New York

7 Weekend Trips From NYC With or Without a Car

by Lauren Breedlove
Updated November 19, 2021

weekend roadtrips from new york city
Photo: Mihai Andritoiu / Shutterstock

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Even the most enthusiastic of city dwellers may crave an escape from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple.

Anyone that’s navigated the daily grind of New York City knows the need for a little getaway now and again. The constant high energy, bright lights, and never-ending crowds can leave you feeling drained. But there’s no better way to give yourself a refresh than to take a weekend away from the confines of the five boroughs.

Whether you’re craving a weekend at the beach, a couple of days to unwind with some wine, or complete solitude in the outdoors, there’s a weekend trip for every interest within reach of New York City.

One of the trickier things about leaving the city is transportation, but these fantastic spots include options for those without cars. Some of these weekend trips from New York require cars (you can always rent one) but some are accessible via public transportation. It’s a weekend-escape smorgasbord list, if you will.

The good news? You don’t have to go too far to feel worlds away. The bad news? You might just want to stay for longer than you planned. For a rejuvenating escape, choose one of these weekend trips from New York City and get ready to have a bit more space to yourself.

Related Read: 11 Unique Places to Stay in New York State

1. Saratoga Springs, New York

saratoga springs weekend roadtrip from nyc
Photo: Enrico Della Pietra / Shutterstock

Hop aboard an Amtrak train going north out of Penn Station and in about three hours, you’ll have traded the big city for a small city loaded with charm. This walkable destination is a draw for horse racing and live music enthusiasts in the summer, but has plenty to offer as a year-round weekend getaway. Just south of the Adirondack Park, you can spend your morning embracing nature on a mountain jaunt, waterfall hike, or leisurely paddle, and be back downtown for afternoon musings at a museum, gallery, park, or brewery.

Lake George is a quick 30 minutes away, offering the chance to experience the southern Adirondacks without venturing too far from your weekend home base of Saratoga. Hike or drive up Prospect Mountain, or head to the eastern shore to see the picturesque Shelving Rock Falls.

Good luck choosing a restaurant for dinner — the number of fantastic options in this idyllic town will make your head spin (in the best way possible). Fiesta at Cantina for some Mexican flair, twirl pasta at Osteria Danny, or allow yourself to be surprised by the stellar sushi at Morrissey’s Lounge, located in the renovated Adelphi Hotel on Broadway. Grab a craft cocktail at Hamlet & Ghost before heading to the historic and famous Caffe Lena for some live music, or sling darts at the resident Irish Pub, The Parting Glass. Winner buys the next round.

Camping: No shortage of options here, though winter camping is a bit of a masochistic experience, so make sure it’s not your first time camping in snow if you go that route. Glamp at Camp Rockaway or Saratoga Escape Luxury Glamping, or book a site at Lee’s Park Campground for waterfront sites, water access, and a host of comfortable amenities.

Lodging: Just as Saratoga Springs has great restaurants, it also has great hotels. Stay at the the Adelphi Hotel for a glamorous, borderline royal experience, or check out the highly rated Inn at Saratoga, which offers free bikes for cruising around town. The Brentwood Hotel is a fairly affordable but still pretty hip option.

  • Distance from NYC: 193 miles
  • Drive time without stops: 3 hours, 15 mins (3.5 hours by public transportation)

2. Roscoe, New York

Cables Lake Cherry Ridge Wild Forest
Photo: Shutterstock

Cast a line in the birthplace of fly fishing in Roscoe. The small city manages to blend historic charm with hip and trendy vibes, all while being cradled by the gorgeous surrounds of the Western Catskills. Trout are abundant in Beaverkill River and Willowemoc Creek, making this the prime spot to fish, too. Gear rentals, along with guided fly fishing lessons and trips, are available from several outfitters along the quaint downtown area.

Outside of fishing, hiking trails, campsites, and paddling options are rife as well. Camp and hike in the Cherry Ridge Wild Forest area; the Trout Pond and Mud Pond Loop trail is a scenic place to spend an afternoon during your weekend away from the city (or camp). Check out Russell Brook Falls while you’re there and prepare to feel like you’ve entered a fairytale forest.

All that outdoor adventure is bound to make you hungry — and thirsty. Luckily, Roscoe and its surrounding hamlets are host to The Good Taste Artisinal Beverage Trail, a curated collection of regional breweries, distilleries, cideries, and wineries. Want to combine hiking and beer? That’s no problem at Livingston Manor’s brewery, Upward Brewing Company. Their on-site “Beer Mountain” is a short 1-mile trail up to a lookout, which happens to be the perfect place to enjoy a brew. Oh, and their food is incredible, too. Try the trout nuggets with homemade aioli; you know the trout is fresh.

