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  • T T hink you know New York? Sure, you’ve hit all the secret watering holes, after-hours exhibits, and done everything you possibly can on a rooftop. But if you want to be a real New Yorker, get in touch with the more scenic side of the the concrete jungle (don't worry -- it's still plenty adventurous) and beyond. We've rounded up 20 of the best places to start. 
    Diana Norgaard/Flickr

    Montauk Point Lighthouse

    2000 New York 27, Montauk, NY 11954
    Located in Greenport, Long Island, this National Historic Landmark is more than just the perfect Instagram pic. A $10 admission gets you access to exhibits on wildlife, history, the environment, and surf culture. Be sure to take a dip at Ditch Plains nearby. And, of course, snag that selfie. View on Map

    Green-Wood Cemetery

    500 25th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232
    This historic New York City landmark is an important Revolutionary War site, and also the final resting place of famous mobsters, Civil War heroes, New York mayors, Leonard Bernstein, and more. View on Map

    Van Cortlandt Park

    Broadway & Vancortlandt Park S, Bronx, NY 10462
    What if we told you that you didn’t have to leave the five boroughs for more than 1,100 acres, 14 miles of trails, AND a house where George Washington slept? "Absurd!," you might say. But allow us to introduce you to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. This trail-laden sanctuary is most definitely part of New York City, but there isn't a skyscraper in sight.  View on Map

    Christopher Borrok/Brooklyn Bike Park/Facebook

    Brooklyn Bike Park

    318 Kent Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249
    Unleash your inner BMX star at under-the-radar Brooklyn Bike Park. Off-road biking in Brooklyn with Manhattan views? Well, that’s just the best of both worlds! It’s $10 for a two-hour session, or free if you prefer to do your BMXing from the viewers box. View on Map

    The Cloisters

    99 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY 10040
    Even if the call of 2,000 works of art and medieval architecture isn’t strong enough to lure you to upper Manhattan, perhaps the views over the Hudson River and outdoor gardens will do the trick. Pro tip: visit in Fall for all that bright orange, yellow, and red. View on Map

    The Ravine, Central Park

    New York, NY 10026
    Hop the subway to Central Park for a Catskill-style slice of life right in the center of Manhattan. Designers Olmsted and Vaux envisioned this portion of the park as the city’s answer to upstate -- without that bus ride. Bring a picnic, chase a waterfall, and still make it home for dinner. View on Map

    Yaddo Gardens

    312 Union Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
    If you thought Saratoga Springs was all about horses and mansions, check out this artists' community on a 400-acre, ca. 1900 estate. Pretend you're a Jane Austen character while you stroll by sculptures and rose bushes in the company of Saratogans and resident artists. View on Map

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    Gantry Plaza State Park

    4-09 47th Rd, Long Island City, NY 11101
    Raise your hand if you knew there was a state park within the five boroughs. Anybody? Bueller? Thought so. But this East River-side park, located in Long Island City, has some of the most amazing, unobstructed views of the NYC skyline, grassy knolls, hammocks, and benches.  View on Map

    Litchfield Villa

    95 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, NY 11215
    This 19th-century mansion is perched atop a hill. Why it’s interesting: it’s a creepy building that looks like the Addams Family home and it’s right in Prospect Park. Get ready for some serious urban exploring. View on Map

    Kayak with Hudson River Recreation

    299 Palmer Ave, Sleepy Hollow
    Discover the Croton River in Westchester County aboard a kayak or canoe. Rent a kayak by the hour or join one of their organized tours. Hudson River Recreation has four locations: Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown, and two in Croton-on-Hudson. View on Map

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    Shawangunk Mountains

    Stop at Mohonk Preserve 3197 US-44, Gardiner, NY 12525
    Enjoy 88 miles of striking landscape, mountain roads, hairpin turns, farmers markets, and views of the Catskills and Gunks. The Northern Loop of the Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway is a must for any road trip junkie looking to get out of New York for even just a few hours. The byway drive starts in New Paltz and is packed with great vistas, food stops, and hiking. Stretch your legs at Mohonk Preserve -- one of New York’s largest nature preserves.  View on Map

    Sag Harbor Boating

    Long Wharf, Sag Harbor, NY 11963
    For a cool $800/night you can score a sweet spot aboard the Nomade, a 35-foot sailboat cruising around one of Long Island’s most posh towns. Captain Eric fills your weekend with lobster rolls, swimming, and shooting star-viewing from the deck.  View on Map

    Staten Island Ferry

    South Ferry Terminal, 4 Whitehall Street, New York, NY 10004
    Want a totally free way to see the Statue of Liberty, 24/7? Hop a five-mile ride on the Staten Island Ferry and get up close and personal with Lady Liberty (and Manhattan-Staten Island commuters).  View on Map

    Tentrr/Facebook

    Tentrr in the Catskills

    Fleischmanns, NY
    Camping is tough for NYC dwellers, because where are we supposed to store all that gear? But with Tentrr, all you have to do is... show up. Tentrr builds fully-equipped campsites on private land, like an antique apple cider orchard. Arrive to find a tent set up along with a CampBox picnic, a camp toilet, and a fire pit with grill and chairs. It's all yours for about $120 per night.

