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New York City NYC Moving Guide

9 Car-Free Summer Getaways from NYC

Summertime is around the corner, which means one thing for most NYC locals –– ‘tis the season to escape New York City. If you're a New Yorker aching to leave the city on weekends but stuck without a set of wheels, you're in luck. Even if you live in the Big Apple and don't own a car, or haven't passed that driver's test yet, getting out of the city by bus or train couldn't be simpler.

From the beach to the mountains, and every type of destination in between, you have a long list of places ready and waiting for you. These nine summer getaways from NYC will surely provide the R&R that you'll be looking for this summer.

1. City Island in The Bronx, a quaint fishing village

boats docked in the water at City Island, Bronx
Image via Doug K./Flickr

Yes, I know. City Island is technically in New York City –– it's in the Bronx, after all. But, you'll feel miles away from any noise or urban scene in this seaside oasis. City Island feels more like a quaint fishing village than it does a New York neighborhood. Take the 6 train to Pelham Bay and the Bx29 bus to City Island. Travel time is about 75-90 minutes.

2. Boston, MA, for a charming New England getaway

people walking around Harvard in Boston, MA
Image via Tracy Kaler

Boston is a city, but it's a much smaller city than New York, and spending a weekend in this New England hub can give you enough opportunity to recharge. Cambridge, where Harvard is located, feels like a small college town, and, historic Beacon Hill is one of the most charming neighborhoods you'll ever lay eyes on. For less than $30 round trip, you can ride the Chinatown Bus, only to arrive in the heart of Boston.

3. Rhinebeck, NY, in the picturesque Hudson Valley

a town street in Rhinebeck, NY
Image via Axel D./Flickr

This picturesque village in the Hudson Valley boasts shops, restaurants, galleries, and bed & breakfasts. Ride the Amtrak Empire Train to the Rhinecliff/Kingston Station, and take a taxi to downtown Rhinebeck, which is about two miles away. The other option is to ride the Shortline Bus. Departing twice daily, the trip takes about three hours. Either way, you'll adore all this Duchess County town has to offer.

4. Beach Getaway to Fire Island, NY

a bike parked outside of a lighthouse

If sunsets and sugar-sand beaches aren't enough, the best part of spending a weekend on this slender island off the coast of Long Island is the lack of traffic. No vehicles are permitted on Fire Island, so you'll revert to a simpler time as you make your way on foot, by ferry and bicycle. Take the LIRR to Babylon, Patchogue, or Bellport (depending on what Fire Island town you're heading to), and then board the Fire Island Ferry. Another great option is the NYC Beach Bus, an express shuttle that departs from Union Square (9 a.m.) and Williamsburg (9:15 a.m.) and leaves Fire Island at 5 p.m. to head back to NYC.

5. Asbury Park, NJ, a fun and funky beach town

view of the boardwalk and beach at Asbury Park

New Jersey Transit trains are clean and comfy, for public transportation. Make your way to Penn Station and escape to this fun and funky beach town. Take the North Jersey Coast Line, and cabs should be waiting at the station once you arrive in Asbury Park. Trains run often, especially during the summer months.

6. Mildford, PA, in the Pocono Mountains

aerial view of Mildford PA in the Pocono Mountains

You won't need a vehicle to see the highlights of this little Poconos town. You can easily navigate the downtown on foot and getting there is a breeze on the Shortline/CoachUSA bus. Be surrounded by mountains yet have access to delicious food, antiques, and art galleries. Milford is a little bit of small city meets the country and travel time is less than two and a half hours.

7. Relax along the Coastline of Mystic, CT

view of boats docked in the water and houses in the background in Mystic, CT
Image via Bex/Flickr

Hop the Amtrak to this charming town along the Connecticut coastline –– the ideal spot to unwind and de-stress. Browse the cute shops; peruse the Mystic Seaport, and grab a pizza slice at the world-famous Mystic Pizza. Since there's plenty to do in the walkable downtown area, you won't need a car.

8. Laid back getaway to Montauk, NY

people walking on the beach in Montauk, NY
Image via nydiscovery7/Flickr

Located at the very tip of Long Island, Montauk is considered the Hamptons but is more laid back than most of the other towns along the South Fork. Travel time on the Jitney exceeds three hours, and depending on the time of day and where you board, can be as much as four hours. Meanwhile, if you opt for the LIRR, the ride will still be about three hours. Still, don't let the commute stop you from visiting this beautiful hamlet ––also known as "The End" by locals –– characterized by jagged cliffs, serene beaches, and shingled houses. Sounds heavenly because it is.

9. Atlantic City, NJ, for beach time and gambling

view of the beach and the casinos in Atlantic City, NJ
Image via A.C./Flickr

A town known for gaming, beaches, and the country's first boardwalk, AC is easily accessed by taking the Greyhound Bus or the Hampton Jitney. Considered the "Gambling Capital of the East Coast," you can try your hand at Blackjack, Roulette, or if you're not a big spender, the slot machines. Skip the games altogether and relax, stroll or bike on the boards, shop, dine, and, most importantly, soak up the sun along the Atlantic coastline. Trip time from NYC is about two and a half hours.

About the author

Tracy Kaler

Tracy Kaler is a ballet dancer turned interior designer turned lifestyle and travel writer who blogs at tracysnewyorklife.com. A former Atlantan, you can now find her byline in The Telegraph, IN New York Magazine, TravelMag, National Geographic, Mabuhay Magazine, am New York and others. When she's not glued to her laptop, you'll find her wandering the streets of New York City or off discovering another part of the planet.

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