The 15 Best Fall Day Trips From NYC

+ The Best Fall Weekend Getaways from NYC

Looking for the best fall day trips from NYC? We got you covered! New York State has many wonderful places to enjoy the colorful autumn. With Massachusetts, New England and Washington, D.C., there are several destinations that are only a day trip away from New York City and that have a lot of history, culture and nature to offer. I myself have been to the Green Mountains and White Mountains as well as Niagara Falls several times for a weekend in the fall – you’re guaranteed to get goosebumps here, it’s that impressive!

But which day trips in autumn are worth it from NYC? You can find my recommendations here in my best list (including the best Fall Weekend Getaways from NYC) – you can see right away if it’s a guided day trip or a multi-day trip from NYC. There’s a lot to choose from!

Also be sure to check out our list of the best things to do in fall in NYC, our favorite fall activities, and everything about the colorful fall foliage in NYC.

15 Amazing Best Fall Day Trips From NYC

These are the best fall foliage day trips outside New York City:

  1. 01

    Mohonk Preserve: An Amazing Family Fall Weekend Getaway from NYC

    Day Trip in Outside of New York City
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    Located in the town of New Paltz, New York, you’ll find a private 8,000-acre nature preserve that’s highly popular among tourists and residents alike. The Mohonk Preserve is located on the slopes of the Shawangunk Mountains, which are part of the Appalachians. At just over 90-miles from New York City, Mohonk Preserve is close and well worth the visit. 

    Here you’ll find a diverse environment of cliffs, ponds, streams, and old forests. The Mohonk Preserve is home to over 70 miles of carriage road and nearly 40 miles of trailers for skiing, horseback riding, hiking, and biking. 

    Distance: 90 Miles (2 hours by car)

  2. 02

    Fall Day Trip from NYC to Boston

    Day Trip in Outside of New York City
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    This day trip to Boston takes you through one of Americas most interesting historical cities. Everything from architecture to monuments and historically significant spots make this tour a great choice for all history lovers. Boston is a beautiful city and a nice contrast to NYC, making it the perfect getaway for a day! The bus will leave from the Gray Line Visitors Center and take approximately 4 hours.

  3. 03

    Fall Day Trip from NYC to Washington D.C.

    Day Trip in Outside of New York City
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    The American capital Washington D.C. is a good four hours’ drive from New York City. The bus tour starts at the Gray Line Visitors Center in Manhattan and the bus will take you south through the states of New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland until you reach Capitol Hill. With so many things to learn and see this is one of the most interesting day trips you can take from NYC.

  4. 04

    A Fall Weekend Getaway near NYC: Bear Mountain State Park

    Day Trip in Outside of New York City
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    Bear Mountain State Park is a 5,067-acre park that’s located just one hour away from New York City. It’s home to many sights such as Bear Mountain, Dunderberg Mountain, West Mountain, and the Iona Island Bird Sanctuary. This is the perfect destination for anyone looking to get away from city life for a day and enjoy nature and the outdoors instead. 

    Here you’ll enjoy activities such as swimming, hiking, boating, biking, fishing, and bird watching. You’ll find many state-of-the-art recreational facilities, including a swimming pool, playfield, biking and hiking trails, fishing access, the Trailside Museum and Zoo, and much more. This is a great place to go sledding, ice skating, or cross-country skiing in the winter.

    Distance: 50 Miles (1 hour by car)

  5. 05

    The Palisades, New Jersey

    Day Trip in Outside of New York City
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    The Palisades is located in Bergen County and overlooks the Hudson River. The park is roughly 12 miles long, covers 2,500 acres, and is a half-mile wide. Inside this park, you’ll find over 30 miles of ski and hiking trails, boat launching ramps, a scenic overlook, and riverside drive, waterfront picnic areas, historic sites, and much more. 

    The Palisades Interstate Park is a National Historical and National Natural Landmark, so this is one place that should be on your bucket list! 

    Distance: 16 Miles (1/2 to 1 hour by car | 40 minutes by train)

    By the way, there is a really great boat tour of New York in the fall where you can see the gorgeous colorful fall forests 👇

  6. 06

    One Of The Best Weekend Getaways from NYC Fall: Cold Spring in the Hudson Valley

    Day Trip in Outside of New York City
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    Cold Spring is renowned for being one of the best-preserved towns from the 19th Century and is just a 90-minute train ride from New York City. Once here, you’re greeted by a charming country village that was once a picturesque historic center created along the banks of the Hudson River. 

    Visitors enjoy spending the day in Cold Spring because the small downtown area is lined with antique stores, boutiques, and restaurants. During the summer, it’s common to find residents lining the streets enjoying coffee at one of the numerous sidewalk cafes or enjoying drinks and live music at one of many riverfront restaurants with an outdoor patio. Yet, this area is also home to many parks and hiking and biking trails. 

    Distance: 65 Miles (1,5 hour by car)

  7. 07

    Private Tour from New York City: Niagara Falls One Day Tour

    Day Trip in Outside of New York City
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    Experience one of the world’s most remarkable natural wonders on a full-day tour of Niagara Falls on the American side of the border. Ride the famous Maid of the Mist boat and get up close to attractions such as Horseshoe Falls and American Falls.

    Depart New York City and journey to Niagara Falls in New York State to experience the natural wonder from multiple perspectives. By leaving NYC late at night, you’ll arrive in the early morning to morning-mist rainbows and the falls’ magnificent roars. Alternatively, departing New York City in the morning will grant you the chance to see the falls change from day to night, and to witness the amazing light show while standing in awe of the fireworks overhead.   

