Sunset on Cape Cod Bay

Looking for pandemic-friendly weekend road trips from NYC? While there are endless things to do in NYC, sometimes all you need is a good weekend away. Luckily, NYC enjoys an amazing location with countless East Coast getaways a close driving distance away. You don’t need to travel far to feel like you’re a world away. So during this pandemic, why not hit the road, head out of the Big Apple for one of these weekend road trips from NYC?

1.  Brandywine Valley, Delaware

2 hours from NYC

Brandywine Valley - a perfect road trip from NYC

Brandywine Valley

Just over 2 hours away from New York City lies the charming Brandywine Valley, with plenty of options to recharge your batteries. While there you should visit Longwood Gardens, Winterthur, and the Hagley Museum. Read more about how to plan the perfect Brandywine Valley Road Trip, or the New York Times piece on how to spend 36 hours in the Brandywine Valley.

2. Hudson Valley, New York

2 hours from NYC

If you’ve lived in NYC long enough, chances are you’ve visited the Hudson Valley for a cozy weekend away. With orchards, vineyards, charming towns, and a plethora of lodging options ranging from upscale spas to glamping tents, it feels a world away from the hustle of the big city. If you haven’t been yet, add it to your list ASAP.

3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

2 hours from NYC

It’s easy to forget that another large metropolitan area is just a stone’s throw away from NYC. If you’re hankering for a change of scene, Philadelphia is a convenient distance away to take a city break. Early American history is front and center in Philadelphia, and you will enjoy a laid-back vibe during your weekend trip. If it’s your first time here and you want to check out the typical sightseeing locations, get a Philly sightseeing pass which includes entrance fees for 35 attractions throughout the city.

4. Mystic, Connecticut

2.5 hours from NYC

If you’re looking to escape the heat and humidity of a New York City summer, head down the coast to the seaside town of Mystic, Connecticut. You can either hop in your car or take a train for an easy connection between Manhattan and downtown Mystic. For where to stay, what to eat, and what to do, check out this guide to a Weekend in Mystic. written by a fellow New Yorker.

5. Baltimore, Maryland

3 hours from NYC

Also known as Charm City, Baltimore Maryland is the perfect foodie destination with its rooftop bars, restaurants, and tons of food markets. If you’re looking to sample all the Baltimore specialties in one location, head to the R. House Food Hall, a massive space with different cuisines. Naturally, seafood and the famous Maryland Blue Crabs are prominently featured. You can either take this short road trip from NYC or take a convenient bus from New York to Baltimore so that you can really kick back and enjoy the trip.

6. Saratoga Springs, New York

3 hours from NYC

Saratoga Springs isn’t far from the city, but there is a multitude of pit stops from NYC to Saratogo Springs to turn this into one of the best weekend road trips from NYC. Once you arrive in Saratoga Springs, be sure to check out the landmarks centered around the famous naturally carbonated springs.

7. Lancaster, Pennsylvania

3 hours from NYC

The Lancaster area is deep in the heart of Amish country for those who want to see a complete contrast to the hustle of NYC. The Mennonite Information Center can help organize a tour to a few local farms, or you can visit some of the Amish-run shops like Riehl Quilts or the Countryside Road Stand where you can browse a variety of goods like quilts, baked goods, and crafts.

8. Newport, Rhode Island

3 hours from NYC

The Breakers Mansion in Newport Rhode Island

The Breakers Mansion in Newport Rhode Island

Thanks to the developments of the early American railroad tycoons, Newport has some of the most stunning residential architecture on the East Coast. Be sure to drive by the famous Newport Mansions and do the Cliff Walk for stunning views over the Atlantic Ocean. To get an introduction to the main sights related to the Gilded Age you can take a Trolley Tour with optional entry into Breakers, the most ornate mansion in Newport.

9. The Berkshires, Massachusetts

3 hours from NYC

The Berkshires Mountain range north of NYC is a charming area that feels a world away. The town of Stockbridge is a popular hub with its Norman Rockwell museum and cute shops in town.

10. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

3.5 hours from NYC

With all the museums and historically significant locations, you can easily spend a whole weekend near Gettysburg. To get the most out of visiting the historic battlegrounds, you can do a private tour, a group carriage tour with a licensed battlefield guide, or a self-guided driving tour to explore the wider region. Once you’ve paid your respects to the Civil War soldiers who are still buried here, there is still lots more to discover in this stunning area of Pennsylvania.

11. Lake George, New York

3.5 hours from NYC

Nestled within the Adirondacks is Lake George, a location that deserves an entire weekend all to itself. This area is bursting with New England charm, in fact, Georgia O’Keefe created many of her famous paintings in the area around Lake George. Whether you want to lounge lakeside, explore hiking trails with epic viewpoints, or spend the weekend window shopping, Lake George is the perfect getaway from NYC.

12. Ithaca, New York

3.5 hours from NYC

If you haven’t been to Ithaca yet, just go! There are amazing hiking trails in the area with gorgeous views and beautiful stone gorges with cascading waterfalls.

13. Boston, Massachusetts

3.5 hours from NYC

For city lovers who just want a change of scene, Boston is one of the best weekend road trips from NYC. It’s a very walkable city, with charming neighborhoods like the North End and Beacon Hill with their Victorian brownstone homes. Also, the city has one of the best ratios of Craft Breweries on the East Coast. Even if you’ve visited Boston before, there are plenty of hidden gems for a perfect weekend trip.

14. Delaware Beaches

3.5 hours from NYC

Take a weekend to explore the beach communities in Delaware. The most popular beaches are Rehoboth and Bethany. Rehoboth is more developed, with a beach boardwalk full of hotels, eateries, and shops, and Bethany is on the more quiet side if you’re looking to feel more off the beaten path. 

