Hey Ecophiles, my partner and I love taking off-beat and fun day trips from the city. But ditching the crowds and being in nature just a couple of hours away from downtown is a challenge! Which destinations would you recommend for day trips from NYC?

– Manju Miller, New York

Hi Manju,

You’re in luck – off-beat day trips are just our thing! NYC is close to some charming towns, both upstate and on Long Island. If you want to get away from the crowds at the Hamptons, and are done with Hudson valley, here are some lesser-known gorgeous escapes you can try –

Long Island Sustainable Vineyards

Visit one of the sustainable vineyards in Long Island and enjoy the fruits of their environmentally sound and holistic practices. Peppered all over Long Island, these vineyards focus on conservation of ecosystem and sustaining the community. From family owned farms to historic vineyards, with their low-impact farming techniques, these establishments are quickly becoming more than just a source of charming local wine. 

Bedell Cellars is one of many gorgeous sustainable vineyards that are great for both solo travelers and groups. You’ll love the view of the beautiful gardens in the historic area as you taste some of East Coast’s most carefully cultivated wines.

Long Island Bedel Cedars

Photo: Courtesy of Bedell Cedars Winery, Long Island

Storm King

Storm King is long held as one of the world’s leading sculpture parks. Located in the lower Hudson Valley, its pristine 500-acre landscape provides the setting for a collection of more than 100 sculptures created by some of the most acclaimed artists of our time. 

Storm King Art Center lies in the town of Cornwall, NY about 90 minutes from the city. They provide trams for visitors with limited mobility and young children. For the rest, if you really want to explore it best –  walk! 

Storm King

Photo: Ron Cogswell via Wikimedia Commons

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

For green travelers who love wildlife, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Broad Channel, NY is the ideal getaway. Who knew one of the nation’s most important bird sanctuaries was just a few steps out your door? Jamaica Bay has been home to more than 330 bird species for over two decades. Aside from bird watching, visitors can also enjoy guided cruises in the bay, walking trails, and other exhibits. If you get lucky, you may even see a diamond terrapin turtle along the shore on a guided nature hike.

Jamaica Bay NY

Photo: Courtesy of NPS

Family Farm Trips

Ever wonder what it’s like to run a sustainable farm? Believe it or not, there are many farms not far from the city that you can tour for an inside look at how organic food is grown. The Valley Shepherd Creamery is a great option, especially for cheese lovers. This old-fashioned dairy farm not only gives private tours, but also hosts cheesemaking classes for visitors interested in learning. Children especially would love trying their hand at making some cheese. If you visit in spring, don’t forget to sneak a peek at the new baby lambs on one of their lamb tours. A perfect day trip with the kids!

Lamb farm

Photo Courtesy of Valley Shephard

Bike on a historic trail

An easy summer getaway is a bike ride on one of the many beautiful nature trails in NY State.  The Old Croton Aqueduct Trail covers a historic aqueduct that provided water to New York City until the mid 1960s. Today, visitors can take scenic bike ride or walk through the lush park. Another historic bike ride is the Erie Canalway, which extends across the state from Buffalo all the way to Lake George. 

Enjoy your summer with these charming day trips from NYC!


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Life Beyond Times Square: Plan a quirky, non-touristy NYC trip

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