    Hear the roar of the waterfalls and see magical rainbows to take your breath away in the early morning before the crowds arrive. Climb aboard the famous Maid of the Mist boat to get up close to the immense Horseshoe Falls. Visit attractions such as the uninhabited Goat Island and Luna Island on the Niagara River.  

    Get stunning views of the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls and gaze in awe at the rapids of the Niagara River as it tumbles towards the amazing cascades.

  8. 08

    Finger Lakes: A Must-Do Fall Weekend Getaways from NYC with Kids

    Day Trip in Outside of New York City
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    New York’s Finger Lakes region spans an area that encompasses 11 lakes in an area that was once covered by glaciers. In addition to the lakes, this region is also home to many natural pools, gorges, waterfalls, wineries, and state parks. The two most popular lakes are the deepest and largest: Cayuga Lake is 435 feet deep and is in Ithaca, while Seneca Lake is 618 feet deep and is found in the Watkins Glen State Park. 

    Many consider this the most underrated part of New York and makes for a great day trip away from New York City. It’s perfect for nearly everyone as the region has plenty of things to see and do. 

    Distance: 260 Miles (5 hours by car)

  9. 09

    The White Mountain National Forest Is An Impressive Weekend Getaway from NYC in Fall

    Day Trip in Outside of New York City
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    If you’re looking for a day trip that puts you in the middle of nature, then you’ve found it in this region! The White Mountain National Forest spans from western Maine into eastern New Hampshire and is just a short five-hour drive from Manhattan. Here you’ll marvel at the majestic alpine peaks and mountainous hardwood forests.

    Visitors can expect to experience breathtaking scenery, wildlife, clear mountain streams, and lakes, as well as take part in outdoor recreational activities all year. 

  10. 10

    Fall Weekend Getaway to Niagara Falls (2 Days)

    Day Trip in Outside of New York City
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    The tour to Niagara Falls is super beautiful: you will not only see the famous falls themselves, but also Watkins Glen National Park!

  11. 11

    My Favorite Fall Weekend Getaway near NYC: Martha's Vineyard

    Day Trip in Outside of New York City
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    If you’re looking to venture a bit further from NYC, then you should consider going to Martha’s Vineyard for the day. Martha’s Vineyard is an island that rests seven miles off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts’ southern coast. At a little over five hours, getting there is half the adventure. 

    The island is just 100 square miles and is a famous summer colony, but it also has a year-round population of around 17,000 residents. The island consists of six towns: Edgartown, Aquinnah, Tisbury, West Tisbury, Oak Bluffs, and Chilmark. 

  12. 12

    Fall Weekend Getaway to Niagara Falls, Toronto and Thousand Islands (3 Days)

    Day Trip in Outside of New York City
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    This tour starts in New York at the Grayline Visitors Center near Times Square and ends at the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. In addition, you will visit Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes and one of Canada’s most beautiful cities: Toronto!

  13. 13

    Fall Weekend Getaway to Washington D.C., Philadelphia & Amish Country (2 Days)

    Day Trip in Outside of New York City
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    This tour combines several destinations at once: you will visit the most important sights of D.C. and Philadelphia and afterwards the interesting Amish Country. Departure is at the Gray Line Visitors Center.

  14. 14

    Sleepy Hollow: A Family Fall Weekend Getaway from NYC

    Day Trip in Outside of New York City
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    Sleepy Hollow is situated just 30 miles north of New York City and makes for a great day trip away from the stress of the city. This famed town inspired one of America’s most famous books, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” by Washington Irving. Located in the gorgeous Hudson Valley in Westchester County, this is one of the nation’s cutest towns and makes for an unforgettable experience. 

    This is a great destination for anyone looking to take in some nature, view historical sites, or even go on a ghost tour. After all, Sleepy Hollow is known as one of the most haunted towns in America, with legends dating back to the original Dutch settlement in the 1600s!

  15. 15

    Ithaca

    Day Trip in Outside of New York City
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    Ithaca is the largest city found in New York’s Finger Lakes region. This is a lovely town and is an excellent place to visit with many things to do. Set along the southern end of Cayuga Lake, this location is famed as the home of Cornell University, countless gorges, and more than 150 waterfalls. 

    Though Ithaca is home to a sizable portion of college students and the city conveys more of a youthful feel, it’s also steeped in history and full of fascinating historic sites and buildings. This is an excellent destination for outdoor activities as it’s home to a plethora of state parks, but it’s also a great place to relax, shop, and dine. 

More Travel Inspiration

Which Road Trip or Day Trip from New York is the Best?

Check out my free road trip advisor that will help you choose from over 30 road trips and day trips to suit your needs!

FAQ

What is the best weekend for fall foliage in New York?

The best weekend to enjoy the colorful fall foliage in New York is around mid-October. It always varies slightly, sometimes it is already the 2nd weekend, sometimes the last weekend in October. The chances of seeing the most beautiful colors are highest in mid-October!

What to pack for a fall weekend in NYC?

What things you need to pack in New York City in the fall depends largely on the month of travel. In September it is often still very mild and rather summery, so you do not need to take clothes for colder days.

At the beginning of October it is already getting colder, but still warm enough to be outside. Only from the end of October and for November you should pack warm clothes in your suitcase, because the daytime temperatures are on average only 50°F / 10°C.

About the author
Steffen

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 20 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!

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