Back in Roscoe, sip spirits for a good cause at Do Good Spirits, a distillery that offers donation-only tastings. Proceeds go to The Third Option Foundation in memory of the founder’s Navy buddies.

Camping: Roscoe has dozens of places to pitch a tent or park your RV. Check out Roscoe Campsite, a large property with cabins, tent sites, RV sites, covered wagons, and a concierge that can help arrange tours or rent you tubes and kayaks for summer adventures. Russell Brook is a good summer-only caption for tent campers as the tent sites are in their own little waterfront section, so you don’t have to worry about RV or hotel noise.

Lodging: Roscoe has a few affordable lodging options in case you want to spend your money on brews and kayak rentals instead. The Days Inn is quite clean and budget-friendly, and there are lots of cabin and home rentals around the $100-$120 a night mark on Airbnb.

  • Distance from NYC: 123 miles
  • Drive time without stops: 2 hours, 30 mins

3. Cutchogue, New York

Cutchogue New York vineyard
Photo: James Kirkikis / Shutterstock

If you’re in search of a beachy weekend road trip from New York City, Long Island’s North Fork might be for you. If you’re looking for a beach and wine, then it’s definitely for you. Train riders can hop aboard Long Island Rail Road from Penn Station to the town of Mattituck, giving you around three hours to read and gaze out the window. From the station, it’s a 5-minute taxi ride to neighboring Cutchogue. If you have access to a car, you can be in the seaside haven in around two hours if there’s no traffic.

Spend the weekend exploring the Long Island Wine Trail via bicycle, where you’ll uncover amazing vineyards all more or less close to one another. Sip rosé at Long Island’s oldest vineyard, Castello di Borghese, or cabernet Franc at Suhru Wines. Soak up the vino with delicious food at the farm-to-table restaurants the area is known for, like Red Rooster Bistro and 8 Hands Farm.

Oyster fans will jump for joy at the chance to taste the famed freshly plucked treats all over the North Fork, though spots like Harvest Moon Shellfish Company and Peconic Gold Oysters are perhaps the most well-known. In between eating and drinking, lounge on McCabe’s Beach, book a sailing tour, or go kayaking.

Camping: You won’t have as many options on Long Island for camping as you might in a mountain town, but you should still be able to find a last-minute site most of the time. Peconic River Campgrounds is basic and affordable. There’s also Cliff and Eds Campground, though you’ll have to call for information and bookings.

Lodging: There are limited hotels in Cutchogue but plenty of bed and breakfasts within a 10-minute drive, including A Walk in the Woods Bed & Breakfast and Shorecrest Bed & Breakfast.

  • Distance from NYC: 123 miles
  • Drive time without stops: 2 hours (around 3 hours by public transportation)

4. Frenchtown, New Jersey 

frenchtown new jersey
Photo: Shutterstock

Live the river life for the weekend with an escape to Frenchtown, New Jersey. In less than two hours from Manhattan, you’ll be transported to the banks of the Delaware River on the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Frenchtown is a jumping-off point for cycling along the river canal trail as well as tubing, kayaking, or canoeing along the scenic waterway. Bicycle rentals are available at Cycle Corner in town; $45 will get you a full day on two wheels.

Explore the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park, filled to the brim with outdoor exploits and historic points of interest such as old canal locks, bridges, and stone culverts. Venture across the river to see the historic Uhlerstown Covered Bridge, followed by a tour and tasting at nearby Sandcastle Winery.

Head just north to the town of Milford to indulge in an incredible dinner at Canal House Station, run by an award-winning successful chef and cookbook author duo. Carve out some time for a leisurely brunch at the local Lovin’ Oven, a farm-to-table favorite in Frenchtown.

Camping: Mountain View Campground has roomy sites with or without amenities (your choice) and Ringing Rocks Family Campground has events all summer ranging from trivia nights to tailgating to paint & sip wine nights and the family-friendly “camper Olympics.”

Lodging: Slumber options include The National Hotel, a property that dates back to the 1800’s with an onsite restaurant, or the cozy Widow McCrea B&B, a classic Victorian Inn oozing with romance.

  • Distance from NYC: 65 miles
  • Drive time without stops: 1 hour, 30 mins

5. Chester, Connecticut

Chester Connecticut winter
Photo: Joe Tabacca

Spend the weekend in the small Connecticut town with historic colonial New England roots. Chester is perched in the Connecticut River Valley with enough arts, culture, history, and nature to occupy your time for more than just a weekend.

