the waterfalls up close. To see the falls, you can go to Terrapin Point or Prospect Point. You can also climb the observation tower or take a helicopter tour.

The journey takes seven hours and is incredibly beautiful.

More things to do along the USA/Canada border

Although the view from the Canadian side is the one on all postcards, staying in the United States has its own advantages. The American side is cheaper, for one.

It’s best to make a weekend out of this trip, staying in a luxurious hotel and relaxing. More things to do at the Falls include Niagara Falls State Park, Bridal Veil Falls, and the Observation Tower. You can go hiking and have a picnic lunch along the way. Because of its thunderous falls, mist, and rainbows, Niagara Falls State Park is a popular tourist destination.

Poke your head into Canada

Extending your trip to Canada can also be a good idea because it has more attractions and experiences to offer. You can have a more relaxed experience by taking a day trip into the surrounding area. Visit nearby places like Buffalo, Ellicottville, Lake Ontario, Letchworth State Park, and Niagara-on-the-Lake.

I highly recommend Niagara-on-the-Lake. This historic town had a pleasant surprise one evening. Unlike most towns in the Northeast of North America, the town is populated by a crowd of skunks, rather than the more typical denizens. It was at first alarming, but then quite charming.

Road trips from NYC heading south

Washington, D.C.

Considering most of the United States is outside of the Empire State, get ready for the majority of this guide.

Inland Atlantic Seaboard: Past and present capitals

Explore the East Coast’s history and famous sites with a road trip through its historic cities. This trip starts where America’s independence began and goes to its capital, Washington, D.C., where you’ll see the country’s past and present. Stop to visit Philadelphia on your way, one of the most influential cities in the country. Come to Independence National Historical Park to see the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, City Hall, and the Betsy Ross House. Explore museums along the Ben Franklin Parkway, Penn’s Landing waterfront, and Franklin Square.

Maximize your time with a full-day trip to Philly and nearby Amish Country. For a day trip, visit NYC to Philly and Washington, D.C., a major city known for museums and history. You can visit the Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall. You can also see the White House and the Vietnam Veterans, Korean War Veterans, and World War II Memorials.

Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton

The drive from NYC to Philadelphia is uneventful, to be honest. So, I highly recommend stopping halfway.

Princeton, located 51 miles from New York City, is a popular day trip destination. The campus, named after the prestigious university, is less crowded and more green and grand. The campus has a Gothic-style from a Harry Potter movie. Be on the lookout for interesting carvings on the buildings. For lunch, pick up picnic supplies at Olive’s Deli and Bakery and camp in one of the city’s parks, such as Marquand or Princeton Community Park North. If the weather is bad, visit the University Arts Museum and the Morven Museum and Garden. One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence lived here.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Daytime shot of City Hall in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is a city that combines national history with the best of today, providing a diverse range of attractions. The streets are filled with colorful street art, a busy Rittenhouse Square, and stunning architecture. Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art are all popular tourist attractions. Plan to see the Eastern State Penitentiary, where Al Capone was once housed.

Philadelphia has a soulful edge with pop-up events, street theaters, and the mosaic-covered Magic Gardens. Philly cheese steaks, as well as the local sandwich speciality, a hoagie, are must-tries. Try a tomato pie for dinner, a pizza with sauce slathered on after toppings, and ice cream for dessert.

Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania

The Brandywine Valley straddles the Pennsylvania and Delaware border. It is a popular destination for wineries and breweries. The valley, about two hours from New York, was once home to America’s aristocracy, particularly the du Pont dynasty. It contains relics of their opulent lives, such as grand mansions and landscaped gardens. The Hagley Museum, located on the original du Pont gunpowder yards, helps visitors better understand the area. The Nemours Estate is a must-see attraction. It has a 77-room mansion with a bowling alley, classic cars, and the largest French gardens in North America. In the spring, be sure to visit Longwood Gardens. They have beautiful gardens, conservatories, meadows, and woodlands.

A beautiful view of the road trip in NYC on the scenic route

Washington, D.C.

Streets of Washington DC

Washington, D.C. needs no introduction. But because I can’t just skip it, here goes:

The city offers a powerful and inspiring experience that leaves a lasting impression. The National Mall is a two-mile stretch. It has the Smithsonian Museums, the White House, and famous monuments, like the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial. The Mall hosts most of the Smithsonian complex. It features 11 free museums, plus six more scattered across the city. The Washington D.C. Zoo is also here. And the newest addition, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, has opened to high acclaim.

