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Photograph: Cape Resorts

The 19 best weekend getaways from New York City

Whether craving nature or cultural pursuits, the best weekend getaways from New York City deliver the escape you need.

By Stephen Milioti, Cindy Augustine, Dan Q Dao, Keith Flanagan and Will Gleason
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DISCLAIMER: Given current regional and national guidelines, certain businesses mentioned in this article are operating on different schedules and limited capacities. Call each business before your visit to receive up-to-date information.

Here's our promise: the best weekend getaways from New York City will re-energize and surprise you, taking you to places you won't believe are only a few hours away from the Big Apple. Looking for natural wonders? Lake Placid is calling your name. Craving new types of cultural pursuits, including exciting art galleries? Head to Phoenicia or Beacon. And if it's endless gambling that you're after, Bethlehem, in Pennsylvania, will tickle all of your senses. If you're strapped for time, consider embarking on a day trip or a short road trip instead. 

RECOMMENDED: Best places to go camping near NYC

Best weekend getaways from NYC

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Photograph: James Schwabel / Alamy

1. Bear Mountain, NY

1hr 15 mins from NYC

In the time it would take to make it across town during rush hour, adventurers can get to Bear Mountain for an easy escape from city madness.

Do this: The state park, situated in the mountains rising from the west bank of the Hudson River, which offers a bevy of hiking and biking trails, as well as picnic groves, lake and river fishing access, a swimming pool and a zoo.

Stay here: Bear Mountain Inn, originally built in 1915, hosted Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower back in the day, and has been extensively renovated to include 15 luxury guest rooms, plus a spa and a restaurant. Specials run all summer (the typical peak-season rate is $149 per night). 

Asbury Park
Asbury Park

2. Asbury Park, NJ

1hr 30mins from NYC

The summertime gay community in this shore town has actually been active since the 1950s—and over the past few years, the scene’s really heated up.

Eat here: MOGO Korean Fusion Tacos, a favorite among both visitors and locals. 

Stay here: Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, which was originally designed by noted Beaux Arts architect Whitney Warren. Rooms start at $109 per night. 

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best weekend getaways from nyc
best weekend getaways from nyc
Photograph: Bill Jacobson

3. Beacon, NY

1hr 30mins from NYC

Beacon is steeped in history (Beacon Mountain, the tallest point of the Hudson Highlands, played a significant role in the American Revolution), but besides its storied past, it’s also packed with modern-day culture. The city has an arty, indie spirit that attracts…arty, indie people.

Do this: A former Nabisco box-printing facility on the banks of the Hudson, Dia:Beacon holds collections from the 1960s to the present. Exhibitions meld with works on long-term view from artists including Walter De Maria and Dan Flavin. Take a guided tour (free with admission) every Saturday and Sunday at 12:30pm and 2pm to get the best overview. 

Stay here: Sitting at the base of Mount Beacon—a mile and a half from the town’s center—the Swann Inn of Beacon is a charming bed-and-breakfast. Situated in an 1866 Gothic house, it has five uniquely decorated rooms, which all have retro-cool vibes that would make Wes Anderson blush, including the Red Parlor Suite, a romantic respite complete with a friggin’ front porch). 

best weekend getaways from nyc
best weekend getaways from nyc
Photograph: Courtesy Inn at Bowman's Hill

4. New Hope, PA

1hr 45mins from NYC

New Hope is Bucks County’s jewel, unhurried and unassuming, with indie boutiques (onetime East Village staple Love Saves the Day), seasonal-focused eateries (Tastebuds) and forget-all-your-troubles B&Bs galore. Between hopping to different quaint spots, be sure to get back to nature. We suggest cruising on a rented bike down the Delaware Canal towpath.

Do this: With 134 acres featuring hundreds of species of native plants (including more than 80 that are rare or endangered) and stunning woodlands and meadows throughout, Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve offers daily guided walks at 2pm in addition to talks and workshops (“Focus on Ferns,” anyone?). 

