Whether you’re on a first date or a 20th anniversary, here are some great date ideas in NYC to do with someone special.
It’s our firm belief that an important part of the courting process is that first weekend away together. A real test of your compatibility, but also a great way to make memories that will last the lifetime of your relationship, taking a romantic trip can be the real make or break of a couple. Don’t be daunted! With the right location, you simply can’t go wrong.
If you’re dating in New York, are not with someone who’ll jet off to Paris or Rome at a moment’s notice (if you are, never let them go!) and fancy something a bit closer to home, here’s our guide to romantic getaways near NYC. Singles, you have no excuses! All within a 3 hour drive, you’re sure to find somewhere to suit you…
1hr from NYC
Need to know: Easy to get to, Bear Mountain is great even if for just a day trip. But to really make the most of the incredible hiking trails, bike routes and lake activities, plan in a whole weekend!
Good to know: From fishing to boat hire to shady picnic spots, the Bear Mountain State Park is a New Yorker’s natural playground, and by far the easiest choice when you’re looking for romantic getaways from NYC. Within an hour, you and your partner could be frolicking in the great outdoors, reconnecting with nature in the most fun and fitness-oriented ways possible. Besides everything you might expect from a State Park, Bear Mountain also has its own zoo and swimming pool for your entertainment too. In the winter months, the park is home to a must-try outdoor ice rink, and visitors can also follow the cross-country ski trails.
Because of how easy it is to get to – and the family-friendly nature of most of its activities, Bear Mountain does get very busy. If you’re looking for a secluded weekend away, this may not be the place for you. That said, if you’re the kind of couple who thrive and feed off of other people’s energy, getting stuck into an active weekend away is just the ticket. Good fun, after all, is infectious.
The North Fork
1hr 30mins from NYC
Need to know: Gaining in popularity every summer for years, North Folk has still managed to keep its reputation as ‘The Quiet Fork’. Don’t be fooled by this rural farming community though, with fantastic wineries and tons of top restaurants on offer, it’s the perfect spot for a getaway to Long Island.
Good to know: Home to mile after mile of beautiful coastline, there’s nothing nicer than lapping up the sun on or by the water on The North Fork peninsula. With a bunch of fun activities to enjoy on the gentle waters, choose something that suits your desired level of exertion; with everything from relaxing boat tours to paddle boarding (harder than it looks!) there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
The North Fork’s charm extends well beyond summer activities on the water however. The region’s reputation for wineries is also pretty impeccable, and there are plenty of options available for couples wanting to delight in their produce. Head to either the Kontokosta Winery or The Old Field Vineyards and sample their supply – both come highly recommended. Otherwise, consider booking a tour that’ll take you around the region’s wineries and deliver you – after a glass or five – safely back to your hotel.
1hr 30mins from NYC
Need to know: A mere 90 minutes from central Manhattan, the beautiful beaches of this small New Jersey community are perfect to visit in the summertime. Built in 1896, be sure to visit Sea Girt’s ornate Lighthouse – the perfect spot to cozy up and enjoy the views!
Good to know: With a population around 2,000 people and just a handful of bars and restaurants in this small town, it’s not the most obvious choice for romantic getaways near NYC. But the fact that it’s so quiet, and so different from New York, makes it perfect for big city-dwellers who long for some peace and serenity. Anyone expecting something close to MTV’s Jersey Shore series prepare to be thoroughly disappointed.
One of New Jersey’s most sought-after Zip-codes, property – and staying here for a weekend – does get expensive. Staying in nearby Wall Township or Brick is an alternative option. And, if you’re around for a long weekend, it pays to be adventurous and explore the rest of New Jersey’s diverse coastline – from Asbury Park in the North, all the way down to the iconic delights of Atlantic City in the south.
1hr 30mins from NYC
Need to know: Settled in the late 17th Century, New Paltz is as beautiful as it is historic. Lush woodland surrounds this tiny village in the Hudson Valley and – besides the terrific views available to visitors – being here just feels like a breath of fresh air. History buffs rejoice, and take in the impossibly sweet stone houses built by the Huguenots over 300 years ago.
