25 Epic Road Trips From NYC

Bored with stay-at-home? Want to get out of the city in a more socially distanced way, without getting on a plane? Check out this fantastic roundup of 25 best road trips from NYC for the summer of 2020 and beyond.

Hudson Valley, New York

Distance from NYC: 150 miles

Visit in Spring and Autumn for the best views and most picturesque scenery

New York’s Hudson Valley is a huge, culturally rich area spanning 10 counties. Start your exploration of the Hudson Valley by dining at a restaurant inside the famous Culinary Institute of America. Next, enjoy a tasting along the Hudson-Berkshire Beverage Trail. Explore the extraordinary mansions along the Hudson River. After touring the mansions, learn something new at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. And finally, climb or hike the Shawangunk Mountain on this New York road trip.

The Lowcountry: Hilton Head, Beaufort, and Charleston, South Carolina

Distance from NYC: 800 miles

Visit in April, May, September, or October to find fewer crowds and lower lodging costs.

Get the best of all worlds in three great cities in South Carolina. After your drive down, spend a few days at Hilton Head on its great beaches. Then, head to Beaufort, less than an hour away. Stay at the Anchorage 1770, the former home of a distinguished naval officer, and see some great views from its famous rooftop patio. And to finish out your road trip from New York, head to Charleston for some good food and true southern city lifestyle.

Hilton Head, South Carolina, a lighthouse at twilight.

Lexington, Massachusetts

Distance from NYC: 213 miles

Visit in June – August. Summer is the busiest season but also offers the best weather to explore the area.

Only 15 miles outside of bustling Boston, you’ll find Lexington, MA. Here, you can check out the Orchard House, where the writer of Little Women once lived. For history buffs, visit the Lexington Common National Historic site, a Revolutionary War battle green. And if you are looking to soothe a parched throat, head down to the Buckman Tavern, a revolutionary war-era tavern. With its convenient location, Lexington is a great road trip from NY.

Lexington, Massachusetts: The historic 1735 Munroe Tavern used to house the British Field Hospital and Officers Headquarters’ on the eve of April 18, 1775, the night before the Battle of Lexington

Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

Distance from NYC: 350 miles

Visit in the spring and June through October; preferably weekdays.

One of the best summer road trips from NYC, this 140-mile region offers several options to explore the Blue Ridge and Alleghany Mountains. Between Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll find well over 500 miles of hiking, scenic driveways, and plenty of overlooks. Skyline Drive is located in the 200,000-acre Shenandoah National Park, offering you access to all the beauty inside of the park.

The curve along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

Virginia’s Eastern Shore

Distance from NYC: 304 miles

Visit in the summer to experience the Ukefest, fireworks, and family activities.

Dreaming of an off the grid drive vacation from NYC? If so, hop onto a remote island off Virginia’s Eastern shore and stay in a cozy cabin. Next, explore Tangier Island, located in the Chesapeake Bay. On the way back don’t forget to stop by Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, an amazing wildlife reserve. Here, you’ll learn about a large variety of animals, birds, plants, and their habitats.

Chincoteague ponies

Newport, Rhode Island

Distance from NYC: 180 miles

Visit in the summer to enjoy the great outdoors.

Drive for only three hours from NYC to arrive in another world at beautiful Newport, RI. This part of New England is a must for amazing lobster, such as that found at Nomi Park restaurant. Don’t forget to stroll the Cliff Walk for breathtaking ocean and mansion views. Of course, exploring the mansions from the Gilded Age is a must. The Breakers is perhaps the most famous mansion in Newport and is named after a Renaissance palace. Altogether, there are many reasons why Newport is widely considered one of the best weekend road trips from NYC.

Beautiful old lighthouse on rocks at sunset
Newport, RI lighthouse

Adirondacks, New York

Distance from NYC: 272 miles

Visit year-round. You’ll find breathtaking views in the Adirondacks, no matter if its summer, fall, winter, or spring.

