New York City is a great place to live because there’s always something to do, but there will be times you’ll want to escape the city. Luckily with 52 weekends every year, it gives you plenty of opportunities to get out and explore especially since we’re so close to great destinations in the Northeast. Whether that means a neighboring city or spending time outdoors, we’ve put together a list of the best weekend trips from NYC.
Like most people in the city, we don’t have a car. That’s no issue in the city, but when we want to leave, we’re much more limited. Yes, there are public transportation options like trains or buses, but even then you can only go to certain places. We also much prefer road tripping! It gives us a chance to travel at our own pace and make impromptu stops.
We recently signed up for Zipcar to help us explore more of the Northeast. Not only can we use it within NYC when we need to run errands or visit areas of the city that take forever to get to via subway, but we can also decide to go on a weekend or day trip on a whim. It was super easy to sign up for and we received our Zipcard in the mail a few days later. Once we had that, we were able to book to select our car, then unlock it with the card itself. Sign up with this link to get $25 driving credit.
We headed up to Boston to visit one of Esther’s friends, explore more of the city, and eat delicious Italian food and didn’t start planning the trip until the day before we left.
1. Philadelphia, PA
Distance: 101 mi / 1 hr 45 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Independence Hall, Museum Mile, Reading Terminal Market
What to Eat: Geno’s vs Pat’s, Federal Donuts, Zahav
Where to Stay: The Logan, Morris House Hotel, Hotel Sofitel
Philly has a ton to do! You can travel in time to some of America’s most significant moments by visiting Federal Hall, search for the best Philly cheesesteak (I’m on team cheese whiz), or run up the iconic Rocky steps and explore the museums around it.
Though you can get there via Amtrak or Bus, then it’s difficult to get around the city. There were areas we didn’t get to explore because they were too far from where we were, so we need to go back with a car.
Note: If you’re visiting on a budget, check out all these free things to do.
2. The Catskills, NY
Distance: 135 mi / 2 hr 40 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Hunter Mountain, Kaaterskill Falls, Pratt Rock
What to Eat: Brushland Eating House, Phoenicia Diner, The Alternative Baker
Where to Stay: The Fairlawn Inn, The 1850 House Inn, The Roxbury
The Catskills is a beautiful mix of outdoors and comfort. You can be as active as you want, or pamper yourself in quiet recluse. You’ll find charming B&Bs or hipster spots that feel like they came straight from Brooklyn. Explore the charming towns, beautiful forests, and spectacular swimming holes. The area is massive so don’t try to do everything in one weekend. Focus on one region while you’re there.
3. Hershey, PA
Distance: 162 mi / 2 hr 45 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Hershey Park, Hershey Gardens, Zoo America
What to Eat: Hershey Pantry, The Chocolate Avenue Grill, Duck Donuts
Where to Stay: Courtyard Hotel, White Rose Motel, Bluegreen Vacations Suites
Hershey is a great spot for families. There are a ton of kid-friendly activities that parents can enjoy too. Plus, if you’re a chocolate lover, the town embraces the Hershey name.
Pro Tip: If you really love chocolate, visit in February when they celebrate chocolate all month.
4. Lake George, NY
Distance: 211 mi / 3 hr 25 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Village of Lake George, Steel Pier, Fort William Henry
What to Eat: Bolton Landing Brewing Company, The Saltwater Cowboy, Pizza Jerks
Where to Stay: Hampton Inn & Suites Lake George, Colonel Williams Resort & Suites, Blue Moon Motel
Lake George is nestled in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains and is one of the best lake getaways. This 32 mountain lake is set amongst beautiful mountain scenery. Stop by local breweries, wineries, or hop in the water for one of its meany recreational activities.
Pro Tip: Love festivals? The area has multiple festivals throughout the year. Check out Adirondack Wine and Food Festival, Rock the Dock, and The Elvis Festival.
5. Boston, MA
Distance: 215 mi / 3 hr 35 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Freedom Trail, Museum of Science Boston, Faneuil Hall
What to Eat: Pomodoro, Island Creek Oyster Bar, Giacomo’s Ristorante
Where to Stay: The Godfrey Hotel, Seaport Boston Hotel, The Verb Hotel
See American History come to life in Boston, whether you’re following the Freedom Trail or taking part in the Boston Tea Party. If history isn’t your thing, there are tons of museums and restaurants to explore.
