Best Train Trips From NYC: Top 16 Most Unique Stops | Stanton House Inn

The latest addition to New York: Moynihan Train Hall, an expansion of Penn Station near the Empire State Building

Trust me, you need to get out of the City once in a while. And not wanting to drive anywhere is not an excuse. New York City is a gateway to plenty of nearby destinations. And considering the area has one of the best public transportation systems in the country, they’re all accessible via train. Providers like Amtrak, the MTA, and the Long Island Railroad can make it happen. If relaxation is your goal, nearby vacation spots abound. And Amtrak routes offer the bonus of multitasking amidst stunning scenery. Here are 16 car-free weekend getaways to smaller towns and cities. You can immerse yourself in engaging activities and take in the stunning landscapes, and all without the long slog that a road trip takes.

 

Ready to explore the best train trips from NYC? Let’s get into it:

 

Quick hits:

  • Explore scenic train rides from NYC for unforgettable day trips and weekend getaways
  • Visit charming small towns, historic sites, nature escapes & foodie destinations accessible by train
  • Take the family on a unique adventure to Mystic or Lancaster for fun everyone can enjoy

 

The Best Train Trips from NYC for Scenery

Lake George in the Adirondack mountains, one of the best Amtrak trips from NYC

Ever taken a train ride just to enjoy the scenery? It’s like watching a living canvas of awe-inspiring landscapes and captivating vistas. And the Hudson Valley Line and Amtrak’s Adirondack Route can make it a reality for you. These routes are draped in breathtaking scenery. It’s a more nostalgic (possible archaic) way to see some of the best fall foliage near NYC. And they lead to thrilling destinations, ideal for a day trip or weekend getaway.

 

Though getting there is at least half the fun, on these trips.

 

Hudson Valley Line

Embark on a journey with the Hudson Valley Line, part of the Metro-North Railroad. Your departure point? Grand Central Terminal. Your destination? The picturesque Hudson River Valley. As you traverse the tracks on MetroNorth day trips, you’ll witness charming small towns in NY, historic landmarks, and stunning natural landscapes via Hudson Valley hiking trails. All within a comfortable two-hour train ride from NYC.

 

The crown jewel of this route is Hudson, NY. It boasts a charming Main Street in Warren Street, lined with a collection of historic buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Once you’ve explore the best things to do in Hudson, NY, don’t miss out on Grazin’. This restaurant serves up the finest 100% grass-fed burgers.

 

Amtrak’s Adirondack Route

For the adventurous at heart, Amtrak’s Adirondack Route is an invitation to an epic journey. It takes you from the bustling heart of NYC to the eclectic city of Montreal. Along the way, you’ll encounter charming towns like Rhinecliff, Sleepy Hollow, and Hudson, each rich with historical sites worth a visit.

 

Are you a nature enthusiast? Then brace yourself for breathtaking views of Lake Champlain and the towering Adirondack Mountains. The fresh air and stunning surroundings of the rolling hills will etch a lasting impression on you.

 

Charming Small Towns Accessible by Train

A charming small town accessible by train, Rhinebeck, NY

Yearning for a break from the city’s relentless pace? Consider a train ride to a charming small town for a refreshing change. They blend history, culture, and natural beauty seamlessly. Perfect for a relaxing day trip or weekend getaway, each town delivers a unique experience that the city can’t match.

 

Rhinebeck, NY

Rhinebeck sits comfortably on a bluff overlooking the Hudson Valley. It’s a town where history meets modernity, especially on Market and Montgomery Streets. Here, charming architecture and a lively atmosphere coexist. The Dutchess County Fairgrounds is a must-see. It hosts events year-round, ensuring there’s always something exciting happening in Rhinebeck, NY.

 

Montclair, NJ

Montclair, NJJust a stone’s throw from NYC, you’ll find Montclair, NJ. It’s a vibrant artistic community teeming with a diverse array of eateries and beautiful parks. This lively college town is the perfect setting for a family day out or a romantic retreat. It’s home to art galleries, museums, and a variety of outdoor activities, catering to all tastes and interests. Whether you’re drawn to the Montclair Art Museum or the Eagle Rock Reservation, Montclair has plenty to keep you busy on day trips, like this writer.

 

Greenwich, CT

Just a train ride away from NYC, you’ll find Greenwich, CT. This town blends small-town charm with big-city sophistication. It’s famous for upscale boutiques, world-class dining, and picturesque parks.

 

Greenwich Avenue, the town’s main street, is a shopper’s paradise with high-end shops and art galleries. Gourmet restaurants line the streets of this walkable downtown. The Bruce Museum is a must-visit, featuring exhibits of art, science, and natural history.

