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9 easy getaways from New York City if you don’t have a car

by Staff

There’s so much fun to be had in New York City this summer, from swing dancing to outdoor movies to free beach concerts. But if you find yourself craving a chiller vibe and a little less concrete, we have good news: It’s very easy to escape NYC, even if you don’t have a car. Here are some quick getaway ideas – from country towns to beach boardwalks – all recommended by Gothamist reporters and editors, and accessible via public transit. Bon voyage!

Hudson Valley

Take the train to Hudson and enjoy a bite at Wm. Farmer & Sons.

Courtesy of Wm. Farmer & Sons in Hudson


Spend a day checking out this hip town’s antique shops, art galleries, bakeries, bars and more. If you can’t score a table at Cafe Mutton, whose chef was a finalist for the James Beard award this year, you can always order their brunch online. After that, check out the art galleries along the main drag, Warren Street. Grab something sweet for dessert at Nine Cakes if you’re feeling saucy, and finish your day with a cocktail at Rivertown Lodge or Wm. Farmer and Sons, or even some pizza and beer at The Half Moon. To get to Hudson, take the Amtrak to Hudson station. The trip takes about two hours and tickets start at around $40 one-way, if you book far enough in advance.

In New Paltz, you can gallery hop or enjoy the great outdoors.

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New Paltz

A 90-minute bus ride gets you to the charming college town of New Paltz, where you can enjoy art or the great outdoors. You can check out art galleries on Water Market Street, and refuel with a cup of coffee at Dry Fly. If you’re after family-friendly fun, New Paltz Kayaking is a short walk from the bus stop; rentals are around $40 for two hours. On your way there, you can explore the rail trail where the 2018 post-apocalyptic film “A Quiet Place” was filmed. Over at New Paltz Biking you can rent a bike and get rolling on shady trails. And after (or before) you’ve worked up an appetite, some fun spots for food include The Bakery, Huckleberry or La Charla.

Long Island

Pick up some sandwiches, check out the local bars and enjoy a shore away from home in Long Beach.

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Long Beach

“No matter the quality of the sandwich, eating on the beach elevates it,” says reporter Jaclyn Jeffrey-Wilensky, who recommends a picnic at Long Beach for anyone looking to escape the city. It’s reachable in about 90 minutes from Manhattan via the Long Island Rail Road. Once you’re there, grab a bite at Max Bialystok or at Life’s a Bagel, across the street from the train station. From there, take a stroll or a jog on the 2-mile boardwalk, or learn to surf at Skudin Surf for $75. No worries if you have no surf gear: boards, wetsuits and rash guards are included in the cost of a lesson. Note that you’ll need to buy a beach pass to hit the shore after 9 a.m.; rates start at $15 for non-residents aged 13 and over. If you’d rather day drink, Ugly Duckling or the dive bar Shines are fun but a 30-minute walk from the train station. And before you head back to the city, hit up the iconic Marvel Frozen Dairy on the boardwalk.

New Jersey

Pictured here is Wonder Bar in Asbury Park.

David Nevil / Shutterstock

Asbury Park

Asbury Park has a fun boardwalk, a good beach and a lively downtown, says reporter Matt Katz. You can get in some mini golf, or check out Silverball for vintage video games and pinball machines. And if you time it right, you can even eavesdrop on a concert in the backyard of the Stone Pony. The Jersey Shore is accessible in about two hours from Manhattan via NJ Transit. And if you’re bringing the whole fam, check out their discounted family fares, or the NJ Transit beach package, which gives you a deal on a beach and transit combo. You’ll need a day pass to hit the beach; rates start at $6 on weekdays and $9 on weekends, though the beach playgrounds are free.

Ocean Grove is an NJ Transit ride away from New York City.

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Ocean Grove

Arts and culture editor Steve Smith describes Ocean Grove as “an odd and delightful tiny town between the bustling, bodacious Asbury Park and Bradley Beach.” It’s a dry town due to its Methodist history, but also visibly queer-friendly. Here you’ll find pleasant shops, good restaurants, and loads of handsome old houses converted into affordable B&B’s. Get a $10 beach badge and hit the shore. And if you want to crack open a beer, you’re allowed to bring it – you just can’t buy it in Ocean Grove. You can get here on the NJ Transit, getting off at the Asbury Park-Ocean Grove stop.

Point Pleasant Beach is fun for the whole family.

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Point Pleasant Beach

Point Pleasant Beach has a boardwalk and downtown arcade that kids will love, says reporter Sophia Chang. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk has an aquarium, candy shops, arcade games and buckets of French fries. You can take a two-hour bus from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, or take NJ Transit to the Point Pleasant station, which is about a 15-minute walk from the beach.

Westchester County

You can get to this amusement park in about an hour from NYC.

Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock

Rye Playland

It may not have the kid cachet of Disney World, but Playland has one big advantage over its Florida counterpart: it’s only a quick train ride away. Take the Metro-North to Rye, and then the Bee-line bus and you can get to the park in about an hour from Manhattan. In addition to kiddie rides and thrill rides, the park has a swimming pool and Playland Lake, where you can go paddle boating for an extra cost. You may want to plan your visit to time with the daily shows, ranging from a multi-piece band to a mermaid performance. Tickets start at around $30 for kids, $40 for grownups. The pool is an extra $10 for children, $15 for grownups.

You can get to Tarrytown in less than an hour from New York City.

Enfi / Shutterstock


Whether you want music, a meal or a scenic river walk, Tarrytown has it all. You can get there in under an hour via the Metro-North Railroad. From the train station, you can enjoy tapas at Basque, or cocktails at RiverMarket Bar & Kitchen. For live music, check out the Music Hall. If a nature walk is more your vibe, there’s a 2-mile trail along the waterfront.

Pictured here is Paradise Garden in Untermeyer Park.

Brian Logan Photography

Untermyer Park and Gardens

Located just north of the city in Yonkers, Untermyer Park and Gardens is a public park made up of the restored remnants of an early 20th century estate. You can easily spend the day wandering through the beautiful walled garden and taking in stunning views of the Palisades, which are visible from the park’s aptly named Overlook section. To get to Untermyer, you can take the 1 train to 242nd Street in the Bronx, then catch the northbound No. 2 Westchester Bee Line bus on Broadway and get off at Dehaven Drive, which is located across the street. The Bee Line conveniently accepts cash and Metrocards! If you’re up for a bit of exercise, you can also get there via a 20-minute uphill walk from the Metro North’s Greystone station. The park doesn’t sell food or water, so make sure to bring your own. You’ll also need to leave any four-legged friends at home — dogs aren’t allowed on the grounds. Picnicking is allowed outside, though. Admission to the park is free. Classes and workshops cost extra, and are offered across a variety of topics ranging from yoga to photography.

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