12 Unique and Exciting Weekend Getaways Within 5 Hours of NYC

Choose your own adventure: stargazing, forest bathing, foraging, and more.

TOURISTS | Photo by Lauren Matison
TOURISTS | Photo by Lauren Matison

While New York City’s hottest clubs and weekly crop of restaurant openings do their part in getting us through the season, it’s definitely also a great time of year to consider a city escape.

And if booking air travel and heading to the airport is just too much to bear right now, we’ve got the next best thing instead: a weekend getaway within five hours that’s accessible by public transport or a road trip with your squad.

Whether you want to simply relax and eat at a culinary farm retreat in Connecticut or go off the grid on a sensory snowshoe hike through the Adirondacks, there’s an excursion on this mid-winter survival list for you. Here are 12 unique and exciting weekend getaways within five hours of NYC for every type of traveler.

Milky Way at Cherry Springs State Park
Milky Way at Cherry Springs State Park | derrickc7/Flickr

Best Stargazing Getaway

Cherry Spring State Park, PA
Designated a Gold Level Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association, Cherry Springs State Park’s Astronomy Observation Field is one of the best places on the planet to take in 365-degree views of the night sky.

As the area is buffered by Susquehannock State Forest, far from any urban light pollution, glowing clusters of constellations in the Milky Way, planets, and astronomical phenomena are visible with the naked eye and are all the more dazzling in winter, a prime stargazing season due to low humidity and fewer daylight hours.

You don’t need to be a serious Milky Way Chaser, but a few photo tricks can help maximize capturing the celestial world. A little prep work to learn how to take night shots with your phone goes a long way, and we recommend packing: a tripod, 7x50 power binoculars, and a comfortable chair. Also, check the Astronomer’s forecast to ensure clear skies ahead, download the Star Walk 2 app to see constellations in 3D, and find out about local Astronomy Club happenings in the area with NASA’s Night Sky Network.

While Cherry Spring State Park’s campground and nearby KOA campground is only open April to October, you can rent a campervan and stay in the parking lot, stargaze on the observation field all night, or book the Gail Dupont Guesthouse located twenty minutes up the road.
By car: 4 hours, 30 minutes

Husky Meadows Farm
Husky Meadows Farm harvest | Photo by Winter Caplanson

Best Foraging and Farm-to-Table Getaway

Norfolk, CT
To fulfill your farm-life fantasies, head to Husky Meadows Farm, a dreamy 300-acre working organic farm, CSA, and all-inclusive inn in Litchfield County. The breathtaking bucolic grounds, extensive walking trails, and luxurious suites alone are worth the trip, but the main draw is Seed & Spoon, an immersive culinary retreat.

Launched in 2021 by culinary director Tracy Hayhurst, the program offers visitors a peek into the complex systems and relationships involved in organic farming and the farm-to-table ethos. When here, guests can harvest produce, take pasta and pastry making classes, and forage for edibles including wild alliums like ramps and garlic chives, and mushrooms such as black trumpet and chanterelle.
By car: 2 hours, 20 minutes

The Lodge at Woodloch -- A Destination Spa
Snow Room | Photo courtesy of The Lodge at Woodloch

Best Getaway for Ice Bath and Sauna Lovers

Hawley, PA
At The Lodge at Woodloch, a 150-acre adults-only hotel in the Poconos, there’s no cheesy decor or heart-shaped tubs. Instead, revel in private verandas with views of Lake Teedyuskung and an unforgettable experience at America’s first-ever Snow Room, which provides a gentler style of cold immersion therapy. Here’s the plan: start at the Himalayan Salt Sauna before transitioning to the Snow Room for its 23 degree temps and real compact dry snow flurries. The process maximizes the health benefits of the hot to cold contrast therapy by helping to strengthen the immune system when it encourages blood vessels to dilate and constrict.