 

For nature lovers, Greenwich Point Park is a haven. It offers stunning views of the Long Island Sound, beautiful beaches, and hiking trails. Whether you’re planning a day trip or a weekend escape, the lengthy list of things to do in Greenwich, Connecticut, caters to everyone, not just the rich.

 

Promise.

 

Historical Sites to Visit by Train

Philadelphia's Historic DistrictIf history is your game, then gear up for an exciting journey. Board a train from New York’s Penn Station and set off for points west and south of Manhattan. These iconic locations, brimming with historical sites, are conveniently accessible from New York’s Moynihan Train Hall. Prepare to step back in time and soak in the rich heritage of these towns. Roam the cobblestone streets of Philadelphia’s Historic District on your own or opt for a guided tour.

 

Philadelphia’s Historic District

Philadelphia’s Historic District is a trove for history enthusiasts. It’s the birthplace of America, boasting iconic sites like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. You can even stroll down Elfreth’s Alley, the oldest residential street in the country and a National Historic Landmark. If you’re journeying to Philadelphia via Amtrak, make sure to savor the city’s famous Philly Cheesesteak. With a rich history and culinary delights, Philadelphia is an ideal day trip for history buffs and food lovers. And the train makes weekend getaways from Philadelphia easy, too.

 

Washington, DC

Some say Washington, DC, is the city that never sleeps. Sure, that may be New York’s tagline, but have you been watching Federal politics lately? History is in every corner, every monument, and every hallowed hallway of the Capitol building. From the Lincoln Memorial to the Smithsonian Museums to the White House, DC is a city that proudly showcases its past.

 

Just a train ride away from NYC to Union Station, DC offers a different kind of hustle. Think power suits, power lunches, and power struggles. Yet, beneath the political veneer lies a rich cultural scene. There’s a thriving foodie landscape and a nightlife that gives the Big Apple a run for its money. So, get a train ticket and pack your curiosity. The nation’s capital is waiting for you.

 

Harpers Ferry, WV

Harpers FerryWhere the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers meet is where you’ll find Harpers Ferry, WV. This town played a pivotal role in the Civil War and the abolitionist movement. As you stroll through the streets, you’ll see buildings reminiscent of that period.

 

Are you an outdoor enthusiast? Harpers Ferry won’t disappoint. It offers activities like hiking, fishing, and bird watching. Here, you can touch history and nature in one single trip.

 

Boston, MA

Someone once told me that Boston is the city with the most European feel to it. And while that may make American patriots turn in their graves, it’s hard to argue with it.

 

Boston Common, the oldest city park in the U.S., is a green oasis in the heart of the city. Strolling through downtown Boston’s Freedom Trail, you’ll encounter 16 locations that have played a significant role in the history of the United States.

 

And the food and arts scenes, plus nightlife, rivals New York City, as any Bostonian will make a point of telling you.

 

Plus, from here you can take advantage of the local train system to explore even more stops among the list of the best weekend getaways from Boston.

 

The Best Train Trips from NYC for Outdoors Enthusiasts
Nature escapes by train, Bear Mountain State Park

Craving a break from the concrete jungle? Outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and exploring breathtaking landscapes are all just a train ride away from NYC. Choose a peaceful stroll or an adrenaline-filled adventure on some of the best upstate NY hikes.

 

Bear Mountain State Park

Located just an hour north of NYC, Bear Mountain State Park offers a wide range of outdoor activities for the whole family. Spend the day hiking through lush forests, swimming in the park’s pool, or simply enjoying a picnic by Hessian Lake.

 

A more rugged (and real) version of Central Park, it’s perfect for a day of adventure and relaxation, no matter the season. That said, if you need a reason to come, visit during the Bear Mountain Oktoberfest extravaganza.

 

Breckneck Ridge

This collection of hiking trails through the Hudson Highlands is so accessible to New York City, it would be silly not to mention them here. Head to the train station in Cold Spring, NY, or the train stops specifically for the trails in warmer months. The Breckneck Ridge hike offers one of the more intense scrambles before commanding views of the lower Hudson River Valley.

 

Appalachian Trail

Accessible at various points by train, the famed Appalachian Trail stretches over 2,200 miles from Maine to Georgia. Different sections of the Appalachian Trail offers a range of terrains and difficulty levels. Perfect for a day of adventure or a longer backpacking trip, it’s a challenge for the true outdoor enthusiast.

 

The Best Train Trips from NYC for Foodies

Foodie destinations by train, New Haven's pizza sceneIf you’re a connoisseur of good food, then prepare for a treat. There are some incredible culinary destinations just a train ride away from NYC. These gastronomic adventures will tantalize your taste buds and leave you yearning for the next train trip.