    Vernooy Kill Falls

    Trails End Rd, Kerhonkson, NY 12446
    Drive Route 28, AKA “New York’s Adventure Route,” and hit Vernooy Kill Falls, a beautiful swimming hole tucked into the mountains. The winding road runs from the Catskills up to the Adirondacks, passing the Ashokan Reservoir and cute towns like Woodstock, Phoenicia, and Cooperstown. View on Map

    Harriman Outdoor Center

    200 Breakneck Rd, Haverstraw, NY 10927
    Following a major $2 million upgrade in July, Rockland County’s Harriman State Park just debuted the brand-new Harriman Outdoor Center on the banks of the 64-acre Breakneck Pond. The Center serves as a home base for all the activities to be found in New York’s second largest state park, from hiking, paddling, and s’more-ing. The Center also rents out cabins from $96/night, tent platforms and lean-tos, as well as kayaks and canoes. View on Map

    Brooklyn Heights Promenade

    Pierrepont Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11201
    One of the best spots to catch the city in all its glory. The Brooklyn Heights Promenade has a full frontal view of Manhattan that looks great at literally any time of day. Grab yourself a front row seat for a Manhattan sunrise, a view over Lady Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Lined with restaurants, shops, and bars for all your year-round pleasure. View on Map

    Jiashiang/Flickr

    Bear Mountain State Park

    3006 Seven Lakes Drive, Tomkins Cove, NY 10986
    Nestled in rugged mountains that rise from the Hudson River, this park, a straight shot up the Palisades Parkway, is a grownup’s playground. Check out the playing field, picnic groves, lakes, river fishing, swimming pool, biking, ski trails, and outdoor ice rink.  View on Map

    Narrow’s Botanical Garden 

    7200-7398 Shore Rd Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11209
    Sure, you’ve been to the New York Botanical Garden. You’ve probably even been to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. So if you’re ready for the next off-the-beaten-path botanicals, make your way to South Brooklyn for this five-acre plot of paradise. The volunteer-run plot has mini gardens replete with lilies, butterflies, and roses, as well as drool-worthy views over New York harbor. Oh, it’s also free to visit if that makes any difference. View on Map

    The Devil’s Path

    Prediger Road, Elka Park, NY 12427
    To call this trail a “path” is a tad misleading. To align it with the Devil is not. Not at all hyperbole, The Devil’s Path is one of the most challenging day hikes in the Eastern United States. Cut straight up and down between the gaps of four peaks in this park of the Catskills, this trail requires hikers to strap on their serious hiking shoes and traverse the terrain. Not recommended for casual hikers. View on Map

    The Narrows Botanical Garden is a Bay Ridge hidden gem that is somehow still free to visit. A Japanese rock garden, a succulents garden, and native plants exhibit are all featured, and the park is run by v...more

    A 5,205-acre state park in Rockland County, Bear Mountain State Park is situated on the Hudson River and known for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and (once it's chilly enough) ice skating.

    The Brooklyn Heights Promenade looks out into the East River, providing some of the best views of the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline, and Brooklyn Bridge. It's a favorite for runners and Cher fan...more

    Just 30 minutes outside NYC, Harriman Outdoor Center is ideal for escaping the concrete jungle for trees, quiet ponds, and rustic cabins. Hiking, paddling, and camping are offered on site.

    The Cloisters
    Upper West Side
     

    Part of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters opened in 1938 and reflects medieval architecture and art, with over 2,000 works of art and stunning outdoor gardens that are not to be missed.

    Brooklyn Bike Park is part BMX course, part mountain biking in the heart of Brooklyn. It's the perfect place to get some exercise or work on your tailwhip while not worrying about running over a skateboard...more

    Technically, the Staten Island Ferry is just a commuter ferry between Staten Island and lower Manhattan. But consider this: it's free and it sells beer, so it also happens to be the only free booze cruise...more

    Gantry Plaza State Park
    $ Long Island City
     

    A state park located right in the five boroughs? Yep, it's true -- and Gantry Plaza doesn't disappoint. The park offers some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline that you'll find anywhere, including...more

    Tucked away in Central Park's Loch is the Ravine, a feature designed to look like parts of the Catskills or Adirondacks. A rushing waterfall and thick vegetation provide a respite from the nearby city, and...more

    This National Historic Landmark is located as far east as you can go without getting your feet wet. The Montauk Lighthouse features exhibits on wildlife and the history of the building, plus it's surrounde...more

    Sail Works at Sag Harbor
    $$$$ East Hampton
     

    Hop aboard the Nomade, a sailboat that cruises around Sag Harbor and treats you to swimming and local seafood on-board. You can stay below deck for the night, fulfilling that life-long dream of being a pir...more

    Yaddo Gardens
    $ Upstate
     

    Yaddo is an artist's community in Saratoga Springs, located on 400 acres of pristine gardens. The former estate was transformed in 1900 to house artists of all varieties, while the gardens themselves offer...more

    This Bronx oasis offers 1,146 acres of greenery, covering ridges and valleys of the Bronx, and is New York City’s fourth largest park.

     

    Green-Wood cemetery is one of the nation's oldest and most storied cemeteries, and they provide almost 500 acres of peaceful surroundings for visitors. The Cemetery is designated as a National Historic Lan...more

    Litchfield Villa
    $ Park Slope
     

    A 19th-century mansion hidden in prospect park, Litchfield Villa is an ornate house surrounded by a lush garden. Once condemned to be destroyed, the building was renovated in 2008 and now houses the Prospe...more

    Hudson River Recreation is a rental store that allows you to take canoes and kayaks out on the Hudson River. Their Croton-on-Hudson location allows you to paddle by the scene state parks in the area, and t...more

    The Mohonk Preserve is one of the most scenic portions of the Gunks, with miles of trails and plenty of spots for swimming and enjoying the outdoors. The park also features a host of organized activities,...more

    The Devil's Path is one of the most challenging trails in the Catskills, encompassing five summits within a relatively short distance, forcing a lot of up and down hiking in one route. Dedicated hikers onl...more

    Within Kerhonksen's Sunset Wild Forest is the Vernooy Kill Falls trail, a multi-use trail that features a 60-foot waterfall among other pools and streams. During the winter the trail transforms into a snow...more

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