For the outdoors lover, a great place to start exploring the area is on a hike in the Adirondack Mountain. A hiker favorite is Keene Valley where you’ll find Roaring Brook Falls, only one of the many waterfalls along these dirt trails. You’ll find no shortage of great hiking or snowshoeing in the Adirondacks, area, and trails suitable for families as well as experienced backpackers

Brandywine, Pennsylvania

Distance from NYC: 126 miles

Visit in the spring if possible to enjoy a plethora of blooming flowers.

If you like booze and botany (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t), visit Brandywine, PA. This little town is packed with wineries and breweries. Historically, Brandywine housed some of the du Pont family. Known for many of their famous gardens, after a tasting you can get a healthy dose of beautiful plant life, especially during warmer months.

Beautiful sunrise on the farm in Pennsylvania

Winterthur, Delaware

Distance from NYC: 134 miles

Visit year-round but check out the exhibition schedule before you go.

For a quick weekend road trip from NYC, Winterthur offers a huge variety of things to do. With an extraordinary museum, garden, and library, and many tours throughout the day, you’re sure to leave satisfied. In the winter, Winterthur offers unique ice skating shows, and creative light shows in the gardens in the summer.

Autumn forest with wood bridge over creek in yellow maple forest with trees and colorful foliage.

Cooperstown, New York

Distance from NYC: 199 miles

Visit in the autumn for cider season!

Cooperstown isn’t your usual touristy road trip. There is something for everyone here – the Baseball Hall of Fame, an Indian Burial Ground, and Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard. Spend a long weekend in Cooperstown and explore the famous cideries, the lake, and the picturesque town.

For lots more on Cooperstown check out: Cooperstown, NYC Weekend Getaway

Killington, Vermont

Distance from NYC: 255 miles

Visit in Early November to Mid-April, for ski season. Visit in the summer for hiking and fishing.

Whether you’re a beginner skier or someone who skied before they could walk, Killington will have the best ski season getaway for you. With 28 beginners/easy slopes, and 65 advanced/expert slopes, your whole party will find a slope to ski down! In the summer the area transforms into a hiker’s paradise with plenty of family activities.

Snowy slope in the mountains in Vermont

Franconia, New Hampshire

Distance from NYC: 326 miles

Visit in the Autumn, for breathtaking fall foliage!

Franconia Notch State Park, in the White Mountains area, offers hikers and cyclists plenty to do. Not looking to exercise? Find the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway and take it to the Cannon Mountain Peak!

Boathouse and fall colors reflecting in Echo Lake, in Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire.

Montreal, Canada

Distance from NYC: 372 miles

Visit late spring through early autumn for pleasant temperatures and scenery.

Grab your passport and let a scenic route lead you to gorgeous Montreal. Hudson Valley is a great stop along the way. Once you’re in Montreal, head over to the Mount Royal lookout. Visit a museum or two, and check out the “Aura” light show at the Notre-Dame Basilica!

Find out more about road tripping around Montreal and Quebec.

Old architecture at dusk on street in Old Montreal in Canada panorama

Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina

Distance from NYC: 632 miles

Visit year-round.

With your ticket to Grandfather Mountain, you can hike, visit the Nature Museum, and check out the Mile High Swinging Bridge. Experience incredible wildlife habitats: Spot a cougar in his natural home from only a few feet away or visit an otter underwater! Grandfather Mountain throws birthday parties for their animals, so check out their calendar for upcoming events!

Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina, the USA at Linn Cove Viaduct.

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

Distance from NYC: 1700 miles

When to Visit: September and October

For a long road trip from NYC head to Mount Rushmore. Stop at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, get deep dish pizza at Giordano’s in Chicago, and browse the Mall of America in Minneapolis. At Mount Rushmore, experience the incredible monument in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Sunset over Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, U.S.A.

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Distance from NYC: 713 miles

When to Visit: Summer and Fall

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is famous for wildlife, as well as the natural beauty of the mountains. The park is America’s Most Visited for a good reason. Here you can spot a black bear, visit historic homes and churches, and enjoy the unique mountain scenery all in just one day.

Blue Ridge Parkway Scenic Landscape Appalachian Mountains Ridges Sunrise Layers over the Great Smoky Mountains

Niagara Falls, New York

Distance from NYC: 405 miles

Visit any time except the winter (unless frozen wonderland is your cup of tea).

