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I think that we can all agree that fall in New England is one of the most beautiful experiences in the world. Growing up just outside of NYC, I was spoiled by all of the great foliage destinations at my fingertips. This guide covers some of the best fall getaways near NYC, plus some helpful tips for planning your fall road trip.
Prepare for your trip to New York
Fall Getaways near NYC: The Basics
Book your car: Whether you’re planning a day trip or a multi-day trip for your fall getaway, the most important thing to do ahead of time is to book your rental car. Since most New Yorkers don’t have their own car, rental cars are always in high demand, especially during the best fall folliage.
Make your train reservations: Another alternative to escaping the city for fall getaway by car is to take a train to your destination. If you’re traveling via the Metro North then you do not need to book tickets in advance. However, if you’re traveling on any other train line you should do it as far in advance as possible!
Book your lodging: Whether you’re looking to stay at a hotel or Airbnb, if you’re traveling during the peak foliage season then you should book ASAP for the best rates and availability. I personally book all of my hotels through Booking.com for the best prices.
Finger Lakes, NY
New York’s Finger Lakes region is home to some of the state’s most beautiful waterfalls, of which become even more stunning in the fall. Known for its wineries, lake activities and gorges, the Finger Lakes is a haven for waterfall lovers as well. A trip to the Finger Lakes is one of the best fall getaways near NYC. No trip to the Finger Lakes is complete without at least a waterfall hike or two. While most of the waterfalls are at their fullest in the spring, it’s in the fall that the landscapes surrounding them are colored in dramatic displays of orange and gold. A few of the must-see falls include Taughannock Falls, Buttermilk Falls and Watkins Glen, all of which offer beautiful trails that wind through the wooded gorges.
It’s best to travel here with your own car so you can visit several in one day. Most of the hikes are easy to moderate, making them accessible to people of all ages and levels of experience. My best recommendation is to book a hotel in Ithaca, a small lakefront college town about four hours (225 miles) away from NYC. Ithaca is located near several of the region’s top waterfalls and wineries, making it the perfect base to explore everything the Finger Lakes has to offer. And when you get tired of hiking, you can take a drive on one of the scenic roads that connect the 11 glacial lakes that give the region its name.
Contribution and photo by Carla of Travel by Carla Vianna
The Berkshires, MA
The Berkshires is one of the best fall getaways near NYC. The Berkshires is a scenic 3-hour drive from NYC and is not easily accessible by public transportation. The region has many lakes and hiking trails for outdoor adventures. One of the best options is Olivia’s Overlook, which is a great place to view the fall foliage. You’ll also fine plenty of great hikes here as there are several trails to choose from.
For accommodations in the Berkshires check out the new Miraval Berkshires Resort, a wonderful Adult-only accommodation in Lenox. The resort includes 3 wonderful gourmet meals a day, as well as snacks. The experiences offered at the resort range from yoga and meditation to outdoor experiences such as paddle boarding and hiking. The nearby town of Lee is also a fun stop, with great day spas and outlets for shopping.
Contribution by Nicole at AffordableFamilyTravel.com
Another one of the best fall getaways from NYC is Kingston in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Kingston was the first capital of New York State – only for the summer of 1777, but it was the capital nonetheless. There are several beautiful historic houses and churches dating from this era in the central Stockade District. The area is especially lovely when the trees are covered in fall foliage. There is a Farmers Market on Saturdays where you can pick up seasonal produce, freshly baked bread and be entertained by local musicians. You’ll find tons of restaurants and cute stores. A favorite is Rough Draft Bar and Books, where you can enjoy a coffee and a book at the same time.
The other main area for dining and small stores is the Kingston Waterfront, where you can hang out by the Rondout Creek, visit the Maritime Museum and Trolley Museum, or catch a river cruise for stunning fall views.
For more fall color, head across the creek from this area. About 20 minutes down the road, you can hike on the easy Black Creek Preserve trails, which take you over a suspension bridge, through the woods and to the edge of the Hudson River. The nearby Shaupeneak Ridge area has more beautiful trails around the lily-filled Louisa Pond and to a small waterfall.
Kingston is about two hours north of New York City. It is easily accessed by car along the New York Thruway or by bus from Port Authority.
Contribution and photo by James Ian at Travel Collecting
New Paltz, NY
New Paltz is easily one of the best fall getaways from NYC. Located approximately 2 hours (80 miles) north of NYC, it is an easy weekend escape, that can be accomplished as a day trip as well.
New Paltz has tons to offer visitors, from hikes for all levels to cider breweries and quirky shops. For some awesome fall foliage views, I recommend visiting Minnewaska State Park. You can enjoy some of the best views just steps from your car, as you approach the lake. However, if you have the time I recommend hiking up to Gertrude’s Nose, an 8 mile round trip climb. The parking lot fills up early, so I recommend arriving before 9am, especially if you’re visiting on the weekend.
After your hike, head to Brooklyn Cider House for a bottle of cider and a delicious pizza, with the best views. If you can snag a reservation, you’ll want to check out the Dome House. This airbnb is one of the coolest that i’ve stayed at in New York, so be on the lookout for cancellations this fall.
Warwick, NY is one of the cutest towns in New York State and the perfect fall escape from NYC. It was an incredible place to grow up and I go back every chance I can, especially in the months of September and October. Taking out of town friends to visit is always a blast, everyone ends up loving it almost as much as I do!
Warwick is located just 50 miles from Manhattan. You can get as close as Tuxedo train station, which is 20 minutes away, via the NJ transit or you can take the MTA bus directly there from NYC.
There is a plethora of autumnal activities including apple picking, pumpkin picking, hiking, visiting breweries and more!
