10 Enchantingly Beautiful Places That Don’t Feel Like You're in NYC

Do you ever get sick of being in the city, but can’t afford a vacation? 

Urban life can really bog you down sometimes, but believe it or not, not all of New York City is concrete and skyscrapers.

There are some really beautiful places in NYC that will make it hard to believe you haven’t somehow teleported out of this city.

But if you need a day to beat that NYC hustle, take a day trip to one of these 10 enchantingly-beautiful, city-free spots.

1. Governor’s Island

[via Dan Nguyen/Flickr]

Have you ever wondered what the city looked like before all those crazy tall buildings were there?

Governor’s Island is a small island nestled off of Manhattan’s southern tip that was never built up. Get this: there aren’t any cars there either! It's just a quick ferry ride away, and is home to lots of green fields and eighteenth and nineteenth century mansions and landmarks.


It’s a great place to hang out in the summer where you can chill on the lawns, and eat delicious grub from food trucks that have come across the way from the city.

2. The New York Botanical Garden

[via Urban Sea Star/Flickr]

The New York Botanical Garden is an escape for all seasons.

This Garden is two hundred and fifty acres of changing exhibitions, trails you can hike, and gardens that will take your breath away. This is definitely one of the best places for a walk in the city, without the fear of crowds or cars getting in your way.

3. City Island

[via Jeanne Noonan/NY Daily News]

City Island is a small island and community that hardly seems to be a part of the city.

It has the feel of a quaint, New England fishing village and the charm of a classic beach town. It’s also a great place to get seafood in NYC, and who doesn’t love a good lobster?

4. Orchard Beach

[via Dan DeLuca/Flickr]

The Bronx’s only public beach was given the nickname “The Bronx Riviera” in the 1930s. If you are looking for a day at the beach without leaving New York City, skip the Hamptons and head up to the Pelham Bay Park where you can visit Orchard Beach.

The mile long beach makes for a great walk or swim plus lots of great summertime fun including a promenade, food carts, and courts for basketball and volleyball.

5. The Cloisters

[via thechangingpalette.com]

Located atop of Fort Tryon Park in Washington Heights, the Cloisters transports you to a world of medieval art inside an old, rebuilt French monastery featuring some seriously sick unicorn tapestries.

If you’re bored or not totally sold by the art aspect of it, head outside to the Monastery’s Cloisters where you can get some breathtaking views of the Hudson River and the Palisades. You’ll feel like you’ve been whisked away on a tour of old-world Europe.


6. Brooklyn Botanic Garden

[via Chris Walsh/Flickr]

Are you in need of a tranquil setting to clear your mind of this crazy NYC life?

Check out the Japanese Hill and Pond Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The Japanese cherry blossom trees and the serene lake will calm you and help you relax, and you’ll soon forget the busy world of NYC in the background.

7. Fordham University’s Rose Hill Campus

[via Ross Garlick]

As a Fordham University student, I’m definitely biased, but here at Fordham we can all agree that the Rose Hill campus is an oasis in the Bronx.

Behind the University’s gates lies a campus complete with gothic architecture and green acreage that is just as gorgeous covered in icky snow as it is in the springtime, when trees and flowers bloom.

8. North and South Brother Islands

[via Flickr]

Okay, so this is a spot that you can’t visit, so let’s call this the wildcard of this list.

North Brother Island was originally home to a hospital for treatment and quarantine of smallpox and other (hopefully) eradicated diseases.

Today, the public is not allowed to visit either island because they are being used as bird sanctuaries to preserve some of NYC’s wildlife that has since escaped NYC. You can’t go there, but hey, at least it makes a good fact for you to drop at parties.

9. Belvedere Castle (Central Park)

[via Ed Yourdon/Flickr]

What could possibly be more enchanting and romantic than a castle right here in Gotham?


The Belvedere Castle is a Romanesque and Gothic cathedral that will have you feeling like you're in a fairy tale or in the Europe of centuries past. It's located on Vista Rock, Central Park's highest point, and the views are breathtaking like no other.

10. The Ravine (Central Park)

[via Dave Bledsoe/Flickr]

Central Park is gorgeous and a total escape in and of itself, but if you haven't been to the Central Park Ravine yet, check it out pronto.

This quiet space will eclipse the busy city views, and silence the urban hustle and bustle of Manhattan with its countless trees and serene sounds of the stream.

Want more ideas for day trips? Read 8 Best Day Trips to Take Outside of NYC This Fall.

[Feature Image Courtesy ScenicUSA] 

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