Use of the spa facilities, including an indoor heated pool, hydro massage waterfall, and outdoor heated whirlpool, are part of the all-inclusive overnight package. The hotel also offers a wide range of daily classes, such as an intro to fat tirebiking, ukulele lessons, an edible and medicinal plant walk with a certified herbalist, mocktail (and cocktail) classes, and a sunrise photography walk.
By public transitShortline bus 3 hours from Port Authority to Hawley, where the Lodge will shuttle you to the hotel for a $50 fee.
By car: 2 hours

The Clark
The Clark

Best Electric Vehicle-Friendly Getaway

The Berkshires, MA
As more states better accommodate the growing electric vehicle boom, EV road trips from New York City have found their elusive groove. At the top of our destination list to plug in (and unplug) is the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts, known for world class museums, year-round hiking, and food-centric towns. Some of the most popular places in the region counted among the 50 plus charging stations include the Norman Rockwell Museum; Kripalu Center for Yoga (and nearby Inn at Stockbridge); Catamount Ski Resort just south of Great Barrington; and The Guest House at Field Farm and The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown featuring cross-country skiing, sledding, or snowshoeing across its 140-acre campus, open 24 hours.

In North Adams, home to America’s first scenic byway, The Mohawk Trail, first opened in 1914, a high concentration of public EV stations means never worrying about running low on battery. After charging up at MASS MoCA and riding your own personal pink rollercoaster on EJ Hill's Brake Run Helix exhibit, peruse used vinyl at Belltower Records, order a Tempeh “BLT” at The Break Room at the innovative Greylock Works complex inside a former cotton-spinning mill, and spend the rest of the day and night at river-perched TOURISTS, a modern spin on the classic American motor lodge. In addition to being EV-friendly, the hotel harbors a 30-acre patchwork of beautiful walking trails, musical sculptures, and open meadows designed by the same landscape architects who did museums like The Clark and Parrish Art Museum.

Whether you stay in one town or branch out, the Berkshires is an antidote to the fast life and is the kind of getaway that allows you to fully relax and recharge, quite literally.
By car: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Canoe Place
Chief Pretty Eagle painting by Jeffrey Gibson | Canoe Place

Best Under-the-Radar Historic Getaway

Hampton Bays, NY
On the East End of Long Island, travel back to pre-Revolutionary times at the newly opened Canoe Place, the site of America’s oldest inn, circa 1697. The beautifully restored resort started as a trading station in the 1600s and later became an inn that hosted Revolutionary War soldiers, presidents, and celebrities like Lucille Ball, Cary Grant, Albert Einstein, and John D. Rockefeller.

Overlooking the Shinnecock Canal, Canoe Place has 20 guest suites, five cottages, an outdoor pool, and the Good Ground Tavern restaurant, serving locally caught seafood like Pan-Seared Local Bass or Lobster Roll Crostini. Between the exterior giving roaring 20s public bathhouse vibes and the vintage-meets-modern touches—think Gustavian cabinets, fiddleback chairs, sleek rolling pin beds, and Vauxhall Gardens-inspired carpets—a night here feels like an escape within an escape.

A vivid lobby painting, Chief Pretty Eagle, by Choctaw-Cherokee artist Jeffrey Gibson, pays homage to the original Southampton inhabitants, the Shinnecock tribe. The nearby Shinnecock Indian Nation’s Cultural Center & Museum and the Roger Memorial Library's historical collection are great places to learn about the South Fork’s little known past and the legacy of its people. Five minutes east, the historically designated Southampton African American Museum preserves the Black history of Southampton and shines light on many unknown famous Black inventors. In the 1940s, amidst the Great Migration, a carpenter and barber named Emmanuel Seymore purchased the land as a barber shop and beauty parlor, where it became a gathering place for the local African American community.
By public transit: LIRR from Penn Station to Hampton Bays in 2 hours.
By car: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Eastwind Oliverea
Eastwind Oliverea | Photo by Lawrence Braun

Best Hygge Getaway

Big Indian, NY
Similar to its sister properties in Windham and Lake Placid, the newly opened Eastwind Oliverea delivers as a homey dreamscape imparting long-lasting impressions (and connections)—be it with fellow hygge lovers, nature, or yourself. Here, the 40-acre sanctuary is a short walk from the McKenley Hollow Trail in 33,500-acre Big Indian Wilderness and offers 30 rooms, each with terraces and no televisions.

Accommodations range from hillside A-Frame cabins to Lushna Suites along the soothing Esopus Creek. After a day on the slopes at nearby Belleayre Mountain, unwind on the property’s sauna before grabbing a hot toddy at the scene-stealing bar with vibrant wallpaper covered in ferns and owls peeking out from behind mirrors. It’s here where you may also find the hotel’s co-owner, Bjorn Boyer, doing an impromptu whiskey tasting while sharing stories about the various vintage pieces that make the main lodge such a unique, inviting space. Settle in for dinner at Dandelion (open Wednesday to Saturday) for season-conscious dishes like Finnish Steelhead Trout Chowder and house-made Cavatelli with wild mushrooms, then gather around the outdoor fire pit with s’mores before going back inside for board games by the indoor fire.
By car: 2 hours, 20 minutes.

