As the coronavirus pandemic continues here in the US and around the world, signs of normalcy are beginning to emerge and businesses are beginning to reopen. I believe the entire vacation ecosystem will evolve over time. However, if you are considering staying closer to home in NYC but still venturing out for a little fresh air (and change of scenery), then consider a destination from this list of 13 all within a three-hour drive of Manhattan (New York City). Of course, please remember to obey local health guidelines, practice social distancing and take necessary precautions to keep you and others around you safe as you hit the open road! (Drive times according to Google Maps - subject to traffic, weather, etc.)
Montauk - NY - 118 Miles - 2 hr, 25 min Drive
Though a direct neighbor to NYC, parts of Long Island can feel like you're in another part of the world. This sleepy beach town is less pretentious than the neighboring Hamptons and has some amazing options for accommodations and dining. Visit Montauk Point State park for a relaxing bike ride, or grab your surfboard and beach cruiser and head on out for some surf and sand at the beaches of Hither Hills State Park. More on New York State...
Woodstock - NY - 124 Miles - 2 hour Drive
‘What a long strange trip it’s been”... well, not THAT long. The charming upstate town of Woodstock is near the site of one of the greatest rock and roll events in US history. Today, much of the flower child spirit lives on in the town. The downtown area is packed with restaurants, coffee shops, eclectic art galleries and more. Outdoor enthusiasts flock to tranquil beauty of the Shawangunk and Overlook Mountains; and Mower’s Flea Market is one of the largest in the state and a great afternoon trip out of the city. More on New York State...
Saratoga Springs - NY - 179 Miles - 2 hr, 55 min Drive
A charming town full of energy and streets lined with grand Victorians - visitors flock to Saratoga not just for the World-class horse racing, but also it’s renowned arts scene, natural spring spas, museums, shops and over a dozen golf courses. One of the oldest tourist destinations in the United States, Saratoga offers plenty of great hotels, historic bed and breakfasts and comfortable inns. More on New York State...
Albany - NY - 145 Miles - 2 hr, 26 min Drive
The state capital, Albany is home to some fantastic restaurants, museums, and historic sites. Downtown’s huge Empire State Plaza has reflecting pools, an art-filled underground shopping concourse and The Egg performing arts center. The State Capital Building and New York State Museum are also found on the plaza. History buffs can visit the many other museums and sites including the Chester A. Arthur Memorial Tomb. Helpful tip: Bring a designated driver so you can bar hop the more than dozen breweries in the greater Albany area. More on New York State...
Philadelphia - PA - 100 Miles - 1 hr, 47 min Drive
The City of Brotherly love is one you’ll certainly fall in love with. Full of rich history, an amazing music and art scene, as well as some of the best restaurants and bars in the northeast, Philly really does have it all. Check out the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed. Then head down to South Street for some shopping and drinks. Philly cheesesteaks are great - but don't leave without trying a roast pork hero at DiNic’s Roast Pork in the Reading Terminal Market. More on Pennsylvania...
Hershey - PA - 169 Miles - 2 hr, 57 min Drive
Hershey, Pennsylvania, the home of the Hershey Chocolate Company, bills itself as "The Sweetest Place on Earth," and I’m not here to argue with them. The city was built on chocolate, as were the great majority of its attractions. It’s not just for kids - the Hotel Hershey is one of the most stunning resorts in the northeast, and it's just down the road from the fabulous Troeg’s Brewery. Though let's be honest - the bars you come here for are made of chocolate. Visit Hershey's Chocolate World for a virtual tour of the Hershey factory, and Hersheypark ups the excitement with Hershey-themed roller coasters, water slides and more. More on Pennsylvania...