Don’t forget to check out the Georgetown neighborhood. It has stunning buildings and a prestigious university. Parking in Washington, DC is known for being hard, but there are public car parks all over the city. Another option is to just park at a Metro station and use their system for the majority of your visit.

Alexandria, Virginia

Townhomes along the water

Overlooking the Potomac River, Alexandria is a popular Southern U.S. city that’s barely across the line. Alexandria is a charming city with cobblestone streets, sidewalk cafés, and a romantic atmosphere. It’s a must-visit for architecture and shopping lovers. The Old Town has pastel-colored buildings and unique shops for shopping. The Torpedo Factory Art Center is home to 82 artist studios and six public galleries.

The Skyline Drive, Virginia

Sunset in the Shenandoah

The Skyline Drive at Shenandoah National Park has 105 miles of beautiful views. There are 75 spots to stop and enjoy the scenery. You can also hike, bike, or ride horses there. Many wildlife enthusiasts visit the park because it has a diverse collection of animals like bears, deer, birds, and bobcats. Shenandoah National Park has a maximum speed limit of 35 mph, so plan on spending a few hours there.

It’s best to drive to Front Royal, VA, and spend the night there before exploring the trail the next day for the best views. A quick visit at night is also memorable for stargazing tours. The park entrance fee is $30 per vehicle and is valid for seven days. If returning by car, you can take the park route or I-95 through Washington, stopping for breaks along the way.

The beaches and Atlantic shoreline of America

One of the best beach road trips from NYC is hugging the Atlantic Ocean coast. It’s a long drive, so I recommend breaking it up with beach town stops along the way. Start with a stop at Cape May, one of New Jersey’s best beaches. Or stop a little earlier along the New Jersey shore, if you want to see the Myrtle Beach of the North.

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Dubbed the “Vegas of the East Coast,” Atlantic City is a popular tourist destination. The boardwalk is four miles long and has fairground rides, bars, casinos, and swimming beaches. There’s also Lucy the Elephant, a six-story structure that looks like a wild animal. The seaside city is well-known for its performances, which include music, boxing matches, and comedy shows. Famous for its less-than-stellar image, seems to regularly experience a recent revival. Millions of dollars have been and will continue to be invested here, sometimes nefariously. While not the most refined city on the planet, road trips here are certain to be a lot of fun.

Cape May, New Jersey

Victoriana in Cape May

Cape May has Victorian mansions, bed and breakfasts, and lovely beaches. This famous place in southern New Jersey is also great for spotting dolphins or going on a whale-watching tour.

A unique stop in this charming Jersey Shore town is Congress Hall, a historic hotel. The hotel was built in 1816. You’ll also find a pleasant promenade along the beaches. Stop by The Lobster House for fresh seafood and Rusty Nail, a waterfront hot spot, for a sunset cocktail by the fire pits.

St Michaels, Maryland

Distance:

4 hours

Sailboats

St Michaels, Maryland, is a charming American town. It has colonial homes, white picket fences, and well-kept lawns. It’s less than four hours from New York City and provides a scenic waterside experience. You can learn about the town’s shipbuilding past, visit small distilleries, shop for souvenirs, or relax by the water. As befits its location, freshly caught crab is available for purchase. This is the ideal location for a waterside getaway in late spring, before the crowds arrive.

Chincoteague Island, Virginia

wild ponies in the marshes

Chincoteague Island in Virginia is a calm getaway with untouched beaches, wildlife, and bird watching. It’s also known for dolphin spotting and its famous wild ponies. The town itself is simple, with small guesthouses and locally owned restaurants serving fresh seafood. The trip takes about five hours from New York City center to Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. It’s not great for busy weekends, but what makes it special is the absence of crowded beach towns. The island is ideal for a relaxing getaway from everyday life.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Distance:

7 hours, 10 minutes

This resort town has famous seaside attractions. Stops include:

  • The Virginia Beach Boardwalk
  • Cape Henry Lighthouse
  • And Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge

There are also state parks, museums, and wineries in the area, so you can customize your Virginia Beach itinerary to your preferences.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Lighthouse on the Outer Banks, North Carolina

The Outer Banks of North Carolina is a chain of islands that draw millions each year. People come here for a special coastal experience. Golfing, hang-gliding, and jet skiing are among the activities available on the islands. You can visit the beaches at Cape Hatteras National Seashore and see the lighthouses. Jockey’s Ridge State Park has impressive dunes. The Elizabethan Gardens are also worth exploring. Don’t miss the shipwrecks at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. Swimming, fishing, and kayaking are among the many recreational activities available on the Outer Banks.

