Memorial Day marks the last long weekend before summer officially starts, making it an ideal time to hit the road for an impromptu trip before the heat and humidity arrive in full force. While, for many Americans, planning a fun Memorial Day trip means hopping a plane somewhere, for people who call New York City home, there are a wealth of amazing vacation destinations within driving distance of the city that are perfect for a weekend break from your day-to-day life. So, before you shell out a fortune on last-minute plane tickets, set your sights on these amazing vacation destinations just a hop, skip, and jump away from the city:
Boston: Boston is one of the most historically important cities in the United States, the site of the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s iconic ride at the beginning of the American Revolution, and countless other significant events that shaped America as we know it today. Fortunately, even for those who don’t consider themselves history buffs, the city has ample opportunities for fun, like catching a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, checking out an exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, or simply visiting one of the city’s premier shopping strips, like Newbury Street or Copley Place. Better yet, Boston is closer than you may think: just over 3 and a half hours from New York by car.
The Hudson Valley: While many vacation destinations outside the city require a car, the Hudson Valley—a region of New York State to the north of the city—is easily accessible by train. The Metro-North commuter rail will take you to picturesque waterfront towns like artsy Beacon, the beloved home of late folk hero Pete Seeger, and home to a wealth of galleries, shopping, breweries, boutique hotels, and inventive eateries serving up local fare. Just across the river from Beacon by ferry is the up-and-coming city of Newburgh, currently undergoing a major renaissance, with artists and activists changing the city—home to George Washington’s headquarters during the Revolutionary War—for the better. If you opt for Amtrak instead, you can take the train up to beautiful Hudson, a small, but charming city just over two hours north of the city, home to numerous galleries, restaurants, performance venues, and antique stores, or you can pull into the Rhinecliff station and take a cab to Kingston, another artsy city on the rise.
The Hamptons: One of the most popular vacation destinations near NYC, the Hamptons are an amazing place to take a much-needed break from city life. While this Long Island enclave has all the charm of a small waterfront town, from surfing lessons in Ditch Plains to beachfront eateries and hotels, it also boasts all the comforts of city life, from luxury shopping to nightlife venues packed with a veritable who’s who of New York celebs and socialites.
Cape May: If you’re eager to take a vacation that feels a million miles away from NYC without ever stepping foot on a plane, look no further than the picturesque shores of Cape May. This New Jersey beach town, located just over two hours outside of Manhattan by car, has everything you could want from a vacation destination, from stunning Victorian homes that have been turned into museums to local alpaca farms to the town’s famous lighthouse. Luckily, Memorial Day comes before the summer rush, meaning you won’t have trouble finding a room at one of the hundreds of adorable beachfront hotels that call this charming townhome.
A Staycation: When all else fails, keep it close to home and book yourself a staycation instead. Treat yourself to a quirky suite at The Standard in The Meatpacking District, an industrial-chic room at The Wythe in Williamsburg, or go traditional with a luxe room at The Plaza in Midtown instead. Sleep in, enjoy a spa treatment, catch a movie you wouldn’t have time to see during a normal workweek, grab a meal or some drinks on the town, and enjoy all the relaxation you’d normally get from a vacation without a hint of travel stress.
Make this Memorial Day weekend one to remember by enjoying a quick and easy trip that’s just a stone’s throw from home. Whether you head up to the Hudson Valley for some arts and antiquing or staying local for some much-needed R&R, one of these easy, last-minute Memorial Day vacations will have you refreshed and recharged in no time.