Best summer getaways from NYC
3hrs from NYC
Since the 1960’s, Fire Island has been the nexus for LGBT vacationers. Aside from the fray of beautiful sandy shores and cheeky nude beaches, the island is home to some of the most outlandish parties in New York. Bust out your banana hammock, BYO unicorn floaties and get wild!
SPRAY! Fire Island—an annual beach party created by ShareGurl—is soaring in popularity as it reaches its fourth year of outrageous carousing. It’s fitting that the theme for the August 18 bash is taking flight. Sport your cutest air steward getup and prepare for lift off during the day-long rager which includes DJ sets by Lupe Fuentes, Steven Redant and Scott Martin. Don’t get too crazy with the open bar sponsored by Milagro Tequila or else you may be screaming “Mayday!” After grooving with your head in the clouds, get grounded on August 19 for the nautical “Anchors Away!” party on the bay. Cut a rug to tunes by headliner David Penn and snag yourself a sailor. You can feel good about your grooving: Proceeds benefit Ali Forney Center and GMHC.
When you need to find peace and quiet after a lively day of shaking your groove thing, Dune Point Fire Island Rentals is your much-needed oasis. Book a small apartment (sleeps two) right off the beach and enjoy watching the sunrise from your ocean deck. However, you may want to save those cotton-candy sky Instagram photos for when you feast on the water during one of Flynn’s Fire Island dining cruises. Go ham on steamed lobster and other delights from the an all-you-can-eat buffet while listening to smooth jazz and taking in that stunning sunset.
2hrs from NYC
Yeah, Governors Ball and Panorama are great and all, but when you’re itching for a change of scenery—particularly something a bit greener—attending a jam sesh in the mountains sounds like music to our ears. You’ll get just that during Mountain Jam, a three-day fete drawing major chart-toppers and indie-rock gods like Jack Johnson, The War on Drugs, Father John Misty, Jenny Lewis, Kurt Vile & The Violators and more to the woods.
You can pay extra to camp on-site, but if you don’t feel like roughin' it, The Kaatskill Mountain Club offers luxurious lodging that lets you to enjoy the beauty of nature minus the dirt and mosquitos. You’ll appreciate the chance to relax and take a midnight dip in the heated pool after a day of rocking out at the shows. And in between sets, you can entertain yourself at the video arcade. Hungry? Grab a bite nearby at Hunter Mountain Brewery serving comfort food like beer cheese soup, prime rib, fish n chips, plus hefty beer list to wash it all down.
5hrs 48min from NYC
You’re already familiar with the High Line, but have you been to the majestic elevated park of the Adirondacks? We’ve been, and it’s called Wild Walk—an 81-acre museum complex, which literally lets you see the forest of upstate New York through the trees. Designed by Charles P. Reay, the innovative walkway takes you up and over the forest canopy for a truly breathtaking view, and a revelatory look at the dense and expansive landscape. Wander through exhibits like a giant spider web that is 24 feet above ground as well as the highest point, the Raptor’s Nest, where you have a clear view of the gorgeous vista and landmarks like the Whiteface Mountain and Seward Range.
When you tire of walking on the wild side, retire for the evening at the gorgeous Hotel Saranac, a historical building that has transformed into a modern haven. The hotel is positioned to offer the best of the natural world with nearby hiking trails and lake activites as well as bumpin’ nightlife for urban dwellers. The area’s downtown scene is equipped with art galleries, street musicians and performance spaces like Pendragon Theater or Blueseed Studios for your entertainment. The dining options are also ace, but we recommend stumbling into the french-themed Left Bank Cafe for its tender poulet basquaise, generous charcuterie plate and impressive wine list.
2hrs 30min from NYC
Thanks to Governors Island, you don’t have to travel very far to sleep in a picturesque tent from Collective Retreats. But if a ferry ride isn’t enough distance for you, head to Hudson Valley to camp out on Liberty Farms. The bucolic grounds feature an equestrian center, plus an organic working farm. Your stay includes complementary breakfast (yogurt, homemade granola, omelets, waffles—the works) served at the Three Peaks Lodge. You can even dine in your own tent, if you prefer privacy.
After walking through nature trails such as High Falls Conservation Area (an easy trek featuring a 150-foot waterfall) or climbing Mount Everett (good for advanced hikers), drive up to local vino proprietor Hudson-Chatham Winery. Their tasting room is open from noon to 5pm Wednesday through Sunday. Before you head back to glamp, drive to Taconic Sculpture Park to peep at three acres-worth of mythical-themed sculptures.
3hrs 20min from NYC
If you want to treat yourself to a swanky summer getaway, Newport, Rhode Island is bursting with finesse resorts, fancy waterfront restaurants and swanky mansions you can visit and pretend you’re a Vanderbilt. Be floored by the views when you stay at Gurney's Newport located on a private island surrounding Narragansett Bay. Get unreal 360-degree views of the sunset and lounge on the wrap-around deck. Practice your backstroke in the outdoor saltwater pool and unwind with a massage from the full-service spa.
Once you’re pampered and immersed in the exterior beauty of the Rhode Island, head indoors to enjoy the lavish properties known as Newport Mansions. Guided tours are available for Chateau-sur-Mer, Chepstow, Hunter House, Isaac Bell House and Kingscote. Afterward, feast like a debauchee and go in on some lobster claws at The Mooring—an indoor and outdoor top-of-the-catch seafood restaurant.
