Summer Road Trips From NYC: Top 27 Most Unique Spots | Stanton House Inn

Feet out the window, past mountain ranges on a weekend road trip

NYC and its surrounding areas are some of the best places to visit in the US. Thanks to its prime location on the East Coast, New York offers pick of the litter as far as the best road trips from NYC, including beach retreats, fun-filled weekenders, epic drives, and chilled-out days. It’s an ideal base for exploring the Empire State, New England and the Northeast, and even a road trip through Canada. Locals that don’t travel extensively within their home state are missing out. Whether you’re looking to:

 

  • Entertain yourself in dazzling cities like Boston or Philadelphia
  • Enjoy the best wines in the Finger Lakes
  • Or experience world-famous attractions like Niagara Falls

 

There are plenty of options for summer road trips from NYC. With 25 epic road trip ideas, you’ll be eager to start your engines and explore the incredible destinations within reach of New York City.

 

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

 

Quick hits

  • Escape NYC for a weekend of luxury and adventure in the Hamptons.
  • Discover stunning Hudson Valley, explore coastal Montauk & Atlantic City’s casinos & boardwalks.
  • Visit Mystic CT, Adirondacks NY, Asbury Park NJ or Niagara Falls NY, all within road trip distance!

 

The Best Summer Road Trips from NYC

New York's Hudson Valley is one of the best weekend road trips

Ready for an adventure? Here are some of the best road trips in America to explore. For day trips, set your sights north. You could delve into the charm of Connecticut day trips or the scenic Hudson Valley. If city life draws you in, the bustling heart of Philadelphia awaits. For weekend getaways, consider two unique experiences. You could unravel the chocolate-covered mysteries of Hershey’s “Chocolatetown” or step back in time in Washington DC. If a long weekend is at your disposal, embark on a historic journey on the drive from New York City to Boston and Salem. For nature enthusiasts, the awe-inspiring spectacle of Niagara Falls is a must-see.

 

And if you’re a little late to the game, you can still plan a road trip or two to see the best spots to see fall foliage near New York City.

 

1) Hudson Valley, New York

Distance from NYC: about 35 minutes, with no traffic, to Tarrytown, NY

City center in Nyack, New York, in the lower Hudson Valley

Head north of the city and you’ll find the Hudson Valley. This picturesque region, a trove of charming towns and historic sites, is a perfect road trip destination from NYC. Its proximity makes it even more appealing.

 

The breathtaking views of the Hudson River are a sight to behold from any spot. That said, they’re especially impressive from any of the best Hudson Valley hikes. Art lovers can appreciate renowned artists’ work at Dia:Beacon. History buffs can explore the life of the 32nd President at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY.

 

For outdoorsy types, the 500-acre Storm King Art Center, Bear Mountain State Park, and the stunning Lake George are captivating. With so much to offer on its list of the best things to do, the Hudson Valley is an unmissable stop on any road trip from NYC.

 

2) Greenwich, Connecticut

Distance from NYC: about 40 minutes drive or express train

Greenwich, Connecticut, is one of the easiest trips from New York City

Just a stone’s throw from NYC, Greenwich, Connecticut awaits. This affluent town boasts high-end shopping and top-rated restaurants. Greenwich also offers a stunning coastline. Visit the Bruce Museum to enjoy a blend of art and science exhibits. Take a leisurely stroll through Greenwich Point Park for breathtaking views of the Long Island Sound and one of the best beaches near Greenwich, CT. History enthusiasts should stop by Putnam Cottage and the Bush-Holley House, two sites dating back to the Revolutionary War. With its mix of culture, history, and natural beauty, Greenwich is a must-visit stop on any summer road trips from NYC.

 

3) Asbury Park, New Jersey

Distance from NYC: 1 hour

Whiskey Bloody Mary with a plethora of toppings.

Asbury Park, NJ, is the closest Jersey Shore destination to New York City. It’s a place where music history and beautiful New Jersey beaches meet. The iconic Stone Pony venue is its heart, having hosted greats like Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Southside Johnny.

 

The town also boasts stunning beaches. Ocean Grove Beach, Bradley Beach, and Asbury Park Beach are must-visits. Whether you’re a music lover, a beachgoer, or looking for a gay-friendly getaway near NYC, Asbury Park promises a memorable summer road trip.

