8 Incredible Weekend Getaways from NYC by Train

Without a shadow of a doubt, New York City provides endless landmarks, events, and tastes for a person to experience. Sometimes, it seems as if a single lifetime wouldn’t be enough to check out all there is to be seen in this expansive metropolis. But at other times, people simply have the urge to leave the urban jungle behind and explore the world outside the Big Apple. If possible, it’s prudent to leave your car behind as it’s more often than not just another nuisance to deal with, which explains the sudden spike in interest for weekend getaways from NYC by train.

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Since there are so many spectacular places to behold in the surroundings of the great city (and beyond), it might be difficult to pinpoint what it is exactly you’d like to see. And don’t worry about driving there – railroad connectivity among all these places is excellent, enabling you to leave your car and all the potential troubles and responsibilities behind. After all, that is the only way you’ll fully enjoy your weekend getaway.

Sleepy Hollow

A Gate Sign at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Most people have at least a vague idea of what Sleepy Hollow is all about. After all, the topic has received a lot of media attention and has been adapted both as a movie and a TV series.

Washington Irving’s spooky ‘Legend of the Sleepy Hollow’ has garnered a lot of attention over the years, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that people like to visit the scary village of Sleepy Hollow itself. Among other macabre places you can see in the village is Sleepy Hollow Cemetery where Irving is buried. Not too far from it is the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow, which, besides looking incredibly menacing just like the rest of town, also displays 17th-century Dutch architecture.

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Originally regarded as North Tarrytown, in 1996 the village of Sleepy Hollow changed its name to what it is today, honoring its importance in American literary culture. Besides going on spooky adventures, you can also visit Philipsburg Manor House with its water mill, a non-profit museum, and responsibility of Historic Hudson Valley. Kykuit is a sumptuous mansion of the Rockefeller family, located a bit eastwards from Sleepy Hollow.

Getting here by train: Hudson Line of Metro-North Railroad is the way to go. From New York’s Grand Central Terminal you need about 3 minutes to get to Tarrytown station on the Hudson Line. Philipse Manor (not to be confused with Philipsburg Manor House) is the next station, and you could also get off here. Sleepy Hollow is equally far from both of these stations. A one-way ticket is $14.75 during peak hours, and only if you buy the ticket beforehand.

Saratoga Springs

Horse Racing at Saratoga Springs

So, you might be wondering, what is it that you’ll find at Saratoga Springs? What is it that makes this destination of the greatest weekend getaways from NYC by train to be had?

The short answer is – hot springs! You didn’t see that coming, did you? But, besides being a haven of hydrotherapy, which coincides with the reason why most people choose to head this way, Saratoga Springs also offers more eventful days, especially if you’re keen on horse racing. Spas aren’t for everyone, so if you need something livelier, go for a round of golf!

Ultimately, Saratoga Casino Hotel has some interesting things to offer those with a fling for gambling. On the other hand, if you have problems with controlling your gambling budget, you might want to avoid Saratoga Springs altogether.

Getting here by train: Take a train from New York Penn Station to the Amtrak Station in Saratoga Springs. The ticket will cost you about $58 and brace yourselves for a long, long ride. You’ll need at least 6 hours to cover the 160 miles to Saratoga.

Beacon

View of Hudson River from Mount Beacon

One of the most famous weekend getaways from NYC by train, Beacon is sure to appeal to a wide variety of people.

Thanks to its easy accessibility by train and a rich, artsy scene, this fine city of the Dutchess County is often visited by New Yorkers looking for a more indie experience. The fact that Beacon is tucked away in natural greatness of Mid-Hudson Valley only propagates its charm further and allowing for an influx of tourists to come in.

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You might be an art connoisseur aching to spend the day at Dia: Beacon, the greatest contemporary art museum around. Established in the former Nabisco factory, the museum makes good use of the natural light breaching the top of the facility. It really makes you appreciate the beauty of this place that much more.

To the south of town lies Hudson Highlands State Park. It is the single most gorgeous piece of land this side of the USA, possessing intense hiking trails that take you to Mount Beacon. That is the place to be if you’d like a history lesson in the American Revolution, but for that occasion, you might also want to stop by the Bannerman Castle Trust.

Getting here by train: Also on Metro-North Railroad’s Hudson Line, Beacon is quite easy to reach. It is located about 59 miles from New York Grand Central Terminal, a ride of about an hour and a half. One-way ticket at peak hours is $23. As always, don’t buy your ticket on the train as the price goes up by at least $5, buy it online before the trip.

Harriman State Park

Located at only 30 miles from the city of New York is the second largest park in the state, and quite easily accessed at that.

With 47,527 acres of pure, unspoiled nature, Harriman State Park is understandably often frequented by people from the city. Whether you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of such a huge metropolis or to conquer the 200 miles of hiking trails of differing levels of endurance required, Harriman is the best place to be. Not only are there endless hiking routes for you to take, but with 31 pristine lakes to come across, Lake Sebago being one of the more prominent and massive ones, an entire weekend of healthy excursions is guaranteed.

