When you can’t get away for a real vacation (and who can during the fall, when you’ve used all your vacay time to take an epic beach vacation?), a day trip can be just what the doctor ordered. From outdoor art venues to beachfront towns, there’s something along the East Coast for everyone — no matter where you live. Whether you’re traveling solo or with a group of friends, these mini-destinations won’t disappoint. Read on for seven places in the Northeast that’ll make you want to hop in the car or book a train ticket ASAP.
1. Storm King Art Center, New Windsor, NY: One of the most incredible sculpture parks in the world lies just an hour away from New York City. With large-scale works by artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Maya Lin and Richard Serra, it’s truly an art lover’s paradise. And even if you’re not that into the arts, it’s still worth the trip to enjoy the incredibly unique landscape. Storm King is set on 500 acres of beautiful rolling land, smack dab in the middle of the Hudson River Valley (read: You’ll see all the seasons). If you get tired of walking, there are bikes to rent and a trolley that treks you around the grounds. Pro tip: Bring a picnic and a blanket so you can stay the whole day.
2. Salem, MA: Especially around Halloween, Salem is a super fun day trip by car or commuter rail from anywhere in the Boston area. Not only can you take a haunted tour of the town or see a live spell-casting demonstration (spooky!), but you can also visit tons of historic buildings and learn everything you can possibly imagine about the Salem witch trials. Definitely make time to check out the seaside shopping district, right on the quaint waterfront, which has plenty of delicious food options. The creepy history freaking you out? Take in just a small sip of history (and of local cider, wine and witches brew — AKA beer) on the Salem Spirits Trolley.
3. The Glass House, New Canaan, CT: This beautiful glass home sits on 49 acres and is surrounded by sculptures and other art installations. You can visit the house, which was built by architect Philip Johnson, from May through November. The site is especially gorgeous in the fall, when the changing leaves interplay with the house. This isn’t the best spontaneous trip, since you should make tour reservations in advance. But trust us, it’s totally worth it. (Photo via The Glass House)
4. Provincetown, MA: Another quick trip from Boston, P-Town is known to be a lively, indie and super LGBTQ+-friendly community. Situated on the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown is the quintessential New England beachside town. Get some sun and try to spot dolphins on Race Point Beach, stop into museums (the Whydah Museum, with its pirate shipwreck treasure, is especially fun), check out the view from Pilgrim’s Monument and then get in on the *very* fun nightlife scene. If you feel like a sleepier day trip, with the highest concentration of bookstores on Cape Cod, Provincetown is a book lover’s dream.
5. The Poconos, PA: Relatively close to both Philadelphia and New York City, the Pocono Mountains have so much to offer. Take a hike on one of the many trails (from newbie to expert), go horseback riding, ski in the winter and swim in lakes (any of the *150* of them) in the summer. The options here are pretty much endless, and the mountain views (try to visit at least once during autumn) sweeten the deal. (Photo via Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau)
6. Dia:Beacon, Beacon, NY: Easily accessible from anywhere in the New York area via Metro North, Dia:Beacon is a contemporary art space that fills way more square footage than you’d ever be able to find in NYC. Spend the day roaming through its vast collection, both indoors and outdoors, and stop for lunch at their excellent cafe. For New Yorkers stuck in the concrete jungle, this is an amazing escape into nature. (Photo via Dia:Beacon)
7. Newport, RI: If you love mansions and gilded-era architecture, Newport is the place for you. Tour massive Great-Gatsby-era homes like The Breakers, The Elms and Rosecliff. Don’t worry, the Instagram-worthy interiors are plentiful. Spend your day touring as many estates as possible, and finish off with dinner near the waterfront at Malt or the White Horse Tavern.
What’s your favorite day trip on the East Coast? Let us know @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)