top weekend getaways from nyc shelter island beaches

Weekend Getaways from NYC – Top 10 Places to Go

All you have to do is hop in the car or on the train to discover a variety of weekend getaways from NYC. Whether you’re a culture seeker, outdoor enthusiast, or history buff, the neighboring regions of New York offer something for everyone. From picture perfect beaches to Revolutionary War sites, to the country’s top-rated art institutions, you’ll find exceptional ways to spend a weekend outside of NYC. Below, we’re counting down the top 10 weekend getaways from NYC so that you can plan your next mini vacation away.

New York can often feel like a lot. There’s the traffic, the noise and the massive amounts of people at every turn. Sometimes, the best thing about living in the city is getting out of the city – especially when there are so many amazing destinations to travel to just a short car, train or bus ride away. Read on as we count them down.

Top 10 Weekend Getaways from NYC 

1. Shelter Island, New York 

2. Beacon, New York

3. Lexington, Massachusetts 

4. Hartford, Connecticut 

5. Cape May, New Jersey 

6. Manchester, New Hampshire 

7. Burlington, Vermont 

8. Hershey, Pennsylvania 

9. Woodstock, New York 

10. Alexandria, Virginia 

weekend getaways from nyc to shelter island new york
Shelter Island | Doug Young

1. Enjoy a Weekend Getaway from NYC in Shelter Island, New York

All it takes is 100 miles east on the Long Island Expressway to feel like you’re in another world entirely. Just over two hours from New York City, this charming island is situated perfectly between the North and South forks and contains all of the beauty of the Hamptons without the attitude or traffic. Our go-to hotel is Seven on Shelter Island, the island’s premier luxury bed and breakfast with an outdoor pool, incredible curation of art and the finest attention to detail, from the picnic baskets at breakfast to the fabulous room decor. Enjoy activities like Crescent, Shell and Wade’s Beach, have a fun, sceney brunch at Sunset Beach, take a nature hike in Mashomack Preserve, or catch some live music at Shipwreck bar in the boatyard of the marina-side restaurant, Salt. Visit Shelter Island in the summer for peak Shelter Island beach experience, but secretly, the fall might be the most beautiful time with all of the foliage taking place.

2. Take in the Arts in Beacon, New York

Just two hours north of New York City, this Hudson Valley town has it all. We’re talking lovely scenic views, cultural offerings, and amazing restaurants. To mingle with the artsy crowd, visit Dia Beacon, a massive modern art museum. For a more adventurous itinerary, hike Breakneck Ridge, a tough mountain with a four mile trail. You can also visit Bannerman Castle, a landmark castle on the Hudson River, or walk through town and enjoy a wealth of cool eateries, galleries and local shops. For lodging, we prefer a stay at Rushmore Estate, a genteel B&B in a Spanish colonial mansion on a 50-acre estate and just 8 miles from the Storm King Art Center. You can also opt for The Roundhouse, featuring upscale, sleek rooms in an industrial-chic hotel with farm-to-table dining and a riverside patio. Buttermilk Falls Inn and Spa features high-end rooms in a luxury inn that offers a spa and  tennis court, plus an elegant restaurant. If you’re deciding when to visit Beacon, you can’t really go wrong. But, we’re partial to the fall for optimal leaf-peeping vibes.

3. Discover American History in Lexington, Massachusetts

Just over three hours from New York City, one of our favorite weekend getaways from NYC is a town outside of Boston. Lexington is perfect for everyone from history buffs to professional imbibers, boasting historic taverns and relics dating back to revolutionary times. We recommend hitting up the Minuteman Commuter bikeway, a paved trail for cycling and jogging. The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library is perfect for discovering American history artifacts, and the Lexington Common National Historic Site is a revolutionary war battle green that puts you back into the Revolutionary War era. Soak up the New England fall with an October visit or come in the spring or summer for warmer temperatures. The best places to stay include the boutique bed and breakfast, The Inn at Hastings Park. Hipsters can opt for the trendier Verb Hotel, an authentic rock n’ roll experience with an outdoor pool right near Fenway Park, and Concord’s Colonial Inn for true Americana vibes.

lexington massachusetts getaways from nyc

4. Arts and Culture in Hartford, Connecticut 

A mere 2.5 hours outside New York, the Connecticut capitol offers plenty to do, namely visiting the Mark Twain House and Museum where the writer wrote his classics. For culture junkees, there’s also Wadsworth Athenium Museum of Art, the Connecticut Science Center and the Connecticut Historical Society Museum. If you’re deciding where to stay, opt for a room at the trendy Goodwin Hotel, a timeless, classic property with a modern flair. There’s also the Delamar Hotel, a full-service luxury experience with on-site amenities, or the Silas W. Robbins House, a boutique bed and breakfast on the most beautiful piece of land. Like most New England towns, visit Hartford in the spring, summer or Autumn to experience the outdoors. If you opt to visit during the winter, plan your days indoors. 

5. Stay at Some of the Best Hotels in Cape May, New Jersey 

This charming New Jersey beach town is three hours south of New York City, close to the New Jersey / Pennsylvania border. It’s known for grand Victorian houses like the Emlen Physick Estate, which is now a museum with interiors preserved from its heyday. We love hitting up all the shops and restaurants lining Washington Street Mall, three pedestrian blocks where families often stroll after their days spent at the beach. But Cape May offers plenty more to do than frolic in the sea (though you’re welcome to it, too). Visit the Cape May Lighthouse, a historic landmark with a museum, or the Wildwood boardwalk for games, snacks and a signature Jersey shore experience, and the Historic Cold Spring Village, a living history village dedicated to life in the first years of American independence. The best hotels include The Star Inn, a laidback property with ocean views, the posh Beauclairee’s Bed and Breakfast Inn, and the Grand Hotel of Cape May, an upscale oceanfront resort with a pool. If you can’t tell already, we highly recommend this town in summer.

weekend getaways from nyc to burlington vermont

6. Take in the Views in Manchester, Vermont

Just 3.5 hours from New York City, this idyllic town in southern Vermont embodies the true New England experience. Start your weekend off by visiting Hildene, the estate of Abraham Lincoln’s son Robert. It’s a Georgian Revival mansion complete with gardens and a farm. The American Museum of Fly Fishing is a fun stop-by, featuring rods, flies and angling-related art. Nearby, the Southern Vermont Arts Center has varied exhibits, as well as a sculpture garden and performance space, plus sprawling grounds with forest paths. Just west of town, you’ll find a trail that climbs all the way up Mount Equinox. Stay at the Inn at Manchester, a historic hotel with pool and pub, or Wilburton Inn, an elegant hotel with a sculpture garden. The Equinox Resort and Spa is great for a full resort-like experience. Travel there in fall, spring or summer for outdoor beauty or come in the winter for peak ski season.

7. Play in the Snow in Burlington, Vermont

Another quintessential Vermont town, Burlington is a 5.5 hour journey making it one of the further weekend getaways from NYC. This journey takes you to the northwestern part of this snowy state, on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, south of the Canadian border. Take in some local treasures downtown, where shops and restaurants line the pedestrianized Church Street Marketplace. North of downtown, the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum is a former home of the Revolutionary War hero. For history buffs, the vast Shelburne Museum, south of the city, houses American folk and decorative art in a collection of historic buildings. For cozy New England vibes, stay at Willard Street Inn, featuring traditional rooms in an 1881 mansion. There’s also Made INN Vermont, an urban chic bed and breakfast and Lang House on Main Street, a stately mansion with a quaint inn. Visit in the fall for beautiful foliage or summer to go lake-hopping. Winter will have you cold, but you can ski at nearby local mountains.

8. Sweets and More in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Can you smell the chocolate? Just over three hours from New York near the state capital of Harrisburg, this town chronicles the life of Milton Hershey and his enormous contribution as the founder of Hershey Chocolate. There’s Hersheypark, which opened in 1907 as a modest green space but grew to include rides, attractions, a waterpark, fun chocolate-themed activities – plus a zoo! Hershey Gardens is a beautiful must-see with a stunning rose garden (Milton’s passion) as well as a butterfly house. Plus Hersheypark Stadium and Giant Center host great concerts. There’s nothing like playing at the theme park all day followed by a fun music show at night. Stay at the Hotel Hershey, a polished inn with luxe amenities, or Hershey Lodge, a family friendly hotel with an indoor waterpark. Visit in spring or summer for full floral blooms and plenty of fun at the waterpark! 

9. Take a Short Weekend Getaway from NYC to Woodstock, NY

Just two hours from New York, this small town tucked at the foot of the Catskill Mountains has been a symbol for peace, love, art, and community since the 1960’s. Today, it retains its art-forward personality, with dozens of galleries, boutiques, educational centers, spiritual centers, hiking trails, nature preserves, food, and outdoor markets. Hit some trails at Catskill Park – 700,000 acres of wilderness that spans four counties in the state. Or wander the art galleries along Tinker Street, like the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum and the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild. Go marketing at Mower’s Saturday Flea Market. Located just a block from the central Village Green (on Maple Lane), this small green space comes alive on weekends with vendors from all across Ulster County. They’re selling everything from vintage clothes, jewelry, and records to fresh farm produce, wood-fired pizza, and more. Plus, there’s usually live entertainment, and it’s a warm, welcoming place to visit where neighbors get together to socialize. Stay at Hotel Dylan, with retro-chic rooms with record players in a hip hotel offering an outdoor pool and Mexican restaurant. Scribner’s Catskill Lodge is a rural, contemporary hotel offering mountain views and a rustic restaurant and bar. The Graham & Co. Hotel is a laid-back inn offering design-forward rooms and an outdoor pool. Go in the spring and summer to enjoy the outdoors, or head there in the winter to ski nearby Hunter and Windham Mountains.

weekend getaways from nyc to alexandria virginia

10. Take the Whole Family to Alexandria, Virginia

Just four hours from New York City, this historic town offers easy access to the best of Washington DC sightseeing, including the United States Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, National Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian National Museum. It’s the perfect destination for children, their grandparents, and everyone in-between. Stay at the Morrison House for an intimately luxe stay, The Ritz Carlton for a resort-like experience, or the the Lorien Hotel and Spa in the historic, waterfront district featuring Washington-era homes, King Street shopping & foodie restaurants. Time your stay with the cherry blossoms that bloom in the first week of April.

Summer 2022 is nearly over, but you can enjoy weekend getaways from NYC all year long. Our advice? Book them fast. These top destinations around the New York metro area tend to fill up quickly. So whether you’re brainstorming a trip to the beach or a hike in the woods, we recommend starting to plan for it now.