Art Omi
Art Omi | Sébastien Barré/Flickr

Best Giant Outdoor Playground Getaway

Ghent, NY
Pronounced “Art, oh my!” Art Omi’s 120-acre Sculpture & Architecture Park is a beautiful love letter to art, with more than 60 works strewn throughout the rolling grounds—including on the river, in the woods, and atop a grassy ridge. At one of the coolest playgrounds you’ll ever encounter, you can shoot hoops at Alexandre Arrechea’s towering Orange Functional piece (basketballs are provided), play soccer on the little field beside Beverly Pepper’s Paraclete pyramid structure, or reflect on this wild and precious life through the robotically cut sun gauge in Steven Holl’s Obolin.

The park is open til dusk and is free to roam, although donations are suggested. For picnic fixings, pick up a gourmet sandwich at Talbott & Harding in Hudson or a Babka Bun and coffee at Bartlett House in Ghent.
By public transit: Amtrak to Hudson Station, then call a cab for the rest of the 10 miles to Art Omi.
By car: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Best Getaway for Bird Lovers

Amenia, NY
To gaze into the haunting hazel eyes of a Steppe Eagle or have a spectacled owl wink at you while it rests on your gloved fist is to experience an electrifying sense of oneness with the natural world.

At the 400-acre Troutbeck Hotel in upstate New York, guests can book a falconry excursion amidst the hotel’s pristine woods with TC Bird Management, an organization that rehabilitates rescued birds of prey. You’ll learn fascinating facts about raptors and falconry, an ancient practice believed to have originated in Mongolia 3,000 years ago, and get a better grasp of how vital predatory species are to a healthy ecosystem. After the winged wonderland, warm up by the fire while flipping through Sibley bird guidebooks in the hotel library. Troutbeck also offers programming with the Sharon Audubon Society, less than a 10-minute drive from the hotel. Don’t leave without a few bird postcards by Rex Brasher from the gift shop.
By public transit: Metro-North to Wassaic Station for 2 hours, then call a cab for the 10-minute ride to the hotel.
By car: 2 hours

Crystal Springs Resort
Crystal Springs Resort

Best Year-Round Family-Friendly Getaway

Hamburg, NJ
For many parents, it’s rare to return home from a family trip without needing a real vacation. But nestled in the rolling green mountains of the Sussex Skylands, 47 miles from Manhattan, grownups can have just as much relaxation and fun as the kids at Crystal Springs Resort & Spa.

The 4,000-acre destination heralds a new activity for every day of the year, but one weekend will do the trick. Although your family may find itself happily lingering in one place—the 10,000 square foot indoor tropical biosphere pool complex, complete with an underground aquarium, 140-foot water slide, and grotto-like Jacuzzi is especially enticing—there are too many tempting pursuits to ignore. Choose from rock climbing, axe throwing, a magician show, arcade lounge, and educational wildlife presentations at the amphitheater, featuring animals like sugar gliders and red-necked wallabies. Additional outdoor diversions include snow tubing and skiing at Mountain Creek, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at nearby High Point State Park, and the hotel’s on-site Glice skating rink.
By car: 1 hour

Adirondack Riverwalking & Forest Bathing
Adirondack Riverwalking & Forest Bathing

Best Forest Bathing Getaway

Lake Placid, NY
The Adirondacks in eastern upstate New York offers some of the state’s most majestic scenery, making it an ideal place for absorbing the restorative benefits of Shinrin-yoku, the Japanese-pioneered art of “forest bathing.”

Local outfitter Adirondack River Walking offers Forest Bathing (from $15/pp) and Sensory Snowshoeing experiences (from $20/pp, snowshoes included) that take visitors on a two-hour (kid-friendly) tour around Dewey Mountain or Heaven Hill Trails in Saranac Lake. Tap into the healing power of the wilderness as you explore the environment’s myriad textures and rich scents while gulping down the fresh forest air, all of which can help improve mental health, spark creativity, and reduce cognitive fatigue.