 

4) The Delaware Water Gap

Distance from NYC: 1 hour, 21 minutes

waterfall at the Delaware Water Gap

Behold the untamed beauty of the Delaware Water Gap. Nestled within the Pocono Mountains, it straddles Pennsylvania and New Jersey. This National Recreation Area beckons the adventurous spirit. A summer road trip from NYC to this spot promises an expedition into the wild.

 

Start at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Venture to The Historic Castle Inn, Bushkill Falls, Silverthread Falls, and Dingman’s Falls. You’ll traverse over 100 miles of hiking trails on one of the best New Jersey day trips. Head to the Lakota Wolf Preserve to see wildlife up-close. The Crystal Garden offers ethereal beauty, while Edge of the Woods Outfitters offers a thrilling adventure, wrapped-up in a summer road trip.

 

5) The Hamptons, NY

Distance from NYC: 1 hour, 40 minutes, with no traffic

Lighthouse near the Hamptons

This eastern Long Island jewel offers a luxurious escape. Its beaches rival its beautiful inhabitants. The dining and shopping experiences are as upscale as you can imagine. It’s no surprise this coastal paradise is a perennially popular summer road trip destination from NYC.

 

The Hamptons isn’t just a place. It’s a lifestyle. It’s the perfect spot for weekend road trips that balance adventure and relaxation. Here, you can explore local wineries, visit museums, and wander through art galleries. If you’re an outdoors enthusiast, you can swim, fish, kayak, or hike. So, why not spoil yourself a little? Experience the East Coast luxury of the Hamptons.

 

Just make sure you book a place to stay well in advance, and be ready to pay through the nose!

 

6) Philadelphia, PA

Distance from NYC: 1 hour, 43 minutes, with no traffic

Riverside city section of Philadelphia

Philadelphia, affectionately known as Philly, is one of the best road trips from NYC. It’s a city with a rich historical tapestry, home to historic buildings like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. The Philadelphia Museum of Art houses the famed “Rocky” steps, a tribute to the city’s cinematic legacy.

 

Food enthusiasts will find their paradise at the Reading Terminal Market. This indoor farmer’s market is a cornucopia of local food. The city’s iconic dish, the Philly cheesesteak, is a must-try.

 

And Fairmount Park offers an urban oasis. It’s a sprawling green space perfect for hiking, biking, or leisurely walks.

 

With its lively neighborhoods, historical importance, and gastronomic delights, Philadelphia is a top choice for a summer road trip from NYC. You can always throw-in the nearby Amish Country on weekend getaways from Philadelphia, if you want a little more to do, too.

 

7) Montauk, New York

Distance from NYC: 2 hours, 9 minutes, with no traffic

Promontory at Montauk

Montauk, a coastal gem on Long Island’s eastern tip, is a sight to behold. With stunning beaches and historical lighthouses, it’s a haven for a seaside weekend road trip.

 

Montauk Point Lighthouse offers grand views, while Camp Hero State Park and Montauk Point State Park boast pristine landscapes. When hunger strikes, local seafood is the answer. The Lobster Roll, Gosman’s Dock, and The Clam Bar are popular spots to indulge.

 

Montauk’s mix of natural beauty and coastal charm makes it a prime destination for New York road trips.

 

8) Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

Distance from NYC: 2 hours, 12 minutes

Scenic train in Jim Thorpe, PA

Set your compass towards Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. Stunning landscapes surround this historic town. It offers a buffet of outdoor activities and unique attractions. The Asa Packer Mansion Museum and the thrilling Bear Mountain are among the highlights.

 

The town’s rich history is on display at the Old Jail Museum. The stunning Lehigh River and the majestic Pocono Mountains provide a beautiful backdrop. Jim Thorpe serves up a captivating blend of history and natural beauty. It’s an ideal pit stop for summer road trips from NYC.

 

9) Atlantic City, New Jersey

Distance from NYC: 2 hours, 18 minutes

Nighttime on the boardwalk at Atlantic City

Atlantic City, NJ, is a haven for thrill-seekers. Nestled on the Atlantic Coast, this bustling city is famed for its casinos, boardwalks, and lively entertainment scene. Test your luck at renowned casinos like Borgata Casino, Harrah’s Resort, and Golden Nugget. Alternatively, enjoy a leisurely stroll along the four-mile-long Atlantic City Boardwalk. Packed with attractions, eateries, and stores, it’s an adventure in itself. For a little (yes, tacky) excitement on their road trips from NYC, Atlantic City is a sure bet.

