Bear Mountain State Park
Travel time: 1 hour 15 min by car
For an upstate getaway, head to Bear Mountain State Park (enter via Route 9W/Route 202 just south of the Bear Mountain Bridge; $8 per car; nysparks.com)—the scenic spot is just far enough from the city to escape the mugginess and get some fresh air in your lungs. Learn about local fauna by meeting them firsthand at the 40-acre Trailside Museums and Zoo (Seven Lakes Pkwy, Appalachian Trail, Bear Mountain, NY; 845-786-2701, trailsidezoo.org. $1 donation per person, parking $8.); the menagerie of rescued animals includes an orphaned coyote, a fox that was hit by a car and a bald eagle struck by a bullet. The four small museums house a variety of reptiles, a geology display and an American Indian exhibit. Families with strollers can admire the sylvan surroundings while they circle Hessian Lake on the paved (albeit hilly) path, and those with older kids can cover a section of the Appalachian Trail. The wooden Bear Mountain Merry-Go-Round ($1 per ride) has 42 animals, so bring enough singles for a bunch of rides.