(Bear Mountain, NY; 845-786-2701, nysparks.com)
Whom to bring: A jaded city mouse who desperately needs a head-clearing nature fix
What to do: There’s a hike for everyone among Bear Mountain’s tranquil, woodsy trails, from the short loop around Brooks Lake to the more challenging four-mile segment of the Appalachian Trail. Most impressive is the steep, twisting trek to the Perkins Memorial Tower, from where you’ll have a stunning 360-degree vista of four states (NY, NJ, CT and PA), the Big Apple skyline, Storm King Art Center, the Hudson Highlands and the Hudson River some 1,000 feet below. If you’ve got any juice left after your climb, shoot hoops at the on-site basketball courts.
Where to eat: BYO picnic, as food options are limited in the park’s immediate vicinity. If you’re really in a pinch, the café–gift shop at the Bear Mountain Inn (55 Hessian Dr, 845-786-2731) sells overpriced necessities.
How to get there: Take the Hudson line to Peekskill station (45mins, round-trip $21.50–$28.50) and then a 15-minute cab ride to Bear Mountain (around $20).