Fall in the Northeast, particularly New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, is the perfect time for a road trip. The summer vacationers have passed through, the leaves are changing, and the air is crisp. The fall views are so stunning they are worthy of a road trip, even if it only lasts a few hours, to see the Northeast in its full beauty. For travelers venturing from the Big Apple, several of the best views can be found within a few hours drive of New York City. Here are a few of the best fall day trips from New York City, most of them only requiring an hour or two of driving.
Cold Spring is a small, historic town just fifty miles from Manhattan in southeastern New York. The town is located on the east bank of the Hudson River and was a booming town during the Civil War with the West Point Foundry that manufactured the Parrott gun for the Union Army during the war. Today, Cold Spring offers a quaint, historic small town feel, with a charming main street preserved as a National Historic District, lined with 19th century buildings now housing shops, restaurants, and galleries. The location on the Hudson River offers breathtaking views in the fall as the leaves begin to change and the idyllic village is a welcome change from the city crowds.
Watkins Glen is a small town located on Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes Region. While Watkins Glen requires a longer drive than any other destination on this list, it’s worth the drive. With a little bit of everything to offer, the small town is perfect for everything from a family day trip to a girlfriend getaway. Though exploring the many breweries and vineyards in the area may make for a nice treat, head to Watkins Glen State Park for the best fall views. Pack a picnic and enjoy lunch on Seneca Lake and, if there’s time, take a drive throughout the rest of Schuyler County, which is home to more than 44 waterfalls and the Finger Lakes National Forest – perfect destinations for admiring the fall foliage as you drive.
Bear Mountain State Park is another destination on the Hudson River more than worthy of the hour drive from Manhattan. The park, offering lake and river fishing access along with hiking and biking trails, is located in the rugged mountains on the west bank of the Hudson. The drive to Bear Mountain offers Instagram-worthy pictures itself but it’s the view from the Perks Memorial Tower which overlooks the park, the Hudson Highlands, and the Harriman State Park, that offer the most breathtaking views.
Mount Tammany, located in the Delaware Water Gap, is one of the most popular scenic hikes in New Jersey. While it does require a rather strenuous hike to get the best views (1527 feet), there are easier options available and it’s truly the hike through the area that provides the best taste of fall. There’s nothing quite like hiking up a mountain with golden leaves falling down beside you.
Whether you’re willing to drive one hour or four, there’s a fall day trip for you. Immerse yourself in history or nature as you take in some of the most breathtaking views on the East Coast during the fall.
What’s your favorite fall day trip from New York City?