There’s no time better than now to take a trip that doesn’t require car usage. Climate change, soaring gas prices, the perennial nightmare of parking — the list goes on. Relying on public transport, however, doesn’t mean a compromise in mobility. There are plenty of destinations in and around the tri-state area that are easily accessible via bus or train. We’ve already compiled a list of car-less summer getaway ideas within New Jersey — and now we’re looking beyond NJ. Read on to learn about some local getaways accessible by public transportation in and around the tri-state area.
(Photo credit: @beacon_ny_)
How to get there: Take a NJ Transit Bus to Port Authority, then hop on the shuttle (or the ‘S’ subway line) to Grand Central Terminal. From there, take the Metro North Hudson Line. The ride takes about 1.5 hours.
The historic town is known for its breathtaking natural beauty and buzzing lifestyle scene. Just off the train station is Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park, where visitors can stroll along the walking trail and appreciate the sweeping view of the Hudson River and the mountains along the banks. For more serious hiking, there’s the The Mount Beacon Incline Railway trail, which overlaps a historic railway route and leads to the top of Mount Beacon. Inside the town, the elegant Victorian-era Main Street is dotted with art galleries, gourmet food stores, and craft shops.
If you’re looking to stay overnight, Beacon Bed & Breakfast is a super cute and cozy spot to spend the night. The Dutchess Inn & Spa is another great place if you’re looking for something a little less rustic + a touch more upscale.
Cold Spring, NY
How to get there: From Grand Central Terminal, take the Metro North Hudson Line. The ride takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes — plus, it’s on the way back from Beacon if you want to turn this trip into a multi-destination journey.
The historic town is full of history treasures and natural beauty. There are many small parks and gardens along the river where visitors can relax and take in the view of the mighty Hudson. The Main Street has preserved its Victorian charm and is lined with restaurants, boutiques, and antique stores. During the summer, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival takes place at nearby Garrison (5 miles away), featuring performances six nights a week.
To stay the night, there’s Cold Spring Hotel for a quaint + charming experience close to awesome hiking trails. It’s also part of a cafe.
Governor’s Island, NY
How to get there: Take PATH to Christopher Street, then jump on the 1 subway line to South Ferry. From there, take the ferry to Governors Island.
The hilly island was used for defense during the American Revolution. Today, visitors can get a sweeping view of NYC’s skyline on the coastal fort. The island’s many parks and community gardens provide wonderful trails and spaces for cycling, walking, and picnicking. Those who want to have the island all to themselves and wake up to stunning Manhattan views can even stay overnight at Collective Governors Island, a luxury camping boutique hotel.
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How to get there: Take PATH to 33rd Street. Walk to Penn Station and take the LIRR Ronkonkoma line to Greenport. The ride takes about 3 hours.
The town is at the far end of Long Island’s North Fork and is famous for its wine-making scene. But there is a lot more to do beyond wine tasting. Visitors can browse the many boutiques at the quaint little downtown area, visit the beautiful East Marion lavender field (less than three miles from town center), or sample local oysters at laid-back seafood restaurants, such as Little Creek Oyster Farm.
There are many places to stay in Greenport — though be prepared, it does get expensive fast here. Sound View Greenport is one great option with awesome water views and a private beach. Plus, if you book two nights during the week, you get 20% off, making it a little more affordable.
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(Photo credits: @love_kingstonny)
How to get there: From Port Authority, take the Trailways bus to Kingston. The trip takes about 2 hours.
Many people use Kingston as a base to explore the Catskills, but the town itself has a lot to offer. Locals and visitors alike often navigate in terms of uptown, midtown, and downtown, each with different vibes and characters. The uptown area is full of independent shops (check out Half Moon Books), artisan bakeries (like Kingston Bread & Bar) and galleries. The midtown is quieter but nevertheless has plenty of eateries and art studios to explore. The downtown Rondout National Historic District is dotted with old buildings, wonderful restaurants (like Graziano’s Downtown Cafe) and a tree lined waterfront park. Visitors can also learn about the area’s history at the Hudson River Maritime Museum and Trolley Museum of New York.
The Forsyth B&B is a cool place to spend the night and calls itself casual-chic. It even has clever names for the different rooms, like the Amelia which is named after Amelia Earhart and is ‘light and airy.’
How to get there: From Penn Station, take the LIRR train to Montauk. The direct train takes about 2.5 hours.
The Hamptons has a reputation as a one-percenter destination, but the tranquil town — once a playground for avant garde artists — really has something for everyone. It’s relaxing to hike the trails of Montauk Point State Park and enjoy the views of the Atlantic Ocean, or go kayaking in the calm water of Lake Montauk. Kirk Park Beach, with its soft white sand, is within walking distance from the town center. For a cultural and culinary experience, you can check out the town’s many old and new galleries, visit the region’s wineries, or attend a private dinner hosted by local chefs.
Hotels can also be rather expensive in this area, especially during the summer — Airbnb is typically a more cost-effective option here. Though if you’re up for splurging, there are some spectacular waterfront hotels.
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How to get there: Take PATH to New York Penn Station. From there, take the Amtrak train to Philadelphia.
Philadelphia is only a train ride from North Jersey and is packed with attractions. The historic old town Philadelphia is packed with notable landmarks of early American history: Elfreth’s Alley, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, etc. For museums, Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) both showcase world-class collections. For more leisurely activities, take a walk around the City Center/Chinatown area and sample some of the best restaurants in the country. A great option is Zahav, a James Beard winning modern Israeli restaurant.
There are, of course, lots of chain hotels to stay at in Philly — or you could crash in an Airbnb apartment to feel more like you’re living locally.
Sleepy Hollow, NY
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(Photo credits: @visitsleepyhollow)
How to get there: From Grand Central Terminal, take the Metro North Hudson Line. The ride takes about 55 minutes.
The colonial-era town is the setting of the classic story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and visitors love checking out the many landmarks around the town featured in the book, such as the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and the Dutch Reformed Church. Beyond these, there are numerous beautiful historic mansions, such as Philipsburg Manor, which was once owned by one of the biggest slave owners in the area and now functions as a museum about the history of slavery. For natural beauty, visitors can head to the Rockefeller Park Preserve and enjoy the views of the hills, valleys, and pastorals.
For an incredibly unique place to sleep, Castle Hotel & Spa is located in nearby Tarrytown. Yes, it’s a castle — and it’s packed with history. It’s a great place to stop for all historical buffs and anyone who has ever wanted to sleep in a castle.
How to get there: From Port Authority, take the Trailways bus to Woodstock. The trip takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Famous for the Woodstock Festival (even though the event actually took place in nearby Bethel), the town has retained its hippie vibes and artistic edge. The Tinker Street main drag is lined with galleries, as well as architectural gems that remind visitors of Woodstock’s rich history as an artist haven. The weekend flea market attracts craftsmen from all over the region. In summer time, the Maverick Concerts series, which has performances every week, features musicians of all genres. The Woodstock Inn on the MIllstream is a super cool place to stay for those looking to crash. It’s quaint, secluded, connected with nature, and just full of charm.