The Perfect Weekend Trips From NYC
From New Jersey to Rhode Island, these are the best weekend trips from New York City.
Even though there are countless ways to spend a weekend in NYC, sometimes you just need to escape the city.
Fortunately for New Yorkers, an escape from the Big Apple is never more than a few hours away. And whether you envision yourself as a total beach bum or you want to walk in the footsteps of America’s founding fathers, there are perfect weekend trips from NYC for every type of traveler.
“To most people coming out of the city we feel really off the grid and really we’re just right around the corner. It’s a very easy getaway,” said Jeff Lawson, the executive director of Burlington’s destination marketing organization. “It kind of has that low-key, laid-back vibe that a lot of people associate with Vermont. And yet it’s also got this other vibe… that’s right in sync with a small, progressive city. You get the best of a few different worlds.”
Whether you want to try your hand at picking the best clam chowder in New Jersey, check out 50 different participating breweries at the Vermont Brewers Festival, or watch a display of fire on the river in Providence, there are plenty of options to get away that aren’t too far away.
Related: More weekend getaway travel ideas
Long Beach Island, New Jersey
Bask in the ocean breezes on this Jersey Shore Island and soak up the relaxed beach vibes that force you to slow down. Standing at about 18 miles long, Long Beach Island has been inhabited since before colonial times when the native Lenape tribes would head there to escape the heat as well as fish and gather shells to trade and make jewelry. While a bit more modern now, you can still head to the barrier island to escape the heat of the city.
Climb 217 steps to the top of the Barnegat Lighthouse, built in 1859 and known as “old Barney,” to take in views of the bay and beach or shop for beach-inspired kitchenware and swimsuit coverups in Viking Village, where old fishing shacks have been turned into boutique shops.
Grab a big group and settle in at a picnic table at Pinky Shrimp's Seafood Company for the fried family feast (with fried shrimp, fried scallops, fried crab cakes, and more) or head to Mud City Crab House, just off the island, to order up some oysters on the half shell and enjoy a cold drink around the outdoor fire pits while you wait for a table.
End the summer season with LBI’s annual Chowderfest in early October, where more than a dozen island eateries compete in a cook-off competition.
There are many hotels and motels throughout the narrow island, including Daddy O, a boutique option offering 22 rooms and a lively rooftop bar all about a block from the beach.
Long Beach Island is about a two-hour drive from New York City.
In 1775 Paul Revere took his famous “midnight ride” out of Boston to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams that the British were approaching. Today, visitors can see Revere’s house and more as they make their way along the Freedom Trail. Grab a map (and follow the red line on the ground) to trace the city’s (and the country’s) history along this two-and-a-half-mile walk that weaves through Boston’s neighborhoods and hits many historic sites along the way, including the Old North Church and the site of the Boston Massacre. Or drink your way through history with an historical pub crawl with Ye Olde Tavern Tours, where you can toast the Sons of Liberty in the same tavern where they planned the Boston Tea Party.
The Head Of The Charles Regatta, which celebrated its 55th year this past October, draws thousands of spectators to the banks of the Charles River to watch impressive groups of rowers compete in the two-day race.
Boston is the perfect size to explore in a three-day weekend, and it has no shortage of hotel options — continue to soak up the city’s history at the Omni Parker House. Founded in 1855, this is the longest continuously operating hotel in the country. Malcolm X and Ho Chi Minh both worked at this hotel while writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (who wrote the poem "Paul Revere's Ride") regularly met there. One of its most delicious accomplishments, however, is that the famous Boston Creme Pie was invented in its kitchens.
Boston is about a four-hour drive from New York City.
With more than a dozen breweries around this small city — one of America’s quirkiest — there is no shortage of taste-testing options. Sign up for a tour with City Brew Tours for a behind-the-scenes look at how some of the best beer is made. Or check out the Vermont Brewers Festival (mid-July) in Burlington, the perfect place to sample from the 50 participating brewers.
Burlington started as the third largest lumber port in the country with the city’s bustling waterfront. Today, that waterfront is still a lively place to hang out on a warm day. Head to Waterfront Park on Lake Champlain for a stroll or a bicycle adventure, just part of the city’s miles and miles of public trails. While there, check out the ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, an interactive science museum dedicated to the health of the surrounding lake, or rent a boat from the Community Sailing Center before grabbing a “Sugarshack” crepe (with Cabot butter from Vermont and local maple sugar) from The Skinny Pancake, a popular spot with vegan and gluten-free options, too.
Hotel Vermont is just steps from the waterfront and even offers a two-day Beer Exploration Package on certain days throughout the summer and fall, which includes a five-course beer pairing dinner and brewery tours throughout the stay.
Burlington is about a five-hour drive from New York City.
Glamping in the Adirondacks
Let’s face it, sometimes the city gets so hot in the summer it can be unbearable: the sidewalks radiate heat and the mysterious smells are somehow amplified. That’s when it’s time to pack up the car and head upstate. And there’s no better way to get back to nature than with a weekend spent glamping — a version of camping that any city resident can do.
Enjoy all the perks of camping — hiking, kayaking, even cliff diving — but without the additional work of setting up a camp or bringing your own food at Orenda, a glamping camp about four hours north of the city. Luxury tents complete with beds, down comforters, blankets, and electric heating stoves mean you’ll be cozy at night while the camp does all the work, like cooking a “back country” dinner and setting up a s’mores bar for dessert.
And if you’re feeling really adventurous, why not try your hand at white water rafting (summer and fall are when the Hudson River is calmest).
Orenda is about a four-hour drive from New York City.
Providence, Rhode Island
Established in 1636, Providence exudes the small town charm you’d expect from a New England city, cobblestone streets and narrow river walks inviting visitors to take a stroll. Head to Waterplace Park where a river relocation project in the 1980s and 1990s brought the area back to life. Book a gondola with La Gondola to channel your inner Venetian for a ride down the river, or plan your trip around WaterFire, an art installation that lights up the Providence rivers with nearly 100 bonfires on several weekends throughout the summer and fall.
Nothing says New England quite like seafood. Head to Oberlin for a modern take on seafood (think raw Bluefish with dill, garlic-chives, and capers).
Book a stay at the ultra-cool 52-room hotel The Dean where rooms are outfitted with a mix of custom and vintage furniture as well as original artwork, and guests are invited to sign out complimentary bikes to explore the city with.
Providence is about a three-hour drive from New York City.