People love to surf, kayak, and fish in the Outer Banks’ stunning waters. Local surf schools provide experienced surfers with lessons as well as guided tours of the area’s waterways. The Outer Banks offer a plethora of opportunities for adventure and fun.

Charleston, South Carolina

Rainbow row in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is one of the top cities in the US. The list of activities makes Charleston a vacation paradise with great food, water, and beautiful beaches. As a long-time resident, I’ve seen the best of Charleston’s history, walking tours, historic homes, and museums. Beaches, yachting, fishing, golf, shopping, and other activities are available outside of downtown. Charleston is known for its delicious Southern food, which alone is a great reason to visit.

And the drive from Charleston to Savannah is delightful, and faster than driving back inland to I-95 to continue south.

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia is another popular Lowcountry town to visit. People come here to explore its history, cobblestone squares, and old homes. The city is a mix of mystery, beauty, and weirdness, making it perfect for exploring its history, food, and culture. You could see pretty much everything in Savannah for three nights, but it’s a place you can keep coming back to for new experiences.

Once you pass Savannah, you could continue along I-95 through southern Georgia and into Florida. From there, you might as well continue on and make it a full road trip from NYC to Miami.

At which point, you’ll have completed a 1,300 mile journey!

And have another 1,300 miles to go home again.

Best weekend road trips from NYC to the northeast: New England

Boston, MA

There’s a more direct route from New York City to Boston: take I-95 to New Haven, CT. From there, head north on I-91 towards Hartford, Connecticut. Then hop on I-84, then I-90 to get to Boston.

But to be frank, this is mostly just unappealing highways. And the stretch from Hartford to Boston is just fields and farms.

And you have likely noticed by now that I prefer routes with lots of opportunities to stop and at least get a photo or two along the way.

Instead, follow the Connecticut shoreline, starting with the town of Greenwich, CT, in the west. As you travel along the coast, make a stop in New Haven. Take a walk around Yale University’s campus and enjoy a meal at Frank Pepe’s, Connecticut’s best pizzeria. Then hit up Mystic, Connecticut, before heading to Rhode Island.

Only then can you start heading north, either to Boston, or Cape Cod. Or do both with a ferry in between, if you’re feeling ambitious.

Continue onwards from there to New Hampshire and Maine.

Plan a trip to Boston in late summer or early autumn, when the weather is cooler but not yet cold. You could drive from New York to Boston in under four hours, but allow at least three days for the journey.

Mystic, Connecticut

Distance:

3 hours

Popular films such as Mystic Pizza made Mystic, a charming waterfront town on the Mystic River, famous. However, there is much more to see and do in Mystic, CT than just what you supposedly saw in movies. The town has many attractions, like restaurants, seafood shacks, a quaint Main Street, a maritime museum, and an aquarium. The Mystic Seaport Museum and Village, as well as nearby parks, museums, and vineyards, make it an ideal day trip or weekend getaway. Mystic is a must-see destination for its charm and natural beauty.

Westerly, Rhode Island

Distance:

3 hours, 30 minutes

Westerly is a lovely coastal town by the Atlantic Ocean, just a short Amtrak ride or drive from New York City. There really isn’t much to do here aside from lounge along their awesome beaches.

But when in Rome.

Narragansett, Rhode Island

This spot by the shore is between the Pettaquamscutt River and Narragansett Bay. It has three beautiful beaches: Scarborough State Beach, Narragansett Town Beach, and Roger Wheeler State Beach. If you get bored of the empty coastline, you can visit the Point Judith Lighthouse. It was built in 1816.

Newport, Rhode Island

boats in newport ri harbor

Newport, located only four hours from New York City, is a must-see for any road tripper. It offers coastal cruises, sailing, and vineyards in addition to its 17th-century architecture. And, of course, the Newport mansions.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

The sea-worn area is famous for its beauty, with green dunes, a rocky shore, and stunning sunsets over the blue Atlantic. If you like fishing, this is the perfect spot. The waters are home to Bluefin tuna, striped bass, flounder, and fluke. Salty old men in yellow slickers navigate wooden skiffs here.

