Living in New York City can sometimes feel overwhelming. You fall asleep to the sounds of garbage trucks and sirens, you see three times as many people as you’d like to in any given day, and you spend your life navigating busy streets, busy supermarkets, and even busy parks. The good news? There are a ton of outdoor day trips just a few hours away from the hectic city center, and they offer the perfect opportunity to unwind and relax. Peace and quiet and adventure, here you come.
For those interested in hiking, you can’t do much better than tackling Breakneck Ridge. This beautiful excursion offers stunning views of the Hudson River with plenty of photo opportunities. However, the climb can be incredibly steep at times and extra motivation to make it to the top could prove necessary, so you might want to bring a friend along. Nonetheless, the hikes are quiet, scenic, and challenging without being too grueling. Hop onto Metro-North for just over an hour to reach Cold Spring, New York and your latest hiking excursion.
Storm King Art Center
If you like the outdoors but aren’t quite read to scale a mountain, consider checking out the Storm King Art Center. Roughly an hour away by car, this Cornwall destination offers more than 500 acres of sprawling, hilly landscapes laced with art installations. You can set out by foot, rented bike, or guided tram to explore the entirety of the park, which features more than 100 different modern and contemporary artists and their work. Be sure to bring a camera because the combination of the scenery and the exhibitions will be well worth capturing. Check out their website for upcoming concerts and featured exhibitions as well.
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
New York’s Kerhonkson is a little bit farther away (two hours by car), but it’s well-worth the drive for nature lovers. The Minnewaska State Park Preserve has something for everyone: mountain biking, more than 50 miles of outdoor trails, a designated rock climbing spot at the Dickie Barre cliffs, and a stunning lake to swim in. The surrounding town is equally scenic with historic homes and local markets to explore if you find yourself craving civilization once again.
Hunter, New York
For all the adrenaline junkies out there, trade metro rides for zip lines. There’s a three-hour exhilarating zip-line course off of Hunter Mountain which is only a two hour drive from the city center. There are several different courses so you can come with your less adventurous friends, but the biggest course takes place more then 600 feet in the air and launches you through the canopy at 50 miles per hour. You can also indulge in the Mid-Mountain tour which takes place just 60 feet off of the ground and includes rope bridges and tree platforms to explore. be aware that this excursion can be more expensive than some of the others, with the highest zip-line tour topping out at $119 per person.
Hamilton, New Jersey
If you don’t have access to a car, consider taking the New Jersey Transit about 80 minutes out to Hamilton. Here, you can explore Grounds for Sculpture. This contemporary art gallery has both an indoor component and 42 acres of outdoor art to browse. There are more than 270 pieces of artwork to check out, plenty of scenic rest spots, and the comfort of the air conditioned museum if the outdoors proves too taxing. The galleries are constantly rotating and they host a year-round calendar of events, so you can turn to this easy escape time and time again.