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Do some swimming or boating, set up a camp and enjoy the harmony of being in nature. It’s up to you really! Remember that there are 18 miles of Appalachian trail cutting through the State Park, as you will no doubt want to conquer that as well. If you happen to be stricken with longing for civilization at any point in time, remember that the town of Harriman is right next door. Stay in a luxurious hotel with wi-fi to recuperate from the harshness of the wilderness.

Getting here by train: This time, you won’t be taking the Hudson Line. Instead, hop on a train covering Metro-North’s Port Jervis Line. From Hoboken Terminal, there are 45 miles to cover, and you’ll be in Harriman in about an hour.

Hudson

Artistic Rendition of Hudson River, New York

As anyone who’s ever been to Hudson will tell you, this city on the eastern bank of the Hudson River is a perfect amalgamation of old and new.

What used to be a quaint little colonial town set upon the most picturesque landscape of the entire valley is now transforming, much like the rest of the towns of the Columbia County. A wave of gentrification has swept across it, leaving a blossoming trail of restaurants and boutique shops in its wake. Places like Fish & Game and Lili & Loo are best representatives of the above, but the story doesn’t end here.

Hudson has also seen an upheaval of arts and galleries where these said pieces of art can be exhibited. Carrie Hadad Gallery has gained more than a small portion of attention over the last couple of years, and Art House Hudson is not lagging behind at all. For that reason, you can think of Hudson as the best possible combination of more historical buildings that predated the world we know today with what seems to be the latest trend of the western world.

Getting here by train: The distance from New York to Hudson is not to be sneezed at – 127 miles! You can consider this to be out of range for your regular Metro-North Railroad, so you’ll have to take Amtrak. Expect at least a two-hour long journey, that’s going to cost you no less than $39 in one way.

Princeton

The University Building in Princeton, New Jersey

Even though the city of Princeton, New Jersey has become synonymous with Princeton University, which is in itself not a bad thing, but regardless of it, there are still more than a handful of interesting places to visit and things to do.

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For starters, take a tour of Grounds for Sculpture. With only a $15 entrance fee, you’ll be able to enjoy the most unusual array of artsy displays that range from unique architecture to outdoor decorations and aquatic wonders. Morven Museum and Garden will introduce you to the Stockton family and their heritage, while Landau/Einstein Museum will boggle the mind with a combination of wool and, well, Einstein!

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Moreover, there are dozens of inns and gardens to visit, so choose Princeton as your weekend getaway if you mainly plan on relaxing, with just a touch of education in local and national history.

Getting here by train: In order to get to Princeton by train, you’ll need to use the services of Amtrak. Your destination is Princeton Junction Station on Amtrak’s Northeastern Corridor. Start by going to New York’s Penn Station, and prepare to pay an average of $30 for for an hour-long ride. You’ll be there before you even notice, and with minimal hassle.

Philadelphia

Cheesecake is a Specialty of the city of Philadelphia

The true beauty of the city of Philadelphia lies in its ability to mask its true nature of a megalopolis and instead masquerade as a picturesque town. It performs this feat so successfully, that many New Yorkers often opt for Philly as their number one destination of choice.

Considering how big Philadelphia really is, a weekend getaway is probably not going to be enough to see even half of it. If you’re with children, start your journey by checking out the famous Philadelphia Zoo. For a window into the history of this great city, make sure to stop by the Liberty Bell and absorb its message: ‘Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.’

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Let’s talk about food now. Yes, we’ve skipped a lot of incredible sights, but it’s not like we could discuss all of them now. After all, Philadelphia has somewhat of a reputation as being the cheesecake capital of the world, so it’s not like it doesn’t matter. You’ll have more trouble finding a restaurant that doesn’t serve cheesecake than vice versa!

Getting here by train: There are two options to choose from when traveling to Philly by train. You can either take Amtrak or NJTransit. You need to get from A to B obviously, your A being New York Penn Station, while B is Philly’s 30th Street Station. The 96 miles that you have to cover will take about an hour and a half, costing no less than $54.

Lake Placid

Unlike the previous entries on our list, Lake Placid actually puts serious distance between itself and the Big Apple.

However, as any New Yorker will tell you, Lake Placid is an absolute daydream that will really make you appreciate deciding to come here. The lake is not just simply beautiful, but it’s also rather huge with 2,170 acres of water that goes 50 feet deep at some points. Located in the Adirondack Mountains north of New York, by the village of Lake Placid, you will come to understand the true meaning of raw, natural beauty.

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Twice in history was Lake placid a host of WInter Olympics, so this destination will particularly appeal to those looking to enjoy some outdoor activities. Go biking, rock climbing, and rappeling at Ausable Chasm and put your limits to the test on Whiteface Mountain chair-lift ride.

Getting here by train: Get from New York to the nearest station with the help of Amtrak, which is quite a harrowing journey of almost 8 hours. Naturally, the ticket price of $95 reflects this, so make sure you really want to go here.