Especially on a bright winter day, expect to feel a deep sense of calm and lightness as the ecotherapy works its magic. Moving among the tall trees, the balsam fir, sugar maples, yellow birch, and eastern hemlock, you’ll hear the wind, the soft crunch of snow underfoot, and the echoing drills of woodpeckers and chickadee-dee-dees—no electronics allowed to distract you. Best of all, you’ll learn the tools to be able to do your own self-guided sensory activities on your next walk in the woods.

Stay in tune with nature by booking a stay at one of Lake Placid’s new nature-centric hotels, like Lake House, Eastwind Lake Placid, Bluebird Lake Placid, and the Grand Adirondack Lodge.
By car: 4 hours, 45 minutes

The Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection
The Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection

Best Getaway for Oyster Lovers

Rhode Island
If you’ve ever been to the Ocean State, then you know that in addition to great surf and Gilded Age glamour, Rhode Island is famous for its briny bites of joy. Whether you prefer them raw or cooked, tasting the sea this way always brings about a pleasurable cesura. And because the colder the water, the sweeter the oyster, there’s no time like the present to enjoy the humble mussel than with an oyster-infused road trip.

Home to over three dozen varieties of oysters, the state is so fond of their beloved bivalve—and proud to celebrate its growing sustainable aquaculture industry—there’s even a Rhode Island Oyster Trail for discovering the best restaurants, oyster bars, and farms. For an all-you-can-slurp affair, plan a visit around the Newport’s Seafood Wine Festival in February, the Oyster and Chowder Festival in May,or the Ocean State Oyster Festival in Providence in October. For a pond-to-plate adventure, take an oyster farm tour with Matunuck Oyster Bar, where you can learn about the harvesting process before tucking into a plate of fresh ones with a glass of bubbly. Enjoy buck-a-shuck at Greenwich Bay Oyster Bar, a half price raw bar at Bristol Oyster Bar, and $1 Mansion Oyster Hour at The Vanderbilt's live shucking station. At the Coast Guard House in Narragansett, you’ll feel like you’re floating on the ocean at the newly launched oyster dinner, or head out to Block Island Oyster Bar and Grill for the ferry-worthy Oysters Thermidor. In Providence, throw back Walrus & Carpenter oysters at Bayberry Garden, and sip cocktails made with Ostreida, the country’s first oyster-infused vodka, at Industrious Spirit Company’s tasting room. We hate to haul out the old cliché, but in the Ocean State, the world really is your oyster.
By public transit: Amtrak to Providence in 3.5 hours.
By car: 3 hours to Providence. Add another 15 minutes to get to Newport.

The Glass House
The Glass House in New Canaan, CT | Mark B. Schlemmer/Flickr

Best Getaway for Architecture and Design Aficionados

New Canaan, CT
At first, New Canaan seems no different than any other affluent suburb in Connecticut, with its stately colonial homes, sprawling lawns, and charming Main Street. But take a closer look and you’ll discover that this Fairfield County community is home to more than 100 mid-century modern structures pioneered by the world-famous group, the Harvard 5, which includes members Marcel Breuer, who lived in New Canaan, and Philip Johnson, who designed The Glass House.

At the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society, the new Modern New Canaan initiative showcases the iconic architects and their local masterpieces, as well as the prized local homes within the movement like The Celanese House by Edward Durrell Stone, The Chivvis House by Eliot Noyes, and The Boissonnas House by Philip Johnson. With their open, nature-centric plans that perfectly capture the light in every room, the Bauhaus-inspired structures effortlessly fit the landscape and gleam from within. Tap into the source of enlightenment with a trip to the area’s celebrated outdoor spaces, like the New Canaan Land Trust, Waveny Park Conservancy, and New Canaan Nature Center.

Finally, no trip to New Canaan is complete without a visit to one of our favorite architecture and design getaways, Grace Farms, an 80-acre sustainably-built sanctuary. Centered around the River structure, check out this curvaceous marvel of glass, concrete, steel, and wood that echoes the design sensibilities of modernist architecture.
By public transit: Metro-North to New Canaan station for 1 hour, 20 minutes. Take an Uber to reach some of the destinations farther afield, such as Grace Farms and The Glass House.
By car: 1 hour

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Lauren Matison is a contributor for Thrillist.