 

10) Mystic, Connecticut

Distance from NYC: 2 hours, 25 minutes

Mystic River at dusk

Mystic, CT is a charming town rich in maritime treasures. Here, history buffs and nature lovers will find a unique road trip experience. The town boasts a beautiful waterfront and the fascinating Mystic Seaport Museum. The museum is a living testament to the town’s maritime history. The idyllic waterfront and historic downtown area are filled with great shops, restaurants, and attractions. Don’t miss the chance to experience Mystic, Connecticut, on your next road trip from NYC.

 

11) The Berkshires, Western Massachusetts

Distance from NYC: 2 hours, 27 minutes

View of the surrounding countryside in Adams, MA

The Berkshires, Massachusetts, is a paradise for art lovers. This region is home to the esteemed Clark Art Institute, Mass MoCA, and the captivating Jacob’s Pillow. Yet, it’s not all about art. The Berkshires also invite you to the great outdoors. Venture into state parks for hiking trails, camping, and fishing. In essence, The Berkshires blend art, culture, and natural beauty, creating a memorable road trip experience from NYC.

 

12) Newport, Rhode Island

Distance from NYC: 3 hours, 16 minutes

Following the road along the coastline of Newport

Newport, Rhode Island is a spectacle of grandeur, boasting stunning Newport mansions and cliff walks. These relics of a bygone era transport visitors back in time. The Breakers and Marble House are grand estates that showcase turn of the last century opulence.

 

The renowned Cliff Walk invites you for a leisurely stroll, offering breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Newport offers up sites like the John Brown House Museum and the First Baptist Church in America to history buffs. A visit to Newport is a unique road trip experience, unlike any other.

 

13) Providence, Rhode Island

Distance from NYC: 3 hours, 18 minutes

State capitol building in summertime

Providence, Rhode Island, is a small city with a big heart. It’s a delightful blend of art, history, and food that will charm any road trip enthusiast. The Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art is a visual feast. The Church Street Marketplace, on the other hand, is a literal feast. Historical landmarks like the John Brown House Museum and the First Baptist Church in America add a touch of antiquity. And the diverse food scene is simply mouthwatering. Providence is a must-visit destination on any New England summer road trip from NYC.

 

14) Green Mountains, Vermont

Distance from NYC: 3 hours, 43 minutes to Manchester, VT

Roadside attraction in Randolph, VT

Take in the raw allure of Vermont’s Green Mountains. This region of rugged beauty hosts quaint towns like Stowe, Woodstock, and Manchester.

 

Outdoor activities abound here. You can hike, camp, fish, or ski. Attractions like the Hyde Collection, Art Museum and Historic House, and the Wild Center and Wild Walk are waiting to be discovered. The Green Mountains offer a perfect blend of natural beauty and adventure.

 

15) Adirondack Mountains, New York

Distance from NYC: 3 hours, 50 minutes to Lake George

Lake Placid from high up on an upstate New York road trip

The Adirondacks of upstate New York are paradise for nature enthusiasts. This region boasts a picturesque landscape teeming with outdoor activities. It’s an ideal destination for weekend road trips. Here, you can enjoy hiking, fishing, camping, skiing, and snowshoeing on an Adirondack Mountains vacation, no matter how short your visit.

 

The Hyde Collection, Art Museum and Historic House offer a glimpse into the area’s rich history and art. The Wild Center and Wild Walk, on the other hand, present an enchanting exploration of nature. Myriad sights and activities make the Adirondacks an unforgettable adventure.

 

16) Annapolis, Maryland

Distance from NYC: 3 hours, 50 minutes

Harbor at Annapolis on one of the best road trips in the summer months

Annapolis, Maryland, is a city steeped in maritime tradition and adorned with a serene waterfront. It is home to the U.S. Naval Academy and the historic streets of Annapolis. The Maryland State House, the oldest state capitol still in use, adds to the city’s rich history. The William Paca House & Garden is a marvel of Georgian architecture.

 

17) Ithaca, New York

Distance from NYC: 4 hours

Ithaca is a year round destination, in this writer's opinion

Feast your eyes on Ithaca, New York. Tucked away in the Finger Lakes region, this town is a treasure trove of natural beauty and cultural gems. Ithaca is a perfect spot from which to explore the Finger Lakes waterfalls and vineyards sprawling across the landscape. Attractions abound, from the awe-inspiring Robert Treman State Park to the prestigious Cornell University. Don’t miss the Buttermilk Falls State Park, where water dances down the rocks. Or the Cornell Botanic Gardens, a verdant haven of tranquility. And winos, don’t forget the thriving wine scene.