Stay here: A AAA Four Diamond winner for eight consecutive years, The Inn at Bowman’s Hill is damn swoonworthy. Rooms, like Fountain View and Orchard Retreat, have heated tubs for two—if that’s your bag. For platonic pals, there’s the Penthouse Suite, with its private deck and panoramic views of the property. 

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best weekend getaways from nyc
best weekend getaways from nyc
Photograph: Jim Smith Photography

5. New Paltz, NY

1hr 45 mins from NYC

Beyond all the worth-the-trip views of riverside bluffs and verdant trees, New Paltz is the most historic on this list, with preserved houses that were around 100 years before we even became the U.S. of A. So, yeah. Pretty old.

Do this: Learn about the lives of the 17th-century Huguenot settlers, as performers (dolled up in duds from the period) take you through 30 buildings over 10 acres, including seven historic homes and a reconstructed 1717 church. (Want to retain the back-to-basics spirit as you take in the National Historic Landmark District? Leave the selfie stick at home.) 

Stay here: Mohonk Mountain House, set in the Shawangunk Ridge on Lake Mohonk, is sporting and sophisticated, a sort of East Coast version of The Shining grounds (without all the killing and stuff). Whether you choose one of the classic, wood-paneled rooms and suites or one of its private cottages two miles away, your nightly rate gets you access to a range of complimentary activities like boating and swimming, not to mention meals in its dining room. 

Sea Girt
Sea Girt

6. Sea Girt, NJ

2hrs from NYC

Stretching along beautiful beaches, the small town of Sea Girt is devoid of the fist-pumping antics depicted on MTV.

Do this: For a bit of romance, dine and tip back a few cocktails at Scarborough Fair, the elegant lounge and restaurant set in a refurbished farmhouse. 

Stay here: The Beacon House, a grand Victorian seaside inn that dates back to the late 1800s. It’s just a block from the ocean and bursts with old-world charm. Peak-season rates start at $295 per night. 

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7. Lake Placid, NY

The beloved lake is just the beginning: This prime Adirondacks spot features art, shopping, hiking, swimming and one killer mountain. 

Do this: If you're already planning to go out to admire all the greenery upstate New York has to offer, visiting The Wild Center is a must if you want to experience truly unreal nature views. That is, as long as you aren't afraid of heights. Why? Oh, because when you go, you'll be walking an elevated trail across the Adirondack treetops. No big deal!

Stay here: The seven-acre, 131-unit Mirror Lake Inn can't be beat. Every room looks over the lake, and the the cozy fireside accomodations (along with two restaurants and a spa) will keep you in your robe late into the day. 

Photograph: Sophie Roche Conti

8. Greenwich, CT

NOTE: The dining room at Back 40 Kitchen is currently closed. Pick-up and delivery services are available.

1hr 30mins from NYC

Greenwich may bring to mind finance commuteres and tennis courts and, yes, it certainly has a lot of those, but it's also a gorgeous community of 60,000 that still has a small-town feel. And it's only an hour out of the city by train! With plenty of beaches, harbors, restaurants and sweet neighborhood to explore, it's a gentle escape from the city—and you don't have to be a financier to visit.

Do this: Spend a leisurely afternoon browsing the many shops, eateries and bars along Greenwich Avenue. In the evening, do not miss a meal at Back 40 Kitchen, a farm-to-table restaurant that's worth the trip to Greenwich on its own. The interior is warm and homey, with wood paneling, industrial lights and only several tables in the entire space. Chef Ian Vest personally delivers your meal, course by course (and you should definitely go for the tasting menu), including items such as deviled eggs, pappardelle and mint stracciatella ice cream. The meal is every bit as good, and far less expensive, than the last gourmet meal you had in the city. 

Stay here: If you're up for a splurge, the Delamar Greenwich hotel certainly gives a taste of the finer things. Many rooms face the quiet harbor, as does the restaurant, L'Escale, which offers a delicious, upscale al fresco brunch on the weekends. There's also a full-service spa where you can get pampered with facials, massages and anti-aging treatments. 