 

New Haven’s Pizza Scene

New Haven, CT, is known for its unique “apizza,” a delightful twist on the traditional Napoletana pie. This culinary gem is just a short train ride from NYC. New Haven’s rich culinary history and vibrant food scene attract food enthusiasts globally. Besides the delicious pizza, the list of the best things to do in New Haven, CT, is packed with historic places. Landmarks like Yale University and the New Haven Green are worth exploring. It’s an excellent day trip for both food lovers and history buffs.

 

Kingston, NY

Nestled in the Hudson Valley, Kingston, NY, is a culinary utopia. It serves up a banquet of delights from farm-to-table restaurants, craft breweries, and local food markets. But it’s not all about food. Kingston is steeped in history, having served as the state capital before Albany. This town offers a memorable train trip worth skipping the dining car on the way.

 

The Best Train Trips from NYC for Art & Culture

Art and culture train trips, Dia:Beacon

Are you craving a cultural feast on the iron horse? Good news, we’ve got just the train ticket. Read on for two personal favorites.

 

Dia:Beacon

Dia:Beacon is not your average museum. Located in Beacon, NY, it’s a former factory turned contemporary art haven. The museum showcases large-scale installations and works by renowned artists from the 1960s to the present. The unique setting and impressive collection make it a must-see for art enthusiasts. Take the time to explore Dia:Beacon, and immerse yourself in the captivating world of contemporary art.

 

Northampton, MA

Northampton, MA, a vibrant hub for arts and music, is a trip worth taking. This charmingly busy college town is a trove of art galleries and eclectic shops. It also offers unique dining experiences that will satiate any art lover.

 

Family-Friendly Train Adventures

Mystic River

Are the usual family outings feeling a bit stale? These destinations offer ideal attractions for unforgettable family memories. And if you don’t want to subject fellow travelers to your kids, check-out our guide to the best road trips from NYC.

 

Mystic, CT

Welcome to Mystic, CT, a charming coastal town. It’s a trove of family-friendly attractions. From the Mystic Seaport Museum to the Mystic Aquarium and Olde Mistick Village, there are plenty of things to do in Mystic, Connecticut. Wander the quaint streets. Delve into the fascinating exhibits at the museum and aquarium. Or simply sit back and savor the lovely Mystic River views.

 

Mystic is the perfect spot for a family day out or a tranquil weekend escape. Immerse yourself in the charm of this seaside town. It’s an easy (though long) ride from Grand Central station.

 

Lancaster, PA

A covered bridge in Lancaster County, PAWelcome to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, nestled in the heart of Amish Country. This unique destination offers a family-friendly experience unlike any other. Here, you’ll find attractions such as the Dutch Wonderland amusement park, a delight for the young and young-at-heart. The Amish Village, a step back in time, awaits your exploration. And don’t miss the Strasburg Rail Road, a journey on a historic track, if you’re missing train travel while you’re out there.

 

Tl;dr

Ready for an adventure? NYC’s train routes are your ticket to discovery. Ride to charming towns, historic sites, and natural escapes. Seek out culinary delights, immerse yourself in art and culture, or embark on a family-friendly outing. Our ultimate guide has it all mapped out. So, why wait? Your journey from the Big Apple to exciting destinations is just a train ride away.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about the best train trips from NYC

 

Is Amtrak cheaper than flying?

Generally, air travel tends to be cheaper than a journey on Amtrak. However, securing coach seats on Amtrak in advance can sometimes be more cost-effective than flying to similar destinations.

 

Does Amtrak go to Maine?

Yes, Amtrak does offer a service to Maine. It runs the Downeaster route, stopping in Portland, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and in Massachusetts.

 

Do trains go upstate New York?

Yes, Amtrak trains make their way to upstate New York, stopping at Syracuse and Rochester. For schedules and ticketing, visit amtrak.com.

 

Where does Amtrak go from New York?

Amtrak, the modern-day iron horse, stretches its tracks from New York to distant corners. It reaches the Northeastern metropolises and towns, ventures to sunny Florida, the bustling Chicago, and our nation’s capital, Washington, DC.

 

These routes are like arteries, connecting New York to the body of the East Coast. Cities like Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore are just a heartbeat away via Amtrak. And for those who crave a change, Florida’s sun-kissed beaches or the pulsating streets of Chicago await. All aboard the Amtrak express!

 

What are some scenic train rides from NYC?

Take a scenic train ride from NYC on the Hudson Valley Line or Amtrak’s Adirondack Route. Bask in the stunning views.

 

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