And even if you’re not into fishing, the charming towns and coastal scenery are a huge draw to this peninsula.

Head as far out as you can do to visit Provincetown. The longest established artists colony is still one of the most gay-friendly destinations in America, let alone the East Coast. And the historic homes and quaint streets only add to the quirky charm.

Boston, Massachusetts

A road trip to Boston, MA, is a trip to the capital of New England. Boston is a historic city that has famous attractions like the Freedom Trail and Fenway Park. The city also has the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. It’s a great place to experience both city life and natural beauty. Explore charming Beacon Hill, known for its cobblestone streets and historic row houses. Writers Sylvia Plath and Robert Frost lived here. And North End is an Italian-American neighborhood with winding streets, fascinating landmarks, and unique shops, eateries, and cafes.

Boston is one of the closest cities to New York City and a foodie, history, and art lover’s paradise. It’s an ideal day trip from the Big Apple. Some must-see attractions in Boston are the Prudential Tower, the scenic Boston Harbor waterfront, and the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. The Greenway is a downtown park with lovely gardens, plazas, and public art.

When you arrive in Boston, take the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail, a self-guided walking tour of the city’s most important historical sites. Enjoy a sporting event and soak up the atmosphere.

The following day, travel to Salem, about 30 minutes from Boston, to learn about the infamous witch trials of the late 1600s.

Lexington, Massachusetts

Lexington is a great place for history lovers. It is about 15 miles from Boston, surrounded by peaceful woods and historic sites like the Hancock-Clarke House. This spot marks the start of the Revolutionary War at Battle Green. It’s also a literary capital, home to Walden Pond and the Orchard House. The author of “Little Women” set the story at the Orchard House.

Portland, Maine

For an unforgettable outdoor adventure, consider a multi-day road trip from New York City to Maine. Portland is a quintessential New England city. It has a vibrant Arts District full of museums and galleries. I recommend paying a visit to the Portland Museum of Art as well as the SPACE Gallery. They concentrate on visual and performing arts. The Children’s Museum of Maine is a must-see if you’re traveling with children.

Check out the Portland Head Lighthouse and the Portland Observatory while you’re there. If there’s a food festival going on, you should definitely go! Visit the Old Port and the waterfront, where you can walk along the Eastern Promenade and take a harbor cruise.

Bar Harbor, Maine

promontory at Acadia National Park in Maine

Drive three hours north from Portland to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, one of the best drivable vacations from New York City. This town’s quiet streets are lined with Colonial Revival cottages and granite cliffs that meet the Atlantic Ocean. Walk along the Shore Path, which runs from the Town Pier to Mountain Desert Island and hugs the coastline. Then stop by Mount Desert Island Ice Cream, hidden behind a bench painted a Victorian-style purple.

Acadia National Park

You can get away from it all and see Cadillac Mountain, one of the country’s tallest peaks. Driving or hiking on the historic carriage roads or the cliffsides of Precipice Trail or Beehive Trail will be a highlight of your visit to Acadia National Park.

Otter Cliff is a popular climbing spot, and the formations Bubble Rock and Thunder Hole are both fascinating. The Bass Harbor Head Light, a beautiful lighthouse and one of the park’s most notable landmarks, is a can’t miss spot. In the summer, visitors to the park’s beaches enjoy kayaking and swimming. Skiing and snowshoeing are popular winter activities.

Franconia, New Hampshire

Distance:

About 6 hours

Fall is a popular time to visit Franconia Notch State Park in New England, known for its vibrant colors and stunning scenery. The White Mountains National Forest has many hiking trails and cycle routes through forests, gorges, and waterfalls. Enjoy a few hours driving through the park, stopping off as you please. The Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway can take visitors to the peak of Cannon Mountain without walking.

The White Mountains are about 2.5 hours northwest of Boston, so it would be quite an addition to a road trip along the New England coast. But it would definitely be worth the trek for gorgeous fall foliage.

The best road trips west of NYC: Pennsylvania

lake life in the wilds of Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Wilds is a huge area with lots of nature, like forests, parks, walking trails, and rivers. It even has the biggest group of free-roaming elk in the Northeast. It’s a special place to escape from the city. The region is home to Cherry Springs State Park, Pine Creek Gorge, and the Poconos, which are popular for stargazing and geological wonders. The region is also known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.