If you plan to make the trip, make sure you check out Drowned Lands Brewery to try one of their awesome craft beers. You’ll also want to have dinner at Eddie’s Roadhouse, located smack dab in the middle of the village, and try the ice cream at Bellvale Creamery, as you look out over the valley and the fall foliage. My favorite flavor is the great white way which is white chocolate ice cream with chocolate chunks and a raspberry swirl!
Contribution by Lauren of NY to Anywhere.
I recently visited Epsom, NH to celebrate my friend’s birthday at a Getaway House and it fulfilled all of my fall foliage dreams. Although a bit further than the other destinations on this list, approximately 5 hours from NYC, Epsom is still on my list of great fall getaways near NYC.
The Getaway properties are located right outside of the town, with easy access to tons of great hikes. For breakfast (but really dessert) you need to check out New Hampshire Doughnut Company. Be sure to check the hours and order the day before for pickup.
Hudson is a great weekend trip from NYC no matter the season, but it’s also one of the best fall getaways near NYC. Located just over 2 hours from NYC, it is an easy drive. It is also located close by to other fun towns, such as Kingston and New Paltz, if you want to hit a few other towns on your weekend road trip.
Just outside of town you’ll find High Falls Conservation Area, where you can take a quick hike to this gorgeous waterfall. Once you’ve had your fill of hiking, head to The Maker Hotel for a drink, and then you’ll want to grab a pie from the famous Baba Louie’s pizza shop.
Old Forge, NY
Old Forge is a hidden gem in New York’s Adirondack State Park. Located approximately 5 hours from NYC, you’ll want to dedicate at least a couple of days exploring the area. I was lucky enough to spend 4 months quarantined in a cabin on first lake this year, and fell in love with the area. Spend your day hiking the many nearby trails, from Nick’s Lake to Bald Mountain. I’ve included many of my favorites in my guide to the 10 Best Hikes in Upstate NY. Venture a bit further in the car and you’ll come across the famous hikes of the High Peaks.
Wrap up your day with a pizza and some wings from Slickers.
New Haven, CT
One of my favorite fall getaways near NYC is New Haven, Connecticut. Easily accessible by taking a direct Metro-North train on the New Haven Line from Grand Central Station; you’ll arrive in the “Elm City’s” Union Station in a little over 2 hours. Once you’re there, you can either utilize rideshare or rent a car from different vendors at the train station to drive into the city center; it’s too far to walk.
Once you’ve arrived, there are so many things to do in New Haven. Yale University is a historic, Ivy League institute of higher education, located right by the New Haven Green. Walk around the gorgeous campus grounds, enhanced by the fall foliage. If you’re interested in shopping, walk around the Shops at Yale for some great finds. You can also visit the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History to see some incredible dinosaur fossils.
Once you’ve explored the city center, you can’t leave New Haven without grabbing an apizza. Apizza is a pizza style specific to New Haven, Connecticut, that came from an influx of Neapolitan immigrants at the turn of the 20th Century. And, it’s widely considered the best in the country (sorry, New York, but it’s true!) Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, Sally’s Apizza, Modern Apizza, and BAR are the best in New Haven, and you won’t go wrong picking any of them.
Contribution by Lyndsay of The Purposely Lost
Lake George, NY
Fall foliage is the highlight of any Autumn spent in/near the Adirondack Mountains. And where better to immerse oneself in the full spectacle than in Lake George, New York? What makes the Lake George area unique is the timing of the foliage, the gorgeous mountain backdrops and landscapes, and the ideal timing of the trees’ color explosions. Yes, Lake George erupts into color in between the heights of color you’ll find in New York City Area and the Upstate New York region; idyllic for Fall Color Chasers.
Lake George is only 210 miles/3.5 hours by car from NYC. While you may take a train and public transport to the area, it is recommended to visit by car, simply for ease of transport and to save coveted viewing/hiking/photo capturing time. The car option also offers you the choice to eat, view multiple sites, and travel to nearby viewpoints. Maybe you will save time to visit Glens Falls or Saratoga Springs, if that tickles your fancy. If you’re a food lover, be sure to stop and eat at Adirondack Pub & Brewery (located at 33 Canada St, Lake George, NY 12845), during your visit. The food is delicious, the service friendly and knowledgeable, and the craft beers on-point. Try or share a flight or two, so you have an opportunity to sample all you wish. One of the best dining experiences you’ll ever enjoy.
Contribution by Amy of AmyGuides.com. Head to her website for more on food, travel, and culture.
The Hamptons, NY
While the Hamptons reputation is all about summertime, don’t overlook this destination when the seasons change. The Hamptons in the fall is extremely pleasant, with fewer crowds, crisp fall weather, and still plenty to do.
For those who dare, grab a wetsuit and hit the now empty beach for a surf lesson. There’s also the famous Montauk Point Lighthouse, apple picking and pumpkin patches, and hiking at Shadmoor State Park.
If you’re looking to wine and dine, check out the many wineries on the island, complete with snacks and/or food trucks, or the Montauk Brewing Company for beer.
For eats, hit up the Lobster Roll AKA Lunch (you might recognize it from the Showtime series The Affair) or Claude’s at the Southampton Inn (bonus: consider this place if you plan to spend the night). Don’t forget dessert – the best cookies are sold at Tate’s Bakeshop. Make sure to get some to go.
The Hamptons is just a car ride away from New York City, and for those without wheels, hitch a ride on the Hampton Jitney, a bus that makes trips to and from New York City. Or hop on the Long Island Rail Road, leaving from Penn Station.
Contribution by BoogiethePug.com
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