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12 Delightful Day Trips from NYC by Train

12 Delightful Day Trips from NYC by Train

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Are you visiting New York City but might want to add some day trips to your NYC itinerary? Check out these amazing day trips from NYC that are totally worth the effort!
This list of day trips from NYC by train was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Heading to New York City on a return visit or staying for a while and want to explore places beyond the city? 

Taking day trips from NYC by train is the best idea!

New York has a couple of great train stations which make leaving the city super easy. Renting a car to venture on day trips out of NYC is the quickest way to a stress headache but travel nowhere far in the city’s traffic.

Plus, there are lots of fun day trips from NYC you can take. No matter whether you want to hit the beach, enjoy a New England fall, see another East Coast city, or walk around a college town, there are tons of New York day trips to choose from.

Here are lots of NYC day trip ideas you can take by train and easily visit within three hours of the city! 

Don’t have time to read a bunch of New York City blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting NYC with kids.

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12 of the Best Day Trips from NYC by Train You Should Take

Day Trip to Hamptons from NYC

While spending a summer in a luxurious Hamptons villa might be an experience your bank balance can’t stretch to, a day trip to Hamptons from NYC is totally doable.

Image of Montauk Lighthouse and beach, Long Island, New York, USA.
The Hamptons is a dreamy day trip from NYC.

You’ll leave the city fog and feel refreshed relaxing on the beaches and walking through the tree-lined streets of upmarket Hampton neighborhoods. There are lots of independent coffee shops and casual beachside bars for cheaper eats.

If you have a little more cash to splash, you can rent a boat for an hour or the day too.

How To Get From NYC to the Hamptons by Train

There are multiple places in the Hamptons with train stations including Montauk, East Hampton, Southampton, Westhampton, and Hampton Bays. But one of the closest and best for day trips from NYC is Westhampton.

From New York’s Penn Station, you can take any Long Island Rail Road service to Jamaica Station in Queens which depart every eight minutes. Some examples are the Babylon Branch and Hempstead Branch Services. 

Then, take another Long Island Rail Road Service heading to Montauk but hop off the train after a one hour and 40-minute journey at Westhampton Station. These trains leave around every two hours but there is one direct train from Penn Station to Westhampton Station every day.

Altogether, the journey should take no longer than two hours and 20 minutes and tend to cost no more than $30.50 for a single journey, often much less.

NYC to Hudson Valley Day Trip (for Fall)

Want to enjoy fall day trips from NYC by train to witness the natural gold, crimson, and burnt orange country parks for yourself?

You absolutely can! Just head up the Hudson Valley.

Image of Hudson River valley in Autumn with colorful mountain and Bridge over Hudson River.
The Hudson River Valley is gorgeous in the fall.

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in Croton-on-Hudson is an annual fall event where thousands of carved pumpkins are lit up. It’s a great day trip option with kids. 

How To Get From NYC to the Hudson Valley by Train

From Grand Central Terminal, get a direct Hudson Line/Metro-North Railroad train to Croton-Harmon Station. It’s a 20-minute walk or short car ride to The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze.

This journey takes around 70-80 minutes and departs very frequently. Train tickets for single journeys start from around $13.

Day Trip to Long Branch, NJ from NYC (for the Beach)

Most people with some spare time in their NYC itinerary for a beach day head to Coney Island.

But it can get a little crowded on the weekends!

Image of Clouds over the New Jersey beach at Long Branch
Enjoy a beach day in Long Branch, New Jersey

One of the best beach day trips from NYC by train is to Long Branch in New Jersey. This boardwalk beach with soft, yellow sand is almost two miles long (living up to its name!) with lots of restaurants and amenities within easy reach.

How To Get From NYC to Long Branch by Train

From Penn Station, take a direct NJCL service to Long Branch Station. These services depart approximately every 50 minutes, take just over 90 minutes and cost around $10 – $16.