Sometimes called the “8th wonder of the world,” Niagara Falls is an incredible, roaring set of waterfalls. Ride the Maid of the Mist and get right into the falls or experience the Journey Behind the Falls. Park in the U.S. and walk the mile over the Peace Bridge to Canada to experience the falls (and travel) from an entirely new perspective.

American side of Niagara Falls

Acadia National Park, Maine

Distance from NYC: 482 miles

The best time to visit is in the summer.

Acadia National Park is rich in culture and history. While here, explore the 27 miles of historic motor roads, nearly 160 miles of hiking trails, and even old carriage roads! Take a Boat Cruise from Acadia National Park and experience the beautiful Bar Harbor cliffs.

Bass Harbor Lighthouse at sunset, in Acadia National Park, Maine.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Distance from NYC: 246 miles

When to Visit: Summer

Cape Cod offers amazing whale watching opportunities. In addition, this destination is popular for paddle-boarding, kayaking, golfing, and biking. After spending a day in the sun, hop on a ferry for a guided tour of Nantucket. In the afternoon, explore local art studios, galleries, and craft shops.

Stowe, Vermont

Distance from NYC: 334 miles

When to Visit: September through February

Stowe is a mountain resort town located near the highest peak of Mountain Stowe. Here you’ll find skiing, rich culture and history, and tons of local art. Many visitors rave that Stowe is the best ski town for foodies, so you know your stomach will be happy.

Stowe, Vermont

Litchfield, Connecticut

Distance from NYC: 101 miles

When to Visit: Summer and Autumn

Visit the picturesque town of Litchfield for a peaceful getaway featuring cozy shops and delicious restaurants. For a unique experience, don’t forget to hit up Lourdes in Litchfield Shrine Grotto, a replica of the Lourdes Grotto in France. Afterward, explore the White Memorial Foundation, a nature center, and wildlife sanctuary.

A gorgeous autumn scene with a lake and trees showing the bright colors of fall in Connecticut.

St. Michael’s, Maryland

Distance from NYC: 212 miles

When to Visit: Year-round!

St. Michael’s in Maryland is an off-the-radar NYC getaway. Explore the historic town for a long weekend and check out the restored homes and museums in the area. While here you’ll discover the colonial village that fooled the British during the revolutionary war.

Autumn Color the Chesapeake Bay Shore and Harbor in St Michaels Maryland

Saratoga Springs, New York

Distance from NYC: 185 miles

When to Visit: Summer

Saratoga Springs is a great getaway for spa and antiquing opportunities. The city is also popular for its equestrian lifestyle and great horse races. While here, consider a stay at the historic Adelphi Hotel, originally built in 1877. After a great night’s rest, book a private soak at the town’s mineral springs.

North Fork, New York

Distance from NYC: 80 miles

When to Visit: Summer and Autumn

Take a trip to the wine country of the East Coast – think Napa Valley, but on Long Island. When you arrive, discover a wine lover’s paradise complete with charcuterie, tastings, and farmers market finds.

Toronto, Canada

Distance from NYC: 472 miles

When to Visit: Any time except winter

Toronto has all the great qualities of NYC without as much of the “busy.” Upon arrival, leave your car at your hotel and explore local Little Italy, Little Portugal, Little India, and even two Chinatowns. For great food and drinks, head to the historic Distillery Drinks. Next, visit the Evergreen Brick Works Farmers’ market and stock up for a picnic at HTO Park.

Toronto sunset over lake panorama with urban skyline.

So, where are you going in the summer of 2020 and beyond? Let us know which NYC road trip idea was your favorite in the comments. Looking for even more USA travel ideas? Check out the best resorts in North Carolina.

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2 Responses

  1. I loved reading about your road trip experience from NYC. Your descriptions really made it come alive for me. Happy travels!

  2. Wow! That’s an amazing read. These are all breathtaking road trips! Would love to go on Cooperstown someday. Thanks for sharing!

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Always practical, accompanied by beautiful photography and a bit of history, my goal is to help you create – and fulfill – the ultimate travel bucket list.  I look forward to your comments and questions, and happy traveling!

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