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Best Day Trips from NYC

New York City offers endless things to do for travelers, but it's also a good home base for exploring other spots along the Eastern Seaboard. Whether you're looking for a quiet small town or a day at the beach, you'll find a variety of options within a few hours of the city. U.S. News considered activities, transportation options and distance to come up with the best day trips from NYC. Got a favorite? Vote below to help decide next year's list.


Best Day Trips from NYC

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    #1 in Best Day Trips from NYC

    About 100 miles south of NYC, the nation's first capital city is rife with activities for all types of travelers. Culture hounds can wander the Philadelphia Museum of Art, history buffs can sightsee at Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center and everyone will enjoy the food at Reading Terminal Market. Philly can easily be reached by bus, train or car.

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    The Catskills

    #2 in Best Day Trips from NYC

    Situated about 140 miles north of New York City, this mountain region is perfect for exploring the great outdoors year-round. During the warmer months, travelers can camp, hike and fish around the various towns and lakes, while autumn is perfect for taking scenic drives to admire the fall foliage and covered bridges. Come winter, this vacation spot is a convenient option for skiing and snowboarding.

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    #3 in Best Day Trips from NYC

    About 180 miles northeast of NYC, Providence is a slightly farther trip, but it can be reached by car, bus or train. This city offers a walkable downtown and a mix of historic and cultural attractions. You could spend a full day exploring the RISD Museum, but save time to admire the colonial homes along Benefit Street before dining on Italian cuisine in Federal Hill.

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    Cape May

    #4 in Best Day Trips from NYC

    A drive of about 160 miles down the Garden State Parkway will land you in this delightful Jersey Shore town. You can spend the day lounging on the clean beaches or meandering through the National Historic Landmark District (the only entire U.S. city to be designated as such) to see the grand, colorful Victorian homes.

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    #5 in Best Day Trips from NYC

    This seaport village at the mouth of the Mystic River has been around since the 17th century. Today, it's home to two of Connecticut's most-visited attractions: The Mystic Seaport and the Mystic Aquarium. After a day of sightseeing, head to Mystic Pizza, the restaurant that inspired the 1988 movie starring Julia Roberts, before driving the 130 miles back to NYC.

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    #6 in Best Day Trips from NYC

    The capital of Connecticut sits less than 120 miles north of NYC and is accessible via train, bus or car. The city is home to a range of historical attractions that literary fans will love, including the Mark Twain House & Museum, which dates back to 1874. If literary history doesn't interest you, you can also take your pick of golf courses in the area.

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    Fire Island

    #7 in Best Day Trips from NYC

    Sitting about 60 miles east of the heart of New York City, this barrier island is an ideal summertime retreat for those who don't want to splurge on a Hamptons vacation. You can easily spend the day lounging along the Fire Island National Seashore or Robert Moses State Park. Once the sun sets, head to Ocean Beach to enjoy the island's famous nightlife.

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    Atlantic City

    #8 in Best Day Trips from NYC

    The famous Atlantic City boardwalk is only about 120 miles south of NYC, meaning it’s possible to spend the day at the beach without having to spend the night. If you do want to make a weekend out of it, though, you’ll have plenty of hotels to choose from, as well as casinos, restaurants and spas.

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    Rockaway Beach, NY

    #9 in Best Day Trips from NYC

    For a quick jaunt to the beach, head to this stretch of sand in Queens. This family-friendly beach is home to the city's only surfing areas as well as a boardwalk, several playgrounds and plenty of affordable eats. You can reach Rockaway Beach via the A train or take the scenic ferry for only $2.75 one-way.

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    Governors Island

    #10 in Best Day Trips from NYC

    Located a stone’s throw from Manhattan (800 yards) and from Brooklyn (400 yards), this 172-acre island is accessible via ferry from either the Battery Maritime Building (Manhattan) or Pier 6 (Brooklyn) for $2 round-trip fare. The island is a great place to spend the day biking, walking, zip lining or attending a festival, but keep in mind it’s only open May through October.

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