Pro Tip: When driving through the city, the highways run underground and you often lose GPS. Screen grab directions and pay attention to what exit you’re looking for. If you miss it or get off at the wrong one, no worries, it’ll redirect you once you’re back above ground. I’ll admit that I freaked out a bit at first, but realized it was easy to get back onto the highway when I needed.
6. Washington, DC
Distance: 226 mi / 3 hr 50 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: National Museum of Natural History, National Zoo, Spy Museum
What to Eat: Clydes, Bad Saint, Pineapple & Pearls
Where to Stay: The Hamilton Hotel, The Melrose Georgetown Hotel, Pod DC Hotel
The capital is another great destination with or without kids. A lot of the attractions and museums in the city are free, and the Smithsonian does an amazing job at curating all its pieces. If you’re looking for restaurants and bars, head over to the Georgetown area.
7. Stone Harbor, NJ
Distance: 150 mi / 2 hr 30 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: The Wetlands Institute, Seven Mile Beach, Stone Harbor Point
What to Eat: Seven Mile Pies, The Watering Hull, Ristorante Luciano
Where to Stay: ICONA Diamond Beach, Lark Motel, The Reed at Shelter Haven
This beautiful beach in Jersey is nothing like the Jersey Shore stereotype. It’s a small beach town that takes you back to a simpler time. Grab a scoop of ice cream, play a round of putt-putt, or lounge at the beach. It’s also a popular spot for surfing and boogie boarding.
8. Lancaster County, PA
Distance: 150 mi / 2hr 35 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Lititz Springs Park, Dutch Wonderland, Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area
What to Eat: Rachel’s Cafe and Creperie, On Orange, John J Jeffries
Where to Stay: Country Inn & Suites, EJ Bowman House B&B, Fulton Steamboat Inn
Lancaster County is a great countryside getaway especially if you need a break from the fast pace of life in NYC. Stop by Amish-owned businesses along the way, hop on a buggy tour, or visit a traditional amusement park.
9. The Berkshires, MA
Distance: 140 mi / 2 hr 50 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Norman Rockwell Museum, Mass MoCA, Ashuwillticook Rail Trail
What to Eat: Nudel, Brava, Alta Restaurant & Wine Bar
Where to Stay: Willows Motel, Chambery Inn, Maple Terrace Motel
The Berkshires is where you want to head if you’re looking for some laid-back luxury. It has beautiful scenery, plenty to do outdoors, and a great art, theater, and music scene. It’s the perfect blend of culture and scenery.
10. Providence, RI
Distance: 180 mi / 3 hr 05 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, Roger Williams Park Zoo, Brown University
What to Eat: Los Andes Restaurant, Pastiche, Kitchen
Where to Stay: Christopher Dodge House, Downcity Inn, Dye House Lofts
If you’re into history, Providence has beautiful Colonial homes along Benefit Street. It has the charm and feel of Boston, but much less crowded. You can explore the Brown University or catch one of the Broadway shows that come through.
11. Portland, ME
Distance: 315 mi / 5 hr 15 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Portland Head Light, Casco Bay, Portland Museum of Art
What to Eat: Eventide Oyster Company, The Holy Donut, Street & Co.
Where to Stay: The Francis, Pomegranate Inn, Hilton Garden Inn Portland
When people ask us where we lived last year, we always forget we need to say Portland, OR since everyone things of Portland, ME in the northeast. It’s easy to see why! It’s home to one of the most famous lighthouses on the East Coast and the coastal town is just all around a relaxing place to be.
12. Hunter, NY
Distance: 124 mi / 2 hr 30 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Hunter Mountain, Bear Creek Landing, Hudson-Chatam Winery Tasting Room
What to Eat: Roseberry’s Restaurant & Bar, Prospect, Jagerberg Beer Hall
Where to Stay: The Fairlawn Inn, The Sedgwick House B&B, Hotel Vienna
Hunter is known as the best mountain getaway from NYC. Whether you enjoy camping and hiking in the summer or prefer hitting the slopes in the winter, it’s a popular spot to visit. They also have some amazing zip-line tours and canopy courses.