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best weekend getaways from nyc
best weekend getaways from nyc
Photograph: Marc J. Harary

9. Hudson, NY

NOTE: The dining room at Wm. Farmer and Sons is currently closed. Curbside pick-up service is available.

2hrs 20mins from NYC

You’ve probably heard a lot about Hudson, and here’s why: food and antiques. The place does both extremely well—it’s a prime option for rustic fine dining (Ca’Mea) and rare retro finds (just about any storefront on Warren Street). But the other big reason why droves of New Yorkers and, fittingly, DIY businesses and developments are staking their claim on the town is because it’s all ensconced in a gorgeous Hudson River–side environment, dotted with quaint historic homes.

Do this: The communal, high-end restaurant Wm. Farmer and Sons has a cozy-yet-urban energy, serving up bar snacks, small plates and big plates that make use, whenever possible, of local ingredients. 

Stay here: The Barlow beautifully blends old-timey flavor with contemporary amenities. Set in an Art Deco building, the hotel has 16 well-appointed guest rooms with sleek, sculptural furnishings that match the Deco tone, as well as free Wi–Fi, an iPad lending library, Keurig coffeemakers, pillow-top mattresses and Lather Aromatherapy bath products.

best weekend getaways from nyc
best weekend getaways from nyc
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/ScubaBear68

10. Phoenicia, NY

NOTE: The Town Tinker is currently closed.

2hrs 30mins from NYC

Tucked into the Catskills, this Ulster County hamlet is a real melting pot, the kind of place where you can expect to see a conservative old-timer and a Brooklyn lumbersexual sipping Buds along the bar in perfect harmony. For every no-nonsense staple (Phoenicia Diner), there’s a hipster newbie (the Graham & Co.). The mellow, no-frills, hippie-dippie local culture makes it easy for anyone to relax here.

Do this: If you’re looking to float down the creek’s rapids—one of the most popular things to do in Phoenicia—let Town Tinker (which is conveniently located adjacent to Black Bear Campground) be your guide. It rents out everything you need for a tubing day: inner tubes with seats, life jackets, helmets, creek sneakers, wet suits ($40 per day for all of the above; discount offers are sometimes available) and even taxi transportation to and from the creek ($5 per trip). 

Stay here: Located directly on Esopus Creek in the heart of the Catskills, Phoenicia Black Bear Campground is rustic without being primitive. Choose your own adventure: There’s swimming, biking, horseback riding and more nearby. 

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best weekend getaways from nyc
best weekend getaways from nyc
Photograph: Courtesy Sunset Beach Hotel

11. Shelter Island, L.I.

NOTE: Sunset Beach is currently closed.

2hrs 30 mins from NYC

A midsize island just a seven-minute ferry ride from Greenport, NY, and surrounded by Shelter Island Sound and Gardiner’s Bay, Shelter Island is all about unwinding, with historic plantations, unassuming cafés, kayaking and, of course, those views that will make your pals rageful that they didn’t join you.

Do this: With more than 2,000 acres of tidal creeks, mature oak woodlands, fields and freshwater marshes, Nature Conservancy’s Mashomack Preserve is one of the richest habitats in the Northeast. Edged in white by 12 miles of coastline, Mashomack attracts birders and botanists looking for ospreys and a number of rare plants—and regular people like us who just want our Facebook feed to look awesome. 

Stay here: Every room at the perennially popular Sunset Beach Hotel has a private sundeck with water views (and loads of Kiehl’s products in the bathrooms, yay). Sunset Beach’s area, with its curving shoreline and spectacular light, is pretty darn similar to the French Riviera. Plus, EDM heads will want to show up this year too: The hotel is hosting a lineup of DJs, all of whom spun in the Balearic scene in Ibiza in the late ’80s, for live Saturday Sessions (July 4th through Labor Day). 

best weekend getaways from nyc
best weekend getaways from nyc
Photograph: Courtesy Canyon Ranch

12. The Berkshires, MA

NOTE: Shakespeare & Company's 2020 season has been suspended.

