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.
Popular NYC Tours/Activities
- Summit One Vanderbilt (this is the coolest observation tower in NYC)
- NYC Tour (this one drives around to the highlights and goes to the Statue of Liberty)
- Museum of Ice Cream (perfect for kids who love treats and parents who love taking photos)
- American Museum of Natural History (there are tons of interesting exhibits for kids)
- Flytographer Photo Shoot (this is an easy and affordable NYC photography option)
Kid-Friendly NYC Hotels
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.