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Lake Placid
Photograph: ShutterstockLake Placid

The best road trips from NYC

These road trips from NYC will take you to stunning locations all within seven hours of the city

Written by
John Marshall
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We’re huge fans of all things NYC, but sometimes even we need a break from the city and all it entails. Fortunately, New York City provides one of the best bases in the country to use as a jumping-off point for some incredible day trips or even longer road trips. Whether you're taking someone special on a romantic getaway, or are looking to disconnect from your devices with a serious dose of nature, these road trips from NYC serve as an ideal weekend getaway.

Once you’ve explored all five boroughs, there are loads of scenic drives, charming towns, hikes and gorgeous natural scenery to explore. Each destination offers a nice counterbalance to the frenetic pace of the city. Maybe you're looking to escape the heat of NYC in the summer, or you’re just wanting to discover a nearby destination you've never been to before. Here are the best road trips from New York City, from the most scenic corners of New England to charming Catskills enclaves. If these trips spark an infatuation with the open road, opt to go cross-country and check out the best road trips in America.

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Best road trips from NYC

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 in Tarrytown serves locally sourced food right on the river.

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 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 in Brunswick, NJ to try the fluffy-AF French toast.

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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) and drink niche brews and exotic whiskies on a comfy wooden stool in Moe’s Tavern in Lee, MA.

Necessary pit stop: Take a stop off the Taconic State Parkway and picnic at Barton Orchards in Poughquag, NY where you can pluck a wide variety of fruits and veggies, including apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants and pumpkins.

158 miles from NYC

This idyllic resort town on the Jersey Shore is known for grand Victorian houses, historic spots like the Congress Hall hotel and the lovely paved promenade along the beaches. Enjoy a drink at the waterfront bar The Rusty Nail then go for fresh seafood at The Lobster House.

Necessary pit stop: Might as well stop in Atlantic City. You can grab a bite to eat at Tony's Baltimore Grill (yes, get the spaghetti pizza).

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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 which dates back to 1816.

Necessary pit stop: Stop in Connecticut and munch succulent seafood at Liv’s Oyster Bar in Saybrook, CT.

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 19th century. 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 where you can place legal bets. 

Necessary pit stop: Stop in Woodstock and hike up Overlook Mountainin Woodstock for a view of the Hudson River Valley that is seriously worth the two-and-a-half-mile walk.

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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 which houses 82 artist studios and six galleries, all of which are open to the public.

Necessary pit stop: The Coffee Station in Garnet Valley, PA 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.

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. Stop by Aleppo Sweets, an amazing Syrian bakery and cafe.

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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.

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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 puts together shows to entertain you in the evenings.

Necessary pit stop: If you need a rest stop, drive west to Brattleboro. Whetstone Station serves unique, small batch craft beers alongside inspired food-truck-style favorites.

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 Creamjust 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.

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408 miles from NYC

This tourist attraction and old-timey honeymooner fave is well worth a visit. The seven-hour trip is an exceptionally scenic one, so build in time for stops and hikes. There's a reason tourists flock to Niagara Falls State Park—thunderous falls, mist and plenty of rainbows are unforgettable.

Necessary pit stop: As you drive through the Catskills, grab a stop on the patio at Yiasou Cafe, a cheerful spot serving a variety of traditional Greek & Mediterranean dishes.

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