Good to know: Around 80 miles north of NYC, New Paltz is perhaps best known for its hiking trails. With simply stunning views of the Hudson Valley from high-up vantage points, the trails around New Paltz are almost certainly the best available anywhere on this list of romantic getaways from NYC.
It’s not the only kind of trail worth following here though; the Shawangunk Wine Trail traces the area’s history back 300 years, since it was the French Huguenots who first established the tradition here. Their winemaking expertise is still felt here today. Exceptional local winemakers – and farmers, bakers and chefs – ensure that the meals you’ll have when staying here will not only be delicious, but an authentic taste of New York State too.
1hr 30mins from NYC
Need to know: Long a hot choice for tourists hoping to escape the city for a weekend, this quaint borough is almost purpose-built for a romantic weekend away. Not only is it home to some of the region’s highest-priced real estate, New Hope also has a string of trendy bars, restaurants and boutique shops primed for good living. Strolls down the Delaware Canal towpath come highly recommended.
Good to know: With a population below 3,000 you might be forgiven for thinking that New Hope, PA was just another sleepy town like Sea Girt. Not quite. Small though it might be, New Hope’s popularity means the locals have become tourist savvy, meaning there are plenty of things to do on a romantic weekend away here.
However you like to keep yourself entertained, there’s something for everyone here. Both foodies? Take a food tour around Bucks County! Nature lovers? Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve is not to be missed. For evening entertainment, you can usually catch a band or a show at Bucks County Playhouse or the New Hope Winery – also a great place for a casual drink. Or, of course, just take it easy and enjoy the good food and clean living of this pretty Pennsylvanian town. Either way, you’re sure to love it.
Delaware Water Gap
2hrs from NYC
Need to know: The perfect spot for an activity-laden weekend, the Delaware Water Gap is every grown up scout’s dream destination. Welcoming adventurous couples for over 50 years, this National Recreation Area up amongst the Appalachian Mountains has 70,000 acres to explore and bundles of fun to be had!
Good to know: Set right between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, this is one of the few places you can paddle between states, Lewis and Clarke-style; the most popular activity here is, unsurprisingly, canoeing and kayaking. A hike to circumnavigate some of the 1000-foot-deep water gap – there’s over a hundred miles of trail – will also throw up some unforgettable views too. That’s to say nothing of the swimming, biking, fishing, horse-trekking – if you’re after an all-action weekend, this is the place to have it.
Littered with wildlife, the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area is also the perfect place to spot your favorite wild animals. Cute animals like Groundhogs, Cottontail Rabbits and White-tailed Deer roam the open plains, and should be easy to find – just watch out for the skunks. The forest is Black Bear territory, which gives cause to be cautious. Not least because we know what bears like to do in the woods!
2hrs from NYC
Need to know: Litchfield County has long been the bolt-hole of choice in Connecticut, and experienced a surge in visitors from New York 5 years or so ago. Still just as charming, base yourself in quaint Litchfield and be sure to explore both the town and its surrounds. Nearby Torrington is also well worth a visit.
Good to know: Whilst most New Yorkers hear ‘Litchfield’ and immediately think of Orange is the New Black, consider yourself one of the lucky ones who’ll soon think so much more of it. Litchfield county is peppered with rolling hills and cornfields, and is precisely the kind of rural idyll you need to remedy the big city blues. You’ll definitely require a car here, since public transport across the county ranges from ‘few and far between’ to ‘totally non-existent’.
New England is perfect in Fall, but the delights of Litchfield can be enjoyed at any time of the year. Farmer’s Markets, antiquing and hiking make up a triumvirate of ideal couple’s activities in this part of the world; we recommend buying up the local produce and artisanal bath products at the weekly Litchfield farm-fresh market on Saturday morning, before driving the antiquing trail on Route 202 and ending up at the 4,000-acre White Memorial Conservation Center.