Embrace the outdoors at the Cockaponset State Forest with a hike on the popular Cockaponset State Forest Road Loop Trail, or hit the Quinimay trail for mountain biking. Then pop over to the famous Gillette Castle, a regal property that was once the home of actor William Gillette. Outside, the home has well-manicured grounds with pretty picnic spots, so bring a sandwich from the town’s popular Wheatmarket. Inside, the onsite museum and attention to design detail will have even non-architecture enthusiasts in awe. And the fall foliage is spectacular, too.

Stroll the center of Chester, browsing adorable boutiques, galleries, and studios selling items crafted by local artisans. A visit to the Little House Brewing on Main Street will quench any thirst and you can fulfill pasta cravings with a meal at the Italian eatery, Grano Arso. And if you don’t top it off with dessert at Honeycone Cream Company, you’re doing it wrong.

Camping: There are dozens of cheap (seriously: $5 a night) campgrounds within the nearby Connecticut park systems. You can camp at Gillette Castle, nearby Hurd State Park, or Selden Neck State Park. The sites are fairly primitive, though there are pit toilettes. Head to Wolf’s Den Family Campground for amenities like mini-golf and a huge outdoor pool.

Lodging: Options in and near Chester range from budget chains like a Super 8 to seaside resorts like the Water’s Edge Resort and Spa. Other options fall somewhere in the middle price-wise but are mostly privately owned, so they’re all unique in their own way. Try the Riverwind Inn Bed & Breakfast or historic Griswold Inn.

  • Distance from NYC: 113 miles
  • Drive time without stops: 2 hours, 30 mins (4 hours by public transportation)

6. Milton, New York

milton new york
Photo: Tyler A. McNeil / Wikimedia Commons

Get away from it all in this under-the-radar weekend trip from New York City on the Hudson River. Milton is an easy drive up I-87 or a quick train ride to nearby Poughkeepsie, from where you can get an Uber or taxi and be in town in around 10 minutes. The town itself is named after English poet John Milton and is actually so quaint that it’s technically dubbed a “hamlet.”

Enjoy the wide open spaces offered outside the city by getting some fresh air at Illinois Mountain Park. The seven hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing trails (and scenic backdrops) are likely just what your weekend getaway needed.

Farms and wineries abound in the surrounding area too; pick your own seasonal fruits at DuBois Farms or sip pinot noir at Nostrano Vineyards (or better yet, do both). Make sure to grab breakfast or lunch at Frida’s Bakery and Cafe, a local favorite. Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa (did someone say “spa?”) is easily the best place to catch some serious Z’s and just happens to be the perfect dinner place, too. Their farm-to-table restaurant, Henry’s, has a seasonal menu. Prepare to swoon.

Camping: Just give the term “Milton NY campsites” a quick Google and you’ll see that the surrounding forests offer plenty of options. But the closest to Milton itself is probably McConchie’s Heritage Acres Campground, which has a pool, a game room, bocce, lawn games, and pretty cheap rates ($35 a night for tents).

Lodging: If you can swing it, you won’t regret springing for a stay at the Buttermilk Falls Inn. Otherwise, more affordable nearby alternatives in Poughkeepsie range from your standard roadside chains to nicer $200+ a night hotels. If you’re looking for vintage, adult summer camp vibes, you won’t be disappointed by the Minnewaska Lodge.

  • Distance from NYC: 80 miles
  • Drive time without stops: 1 hour, 45 mins (2 hours, 20 mins by public transportation)

7. North Adams, Massachusetts

north adams road trip
Photo: Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock

Spend a weekend in the Berkshires with a trip to the artsy town of North Adams, Massachusetts. If it’s raining, stroll through the well-loved contemporary art museum MASS MoCA, celebrating art in all forms. If the westher is nice, appreciate Mother Nature’s art in the nearby Natural Bridge State Park, where you can see North America’s only natural white marble arch (or bridge), and waterfalls if you take a hike on the Gorge Trail.

Head to Windsor Lake for kayaking, swimming, picnicking, or even disc golf. You can relax on the beach in the summer and hit the snowshoe trails in the winter. Waterfall chasers will want to check out Cascade Waterfall, an easy 2-mile, out-and-back nature walk along the stream.

Hungry? Grab an old school-style burger or hot dog at Jack’s Hot Dog Stand or stop at the weekends-only A-OK Bbq for — you guessed it — delicious homemade BBQ.

Camping: Camp at the Historic Valley Campground to be close to everything going on at the lake in the summer, including free community concerts and boat rentals.

Lodging: Book a renovated motel room at the hip TOURISTS on the Hoosic River. It’s artsy, modern, and surrounded by nature. It’s basically North Adams in a nutshell.

  • Distance from NYC: 172 miles
  • Drive time without stops: 3 hours, 20 mins

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