New York City is one of the most popular worldwide vacation destinations for many reasons. It is a world force in economic, financial, fashion, artistic and literary circles. It is easy to spend a lifetime here and never do the same thing twice. However, for those who desire a break from the Big Apple, there are a lot of great choices nearby. Here is a look at some great and varied opportunities for day trips from New York to discover:
9. New Haven[SEE MAP]
This is a great chance to soak up Ivy League ambiance for both students and non-students. New Haven, the home of Yale University, offers much in the way of culture, architecture, food and entertainment. There is much more to choose from beyond this, however. New Haven’s wharf has a theater, lighthouse and carousel along its coastline. Architecture stretches back into the 1700’s, and there is history stretching back to the Revolutionary War. There is an Arts District, Children’s Museum, Little Italy, and much more. The trip from New York is about an hour and a half, and can be done by bus, train or car.
8. Atlantic City[SEE MAP]
Anyone who has ever played Monopoly will be pleasantly surprised at the familiar street names they discover when they come to Atlantic City. Hotels really do exist on Ventnor Ave, St Charles Place and, of course, the infamous Boardwalk. This New Jersey city is the original Las Vegas, and still has a large number of high-end casino resorts that grace that prime shoreline real estate. The beachfront has easy access to the Atlantic, along with a chance to experience classic venues like the Ripley’s Believe it or not Museum. The city has remained a major venue for entertainment, particularly in the boxing, comedy and concert circuits. It can be reached from New York City via car, train or bus, and the average time, depending on traffic is from two to four hours each way.
7. The Palisades[SEE MAP]
These basalt cliffs stretch hundreds of feet over the Hudson River, creating a sheer, vertical precipice along the river’s corridor from Weehawken, New Jersey to the North. The Palisades can be found just across the water from Manhattan via the George Washington Bridge, and their tree-lined cliffs are especially spectacular to see during the autumn, when they display thousands of beautiful orange, red and yellow-leaved trees. Currently the palisades are mostly tree-lined, with few tall buildings to break up the spectacular view.
6. Washington DC[SEE MAP]
Washington D.C. is doable as a day trip from New York, though most people will probably want to stay overnight when visiting the Nation’s capital. DC can be reached in four hours by bus or in three hours by train. Guests here can take a tour of the White house, congressional buildings, or the National Mall that houses the Washington and Jefferson Monuments. Those who love natural history may enjoy the zoo or the Smithsonian Museum. Best of all, this city shows one benefit for tax dollars– no admission fees are charged at any of the publicly owned zoos, museums or monuments.
5. The Hamptons[SEE MAP]
This playground of the rich and famous is an eastern section of Long Island surrounding the villages of Southampton and East Hampton. The area is best known for its large number of beachside mansions, stars and magnates who summer here, and exclusive parties. However, there are places to stay for those of other demographics, too, provided they book in advance. The Hamptons can be reached in a day, but at three hours each way by train or jitney bus, most who visit will want to stay the night. Once they arrive, white sand beaches, historic homes and mansions, elegant stores and restaurants and the chance to catch a glimpse of an It Girl or Rock Star will captivate most anyone.
4. Fire Island[SEE MAP]
This Long Island barrier island can be reached in about two hours, and is one of the most popular beach communities in the New York metropolitan area. There is a disagreement on the name’s origin, where some claim that it came from the fact that Native Americans built fires near the sand bars to shipwreck visitors from sea. Others believe that the itchy fire from the large poison ivy population here was the real origin.
Access is mostly via cross-bay ferries from the outer coast of Long Island, and most of the vehicles on the island are exclusively emergency vehicles. The island caters to lots of different kinds of guests, from clubbers to skinny dippers to sailors to beachcombers who prefer quiet coastal wildlife. There are towns here with marinas, restaurants and places to stay, and these fill quickly during the summer, along with a number of summer homes here and occasional famous faces like John Lennon’s children, Mel Brooks and Tina Fey.
3. Philadelphia[SEE MAP]
For those who want to visit the nation’s capital without going quite as far as Washington DC, Philadelphia is a great alternate choice. New York City’s little sister has its own vibe, and is a wonderful combination of cobblestone streets and cutting edge urban flair. Located at the confluence of the Schuykill and Delaware rivers, this port city is the sixth largest urban area in the USA. Top tourist attractions include Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell and the University of Pennsylvania, known more commonly as Penn. Philly also contains the largest urban park in the world, Fairmount Park, which dwarfs Central Park in Manhattan. Inexpensive buses, commuter trains and airplanes are all available to make this trip, which is around two hours each way by bus or rail.
2. Governors Island[SEE MAP]
Governors Island sits just across from Brooklyn at the Southern tip of Manhattan Island. The place is best known as the birthplace of New York State in 1624, and its fortifications have had a pivotal role in several wars, including the Civil War, where it housed Confederate prisoners of war. It has several buildings of interest that have housed the Governor, the Senate, and more. Today, the island is considered a National Monument and run by the National Park Service. Guests can enjoy tree-lined grassy expanses and explore colonial brick buildings. The island has restaurants, clubs, and campgrounds on it as well, making it an easy place to go for an afternoon or overnight. A foot ferry is available from the city to visit, and crosses several times a day.
1. Niagara Falls by Plane[SEE MAP]
Situated on the border of Canada’s Ontario and the United States’ New York, Niagara Falls is one of the most spectacular natural wonders on the North American continent. The magnificent beauty and enormous volume of the falls attracts millions every year from all over the world. One of the best ways to see the Niagara Falls is by a boat cruise, where visitors get an up-close view of the foaming waters. Though located in the same state as New York City, it is really to far by road or rail to do in one day. However by plane it’s only one hour, making it one of the most fun and exciting day trips from New York City.