2hrs 15mins from NYC
Need to know: Subject of a recent write-up by the Times, the Hudson Valley has been described as the ‘Brooklynite’s favorite retreat’. And it’s little wonder; beyond the Valley’s rolling hills, the pretty town has been cultivating it’s cool for over 30 years. Trendy bars and restaurants abound, couples needn’t stray too far from the main drag on Warren Street to find good eats here.
Good to know: Artistic types have long colonized Hudson, and you can hop between trendy bars, eateries, antique stores and galleries with enviable ease. The town’s website claims that there are no less than 50 antique stores, and almost 20 galleries – not to mention some 300 historic buildings. Hudson shares some vibes with the best bits of Brooklyn. Only quieter, cleaner and with fresher air.
Be sure to take the time and appreciate the mighty Hudson River too. Being in its namesake town may just give you a fresh perspective on it; take it in from on high at Promenade Hill park, or from the Henry Hudson Riverfront park. You can also elect to take boat tour on the ‘Spirit on Hudson’ – usually around 90 minutes the charming Summer-Fall cruises are great for both relaxing and a little sightseeing.
2hrs 30mins from NYC
Need to know: The ‘un-Hamptons’ is a great choice if you love the beaches and seafood and fancy hotels of Long Island’s most famous resort, but don’t love how busy The Hamptons get. Don’t be fooled though – Shelter Island can be every bit as pricey. Importantly though, for us, it’s every bit as good!
Good to know: Shelter Island is home to some truly incredible views, but what most couples come here for is the relaxation. With high-class bars and restaurants on offer, it’s incredibly easy to live like royalty here. The highlight has to be Shelter Island’s beaches however; with gorgeous stretches of sandy beaches, perfect for a relaxed day lying in the sun, you’re certain to feel a million miles away from New York (despite it really being only about 100 miles away). For secluded sunbathing at its best, make the journey to Shell Beach – though you’re better off at Crescent Beach if you want to swim too, since there are lifeguards stationed there.
If that all sounds too inactive for you and your partner, consider hiring a Kayak. The popular Coecles Harbor Marine Water Trail is a great way to see the nature and animal life of the island, and you can either book a guided tour or head out solo if you fancy some alone time. Remember, couples who sweat together stay together, and that’s no less true on any of these romantic getaways near NYC – that’s why we picked them!
2hrs 45mins from NYC
Need to know: Another great alternative to The Hamptons, The Berkshires have all the charm without any of the pretense of its Long Island cousin. Not sure if it’s worth the trek up to Massachusetts? Just wait til you get here – New England’s splendorous countryside is home to more art, music, literature and great food than you can shake a stick at.
Good to know: The last of our picks for romantic getaways from NYC, as with many of our previous choices The Berkshires have plenty of outdoor pursuits on offer. What sets the area apart are the luxurious places to stay and an unforgettable mountainous setting. More than anywhere else though, The Berkshires don’t feel remotely rural – with so much art, music and theater to see, cultural couples can still lap up their favorite things out in the sticks.
For impressive art installations, don’t miss the huge MASS MoCA, based in a converted factory. The Berkshires are also home to a couple of bona fide heroes; W.E.B. Du Bois was born here (you can visit his Childhood home) and Hermann Melville completed Moby Dick at Arrowhead, his home in Pittsfield. Overwhelmed by all the culture and clean air? Feel more at home by grabbing a bite to eat at ‘Bagels Too’, serving up the best Bagels in the Berkshires.
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Alison Humes, ‘Beguiling rural pleasures await in Connecticut’ (http://www.nbcnews.com/id/29538697/ns/travel/t/beguiling-rural-pleasures-await-connecticut)
Amy Thomas, ‘Hudson, N.Y.: An Elegant Transformation’ (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/31/travel/hudson-valley-new-york.html?_r=1)
Mark Vanhoenacker, ’36 Hours in The Berkshires’ (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/06/travel/36-hours-in-the-berkshires.html)
Malerie Yolen-Cohen, ‘Fifteen Fantastic Things to Do on The North Fork of Long Island NY’ (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/malerie-yolencohen/fifteen-best-things-to-do_b_11683826.html)