Looking for a quick escape from NYC?

By Liz McCarthy

Let’s face it. Crowded, fast-paced, and just downright busy — New York City can be quite overwhelming at times.

New Yorkers often overlook the tri-state when seeking an oasis to urban madness, which means they are also overlooking some of the most beautiful, tranquil spots on the East Coast. Any of these eleven spots in New York state, New Jersey, and Connecticut can make a perfect mini vacation to cure some travel bug feelings.

 New York


New York state has an assortment of charming suburbs ranging from quiet villages tucked away in nature to flourishing, vibrant coastal towns.


Car ride duration from Midtown Manhattan: 2 hr 4 min

This town may sound familiar from the famous Woodstock Music Festival, however the festival was actually held in the town of Bethel. Regardless, the 60s hippie culture has found a permanent home in Woodstock. Full of rich history, unique art, great hiking trails, boutiques and bookstores. This eclectic suburb north of the city is a welcoming environment full of activities and character.


Car ride duration from Midtown Manhattan: 3 hr 23 min

Dubbed “The End of the World” as it is the easternmost point of Long Island and New York state, Montauk has incredible beaches and views along the Atlantic Ocean. The social scene, incredible restaurants, surfing, fishing, sailing, and picturesque beach town atmosphere makes this spot nestled in Easthampton the perfect quick getaway from the busy city.

Sleepy Hollow

Car ride duration from Midtown Manhattan: 53 min


The name itself even feels dreamy. Sleepy Hollow is a village located in New York’s Hudson Valley and is most well known for being the setting of Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. With a spooky season right around the corner, a trip to Sleepy Hollow for their annual Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze or Haunted Hayride is a nice switch-up from the scars that can come from too much time in the crowded city. This destination has more to offer than just frights — the foliage, music events, and rich history keeps visitors coming back every year.

Subhead: New Jersey

New Jersey has so much more to offer than the “armpit of the United States” stereotype has reduced it to. Rich with incredible food, beaches, and beautiful natural scenery, visitors will never run out of things to do or sights to see.


Car ride duration from Midtown Manhattan: 36 min

With a vibrant arts, theater, and film scene, Montclair is packed with creativity and uniqueness. Their vibrant downtown is perfect for shopping, eating, and exploring. Their annual Montclair Film Festival, a 10-day lineup of movies from various filmmakers, brings in viewers from all over looking to watch original pieces.


Car ride duration from Midtown Manhattan: 1 hr 18 min

One of the best beach towns of the famed Jersey shore, Belmar boasts an lovely downtown, beautiful beaches, and a vibrant summer night life. Their mile-long boardwalk is perfect for strolling during hot summer days and watching (and joining!) beachgoers soak up the sun, swim, and surf. Less than an hour and a half away from New York City, visitors forget all about the bustling city once they hit the Belmar sand.

Vernon Township

Car ride duration from Midtown Manhattan: 1 hr 15 min

Looking to escape the city and really immerse yourself into nature? A visit to Vernon is for you. Outdoors lovers can find hiking trails, mountain biking, snowboarding and skiing. Not to mention Vernon also has one of the most fun water parks in New Jersey, Mountain Creek Water Park. Hiking lovers will also note Vernon is home to “Stairway to Heaven” on the Appalachian Trail, a popular hiking destination with breathtaking views.


Hiking, sailing, outlet shopping, camping…there are endless adventures to discover within Connecticut and its beautiful landscape.


Car ride duration from Midtown Manhattan: 2 hr 45 min

Mystic, in Southeast Connecticut, is a small village filled with lots of character. This seaside town is home to the Mystic Aquarium and the Mystic Seaport Museum, both of which are great places to visit for families (or alone!). The town’s only beach, Williams Beach Park, delivers despite its small size. Mystic’s array of shops and activities ensure every visitor will have something they like to do.

New Haven

Car ride duration from Midtown Manhattan: 1 hr 40 min

Some may know New Haven just as home to Yale University, but others may know New Haven because of its local style of pizza and the famous Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana. In addition to Yale and pizza, New Haven has some incredible tourist spots including Lighthouse Point Park, stargazing at the Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium, and climb to an incredible aerial view of New Haven at East Rock Park.


Car ride duration from Midtown Manhattan: 2 hr 24 min

Ready to ditch your apartment walls and trade them for a tent? Colebrook is surrounded by forests, mountains, and streams which is great for camping, hiking, and exploring the great outdoors. This quiet town is ideal if you are looking for tranquility and to reconnect with nature. Colebrook is almost 32 square miles with less than 2,000 residents, making it a perfect getaway from population-dense New York City.

These nine places are just a sampling of the huge selection of places in the tri-state that offer a refreshing vacation from New York City. Keeping close to home and keeping to a budget does not have to make a vacation boring — rediscover the tri-state for yourself!

(Text Courtesy: NBC New York)

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