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    NYC to Philadelphia Day Trip

    Injecting some educational (yet fun!) time into your NYC trip might be a little tricky, but not if you take a day trip to Philadelphia.

    It’s one of the best places to visit outside of New York with your school-age kids. And they have a TON of cool Boston tours for families.

    Panoramic picture of Philadelphia skyline and Schuylkill river, PA, USA.
    Philadelphia is a cool NYC day trip.

    See the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Eastern State Penitentiary Museum. Oh, and try a cheesesteak for lunch washed down with an ice cream soda, of course!

    How To Get From NYC to Philadelphia by Train

    Whereas a historical day trip to Boston from NYC by train would be an eight-hour round trip, Amtrak day trips from NYC to Philadelphia are less than three.

    From Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station, take a direct Amtrak service to William H. Gray III 30th Street station in Philadelphia. This journey takes no more than 90 minutes, departs roughly every 30 minutes, and costs as little as $10.

    Day Trip to Washington DC from NYC

    One of the other great options for day trips from NYC by train if you want to visit another big city is Washington DC.

    Image of US Capitol over blue sky, Washington DC
    Washington, DC is an easy day trip from NYC by train.

    Book your timed tickets for the Washington Monument in advance. Find a bike or scooter rental so you can whiz around the White House, Lincoln Memorial, and all the other cool sights on the National Mall in one day.

    Take advantage of the free Smithsonian museums too! You can pack so much into a one-day DC trip if you’re savvy.

    How To Get From NYC to Washington DC by Train

    Although a one-day trip from NYC to DC isn’t much time, it’s a great way to get a taster of another East Coast city and you couldn’t choose anywhere better than the capital.

    From Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station, take a direct Acela Amtrak service to Washington Union Station. These trains depart every hour and take less than three hours. Ticket prices are usually $20 or less for cabin seats.

    NYC to Greenwich, CT Day Trip

    If you’re looking for Connecticut day trips from NYC, you’d be hard-pressed to find one better than Greenwich.

    Image of Boats anchored in the bay - Greenwich, Connecticut
    Greenwich is the ultimate coastal day trip from New York City.

    This delightful coastal town is super close to New York by train and has a beautiful harbor with lots of nice parks like Greenwich Point Park.

    It also has great restaurants and makes for a relaxing day out for couples or families with babies or younger kids.

    How To Get From NYC to Greenwich by Train

    From Grand Central Terminal, get a direct Metro-North Railroad service to Greenwich station. This is one of the best and quickest day trips near NYC as the journey takes less than one hour.

    The service departs every 30 minutes and tickets cost between $10 – $22.

    Day Trip to Princeton, NJ from NYC

    Some of the best day trips from NYC by train are to historic college towns. 

    Many of the great things to do in the city of Princeton are on campus. Visit the Gothic University Chapel and the Princeton University Art Museum.

    Image of the Princeton Battlefield Monument
    Don’t miss the Princeton Battlefield Monument.

    The Princeton Battlefield is a Revolutionary War site too, so there are tons to do here for history buffs.

    How To Get From NYC to Princeton by Train

    From Penn Station, hop on a direct NJ Transit train to Princeton Junction. These services depart every 30 minutes and only take anywhere from 45 to 80 minutes, so they are short trips from NYC. Ticket prices are, on average, $31 for this journey.

    NYC to Poughkeepsie, NY Day Trip

    Also one of the best fall New York City day trips, Poughkeepsie is a beautiful city to visit to escape the skyscrapers of the big city.

    Take the Walkway Over the Hudson over the Hudson River from Poughkeepsie or kayak along it. There are tons of great restaurants overlooking the river where you’ll either see a lush green landscape in summer or a multicolored marvel in fall.

    How To Get From NYC to Poughkeepsie by Train

    While a day trip to Niagara Falls from NYC by train is almost impossible, Poughkeepsie is one of the next best day trips from NYC if you want to visit upstate New York.

