Much as we love NYC, there are times in every New Yorker’s life—let’s say pretty much every national holiday—when you’ve just got to get out of town. The good news is that whether you’re seeking adventure or places to relax, these weekend getaway hot spots are so near the city you can just grab your sunblock and get going. So crank up our summer songs playlist and hit the road!
Best weekend getaways from NYC
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). 55 Hessian Dr, Highland Falls, NY (845-786-2731, visitbearmountain.com)
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. Various locations (eatmogo.com)
Stay here: Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, which was originally designed by noted Beaux Arts architect Whitney Warren. Rooms start at $109 per night. 1401 Ocean Ave (732-776-6700, berkeleyhotelnj.com)
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 Louise Bourgeois, Donald Judd and Dan Flavin. Take a guided tour (free with admission) every Saturday at 1pm to get the best overview. 3 Beekman St (845-440-0100, diaart.org). $15, students and seniors $12, Dia members and children free.
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). 120 Howland Ave (845-831-6346, swanninnofbeacon.com). $160–$195.50/night.
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?). 1635 River Rd (bhwp.org). Free–$6.
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. 518 Lurgan Rd (215-862-8090, theinnatbowmanshill.com). $395–$895/night.
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.) 81 Huguenot St (845-255-1660, huguenotstreet.org)
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. 1000 Mountain Rest Rd (845-765-3286, mohonk.com). Rooms $571–$874/night; spa packages are routinely available.
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.
Eat here: 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. 1414 Meetinghouse Rd (732-223-6658, scarboroughfairrestaurant.com)
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. 100 Beacon Blvd (866-255-0005, beaconhouseinn.com)
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 (clam fritters, chicken-fried frog legs), small plates (daily crudo) and big plates (from a bar burger with butter-baked onions and tomato relish to seared sea scallops) that make use, whenever possible, of local ingredients. 20 S Front St (518-828-1635, wmfarmerandsons.com)
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. 542 Warren St (518-828-2100, thebarlowhotel.com). $155–$280/night.
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). 10 Bridge St (845-688-5553, towntinker.com)
Stay here: Phoenicia Black Bear Campground Located directly on Esopus Creek in the heart of the Catskills, this camp is rustic without being primitive. Choose your own adventure: There’s swimming, biking, horseback riding and more nearby. And talk about wallet friendly: Its priciest option, the deluxe rental unit—which is still hella bare-bones—is just $525 per week. 17 Bridge St (845-688-7405, phoeniciablackbearcampground.com)
Shelter Island, L.I.
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. 47 S Ferry Rd (631-749-1001, nature.org). Suggested donation $3.
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). 35 Shore Rd, Shelter Island Heights, L.I. (631-749-2001, sunsetbeachli.com). $530–$775/night.
The Berkshires, MA
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. 1040 MASS MoCa Way, North Adams, MA (massmoca.org). Free–$18.
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. 165 Kemble St, Lenox, MA (413-637-4100, canyonranch.com/lenox). $2,450–$4,380/luxury suite, $2,120–$2,990/deluxe exclusive room, for two nights (the minimum stay permitted; various custom packages and specials are routinely available).