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The best fall day trips from NYC

Peep the fall foliage, pick pumpkins and do more upstate (or another city) with these perfect fall day trips from NYC

Storm King
Photograph: Courtesy Storm King
By Jennifer Picht and Keith Flanagan |
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Need to getaway for a few hours this autumn? Our recommendations for fall day trips from NYC will do the trick. Whether you want to travel upstate to admire New York’s stunning fall foliage, get spooked at some haunted houses or go apple picking, we tracked down the best autumnal attractions that are less than three hours away from the city.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to best things to do in fall

Best fall day trips from NYC

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Photograph: Courtesy Twin Star Orchards

Twin Star Orchards

2hrs and 30mins by car 

There are many types of apples, but the best version of everyone’s favorite autumnal snack is clearly the fermented kind. At Twin Star Orchards, you can enjoy the best of the fruit and the alcoholic beverage in one-go. Just two hours away from the city, the picturesque orchard offers apple picking as well as free tastings of the attraction’s award winning ciders that are carried under the Brooklyn Cider House label. Sample variations from Still Bone Dry to Half Sour before picking up a few bottles to take home. Feeling peckish? Dig into some wood-fired Neapolitan pizza or burgers at Twin Star’s on-site eatery while overlooking the pond. 

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Photograph: Courtesy Jennifer Mitchell
Things to do

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

1hr by Metro-North

Ready to experience the most gourd-eous display of pumpkins in all of New York? At the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, you’ll witness an army of more than 7,000 intricately carved jack o’lanterns glowing along the riverside near Van Cortlandt Manor. Ogling pretty gourds isn’t the only draw. Before entering the maze, grab some grub at the food tents selling autumnal fare like hot cider, apple doughnuts and more devilish treats. There's also a mini-market selling Halloween paraphernalia. Tickets always sell out, so make sure to cop a set before it's too late. Bonus: Traveling to the Blaze is a breeze. Just take the Metro-North Hudson Line from Grand Central Terminal to Croton-Harmon station (under an hour from Manhattan). Van Cortlandt Manor is only a five-minute cab ride or a 10-minute walk from the station. 

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Dorney Park at Night
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/dfbphotos

Halloween Haunt: Dorney Park

1hr 30mins by car or bus

If you think roller coasters are scary, just wait until you experience this Pennsylvania amusement center Dorney Park's frightening fest. You may want to save your screams while riding fun coasters like Steel Force (the big top offers a thrilling, 205-foot drop) or else your sqeaker will be totally shot after walking through Dorney Park’s multiple “scare zones." We're creeped out just thinking about it. Tickets for the park start at $34. 

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Bear Mountain State Park fall foliage cruise
Photograph: Courtesy Viator
Things to do

Bear Mountain Full-Day Cruise

2hr and 30mins by sail 

Take a leisurely cruise up the Hudson River to gorgeous Bear Mountain State Park. After a 2.5-hour cruise, you'll have three hours to explore the park's natural beauty, abundant hiking trails and zoo. On the way back, join the onboard Oktoberfest complete with craft beer, German food and live music.

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Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Sarah Gath

Haunted Philadelphia: Spirits of ’76 Ghost Tour

1hr and 20mins from Penn Station

Only a bus or train away, Philadelphia is the perfect day trip for folks who want to get out of Manhattan but still feel like they’re in metropolis. Start the day on a hoppy note during a brewery tour, at which you’ll get to taste 15 types of beer (including Oktoberfest iterations) from Philly’s best brewpubs. The all-inclusive experience includes lunch, plus insider tips from the owners on their beer-making process. End the day on a creepy note and take a haunted walking tour through the cobblestone streets of historic Philadelphia. Your informative guide will share scary tales about Leo Callahan, the only prisoner to escape from Eastern State Penitentiary. Spoiler alert: He was never recaptured! Try not to lose your cool after listening to spooky folklore about the ghouls who haunt Independence Hall as well as the paranormal activity that goes down at Liberty Hall and Pine Street.

 

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