 

18) Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Distance from NYC: 4 hours, 36 minutes

This million dollar beach in Cape Cod rivals Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Steer towards Cape Cod, Massachusetts, for beautiful beaches, charming lighthouses, and quaint New England towns. Nauset Beach offers sandy shores. Chatham Light is as a picturesque beacon. Cape Cod could be a trove of road trip memories for you.

 

Explore Commercial Street’s bustle and the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown, MA. Or bask in the sun at Race Point Beach or any of the other Cape Cod beaches. Visit the Heritage Museums & Gardens or ride along the Shining Sea Bikeway. And join the many Bostonians who plan (and enjoy) regular weekend getaways from Boston here.

 

19) Seneca Falls, New York

Distance from NYC: 4 hours, 50 minutes

The drive to Seneca Falls is also an opportunity to see gorgeous fall foliage

Seneca Falls, New York, may be a small dot on the map, but it leaves a big impression. It’s famous for being birthplace of the women’s rights movement.

 

The first Women’s Rights Convention site and the National Women’s Hall of Fame are here. Both are must-see destinations for history enthusiasts. Be sure to explore the tranquil Seneca River and the picturesque countryside while you’re in town.

 

The Women’s Rights National Historical Park offers a glimpse into the past. It’s a journey back to the birth of a movement.

 

20) Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Distance from NYC: 5 hours

Downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Another picturesque New England town, this one boasts a beautiful harbor. From its historic landmarks to its vibrant arts scene, Portsmouth, NH, offers a unique road trip experience.

 

Discover the attractions of Portsmouth, including the Strawbery Banke Museum, USS Albacore Museum, Market Square, and Prescott Park. Indulge in the town’s culinary offerings, from seafood and farm-to-table fare to international cuisine, as you explore its bustling shops and restaurants.

 

21) Burlington, Vermont

Distance from NYC: 5 hours, 27 minutes to Burlington, VT

Burlington boathouse on a summer day

Set your compass north to Burlington, VT. It’s a delightful blend of city life, outdoor adventures, and picture-postcard views. Here, you’ll find the Church Street Marketplace, a bustling hub of activity. This is a road trip into the heart of summer in New England.

 

Explore Burlington’s hidden gems. The Burlington Bike Path, Waterfront Park, and Lake Champlain Ferries are worth a visit. With its Vermont charm and New England spirit, Burlington is a must-see.

 

22) Charlottesville, Virginia

Distance from NYC: 5 hours, 50 minutes

Chess set at Monticello

Charlottesville, Virginia, boasts the stately Monticello estate and the picturesque vineyards of Blenheim. Visit the city’s historic landmarks, such as the University of Virginia. William & Mary alums like to say that Thomas Jefferson founded UVA because his kids couldn’t get into W&M. Then, indulge in the region’s delicious wines at King Family Vineyards and Veritas Vineyard & Winery. And if you missed the Skyline Drive, you’ll find easy access to Shenandoah National Park.

 

23) Portland, Maine

Distance from NYC: 6 hours

Sailing out to sea from Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine is a haven for food enthusiasts, boasting a thriving culinary scene. This city features a beautiful waterfront and historic sites that narrate tales of the past. Congress Street hums with activity in the summer, and the scenic Eastern Promenade Trail offers lovely views for the adventurous road tripper.

 

The city’s myriad eateries range from upscale restaurants to homely food trucks, each serving mouthwatering cuisine. History echoes in every corner of the Portland Museum of Art and Old Port.

 

24) Skyline Drive, Virginia

Distance from NYC: 6 hours, 17 minutes

Tunnel at Shenandoah National Park

Skyline Drive in Virginia is a scenic route par excellence. It takes you on a 105-mile journey through the heart of Shenandoah National Park. From numerous overlooks, you can gaze upon the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley below.

 

But don’t just drive. Step out and explore. The abundant hiking trails cater to all skill levels, including the Appalachian Trail. Each offers a unique view of the beautiful landscape. In the fall, the foliage is breathtaking. This drive is an unforgettable experience.

 

25) Niagara Falls, New York

Distance from NYC: 7 hours, 25 minutes

Niagara Falls

Stand before Niagara Falls, New York, and marvel at nature’s raw power. The cascades thunder down, their roar echoing in your ears. The mist cools your cheeks. It’s an awe-inspiring spectacle.

 

But don’t stop at the falls. Explore the treasures of Niagara Falls State Park. Gaze at the Bridal Veil Falls. Ascend the Niagara Falls Observation Tower for a bird’s eye view of this wonder. Take a scenic drive along the park’s overlooks for a unique perspective.

 

Niagara Falls demands a visit. If you’re planning a bucket list road trip from NYC, add this to your list.

 

26) Acadia National Park, Maine

Distance from NYC: 8 hours, 48 minutes

Rocky shoreline at Acadia National Park, one of the best road trips from the big city (and most ambitious)

Acadia National Park in Maine, is a sight to behold. It’s a landscape where towering mountains crash into the sea and wildlife roams freely. This beautiful spot can make you appreciate being alive to experience a place like this.

 

Start your adventure at Cadillac Mountain, a proud peak overlooking the park. Then, make your way to the rugged shoreline, bashed by the relentless power of the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Take a drive on the Park Loop Road or challenge yourself on the Champlain Mountain & Beehive Loop Trail. If you’re feeling brave, take a refreshing dip at Sand Beach.

 

Acadia National Park, with its dramatic landscapes and array of outdoor activities, is a must-visit. It’s an ideal destination for a summer road trip from NYC. Just remember to pack your sense of adventure!

 

27) Asheville, North Carolina

Distance from NYC: 12 hours, 30 minutes

Looking Glass Rock in Brevard, NC

Asheville, North Carolina, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a road trip destination worth remembering. The grand Biltmore Estate is impressive, even if superfluous. Skip their vineyard, though. Galleries, museums, and performance venues are as abundant as the surrounding trees. And yet Asheville, NC, isn’t just an art lover’s paradise. The Pisgah National Forest calls to the wild at heart. Hiking, camping, fishing – all are available. Asheville blends art, culture, and natural beauty into a perfect road trip destination from NYC.

 

Tl;dr

From the Hamptons’ luxury to Niagara Falls’ awe, the East Coast packs a punch for every traveler. Crave outdoor adventure? It’s here. Want to dive into arts and culture? Just pick a spot, and not just a city. Dream of relaxing on a stunning beach? Take your pick. All are just a drive away from New York City. So, pack up the car, hit the road, and get ready to explore. The East Coast and its hidden gems and iconic landmarks await your discovery.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Where should I go on a road trip in New York?

When wanderlust strikes in the Empire State, you’ve got a variety of destinations to consider. Let’s start with five: Long Island, the Hudson Valley and Catskills, the Finger Lakes, the Adirondacks, and the Great Lakes Seaway Trail.

Long Island offers sea-scented gardens and sun-kissed beaches. Activities like swimming, fishing, and hiking are all on the menu. If romance is what you’re after, the Hudson Valley and Catskills are your perfect retreat.

 

For the explorers, the Finger Lakes region is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered. If peace is your pursuit, the tranquil lakes of the Adirondacks beckon. Lastly, for those who love a good dose of history, the Great Lakes Seaway Trail offers a journey back in time. So, pick your poison, buckle up, and hit the road. Adventure is calling.

 

Is 2 days enough for NYC?

Two days is definitely not enough to experience all New York City has to offer, but it’s enough time to get a taste of the city. Read our itinerary and guide to New York in 2 days, if that’s all you have with which to work.

 

You could easily return to NYC many times and still find something new each visit!

 

What are some must-see attractions in the Hudson Valley, NY?

The Hudson Valley is home to some truly remarkable attractions like the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, Dia:Beacon, and Storm King Art Center – all must-see spots for any traveller.

 

These attractions offer a unique experience that can’t be found anywhere else. From the breathtaking views of the Hudson River to the fascinating history of the area, there is something for everyone.

 

Are there any good seafood restaurants in Montauk, NY?

Yes, Montauk is known for its delicious seafood, with popular spots like The Lobster Roll, Gosman’s Dock and The Clam Bar.

 

These restaurants offer a variety of dishes, from classic lobster rolls to fried clams and more. The seafood is always fresh and the atmosphere is always inviting. Whether you’re looking for a casual lunch or a romantic dinner, Montauk has it all.

 

What outdoor activities can be enjoyed in the Adirondacks, NY?

The Adirondacks is a great place for outdoor activities, with offerings like hiking, fishing, camping, skiing, and snowshoeing.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *