While it’s no secret I think New York City is one of the best cities in the world, even I can admit that a weekend break from the concrete jungle is a welcomed breath of fresh air. With the beach, mountains, and suburbia all within a few hours reach of Manhattan by car and train, there’s a weekend getaway for every type of person. Here are five weekend getaways when you’re in need of a little change of scenery!
* While travel between states is open in the US, there may be some isolation requirements or health advisories depending on which states you are traveling to and from. Check the guidance and restrictions with the state or health department of your destination before traveling.
Mohonk Mountain House
Resort and Spa | New Paltz, New York | $$$ | @mohonkmountainhouse
Best for: nature lovers, spa enthusiasts, history buffs, foodies
A stunning Victorian castle with gorgeous mountain views and its own lake, what else could you want for your weekend city escape? Mohonk Mountain House has been a favorite of my family since as long as I can remember. For the city dweller craving a taste of nature, Mohonk has tons of gorgeous trails to hike (and even a rock scramble if you’re down for a challenge).
Cleanse your mind with guided meditations and learn the Japanese practice of “forest bathing”, a mindful outdoor experience. Spend the rest of your time taking boats out on the lake, visiting Mohonk’s award-winning spa and eating incredible meals made with locally sourced produce. Mohonk in the winter is just as magical when the fireplaces are lit and the outdoor ice-skating rink opens.
Asbury Park, New Jersey
Best for: beach bums, the Vitamin D deprived, foodies, Springsteen fans
Hop on a North Jersey Coast Line train from New York Penn Station and head to the Jersey Shore! Asbury Park has generated so much buzz over the last few years for transforming into a trendy, young and vibrant spot on The Shore. Get a room at The Asbury Hotel, just a block away from the famous Stone Pony music venue (definitely worth checking if there’s any good shows on while you’re there) and two blocks away from the beach! The boardwalk here is a foodies’ dream, lined with cute coffee shops (shout out to High Voltage) and amazing restaurants.
Princeton, New Jersey
Best for: foodies, history buffs, Albert Einstein stans
If you’re looking for a little taste of the suburbs and you love a good college town, get a train from NY Penn Station and spend a day in Princeton! Check out Jammin Crepes for lunch then head to my personal favorite, The Bent Spoon for some odd and delicious ice cream flavors (think sweet corn with pepper and lavender mascarpone). Walk around Palmer Square and go shopping at local boutiques like Rouge and Homestead or browse through records at the Princeton Record Exchange.
For the history buffs, take a two-mile walking tour led by the Historical Society of Princeton to learn about the founding of Princeton University and Princeton’s role in the American Revolution. For the art lover, head to the Princeton University Art Museum, which houses over 92,000 works of art, and free admission (woohoo). If you’re looking to make it a weekend trip, stay at the Nassau Inn or the Peacock Inn, both central to the University and downtown!
Best for: foodies, history buffs, It’s Always Sunny fans
If you’re a city gal like me and you don’t mind your weekend break from the city in, well…. another city, then Philadelphia is the perfect trip for you. Philly is filled with rich history and culture. If it’s your first visit to the City of Brotherly Love, you can’t miss the classics like the Liberty Bell, or Independence Hall.
For something different, take in views of the Delaware River from a hammock at Spruce Street Harbor Park. With beach games, beer gardens, and food stalls in converted shipping containers (aka millennial catnip), this is the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon. For the foodie experience, head to Pat’s King of Steaks or Jim’s South Street for an authentic Philly cheesesteak or grab lunch in the famous Reading Terminal Market.
Best for: museum lovers, history buffs, the politically inclined
Most people probably don’t think of DC as a New York weekend getaway, but with only a 3-hour train ride to get there from New York Penn Station it definitely qualifies! For a unique experience, try to plan your trip in the spring when the cherry blossoms are blooming!
If it’s your first time in DC, rent a bike and choose what monuments and museums you really want to see. While you can easily spend an entire day wandering through the Smithsonian, it’s definitely worth checking out some smaller museums like the International Spy Museum, Glenstone and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
If the thought of museums fills you with dread (you’re not alone) spend a day exploring the historic and vibrant Georgetown neighborhood. Georgetown is a great place to do some shopping; for a mixture of name brand stores and smaller boutiques, walk along M street and Wisconsin Avenue. When you’ve worked up an appetite, there’s no shortage of great cafes and restaurants in this neighborhood, head to Baked and Wired at the end of the day for a delicious sweet treat!
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend immersed in nature, a city break, or a trip to the suburbs; a quick train or car ride from Manhattan can get you where you want to be. Next time you’re looking for a weekend away, try one of these favorite fun spots for an unforgettable adventure.