New York City can be rather exhausting due to the overcrowded subways, streets full of traffic, and never-ending noise. Luckily, driving an hour or so in any direction from the city paints a completely different picture. Secluded white-sand beaches, cascading waterfalls, panoramic views, and lush green valleys are all just a short road trip away.
The warmer months are an excellent time to explore the Atlantic coastline. Heading north, just 77 miles (123 km) from Manhattan, will bring you to the posh Hamptons, a favorite haven of the New York celebrity set. Traveling a bit further—about 177 miles (284 km) from Manhattan—will put you in Rhode Island, a state rich with New England charm, historic lighthouses, postcard views, and delectable seafood restaurants. This coastline drive is also known for scenic nature, and bird and whale sightings.
If you decide to go south from Manhattan, in just 57 miles (91 km) you’ll reach Sandy Hook beach in New Jersey, a more affordable and down-to-earth getaway. Drive for another 121 miles (194 km) and explore Cape May, at the southernmost tip of New Jersey, with its authentic Victorian atmosphere and beautiful coastal views, as well as whale watching
Living in New York City means keeping your hiking boots ready. In just two hours you can exchange the Manhattan skyscrapers for the panoramic mountain views of Upstate New York. The Catskills are just two hours, or 120 miles (194 km), from the city—making Kaaterskill Falls, North–South Lake, Ashokan Reservoir, and other beautiful hiking areas very accessible.
To take your adventure further north, drive to the beautiful Adirondacks Region (290 miles or 466 km away) with its pristine scenic lakes—such as Lake George and Lake Placid—as well as The Adirondack High Peaks, and beautiful, thick forests. Another option is to go north-west to Pennsylvania and discover the Pocono Mountains, a hidden Pennsylvania jewel, which is bedazzled with spectacular foliage colors in October
Winter in New York City can get dark and dull unless you break it up with some road-trip adventures. Mountain slopes coated with fresh powder, snow-tubing with the kids, and spellbinding frozen waterfalls are all just a couple of hours away. Hunter Mountain, which is 128 miles (205 km) from the city, is the closest major ski destination. If you drive 255 miles (410 km), you’ll reach Killington, Vermont—the largest and most popular winter resort in the entire Northeast.
Even if you don’t ski or snowboard, there is plenty to do and see in the Northeast. Lake George, Lake Saranac, and Lititz (in Pennsylvania), all host spectacular winter festivals. Wind your way around ice and snow sculptures, roast smores by the fire, and play some invigorating winter games. Foodies have some options too: such as Niagara Falls’ ice wine or Ice Cider Apple in Quebec.