18 Easy NYC Getaways With and Without a Car

I love New York City. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. (Except for maybe Barcelona, London or Rome.) But as much as I love New York, there are plenty of weekends when I just want to get away. All New Yorkers do — getting out of town is a sport we take seriously. I’ve covered a lot of day trips and weekend getaways on Travelogged. Here’s your guide to easy trips with and without a car for those days when you just have to leave the skyline behind. All 17 of these destinations are perfect for summer and early fall, and most of them are great all year round.

NYC Getaways Without a Car

New Yorkers, myself included, are frequently car-challenged. Renting a car in Manhattan on a weekend is laughably expensive. All of these destinations are easily reachable by train or bus (except for Sandy Hood, NJ, which is reachable by ferry), and once you get there you don’t need a car. Of course, you can drive to these places too. Here they are, in order from closest to furthest.

1. Sandy Hook, NJ: A 45-minute ferry ride from Manhattan.

2.Cold Spring, NY: A one-hour train ride from Manhattan.

3. Bay Head, NJ: If you drive here with no traffic, you can get here in under an hour-and-a-half. But the train will take you two-and-a-half hours.

4. Philadelphia: The train will deliver you in about two-and-a-half hours.

5. Atlantic City, NJ It’s a two-to-three-hour bus ride from NYC’s Port Authority.

6. Providence, RI Approximately a three-and-a-half-hour train ride.

7. Boston A four-hour train ride.

8. Washington, DC A four-hour train ride.

Getaways With a Car

Once you have a car, the sky’s the limit — unless you have one of those flying cars, in which case the sky is no longer the limit. Here are some of the getaways that are close enough to New York that you could go for just the weekend. Again, I’ve listed them in order from closest to the city to farthest away. These driving times are approximate — you can often expect plenty of traffic.

1. Ridgefield, CT A one-hour-and fifteen drive.

2. The Poconos, PA Less than a two-hour drive.

3. Lakeville, CT At least a two-hour drive.

4. Hawley, PA A two-hour-and-fifteen-minute drive.

5. Finger Lakes Region of NY You’ll arrive in the area within four hours of driving.

6. Manchester, VT A four-hour drive.

7. Portsmouth, NH A five-hour drive.

8. Kennebunkport, ME This is a five-and-a-half-hour drive if you’re lucky.

9. Lyndonville, VT At least a a five-and-a-half-hour drive.

10. Montreal: It’s about a six-hour-and-fifteen-minute drive from NYC to Montreal. The good news is that you’ll have the gorgeous Adirondacks scenery to distract for an hour or two. Don’t forget your passport!

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16 Responses to 18 Easy NYC Getaways With and Without a Car

  1. eurotrip tips August 17, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

    Hurray for suggesting Montreal. Everyone should visit! 😉
    Thanks for the non-car-reachable destinations. Finally someome who thinks of people without licence!

  2. darngooddigs August 31, 2010 at 10:47 pm #

    Here are some other NYC getaways without a car – which we know all about, being non-car owners living in Brooklyn):
    1. Norwalk, Conn. (Maritime Aquarium, children’s museum, cool little waterfront main street)
    2. Appalachian Trail (by Metro-North)
    3. Philadelphia (you mentioned, but you can take NJTransit and switch in Trenton to SEPTA for a lot cheaper than Amtrak – just did it this past weekend)
    4. Baltimore
    5. Block Island
    6. Montauk
    7. Fire Island
    8. Jones Beach
    I’ll stop there. But great list – I’ll have to check out some of the places you mention where we’ve never been, like Bay Head and Portsmouth.

  3. Nora September 2, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    Great recommendations!

  4. Danee Gilmartin
    Twitter: museumchick
    November 7, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    I am in need of these! I agree- I LOVE NYC but need to get away without a car. May I add another place I love you can get to on the Metro North- Beacon. The have a great contemporary art center- Dia.
    Danee Gilmartin recently posted..Peter Woytuk Entertaining the Upper West Side

  5. Jeff Dobbbins March 6, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    Looking forward to trying a few of these as the weather gets warmer. Another: Hudson, NY, two hours by Amtrak, quaint, great B&B, shops and restaurants, and no car necessary in center of town.
    Jeff Dobbbins recently posted..NY Orchid Show 2012

    • Liz Borod Wright
      March 19, 2012 at 3:25 am #

      Hudson, NY, is a a great town! I was there a few years ago for a wedding, before I had started the blog. Its main street is really great and the area is so beautiful.

  6. Heather Stearns May 8, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    As someone who does long-term travel carless once I reach my destination, I’m always looking for excursions that don’t require four wheels and personal auto insurance. Thank you for these tips!

    I think I know the answer, but I’ll put this out there anyway: Is it possible to ride a bike and explore the city without the risk of getting run over the entire time? Just curious…
    Heather Stearns recently posted..How to Get Around Europe For Less

    • Liz Borod Wright
      May 8, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

      I’m not much of a biker, but people love biking in New York City. It looks quite scary to me though! It would be a fun way to explore Central Park, especially since the park is quite large and that way you could cover the whole thing. You could also take an epic ride across the Brooklyn Bridge.

  7. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas
    Twitter: sunshinesiestas
    June 17, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    I think I’ve been spoiled living in Spain – everything is an easy drive or bus trip! I was shocked to learn that the Bolt Bus from NYC to Boston was four hours – it looks so close on the map!
    Cat of Sunshine and Siestas recently posted..Shooting My First Wedding: Andrea y Carlos

  8. Adam
    Twitter: travelsofadam
    June 17, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    As a former Boston resident, I second the Boston getaway from NYC! Train and bus connections are so easy and so cheap!
    Adam recently posted..My Vine Videos from Tel Aviv #tlv4fun

  9. wanderingeducators
    Twitter: WanderingEds
    June 17, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    great ideas – makes me want to hop in the car!!
    wanderingeducators recently posted..China’s Orphans: Making a Difference through Advocacy and Fostering

  10. Sandra Foyt
    Twitter: SandraFoyt
    June 18, 2013 at 3:23 am #

    Great list of New York City getaways, it’s amazing how quickly you can leave all signs of urban life behind!
    Sandra Foyt recently posted..Gettysburg, PA; Beyond 150 Years

  11. Micki
    Twitter: barefootnomads
    June 18, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    Montreal would be a perfect getaway. I’ve heard that the old city is absolutely beautiful!
    Micki recently posted..7 Things To Do in Bugibba, Malta

  12. Dale
    Twitter: ai_followus
    June 19, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    Seeing as I can’t drive (I know, 27 and can’t drive – shocking), know that I can still venture out easily to some other great looking places settles me down a little about just how much I’m going to see when we finally make it to the States.

  13. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family
    Twitter: flashpackerfam
    June 20, 2013 at 7:10 am #

    Summer in NYC sounds like my idea of fun… I don’t think I could tear myself away on a day trip. Well… maybe you’re tempting me a little with the idea of Washington DC!
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted..Can You Stay in Hostels with Kids? #hostels @YHA_Australia

  14. Marina K. Villatoro June 20, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    We’re off to NY and NJ in 3 days. Woohoo, will be doing some from your list.
    Marina K. Villatoro recently posted..Horse Back Riding Lessons – Equestrian Style

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