fire island beach and lighthouse

The Best Spring Day Trips From Gateway

Mar 31, 2021

With so much time spent cooped up at home this year, spring brings an exciting opportunity to start (safely) getting out and exploring again! While there’s tons to do right here in Battery Park, escaping the city for the day can be an excellent way to recharge. Whether seeking nature-filled adventures, a fantastic dining experience, or a new city to uncover, these spots have something for everyone. Read ahead to learn more about these 5 easy spring day trips from NYC!      

Beacon, NY

A trip to Beacon, NY is only a little under an hour-and-a-half away from Manhattan by MetroNorth. The quaint Dutchess County town is home to popular modern art museum Dia: Beacon. Housed in a former Nabisco box factory, you’ll find works by contemporary masters like the sculptural wonders of Louise Bourgeois and the fascinating light installations of Dan Flavin. Be sure to book a timed ticket in advance here. After, make a stop at Denning’s Point Distillery on Main Street, and sample a selection of finely crafted artisanal spirits. Tastings are available Friday-Sunday for groups of 4 and under, no reservations needed.

Philadelphia, PA    

Philly is a quick 1.5 hour Amtrak ride from Penn Station (or a 2 hour bus ride if looking to save some cash) and is packed full of history, museums, and a thriving bar and restaurant scene. The megabus will drop you off right in front of Independence Mall, the site of both the signing of the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution, as well as where you’ll find the famous Liberty Bell

After a bit of history, grab a coffee from the nearby outpost of local favorite La Colombe, then head towards South Philly to find out for yourself who has the better cheesesteak--Pat’s or Geno’s. Walk off lunch by strolling lively South Street, then rest your feet in picturesque Washington Square Park. Finish the day with dinner and drinks at any one of the delicious spots on 13th Street, like El Vez, Vintage Wine Bar, or Barbuzzo.


Fire Island, LI

A great nearby spot for a beach-y getaway, Fire Island can be reached in about an hour-and-a-half by the LIRR and ferry. The 31-mile barrier island is a pretty ideal stretch for some sandy summertime fun. Find lifeguard-supervised swimming for all ages at Sailors Haven, Watch Hill, Davis Park, and Atlantique. Then explore the rare ecological community at Sunken Forest, a magical maritime holly forest hidden behind the sand dunes of the Atlantic Coast. Finish out the day by scoping out the vibrant bar scenes in Ocean Beach and Kismet, or the thriving LGBTQ+ hot spots of the Pines and Cherry Grove.

Phoenicia, NY 

A getaway to Phoenicia, NY feels like the cool Brooklyn answer to a Catskills wilderness retreat. Just under 3 hours away by car, book a room at the Graham & Co for a trendy vibe with plenty of camping-inspired accents. Breakfast or lunch at the Phoenicia Diner is a must-do, followed by a scenic bike ride through the surrounding woods. For dinner, pop by Peekamoose--the popular farm-to-table restaurant that has been referred to as the “Gramercy of the Catskills.” Be sure to spend at least one afternoon lazily floating down the creek rapids or hiking through the mountains themselves.


Atlantic City, NJ

Take a 2.5 hour bus ride (or 2 hour train ride) and find yourself immersed in the enthralling casino dappled beaches of Atlantic City. Start with a stroll on the iconic boardwalk to see all the quirky souvenir shops while enjoying some obligatory saltwater taffy. The beach itself is terrific for sunbathing and taking a dip in the Atlantic, too. When you’ve had enough fun in the sun, head to the casinos to try your luck at the slots or the roulette table. Not feeling super lucky? The Borgata Casino is also home to a ton of great restaurants and bars with live entertainment!


Where will you go on a day trip this spring? Share your getaway photos with us by tagging #YourGateway!