13. Montauk, NY
Distance: 119 mi / 2 hr 45 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Montauk Point Lighthouse, Hither Hills State Park, Gosman’s Dock
What to Eat: South Edison, Montauk Bake Shoppe, St Peter’s Catch
Where to Stay: Haven Montauk, Montauk Manor, Sunrise Guest House
Montauk has some of the best surfing in the area. If surfing isn’t you’re thing, you can still enjoy the beautiful white-sand beaches, bike along the shore, or go on a hike.
14. Watch Hill, RI
Distance: 145 mi / 2 hr 35 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Watch Hill Lighthouse, Napatree Point, Carousel Beach
What to Eat: The Malted Barley, Ella’s Fine Food & Drink, The Cooked Goose
Where to Stay: Pleasant View Inn, Langworthy Farm Bed & Breakfast, The Villa Bed & Breakfast
Looking for stunning sunsets? Head over to the Watch Hill and find one of the many viewpoints. Play at the beach all day or if you prefer to getaway from the crowds, head to the sand spit called Napatree Point. You can also for for a ride on a carousel that is a National Historic Landmark.
15. Niagara Falls, NY
Distance: 408 mi / 6 hr 45 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Niagara Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Parks Botanical Garden
What to Eat: Third Street Retreat, The Griffon Gastropub, Savor
Where to Stay: Hilton Niagara Falls, Hotel Wyndham Garden, Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino
Niagara Falls is on most people’s bucket list, so why not go ahead and cross it off? It’s an easy weekend trip from NYC
Note: Bring your passport! The views from the Canada side are much better.
More Weekend Trip Ideas Under 7 Hours
- The North Fork, Long Island, NY ( 81 mi / 1 hr 35 min / map)
- Shelter Island, NY ( 106 mi / 2 hr 30 min / map)
- Cape May, NJ ( 158 mi / 2 hr 35 min / map)
- Saratoga Springs, NY ( 185 mi / 3 hr 10 min / map)
- Annapolis, MD ( 216 mi / 3 hr 30 min / map)
- Newport, RI ( 180 mi / 3 hr 30 min / map)
- Rehoboth Beach, DE ( 211 mi / 3 hr 30 min / map)
- St Michaels, MD ( 210 mi / 3 hr 40 min / map)
- Cooperstown, NY ( 199 mi / 3 hr 45 min / map)
- Manchester, VT ( 211 mi / 3 hr 45 min / map)
- Cape Cod, MA (235 mi / 4 hr 15 min / map)
- Ithaca, NY ( 235 mi / 4 hr 15 min / map)
- Hanover, NH (266 mi / 4 hr 25 min / map)
- Portsmouth, NH ( 263 mi / 4 hr 25 min / map)
- Woodstock, VT ( 265 mi / 4 hr 40 min / map)
- Kennebunkport, ME ( 291 mi / 5 hr / map)
- Finger Lakes, NY (269 mi / 5 hr / map)
- Adirondacks, NY (299 mi / 5 hr 10 min / map)
- Martha’s Vineyard (266 mi / 5 hr 25 min / map)
- Warren, VT ( 298 mi / 5 hr 30 min / map)
- Stowe, VT ( 334 mi / 5 hr 40 min / map)
- Letchworth State Park, NY ( 324 mi / 5 hr 45 min / map)
- Pittsburgh, PA (370 mi / 6 hr / map)
- Nantucket, MA (370 mi / 6 hr / map)
- Buffalo, NY ( 374 mi / 6 hr 35 min / map)
Tips for Planning the perfect weekend getaway
- Don’t put pressure on planning. Sometimes the best weekends happen when you decide to just go!
- Leave room to explore. Don’t pack your schedule so much that you don’t have time to stumble across a new discovery. If the drive says 2 hours, give yourself 3. Who knows what roadside stops you might find.
- If you have the flexibility to leave during the week, those are the best times to avoid crowds.
- You can visit a lot of these spots as a day trip!
- Get a $25 driving credit when you sign up for Zipcar with this link. It’ll help you get started on your weekend adventures!
Which of these weekend trips have you done?
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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust