The best road trips to take from NYC

The best road trips out of NYC take you on getaways to see history or nature—and they’re all less than six hours away
Lake Placid, NY
Photograph: Shutterstock
By John Marshall |
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As much as we love this city, one of the best things to do in the fall is get the hell out. That’s where these road trips come in—we found where to go, what to do and where to stop along the way. Whether you’re looking for romantic getaways or quick-and-easy weekend getaways, we have the perfect destinations less than six hours away. Want to really hit the road? Go cross-country with the best road trips in America.

RECOMMENDED: Find more weekend getaways

Best road trips to take from NYC

1
Cold Spring, NY

Cold Spring, NY

54 miles from NYC

For New Yorkers, it’s hard to imagine the city’s western boundary, the Hudson, in the context of a small town. But Cold Spring is just that—a riverside hamlet with an almost gratuitously all-American sensibility. (It’s where Don McLean wrote the song “American Pie,” so yeah, it’s fairly patriotic.) There are also antique shops, a trolley and a country store to boot.

Necessary pit stop: RiverMarket Bar and Kitchen (127 W Main St, Tarrytown, NY; 914-631-3100, rivermarketbarandkitchen.com) serves locally sourced food right on the river.

2
Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia, PA

97 miles from NYC

Philly is the place to be to see street art, from wall-crawling mosaic art exhibits to an all-star showcase for the electric-colored (and unofficial) graffiti by local artists. Rittenhouse Square is a well-ornamented park and a nice break from the bustle, and you shouldn’t be too cool to go to Independence Hall, where America began. (It’s where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where the Liberty Bell lives.)

Necessary pit stop: Bracket your contempt for Jersey and hit up the Colonial Diner (560 State Rt 18, East Brunswick, NJ; 732-254-4858, colonialdiner.com) to try the fluffy-AF French toast.

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3
Berkshires, MA

Berkshires, MA

152 miles from NYC

Dense, lush forests and rural New England charm define this bucolic spot in Western Massachusetts. You should picnic beside Berry Lake (and maybe see black bears eating blackberries), drink niche brews and exotic whiskies on a comfy wooden stool in Moe’s Tavern (10 Railroad St, Lee, MA; 413-243-6697, nocoorslight.com) and see a show at the century-old Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center (14 Castle St, Great Barrington, MA; 413-528-0100, mahaiwe.org).

Necessary pit stop: Take a stop off the Taconic State Parkway and picnic at Barton Orchards (63 Apple Tree Ln, Poughquag, NY; 845-227-2306, bartonorchards.com), where you can pluck a wide variety of fruits and veggies, including apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants and pumpkins.

4
Narragansett, RI

Narragansett, RI

168 miles from NYC

Nestled between the eastern bank of the Pettaquamscutt River and the mouth of Narragansett Bay, this shore-side locale boasts three pristine beaches: Scarborough State Beach, Narragansett Town Beach and Roger Wheeler State Beach. If the blank coastline begins to bore you, check out the Point Judith Lighthouse (1470 Ocean Rd, Narragansett, RI; 401-789-0444), dating back to 1816.

Necessary pit stop: Stop in Connecticut and munch succulent seafood at Liv’s Oyster Bar (166 Main St, Old Saybrook, CT; 860-395-5577, livsoysterbar.com).

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5
Saratoga Springs, NY

Saratoga Springs, NY

190 miles from NYC

This town gets its name from an abundance of mineral springs (there are 18), which have attracted spa-seekers since the 19thcentury. Almost all the springs are naturally carbonated, so we recommend sipping some complimentary Saratoga Sparkling Rosé when bathing in them. The city’s also famous for the Saratoga Race Course (267 Union Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY; 518-584-6200, nyra.com), where you can place legal bets.

Necessary pit stop: Stop in Woodstock and hike up Overlook Mountain (335 Meads Mountain Rd, Woodstock, NY) for a view of the Hudson River Valley that is seriously worth the two-and-a-half-mile walk.

6
Alexandria, VA

Alexandria, VA

238 miles from NYC

Cobblestone streets, sidewalk cafés and a generally dreamy attitude endow this small city with a romantic feel. Walk along the pastel-colored buildings on King Street, the main drag in Alexandria’s Old Town, for unique shopping at (mostly) non-franchise boutiques. Then treat your eyes to Torpedo Factory Art Center (105 N Union St, Alexandria, VA; 703-838-4565, torpedofactory.org), which houses 82 artist studios and six galleries, all of which are open to the public.

Necessary pit stop: The Coffee Station (3518 Foulk Rd, Garnet Valley, PA; 484-816-8146, coffeestationpa.com) serves up diner-food delights in an unpretentious setting: There’s often live music and a mug full of Trivial Pursuit cards on each table.

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7
Cape Cod, MA

Cape Cod, MA

246 miles from NYC

The lure of this sea-worn town is well known—it’s where gentle green dunes meet a rocky shore, the beach is worn by waves and the sunsets look tangerine over a royal-blue Atlantic. If you like to fish, there’s nowhere better: The waters are home to bluefin tuna, striped bass, flounder and fluke and are patrolled by salty curmudgeons wearing yellow slickers and steering wooden skiffs.

Necessary pit stop: Hop off the Interstate and cruise around Providence. Drive past its Venetian-style canals towards College Hill, then head right down Benefit Street towards Wickenden Street—it’s pleasant drag and includes the laudable BYOB Cambodian Angkor Restaurant (10 Traverse St, Providence, RI; 401-383-2227, angkorrestaurant.com).

8
Lake Placid, NY

Lake Placid, NY

290 miles from NYC

The aptly named Lake Placid is a small village that provides a relaxing retreat from urban life. Its big, conifer-covered mountains surround the 122-acre Mirror Lake, around which the town is centered. The high altitudes keep the climate here mild, so you can stay chill even in the dog days of summer.

Necessary pit stop: Remind yourself that New York City isn’t the state capitol (though it arguably should be). Stop at the actual New York State Capitol in Albany (State St and Washington Ave, Albany, NY; 518-474-2418, empirestateplaza.org).

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9
Stowe, VT

Stowe, VT

334 miles from NYC

This sleepy getaway is ripe for outdoor adventure—rich thickets of sugar maple, beech and yellow birch trees surround the town center, which, as is typical of Vermont, is dominated by a towering white church steeple. To get a sense of the surroundings, take a canoe or kayak out on Lake Elmore, the Green River Reservoir or up the Lamoille and Winooski rivers. And every summer, the Stowe Theater Guild (67 S Main St, Stowe, VT; 802-253-3961, stowetheatre.com) put together summer shows to entertain you in the evenings.

Necessary pit stop: If you need a rest stop, drive west to Dalem’s Chalet (78 South St, Brattleboro, VT; 802-254-4323, dalemschaletvt.com) for a cozy meal on the balcony overlooking a rolling emerald landscape.

10
Bar Harbor, ME

Bar Harbor, ME

487 miles from NYC

Granite cliffs meet the Atlantic Ocean and Colonial Revival cottages line the quiet streets in this city. Walk along the Shore Path, which hugs the chocolate-box coastline and runs from the Town Pier toward Mountain Desert Island. Then sample something sweet at Mount Desert Island Ice Cream (7 Firefly Ln, Bar Harbor, ME; 207-801-4007, mdiic.com)—just look for a bench painted a Victorian-y shade of purple.

Necessary pit stop: Stop in New Hampshire and drink suds at the top-notch Portsmouth Brewery (56 Market St, Portsmouth, NH; 603-431-1115, portsmouthbrewery.com).

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