By Grace Benninghoff
Best Fall Family Day Trips
It may be hard to believe, but winter is quickly approaching, which means now is the perfect time to take advantage of the lingering warm weather and get out of the city for a fall family day trip. Catch some fall foliage, go for a hike, or just enjoy a walk along the beach, there are endless opportunities for fall family day trips near the city!
Psst…Before you hit the road, make sure you have a reliable car seat. Check out 11 Best Car Seats for New York City 2020.
Cold Spring, NY
This cute riverside village is just about an hour north of the city, if you don’t have access to a car, no worries! Metro North stops right in the center of town. This place is full of cute little stores, including the Cold Spring General Store, which has lots of farm fresh produce along with local hot sauces, pickles and more. Also within walking distance of the Metro North stop are lots of hiking trails in Hudson Highlands State Park. While hiking, check out the Ruins of the Cornish Estate, what’s left of what was once an immaculate mansion from the early 20th century. Another highlight of the state park is Bannerman’s Castle, which is located on a little island in the Hudson River and is open for tours.
This small community tucked alongside the Hudson is accessible from the city by train as well. Beacon is home to many up-and-coming artists and is even host to an art gallery, Dia:Beacon, which is currently open for those with an advanced reservation. The gallery sits on more than 30 acres of land on the banks of the Hudson and curates regular special collections. Another great stop for art lovers is Hudson Beach Glass, a converted old firehouse that now casts and sells glass art. If hiking is your thing, check out Mount Beacon Park, there are trails for all fitness levels, but hiking to the peak of Mount Beacon is a fun trek for those who want a challenge. For dinner, check out the Towne Crier Cafe, which is host to live music and delicious American food.
This charming little town sits on the west side of the Hudson River, north of the city. The town’s history stretches back to the 17th century, so classic victorian homes are characteristic of Nyack. Among the gorgeous old homes is the childhood home of the artist Edward Hopper. Edward Hopper House is open for tours, you can see the bedroom in which he began painting and wander the halls of the house where he spent the first 28 years of his life. For food, check out Art Cafe, which offers delicious Israeli cuisine inspired by the cafes of Tel Aviv. Check out Nyack Beach State Park for a dose of nature.
Long Beach, NY
If you’re looking for a beach weekend, Long Beach is the perfect spot to take your family! There is fishing along the pier, plenty of beach to walk along, and for those who don’t mind cold water, lots of fall surfing! Rent a board and wetsuit at Unsound Surf and catch some waves. If surfing is new for you, Skudin Surf offers lessons for kids and adults through the fall. After the beach, head to Nagahama Sushi for a fresh meal. For something for casual, or for a meal on the go, check out Lido Kosher Deli.
Gardiner is a cute mountain town about an hour and a half north of the city. This is a major rock climbing destination and a great place to pick up the sport. Home to High Xposure Adventures, an outdoor adventure company, they teach rock climbing lessons and lead guided trips out to The Gunks, which is a world-famous climbing spot right outside Gardiner. For food, check out Lomabardi’s Italian, which is open for take out during the pandemic, and for drinks Hudson Whiskey is the spot, this was the first distillery to open in New York state after prohibition. If you prefer an outdoor adventure but closer to the ground, Minnewaska State Park Preserve is home to lots of beautiful hiking trails.
This little town in eastern Pennsylvania is situated in the Lehigh Valley right along the river. It has lots of fun dining options like 1741 on the Terrace for a fancy date night, or The Bayou for cajun classics. For Dessert, check out Bethlehem Dairy Store for some delicious local ice cream. Bethlehem is also home to The Steelstacks, a 10-acre campus dedicated to arts, culture and education. The campus is set among the blast furnaces of the former Bethlehem Steel Plant, which makes a unique and fun experience. The National Museum of Industrial History is another gem of Bethlehem, this museum tells the story of the industrial revolution in America
City Island, NY
This island in the Long Island Sound is technically still part of the city, but you would never know it! This hidden gem features sprawling beaches, rocky shores and delicious seafood. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to walk a block without stumbling across a local seafood spot. City Island Lobster House has a beautiful outdoor dining space, and for a more casual vibe, The Original Crab Shanty is the spot to grab some fresh seafood. Spend a day relaxing at Orchard Beach before wandering around the island. This place is the perfect beach getaway but without the drive!
Cornwall on Hudson, NY
This gorgeous little village on the Hudson River has been around since the 1600s, it was named for its similarity to Cornwall, England. Situated on the bank of the river and surrounded by mountains, this is an idyllic escape from the city. Start the day with a hike in Storm King State Park, which offers unbeatable, sweeping views of the Hudson, there are a wide variety of hikes so whether you’re a novice or a seasoned hiker, you’re sure to find something that suits you. Then, stop by Brother Barbecue for local craft beers and comfort food. The village itself is a great place to walk around and explore too, full of cute little antique spots and local coffee shops. Take some time to check out the Storm King Art Center, a 500-acre outdoor sculpture park and museum.
Greenwich is another easily accessible spot just outside the city, the Metro North train drops you right on Greenwich Avenue, which offers tons of cute restaurants, high-end shopping and beautiful fall foliage this time of year. For a dose of nature, check out Greenwich Point Park, a 147-acre public beach, the park also features several beautiful historic buildings, saltwater fishing areas and a yacht club. Stop by Le Fat Poodle for a romantic french meal or for something more casual, catch a game and grab a beer at the OG Social Club.
Another hidden gem in the city, Riverdale is situated in the far northern corner of the Bronx and features windy leafy streets, adorable mom and pop shops, and nice views of the Harlem River. John F Kennedy’s childhood home is in Riverdale, as well as the Wave Hill Public Garden and Cultural Center, this gorgeous garden looks like something out of a movie and is great to bring kids, there is tons of room for them to play and lots of nooks and crannies to explore. Be sure to stop by Lloyd’s Carrot Cake for dessert!
This story first appeared on our sister publication newyorkfamily.com.