Ah, New York City. The Big Apple. So many people dream of living the big city life, and why wouldn’t they? With more restaurants than you could visit in a lifetime, a store for everything you could possibly need or want, world-class entertainment, and a collection of some of the most prominent global businesses, New York City beckons those seeking a suave, urban lifestyle.
For those that live outside New York City, the city makes for a wonderful vacation. However, for those who already call the city their home, the bright city lights, cacophony of sounds, distinctive odors, and cluttered streets can become overwhelming. If you’re looking for a brief escape before summer draws to a close, consider making a day trip out of one of these four places, all located within a four hour drive of New York City.
Fire Island, NY
Fire Island is the perfect, tranquil escape from New York City that’s only about an hour and 45 minutes away. The barrier island off the coast of Long Island, which forms part of the Fire Island National Seashore, is only accessible by ferry, but luckily the ferry runs frequently in the summer months.
To make the most of your day, you’ll want to spend some time on one of the beautiful beaches- check out the family-friendly Robert Moses State Park, or Smith Point County Park. Looking to do some shopping as well? The town of Village of Ocean Beach is bordered by the bay and ocean, and offers a charming collection of shops and restaurants. If lounging on the beach all day isn’t your thing, be sure to stop by the Fire Island Lighthouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Sleepy Hollow and Nyack, NY
Pay a visit to Sleepy Hollow, just a 30-45 minute metro ride from the city, and you just may catch a glimpse of the Headless Horseman — just kidding about that, but you will experience a taste of history if you visit the Philipsburg Manor Upper Mills living-history museum. The museum consists of a farm and mill dating back to 1750, and you’ll be able to try your hand at traditional tasks such as grinding grain.
After all that work, you’ll probably have an appetite, so swing by the Bridge View Tavern for craft brews and pub grub. While you’re in Sleepy Hollow, it’s just a short trip across the Tappan Zee Bridge to Nyack, a charming riverfront town with a vibrant downtown featuring boutiques, restaurants, theaters, and galleries.
Wevertown may be a little out of the way (about 4 hours), but the trip is worth it if you’re looking for an adventurous, action-packed day! It may be hard to believe, but there are some intense class III and class IV rapids located just hours from New York City. Beaver Brook Outfitters runs three different tours down two rivers for whitewater rafters of all skill levels. Tours run through October, so there’s plenty of time to check it out!
Cold Spring, NY
Just about an hour and 20 minutes from New York City is the town of Cold Spring on the Hudson River. While visiting this riverfront town you can have experience the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation.
If you have an enthusiasm for history and hiking, be sure to explore the ruinous old mansions along the Cornish Estate Trail. Those with a sense of adventure can tackle the climb to Breakneck Ridge which, though challenging, will reward the climber with spectacular 360 degree views of Storm King Mountain, Bannerman Castle, and even the distant Catskills on clear days.