3hrs from NYC

Think of the Berkshires as the Hamptons, minus the nightlife and plus all the art, theater, dance, music and small-town simplicity you could want. Yes, the mountainous region in western Massachusetts has luxury, but it’s served in a laid-back setting. And given its jaw-dropping bucolic backdrop, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities, either.

Do this: One of the country’s largest centers for contemporary art, MASS MoCA, which is set in a converted factory building, focuses on large-scale, immersive installations that more conventional museums just can’t handle. There’s just as much focus on performing arts as there is on visual here; each year touts more than 75 performances of music (Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival has been held here), dance, films, theater and more. Another surefire bet for the performing arts is Shakespeare & Company in nearby Lenox. The thriving regional theater company mixes traditional Shakespearean productions with contemporary works across multiple, indoor and outdoor stages. 

Stay here: Oriented toward health, wellness and pampering (not raving), Canyon Ranch, which is centered around the century-old, lovingly restored Bellefontaine Mansion, has a lot to offer: tennis, aerobics, guided hikes and bike rides, canoeing, croquet and more than 40 seminars and classes daily such as “Finding Forgiveness.” After all that fresh air and, er, learning, relax in the spa while enjoying the signature Canyon Stone Massage or the candlelit Euphoria body treatment. 

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best weekend getaways from nyc
best weekend getaways from nyc
Photograph: Cape Resorts

13. Cape May, NJ

3hrs from NYC

Rediscover your inner summertime kiddie at this seaside destination, which has some of the East Coast’s most unspoiled beaches. The unpretentious fun peaks on Fourth of July weekend—when a full-on carnival and an impressive fireworks display bring in throngs of people—but the good times continue throughout the season, with boardwalk vendors and even dolphin-spotting tours. (Fucking dolphins, you guys.)

Do this: Yup, Jersey Shore Alpacas sounds like an MTV spin-off (and it’d be an awesome one). At this small alpaca farm in Green Creek, a quaint town right next to Cape May, mingle with the 17 of the critters—well taken care of by owners Jim and Tish Carpinelli—during Open Farm Saturdays, when you can meet the cute creatures at the fence and feed them (carrots are provided). 

Stay here: Cape Resorts. One of the area’s Victorian buildings, the 200-year-old Congress Hall is America’s oldest oceanfront resort. It has 104 rooms, as well as a restaurant, bar and lounge, outdoor pool, spa and a fitness center. But despite the full-service amenity list, the best things here are the simple ones, like the smell of salty sea air outside your open window. (Book an Atlantic-view room for the best relaxation results.) 

Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia, PA
Photograph: Shutterstock

14. Philadelphia, PA

NOTE: The Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Kimpton Hotel Monaco are currently closed.

2hrs from NYC by car, 1hr and 23min by train 

Aside from the wild football fans and patriotic Liberty Bell-seekers, the city of brotherly love caters to the artistic set through major attractions such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Go to get cultured, but stick around for the amazing restaurants, beer gardens and the cheesesteaks (duh) that truly make the city a smash.

Do this: As the crown jewel of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Philadelphia Museum of Art should arguably be the first stop on your list. (Yes, even before the aforementioned cheesesteak). Inside, you’ll find an impressive collection of 19th-and early-20th-century paintings and artifacts. After peeping the creative works, refuel at Reading Terminal Market. The famous indoor farmer’s market hawks everything from food and housewares to speciality snacks and treats all under one roof. Grab a takeaway treat from notable sellers like Famous 4th Street Cookie Company, Beiler’s Doughnuts and Little Thai Market. Once you’re full, head to Independence Beer Garden (an outdoor brew den) to down a few pints while playing games like giant jenga. What's missing? Oh, right: End your night with a Jim’s South Street cheesesteak.

Stay here: Rest your head at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco. This is one of the city’s coolest hotels with post-modern meets art-deco inspired decor and a trendy rooftop bar. Added bonus: The hotel is located right next to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

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best weekend getaways from nyc
best weekend getaways from nyc
Photograph: Courtesy Inn at Windmill Lane

15. The Hamptons, L.I.

3hrs from NYC

The Hamptons’ gorgeous sandy respites, dunes and relatively untouched landscapes aren’t just for the jet set. The area boasts gratis culture (the Dan Flavin Art Institute) and no-nonsense places to eat (Lobster Roll) and drink (Fellingham’s), plus plenty of other casual nooks for the rest of us.