15. Washington DC

4 hours from NYC

People come from far and wide to visit Washington DC and at just 4 hours away, it’s one of the best weekend road trips from NYC! Plus, you can take a direct Megabus from Central Station right to Union Station in DC. Even if you’ve been to DC before, you can explore some off the beaten path suggestions and get the most out of your trip to the US Capitol.

16. Adirondacks, New York

4.5 hours from NYC

The famous Adirondacks Mountain range in upstate New York is just beautiful. The best time to visit the Adirondacks is sometime in the late spring or early summer when you can enjoy the great outdoors and get the most out of your trip.

17. Lake Champlain, New York/Vermont

4.5 hours from NYC

The largest lake in New York State, you can spend a weekend exploring different stops along the shores, or stay in one of the many guesthouses that overlook the lake. While you’re in the area, be sure to swing by Fort Ticonderoga, an 18th-century star fort built by the French.

18. Cape Cod, Massachusetts

4.5 hours from NYC

Take a road trip from NYC and enjoy sunset on Cape Cod Bay

Sunset on Cape Cod Bay

The classic East Coast summer destination draws people year after year because of its unique beauty. Postcard-perfect views of sand dunes meeting the rocky shore make Cape Cod worth a visit at least once if you’re living in New York. Enjoy the beach and spend your weekend eating the freshest seafood around.

19. Vermont’s Route 7

4.5 hours from NYC

Vermont’s Route 7 is a mini version of a Great American Road Trip.  Along the way, you’ll pass by several covered bridges near Pittsford. This article from Huffington Post describes a perfect weekend road trip itinerary from NYC to Vermont.

20. Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia

4.5 hours from NYC

Harper's Ferry at Dawn

Harper’s Ferry at Dawn

With Harper’s Ferry as a home base, you can spend a weekend exploring West Virginia, a complete contrast to New York City. Harper’s Ferry is located where the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers meet at the intersection of West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. The nearby Blue Ridge Mountains are full of walking trails where you just might encounter long-haul hikers taking on the famous Appalachian Trail.

21. Finger Lakes, New York

5 hours from NYC

The Finger Lakes is one of the classic weekend road trips for NYC dwellers, but with so much to discover, you can keep coming back again and again. Highlights in the region are the many wineries and slot canyons like Watkins Glen. Or maybe try going off the beaten path and exploring the Corning Museum of Glass.

22. Shenandoah Valley, West Virginia

5.5 hours from NYC

With countless things to do, the Shenandoah Valley makes one of the best weekend road trips from NYC. Visit Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia Caves, and plenty of awesome wineries in the region.

23. Burlington, Vermont

5.5 hours from NYC

Head to Burlington, Vermont during summer and you may not want to leave. The whole city feels like a giant block party, where everyone knows each other and you’re always greeted with a smile. Live music, outdoor dining, and charming shopping streets make Burlington the perfect place to spend a long weekend away from NYC. There is also a thriving Craft Beer to discover, which is a great way to spend an afternoon.

24. Montreal, Canada

6 hours from NYC

Montreal, Canada is just a 6 hour road trip from NYC

Montreal, Canada

For a completely different cultural experience, head to Montreal in the french-speaking Canadian province of Quebec. You will feel a world away as you stroll through the cobblestone parts of the old city, take in the soaring European-style cathedral and interact with its proud French-speaking residents. Nightlife in Montreal is world-famous, and the citywide Jazz Festival during the summer draws people from far and wide.

25. Buffalo, New York

6.5 hours from NYC

Buffalo, New York is having a moment. They have some beautiful architecture, and they’ve got a new park along the Erie Canal where you can take in the views of the skyline and harbor. Everyone is well aware of the city’s namesake chicken wings, but the Buffalo food scene has so much more to offer.

26. Erie, Pennsylvania

6.5 hours from NYC

Especially during the summer, Lake Erie is one of the best weekend road trips from NYC. There are miles of beaches near the Presque Isle State Park, plus wineries, microbreweries, and museums. There is a great Americana vibe with live music happening almost every day of the week over summer.

27. Niagara Falls

6.5 hours from NYC

This stunning bucket-list location is perfect for a weekend getaway from NYC. If you’re making the long trip, it’s worth visiting both the American and Canadian sides of the falls. The Canadian side boasts the best panoramic views of the enormous falls, while the American side allows you to get up close and personal with the falls. While there, you should of course take the famous Maid of the Mist boat ride that gets you up close and personal with the falls. For something different, we would recommend splurging on a scenic helicopter flight, one of the most exhilarating ways to see the falls.

28. Virginia Beach, Virginia

6.5 hours from NYC

Best for a 3-day weekend, Virginia Beach has long been a favorite getaway for the city-dwellers along the East Coast because of its stunning beaches and casual atmosphere. Virginia Beach can get crazy during official 3-days holiday weekends, so to beat the crowds, just take a Friday off and head down. There are plenty of unique things to do in Virginia Beach, like biking the boardwalk or taking a sunset Craft Beer Cruise.

29. Coastal Maine

7 hours from NYC

The coast of Maine is one of the best weekend road trips from NYC.  Condé Nast Traveler has a great itinerary for 4 days along the Maine Coast. You will love the rugged New England feel.

30. Quebec City, Canada

8.5 hours from NYC

If you have a long weekend, drive up to the French-speaking capital of Canada to Quebec City. In just 8 hours you’ll be transported to a completely different aesthetic, with timbered houses, French-inspired food, and the French language all around you.

Visit Quebec City, Canada as a road trip from NYC

Quebec City, Canada

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