Summer is just about here! (At least we hope, right?)
Now that the weather is getting better and our beautiful Earth is warming up again, don't you think it's about time you got out of your apartment and found something to do?
Some days, you can take advantage of the warm weather within some of the city's most beautiful locations. Other days, you just want to get out of the confines of the Big Apple and explore beyond the city's reach.
Below are 6 nearby places you can visit in the New York area, all of which make for great day trips. So, what are you waiting for?
1. Explore Cold Spring
Cold Spring is about an hour up the Hudson Line on the Metro North from Grand Central, making it easily commutable from the city and definitely worth an excursion.
Visit Hudson Highlands State Park for hiking, particularly the Breakneck Ridge trail. The hike is rocky and challenging-- especially if you're a city gal like me-- but as you reach the top, you will be rewarded with some breathtaking panoramic views of the Hudson Valley.
You'll probably work up quite the appetite after your afternoon of hiking, so head back down into town and see what the village of Cold Spring has to offer.
Have dinner at a lovely little French bistro named Le Bouchon and ask for a table on the porch. There you can enjoy classics like their magnificent steak frites topped with a savory herb butter and a glass of wine from their extensive list.
The town also has a cool general store, selling some of the best goods upstate New York has to offer, and a few antique shops that contain timeless treasures.
2. Explore New Paltz
New Paltz is another easy train ride from the city, and there is a lot to be said and done here.
The town of New Paltz itself is a young, hip college town: streets are lined with lively pubs and the bars are always filled with fun crowds. Pay a visit to the Gilded Otter for lunch or dinner, and sample some of the local craft brews with an amazing meal. A night out here provides can't-miss excitement, but before you hit the town, check out the Mohonk Mountain House.
Nestled in the Shawangunk Mountains, this architecturally gorgeous vacation spot is what I imagine the mountain house from Dirty Dancing was like IRL. A grounds pass is $26 and has all the activities your heart could ever imagine, from golfing to hiking to swimming to exploring.
You can also walk around the inside of the house, which is kind of nice, but what you should really do here is hike the grounds.
Make the twenty-minute hike up to Sky Top, where you can find a tower that you should also climb to the top of. You'll get to look down upon the house and the grounds, and trust me, it's a vision.
You can also do a rock scramble to the top (if that's your thing), and trust me, this is real, legit rock climbing at its finest.
There's also a lake where you can swim in the warmer months or rent a canoe, which could even be kind of romantic. The lake also makes for a perfect spot to sit, relax, and bask in the beautiful weather after you come down from your hike.
3. Ride a bike on Governor's Island
I really can't stress to you how much I love Governor's Island.
It's still located within the city, separated only by a quick and cheap ferry ride. I like to think of Governor's Island as the city before the city, where there are no tall buildings or cars, but only monuments left from eighteenth and nineteenth century New York.
Governor's Island is enchanting nonetheless, and there is plenty of exploring to be done here. I suggest renting a bike on the island and riding around the sights such as the quaint, neoclassical mansions from when Governor's Island was a major military site during the Revolutionary War (#tbt much?).
In the spring and summer, you can also find a vast selection of food trucks on Governor's Island. There's a taste for everyone, and of course, you can also see some of the best views of Manhattan from the edge of the island as you enjoy your food truck treats.