    From Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station, get a direct Amtrak train to Poughkeepsie station. These services depart every hour and the journey takes around 90 minutes.

    Or, from Grand Central Terminal, get a Hudson Line train to Poughkeepsie station which also departs frequently but takes two hours. Tickets cost around $30 – $40.

    Day Trip to New Haven, CT Day Trip

    Another of the best NYC day trips by train is to New Haven, Connecticut which is the home of Yale University.

    Image of Yale university buildings in spring blue sky in New Haven, CT USA
    Walk around Yale University on a trip to New Haven.

    Visit the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History with kids or the New Haven Museum to learn more about the city’s local history.

    Like any shore city, it has a beautiful harbor and lots of city parks like the West River Memorial Park.

    How To Get From NYC to New Haven by Train

    From Grand Central Terminal, get a direct Metro-North Railroad service to New Haven. This service departs every 30 minutes and takes roughly two hours. Tickets can cost as little as €17.

    NYC to Baltimore, MD Day Trip

    With seafood restaurants selling fresh local crab and historic harbor neighborhoods, Baltimore in Maryland is one of the best day trips from New York.

    Image of Baltimore, Maryland, USA cityscape at Mt. Vernon and the Washington Monument.
    Baltimore is an easy day trip from New York City.

    Fort McHenry is the birthplace of the US national anthem and the National Aquarium is in Baltimore too.

    How To Get From NYC to Baltimore by Train

    From Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station, get a direct Acela Amtrak train to Baltimore Penn Station. This service departs every 30 minutes and lasts anywhere from two hours and 20 minutes to two hours and 45 minutes.

    Tickets for this journey can cost as little as $15.

    Day Trip to Wilmington, DE from NYC

    One of the best NYC day trips is visiting Wilmington, Delaware. It’s perfect if you want to tick off a new state and check out somewhere a little underrated.

    Image of Saturated early morning light hits the buildings and architecture of downtown Wilmington Delaware
    Don’t underestimate a trip to Wilmington, Delaware.

    Wilmington was home to the powerful DuPont family. You can visit their former Georgian house and the Hagley Museum which has exhibits dedicated to their legacy. 

    Neighborhoods around Brandywine Creek are beautiful, including the creek’s namesake park and zoo.

    How To Get From NYC to Wilmington by Train

    From Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station, hop on a direct Acela Amtrak train to Wilmington station. This service leaves every 30 minutes and only takes around 90 minutes. Tickets cost as little as $10 for this journey.

    NYC to Harriman State Park Day Trip

    If you’re looking for good day trips from NYC for outdoor activities, the Harriman State Park is super close to the city in upstate New York.

    Autumn Foliage in Harriman State Park
    Harriman State Park is especially gorgeous in the fall.

    There are tons of hiking trails like the Reeves Brook Trail and lakes like Lake Sebago where you can sail or kayak. 

    Harriman State Park even has vineyards, waterfalls, and you can visit part of the Appalachian Trail too!

    How To Get From NYC to Harriman State Park by Train

    From Penn Station, take an NJ Transit service to Secaucus Junction which takes around ten minutes. Then, hop on a connecting train to Sloatsburg station at the southern entrance to the state park which lasts around one hour.

    Only a handful of these services leave every day, so check timetables in advance to avoid disappointment. Tickets usually cost no more than $13.

    Day Trips from NYC by Train Wrap Up

    While NYC skiing day trips and short trips to faraway cities like Boston might be impossible by train, there are a dozen more day trips from NYC by train that are.

    All of these one-day trips from New York City are fun, nearby, and easy to reach by rail.

    Whether you’re traveling with kids or not, you’re sure to find day trips from New York are the best way to shake up your big city vacation so that it’s an even bigger adventure.

    Looking for more NYC travel resources? Check out my 4-day NYC itinerary, best NYC hotels for families, how to save money in New York City, New York City travel tips, NYC tours for families, and kid-friendly 7-day NYC itinerary!

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