Long Beach Island - NJ - 104 Miles - 1 hr, 51 min Drive
Long Beach Island - LBI as it’s known to the locals, is a beach lover’s paradise. An 18-mile-long island strewn with small shore towns and long stretches of white sand beaches. While the Jersey Shore is always a major destination, from Asbury Park to Atlantic City and beyond, LBI offers a slower paced trip, as opposed to the more “energetic” Jersey Shore spots, if you will. In the north part of the island you can visit Barnegat Lighthouse State Park. Then head south to find the popular towns of Ship Bottom and Beach Haven, the island’s main action center. Here you’ll find tons of family activities like Fantasy Island Amusement Park and Thundering Surf Water Park and Adventure Golf. If you would rather relax, simply pull up a chair and dig your toes into LBI’s white sands... rinse and repeat. More on New Jersey...
Cape May - NJ - 162 Miles - 2 hr, 41 min Drive
Ok - so, Cape May is, technically, on the Jersey Shore. But it’s the antithesis of the Jersey Shore you may know from MTV - this one of a kind beach town is a great time no matter what time of year. Wander the town’s quaint downtown area and marvel at the amazing Victorian architecture. Enjoy their beaches and check out the Cape May Lighthouse. Have a glass of vino at the Willow Creek or Cape May Wineries. Fantastic restaurants and bars are all over the place (but call ahead - many are BYOB!). More on New Jersey...
Dover - DE - 169 Miles - 2 hr, 52 min Drive
The capital of Delaware - Dover is a surprisingly exciting town for a state that is considered anything but, well... exciting. It’s home to NASCAR at the Dover International Speedway, harness racing at Dover Downs, 10 nationally recognized museums, art galleries and more. Stroll downtown on Green and Loockerman Streets and check out the historic Colonial and Victorian buildings, plus specialty book, candle and jewelry stores. It's ideal for shopping or a bite to eat. More on Delaware...
Baltimore - MD - 193 Miles - 3 hr, 6 min Drive
This town is WAY more than just what you see on The Wire. The Inner Harbor is a festive area with street entertainers, open-air concerts, fireworks, parades and more. Fells Point, the oldest section of Baltimore, reminiscent of an old English village, complete with pubs and cobblestone streets. Attractions like the National Aquarium, the American Visionary Art Museum and the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum are great for all ages. And let's not forget pound and pound of delicious fresh crab meat. Charm City is worth the drive. More on Maryland...
New Haven - CT - 75 Miles - 1 hr, 30 min Drive
New Haven combines the charm of a coastal New England city and the appeal of a bustling, vibrant arts and cultural scene. It has been the home to Yale University since 1701 and the downtown area is packed with art and antique galleries. The Yale University Art Gallery is as famous for its collection as it is for its building, a Modernist masterpiece designed by Louis Kahn. If you’re hungry, stop by Frank Pepe’s Pizza for one of his world famous clam pies, or get your fill at Louis Lunch, the birthplace of the hamburger! More on Connecticut...
New London - CT - 120 Miles - 2 hr, 10 min Drive
New London was at one point the whaling and sealing industry's second-largest New England port. Today, visitors get to step back in time and stroll the quiet streets of the lovely coastal destination. Downtown Main Street is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's “Main Street” program. The area is also known for Ocean Beach, it’s rich maritime history including Fort Trumbull State Park and the US Coast Guard Academy, and so much more. And for those feeling lucky, it’s just a 20 minute drive from Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casinos. More on Connecticut...
Narragansett - RI - 161 Miles - 2 hr, 45 min Drive
Narragansett is a favorite summer destination of Rhode Island residents and out-of-towners, alike. It’s home to four of the state’s most popular beaches. Scarborough State Beach alone has 2,325 feet of sandy beach frontage. Once a wealthy community rivaling nearby Newport, the old New England history is still visible throughout town. Check out The Towers, spanning Ocean Drive - remnants of a luxury casino built in 1883! Make sure you grab a delicious Del’s Frozen Lemonade before jumping back in the car to head home! More on Rhode Island...
I am on a mission to get you traveling more often. As the host of the Emmy award- winning, nationally syndicated television television for PBS and the Create channel, "Beyond Your Backyard," I travel (on average) 25 weeks per year. I am very grateful for the opportunity to meet cool people, experience new places, eat delicious food and work with the best production crew in the world. Hopefully, through this blog, you will join me on my travels and be reminded just how exciting it is to be alive!
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