1hr 15mins from NYC
Asbury Park got famous as the place Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band broke onto the scene. But as of this summer, its legendary rock club, the Stone Pony, will get some healthy competition. Asbury Lanes, the retro-fab bowling alley and snack-and-cocktail bar that closed in 2015, just reopened as a 600-person-capacity concert venue. The Lanes’ lineup is already a powerhouse, with Tennis, Kurt Vile and Lupe Fiasco hitting the stage this summer (and, on June 18, none other than the Boss himself). Plus, the actual bowling lanes remain, with a fancy new pin-setting system.
Set in a once-deserted Salvation Army building, the trendy Asbury Hotel ($165–$355 a night) now has it all: a rooftop bar, outdoor movies, food trucks, live music, summery black-and-white photos from the city’s past and even eight-person bunks, in case you’re traveling with a crew.
Just a few blocks from the boardwalk, Kim Marie’s Eat n Drink Away is a wood-covered, homey hang that boasts a bangin’ hangover burger, with shore fries (thick-cut, with skins), bacon, oozing cheese and a fried egg.
2hrs 30mins from NYC
The ruggedly beautiful Catskill Mountains have a multicentury history of creative inspiration and adventure. Washington Irving set “Rip Van Winkle” among their peaks, and Thomas Cole’s paintings of the area wound up radically changing how artists depict landscapes. For a peek of what these folks found so inspiring, take the Hudson River School of Art Trail, which starts at Thomas Cole National Historic Site, and bask in views like the 260-foot-drop of Kaaterskill Falls.
This respite isn’t strictly about historical appreciation, though. In the past few years, that old Catskill creativity has extended to mountain-modern hotel options like Scribner’s Catskill Lodge. A hotshot design firm from Brooklyn (where else?) revamped the ’60s motor lodge last year into a 38-room boutique hotel that we describe as mountain-man sleek, with curvy gray couches near sharp Adirondack chairs, all set off by colorful boho textiles.
The views are of course lovely, but if you’re jonesing for more adrenaline, these days Catskill makes a better base camp than ever for mountain adventures. Zoom at 600 feet in the air with New York Zipline Adventures.
3hrs 20mins from NYC
If the Victorians had a Vegas, Saratoga Springs would’ve been it. The resort town got famous in the 1800s for its relaxed vacay options, namely legendary spring water and thoroughbred racing (which included gambling, natch), and you can still soak in the little-bit-tingly rich-in-minerals H2O in the Roosevelt Baths and Spa within Saratoga Spa State Park. If you’ve never bathed in warm champagne, here’s your chance to get that sensation for a cool $35, which includes a robe and access to a sauna, an elegant relaxation room and a 40-minute bathtub soak.
Once you’re relaxed, it’s time for the ponies. Bring your poshest sun hat to the United States’ oldest horse-racing track, the Saratoga Race Course, which hosts the Travers Stakes and others on weekends from late July through early September. From the grandstand, gamblers can watch these majestic creatures battle it out. Afterward, visit the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. The spot’s racing simulator is so authentic, you have to wear a helmet and vest—jockeys use it too. And you can actually stay along the racetrack at the reimagined Brentwood Hotel, where rooms are accented with antique brass.
Outside the track, Saratoga Springs has held onto its atmospheric core of old buildings downtown (Victorian, Federal and neoclassical, for you design fiends), but these days its also emits a modern, eclectic college-town vibe with a mix of shops like Tushita Heaven, which offers New Agey incense burners and prayer beads.
4hrs 10mins from NYC
For a classy and understated getaway, you can do a lot worse than the pastoral and chill Finger Lakes region. And the refined yet low-key village of Skaneateles is ace for tooling around the eponymous lake in an ultraquiet electric boat or exploring the many wineries nearby.
Launch your morning elegantly at the quaint Patisserie with a butterific French croissant. Break for lunch at the nostalgic, summer-campy Doug’s Fish Fry—yep, the place famous for turning away Bill Clinton in the ’90s—where a model train runs through the whole facility. And of course, end with booze. Lately the Finger Lakes’ historically vino-centric beverage scene has diversified into cider, craft beer and whiskey; sample the full range at the sleek, waterfront tasting room of White Birch Vineyards Tasting Room.
Wind down at the Mirbeau Inn & Spa, with its Claude Monet–inspired water gardens, luxe spa and—melding the best of both—an outdoor hot tub that looks like a natural outgrowth of the craggy rocks and lush plants all around you in this super gorgeous setup.
4hrs 30mins from NYC
Want to get away from civilization and get in touch with your wild side? Plant yourself right on the beach on this 37-mile barrier island for an affordable respite. Two thirds of this wave-tossed ribbon of dunes and salt marshes is in Maryland, where camping is allowed; the rest is Virginia.
For a flat fee of $30 at Assateague Island National Seashore, you can build a beach bonfire, stargaze over the Atlantic Ocean and straight-up hang with wild horses. But that’s not all: Whales, dolphins—dolphins, you guys—sika deer, island foxes and great blue herons also flock to Assateague. Sea kayaking, crabbing, beach yoga and tours of 18th-century coastal plantation Rackliffe House are also on offer.
Naturally, getting away from it all means roughing it a bit. The sandy “primitive camping” setup includes toilets and cool-water showers. Stock up on firewood, sunscreen, practically mandatory bug repellent and steamed Maryland crabs at various provision stores along the way. And if you start craving off-island action, the sweet brick village of Berlin, which Huffington Post named the Absolute Cutest Town in Maryland and the Ocean City Boardwalk are each less than 10 miles from the island.