Do this: Coopers Beach is the only stretch of silky, fine-grained white sand in Southampton that’s open to the public. So you can look like a baller in your sunset Instagram pic—without having to actually throw down a ton of dough. 

Stay here: Privacy, luxury and amenities reign supreme at the Inn at Windmill Lane. The main building houses seven suites with wood-burning fireplaces (you’ll want to turn them on, even in the summer, just for the fun of it), oversize marble baths and white wainscot walls with original artwork. 

best weekend getaways from nyc
best weekend getaways from nyc
Photograph: Courtesy Gurney's

16. Montauk, L.I.

3hrs 45mins from NYC

The farthest point of Long Island’s South Fork, Montauk, is technically part of the Hamptons, but trust us, it’s a whole different world. (Think much less dense, even more nature and way fewer places to see and be seen.) Some hotels and restaurants serve up a chilled-out take on five-star style, but mainly there’s a cozy town-from-Jaws feel that attracts those looking to escape the craziness that is summer in NYC.

Do this: It’s all about the waves, baby. Air & Speed sells and rents a wide range of surf boards—and even stand-up paddleboards for you wimps out there. (JK, even that’s pretty hard.) The shop hosts private and group surf lessons (at both beginner and advanced levels) at Ditch Plains Beach. So get out there and shred, dude. 

Stay here: The swanky oceanfront resort Gurney’s has terraces, wet bars, Nespresso machines and bathrooms with walk-in rain showers aplenty. And then, of course, there’s the pristine private beach, on which guests can chill out in cabanas (some have suspended mattresses), not to mention Gurney’s state-of-the-art enclosed seawater pool. (Don’t worry, the wet stuff is filtered—and feels pretty damn refreshing.) 

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Main Street and Pioneer Street, Cooperstown
Main Street and Pioneer Street, Cooperstown

17. Cooperstown, NY

4hrs from NYC

Cooperstown has way more than baseball, and every true brew head knows this. With four breweries in town, Cooperstown was once the country's hops-growing capital.

Do this: Brewery Ommegang, is located on a 135-acre hops farm and offers daily tours. 

Stay here: The Otesaga, the charming (and reportedly haunted) historic hotel, is celebrating its 106th anniversary. It offers fishing and boating—and serves Ommegang beer, to boot. Rooms start at $359 per night.

Newport, RI
Newport, RI
Photograph: Shutterstock

18. Newport, RI

4hrs 30mins from NYC

It’d be easy to dismiss the town as a tourist trap, but what often brings people back to Newport (other than yacht races, tours of a Vanderbilt mansion and smiley locals) are the newish spots.

Eat here: Revolving Door, where regional and national chefs hunker down for several weeks—sometimes up to a month—creating, cooking and serving an inspired prix-fixe menu.

Stay here: The Attwater, a design-driven seven-room boutique hotel off of historic Bellevue Avenue, recently acquired a Victorian manor next door and renovated it from top to bottom. Rooms start at $249 per night. 

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19. Bethlehem, PA

1hr 44mins from NYC

The charming town of Bethlehem, PA offers historic sights, incredible attractions as well as great spots to eat and drink. 

Do this: Take a walk on the wild side when you visit Bethlehem, Pennsylvania’s prime casino and resort: The Sands. Rattle the dice, try your luck on the slots, play table games or simply go for the cocktails. While there are ten fine dining options (including three Emeril’s eateries—bam!), we recommend hitting Main Street in historic Bethlehem for a bite. Enjoy a flight of sangria and eat small plates such as bacon wrapped dates and, hummus ad burrata at Tapas On Main.

Stay here: Rest your head at the historic and stunning Hotel Bethlehem located on bustling Main Street that is chock-full of amazing eateries, lovely boutiques and one of the oldest bookstores in the city, Moravian Book Shop. 

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