Change language

6 Car-Free Day Trip Ideas from New York City

New York City is known as a city that never sleeps, but that can get to be a bit too much for the best of us. Luckily, it’s easy to escape for a day trip without renting a car thanks to the well-connected transit network in New York City and its surrounding areas. Hop on a train and check out these six spots the next time you need a change of pace.

Beacon, New York

Get cultured in the heart of the Lower Hudson Valley

Get cultured in the heart of the Lower Hudson Valley

A 90-minute train ride on the Hudson Line from Grand Central will take you to the city of Beacon, nestled in the heart of the Lower Hudson Valley. Walk along its scenic main street and check out the cute shops and cafes, or head straight to Dia:Beacon – a former factory which is now a popular art museum. Another local favorite is the Storm King Art Center, an open-air sculpture park accessible by shuttle from Beacon Station. If you’re more of an outdoorsy type, try kayaking to Pollepel Island—home to the ruins of an old castle—or take the 6-mile hike up to the peak of Mount Beacon.
Head back to The Roundhouse, which is conveniently located near Main Street, and enjoy dinner with waterfall views.

New Paltz, New York

Embrace the great outdoors in New Paltz

Embrace the great outdoors in New Paltz

New Paltz is famous as a college town among most New Yorkers, but it’s also a nature lover’s paradise. From spring through autumn, hike or bike through the Mohonk Preserve, rock-climb on the Shawangunks, or kayak down the Wallkill River. Thrill-seekers will also want to try skydiving or ziplining. Then come back in the winter, when the mountains transform into the perfect ski and snowboarding destination for riders of all levels. You can get here by taking the Hudson Line on the Metro North to Poughkeepsie Station, then transferring to a local bus.
Stay at Minnewaska Lodge, where you can appreciate views of the mountains from your rustic room.

Asbury Park, New Jersey

Hang out at one of America’s most iconic boardwalks

Hang out at one of America’s most iconic boardwalks

Asbury Park is one of the most iconic beachfront towns in the US, and it’s easily accessible via a 90-minute NJ Transit train ride from Penn Station. There’s tons to see here, with plenty of street art, abandoned Art Deco buildings, and an array of street vendors lining the boardwalk. There’s just as much to do here, too: relax on the beach, shop at Convention Hall, play some old-school games at the Silverball Museum Arcade, or catch a show at the Stone Pony – famous for featuring headliners such as Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and the Ramones.
Head back to The Asbury, which is just a 5-minute walk from the boardwalk.

Greenport, New York

Go fishing in Long Island’s North Fork

Go fishing in Long Island’s North Fork

Those looking for a fishing-related day trip don’t have look any further than Greenport, a village located at the easternmost tip of Long Island’s North Fork. Thanks to its location along the Atlantic coast, it’s the ideal spot to go open boat fishing for porgies and sea bass from May to November. But with the LIRR ride from Penn Station being about 2.5 hours, you’ll have to start your day early if you want to make the 6:45am boarding time for the all-day open boat fishing trips. Those visiting during the off-peak season will also love the small-town charm of Front Street and Main Street, lined with mostly family-owned local businesses. This area is also known for its local wine and brews, so be sure to sample some while taking in views of the Long Island Sound.
Start your day early with a view of the sunrise over the Atlantic in one of the nautical themed rooms at The Inn at Harbor Knoll, which is only a block from the Greenport LIRR station.

Queens, New York

Some of the delicacies available at the Queens International Night Market

Some of the delicacies available at the Queens International Night Market

Queens is one of the five boroughs of New York City, but many New Yorkers will agree that venturing out there is a day trip in its own right. Home to the most linguistically diverse population in the whole world—with around 800 languages spoken by its residents—it’s no wonder that it’s also known as a mecca for foodies. Craving authentic Bosnian-style cevapi, Nigerian jollof rice, or Korean naengmyun? You’ll have no trouble finding that and more here. Foodies will also love the Queens International Night Market, open from April to October at Corona Park – just a 30-minute subway ride from Times Square.
After eating to your heart’s content and taking a stroll around Corona Park, take the 7 train to Aloft Long Island City and enjoy stunning views of the Manhattan skyline at night.

Long Beach, New York

A tranquil beach day on the South Shore of Long Island is only a train ride away

A tranquil beach day on the South Shore of Long Island is only a train ride away

Craving some sun, white-gold sand and turquoise waves, but don’t want to make the drive out to a beach? Long Beach is definitely among the top picks for a car-free beach day near the Big Apple. A 50-minute LIRR ride from Penn Station will drop you off just a few blocks from the boardwalk. Though you’ll have to pay for admission during most peak hours, the groomed shoreline is well worth it. If you’d rather stay off the sand, bike along the boardwalk, check out the local shops, or try one of the many food trucks parked along the beach in the summer.
Check in to the Allegria Hotel, located right on the boardwalk.
**The data scientists at Booking.com used internal data to find destinations popular for day trips around the New York City area, and then selected the best accommodations in each destination based on review score.