Attention, procrastinators. If you didn’t make any Labor Day weekend plans, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few last-minute weekend getaways that, even if you have trouble booking a room, still make for easy day trips.
Skip the crowds in the Hamptons and head to the North Fork this long weekend. Greenport, a quaint harbor town, offers a laid-back vacation with beaches, waterfront dining and proximity to Long Island’s many wineries, including Duck Walk, Pindar and Raphael — in under three hours from the city. To eat, head to the Frisky Oyster or Scrimshaw for seafood, the Salamander General Store for Southern comfort or the Little Creek Oyster Farm & Market on the Peconic Bay to shuck your own oysters. To stay, the Greenporter Hotel in the heart of Greenport Village has limited availability, with rates starting at $199 a night if you book online.
Storm King Art Center
Plan an outdoor excursion around the Storm King Art Center, found just one hour north of the city in New Windsor in the Hudson Valley. Rent bikes to explore all that this massive sculpture park has to offer, including its famed collection of 100-plus sculptures on 500 acres of fields and hills. Pack a picnic or head to the Storm King Café for sandwiches and salads. To stay, try a local bed-and-breakfast such as the nearby Caldwell House, which has limited availability this weekend starting at $195 a night, or Cromwell Manor Historic Inn, starting at $185 a night.
Pick your passion: from swimming and fishing to camping and hiking, you can find it at Connecticut’s largest shoreline park, Hammonasset Beach State Park, located under two hours from the city. After a day in the sun, kick back at Madison “hidden gem” RJ Café and Bistro, for light dinner options and the not-to-be-missed cupcakes. To stay, the Tidewater Inn B&B is within walking distance of the village and beach and has limited availability starting at $125 a night.
FUN FOR ALL AGES:
Whether you’re planning a getaway for your friends or your family, you can find something to suit your needs two hours away in Atlantic City. From the South Jersey beaches and famed Boardwalk to attractions like the Atlantic City Aquarium, Absecon Lighthouse and trolley tours, you can pack your weekend. Still need more to do? Take a surfing lesson, rent bikes, parasail or head to Renault Winery Resort & Golf for a guided wine tour. And, of course, there’s always the casinos if you need a break from the sun. To stay, consider a hotel package. At the Chelsea boutique hotel, for instance, the “Life’s a Beach” deal includes a $30 dining credit, beach service, two cocktails at the new Chelsea Beach Bar starting at $189 a night, while the “PLAYcation” family package includes beach service and toys and free meals for kids, starting at $177 a night.
ON THE BUCKET LIST:
If you’ve never been to the City of Brotherly love, here’s your chance. Hop on a bus or train and in an hour and a half you can be exploring the essential Philly, from the Liberty Bell (grab a pint at the Independence Beer Garden while you’re there), authentic cheesesteaks at Dalessandro’s or Pat’s, the impressive collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (watch out for the “Rocky” imitators going up the 72 stone steps) and Rodin Museum and the foodie and amateur photographer heaven that is the Reading Terminal Market. This being the weekend, make brunch plans at one of the city’s hot spots, like Chhaya on East Passyunk Avenue, known for its indulgent waffles and organic coffee selection. To stay, go central with the DoubleTree by Hilton Philadelphia in the Center City, with rooms starting at $189 a night, or the charming Morris House Hotel, starting at $149 a night.
New Haven, Connecticut
Hop on Metro-North for this accessible town, which is close enough for a day trip or overnight stay. Explore the architecture and art gallery of Yale University, tour the resting place of such notable people as Noah Webster at Grove Street Cemetery and shop the Chapel Street boutiques. For some Shakespeare in the park, a free production of “Twelfth Night” plays through Sunday at 8 p.m. at Edgerton Park. To eat, head to the City Seed Wooster Market on Saturday (look for the yellow Cheese Truck too for grilled cheeses) and try New Haven-style pizza at such famed spots as Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana and Sally’s Apizza. Pack your swimsuit — the Sandy Point Beach and Bradley Point Park & Beach in nearby West Haven are great for swimming, as well as cycling. Available options include Study @ Yale (from $249 Friday, $209 Saturday and $189 Sunday), in Yale’s Arts Campus and the New Haven Hotel (from $119 Friday and Sunday and $139 Saturday) in downtown New Haven.
Asbury Park, New Jersey
This quirky beach town on the northern stretch of the Jersey Shore is just an hour from NYC, making it ideal for a day spent on the sand if you dont’ want to pony up for a hotel. When not lounging on the beach, walk the boardwalk, get lunch or dinner at Porta Pizza and see who’s playing at the Stone Pony, famous for launching the careers of both Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. Available options include the boutique Hotel Tides (from $225), which features a spa and pool; the grand, beachside Berkeley (from $199 for Friday and $269 for Sunday), which has a pool and tiki bar; and Empress Hotel (from $279 for Friday and Sunday), which also has poolside tiki huts and a dance club, Paradise.