The Poconos is known for its ski resorts and warm-weather activities like hiking, camping, and white-water rafting. The Pocono Mountains have Bushkill Falls, called “The Niagara of Pennsylvania.” They also have state parks like Promised Land, Lehigh Gorge, and Hickory Run. Ricketts Glen, an old-growth forest and National Natural Landmark, is also worth a visit. This scenic area is filled with waterfalls, rock formations, and beautiful flora, and even offers photo tours.

Cherry Springs State Park

Experience the magic of stargazing at Cherry Springs State Park, one of the best dark sky destinations in the United States. With minimal light pollution, this park offers a rare opportunity to witness the dazzling night sky in all its glory.

Whether you’re an amateur astronomer or simply seeking a serene escape, Cherry Springs State Park is a must-visit destination.

Pine Creek Gorge

Discover the beauty of Pine Creek Gorge, nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania.” Enjoy breathtaking views and exciting outdoor activities suitable for all ages. With its deep valleys, lush forests, and rocky cliffs, Pine Creek Gorge is a breathtaking destination that will leave you in awe of nature’s beauty.

Poconos and Ricketts Glen

The Poconos and Ricketts Glen are peaceful places with beautiful waterfalls, mountains, and nature trails. These mountains are just under two hours’ driving distance from NYC. Hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and rafting are all options for visitors to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Jim Thorpe is a former railroad town. Today, there are many things to do outside, like rafting, hiking, and riding the scenic train.

Consider visiting the Poconos for a more scenic and outdoorsy escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Distance:

3 hours

Hershey, Pennsylvania is called ‘Chocolatetown’ and the ‘sweetest place on earth’. The reason for this is the famous Hershey Chocolate Factory. Hershey Stadium, Hershey Public Library, and Hershey Milton School are among the town’s attractions. At Hersheypark, visitors can learn about making chocolate bars at the Chocolate World factory shop. The town also has some fine dining options. Most desserts in Hershey have one thing in common.

Can you guess?

East of the City: Long Island

Connecticutians spend much of their lives looking down their noses across Long Island Sound. Which doesn’t make much sense, considering the eastern end of the island especially feels like an extension of New England.

With better weather and wineries, to boot.

And Long Island does southern New England a service of protecting it from hurricanes. So perhaps the island deserves a bit more respect, no?

Southampton Beach

Cooper’s Beach in Southampton, Long Island, is a popular beach destination with soft white sands, an aquamarine sea, and mansions. The beach is rated as one of the best in the country and is only two hours from New York City. Tellers Chophouse in Islip offers visitors a day of frisbee, reading, and dining. Parking is pay-by-the-day, but it fills up quickly. To get the best beach spots, leave New York at dawn and be prepared to pay a $50 fee. The exclusivity doesn’t come cheap, or easy. The Hamptons are a fantastic summer destination, providing a slice of paradise without the hassles of a flight to the West Coast.

North Fork

Head to the North Fork for great dining and wineries that’s still quieter than the South Fork’s buzzing Hampton towns. Stop for lunch on your way to the North Fork from NYC at Jerry & the Mermaid. Bedell Cellars should be your first stop on the North Fork. If the season is right, take a detour to see the lavender fields at Lavender by the Bay on your way back to the City.

So pack your bags, fuel up your car, and hit the open road. With so many incredible road trip destinations within reach of New York City, the only question is: where will your adventure take you?

Frequently Asked Questions

Where should I go on a road trip in New York?

Head to New York State for a stunning road trip with plenty of options. Long Island, Hudson Valley and Catskills, Finger Lakes, Adirondacks, and the Great Lakes Seaway Trail are all great choices!

No matter which route you choose, you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable experience.

Is 3 days in NYC enough?

3 days in NYC is enough to get a good first impression of the city – you won’t be able to see everything, but it’s still a great amount of time for a visit.

You can explore the city’s iconic landmarks, take in the hustle and bustle of the streets, and sample some of the delicious food. There are plenty of attractions to keep you busy, from the Empire State Building to the Statue of Liberty.

What cities are 2 hours from New York?

Take a two-hour road trip from New York City. Explore exciting cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore, Hartford, Atlantic City, and Washington, DC. All are within a two-hour distance from NYC.

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