5 Road Trip Ideas from New York City

woman watching niagara falls

Sometimes all you need is a break from the hustle and bustle life of the city. This is the perfect time to remember that New York City isn’t all there is to see in the state.

There are many good upstate New York road trip destinations; it’s all just waiting for you to get there. So ready your car and invite your friends and family.

NYC to Niagara Falls road trip

We’re going on a road trip. These are 5 road trip ideas from New York to try on your next weekend.

1. Catskills from NYC Road Trip

The Catskills are 124 miles away from the city and are around a three-hour drive. Instead of tall skyscrapers, find yourself in the middle of the towering peaks of Catskills Mountain.

It’s a popular weekend getaway from the city and is a picturesque scenic drive. If you’re looking for a nice breath of fresh air, there’s loads of it here. You may also find yourself in the middle of an adventure. Explore the outdoors through hiking, biking, or kayaking.

Or spend time exploring the small towns surrounding the mountains, including Livingston Manor, Narrowsburg, Woodstock, and Delhi. It’s such a beautiful place during fall with all the fall colors!

Where to stay in the Catskills

2. Niagara Falls, New York, Road Trip

The fabled NYC to Niagra Falls road trip is 400 miles away from the city and a long 7-hour drive. You have plenty of stops along the way for hiking, picnics, or just taking in the view. Though if you’re set on seeing Niagara Falls before anything else, it’ll all be worth it.

Niagara Falls straddles the border between New York and Ontario, Canada. And though the Canadian side gets more tourists, this side of the falls is also a sight to behold. The massive and breathtaking roar of the three falls — American, Horseshoe, and Bridal Veil — is complemented by rainbows and mist.

It’s located in Niagara Falls State Park, where you can do many other outdoor activities. Some of the highlights along the way are the Letchworth State Park and Buffalo City.

Where to stay in Niagra Falls

3. Saratoga Springs from NYC

Saratoga Springs at Dusk

This New York road trip is 190 miles away from Manhattan and will take a three-hour drive. Saratoga Springs is known for its mineral springs (as you can see by their name) and their horses.

Yes, horses are a big thing here in Saratoga. One of their top destinations is the Saratoga Race Course. It’s a cultural and historical destination that’s just a step away from Albany and near Adirondack Park.

Thrilling Horse Race at the Saratoga Race Course
Thrilling Horse Race at the Saratoga Race Course

Another must-do stop on the way to the town is Overlook Mountain in Woodstock. You’re going to need to do some hiking, but you’ll be rewarded with a view of the Hudson River.

Overlook Mountain in Woodstock near Saratoga Springs
Overlook Mountain

Where to stay in Saratoga Springs

4. Finger Lakes Road Trip from NYC

Finger Lakes of New York
Finger Lakes

This road trip is 257 miles away from New York City and is a 5-hour drive. Although we only have 10 fingers, Finger Lakes has 11 lakes in its collection.

It’s a haven for nature lovers with a variety of things to do in the area. The region is famous for its lakes, wineries, and the great outdoors.

It’s also close to other nature spots and small, charming towns. Visit places like Ithaca, Geneva, and Keuka Lake. Keuka Lake by the west is a must-see stop during your road trip from NYC. It has fantastic wineries, and its lake is perfect for fishing.

If you’re a fan of wine, Finger Lakes has 120 vineyards for you to choose from, making it a great road trip from New York City for couples or a girls’ weekend. It’s going to be a full day (or days!) exploring the water, wines, and nature.

Where to stay in the Finger Lakes

There are many surrounding towns in Finger Lakes, so you have to decide what activities you want to do.

For a mix of everything, stay at Ithaca or Geneva, NY.

5. Adirondacks from NYC

Adironacks at sunset

This road trip from New York City is 270 miles away and a 5-hour drive.

A road trip to the Adirondacks could be a massive undertaking. The area is more than 9,000 square miles and over six million acres. These mountains reach the Canadian border and are just plain amazing. They have 46 peaks that go up to over 4,000 feet in height.

It’s split into twelve different regions that you could definitely explore on your road trip from NYC. They all have their outdoor adventures for you and are as diverse as they come. You won’t run out of things to do, nor would you run out of nature.

But if you’d just like to get the most important sights, here are the highlights:

Lake George

This is a family-friendly destination, and it’s the perfect spot in spring. You can go fishing, have some fun in the water in the Hudson River, and taste their sweet maple syrup.

Lake Placid New York Purple sky
Lake George, New York

Lake Placid

The top destination here in Adirondacks, Lake Placid offers fresh air, stunning mountain views, and a relaxing charming town. It’s one of the best New York road trip ideas.

Serene Lake Placid a weekend trip from NYC by car
Serene Lake Placid

Wild Center Museum

Located in the Tupper Lake region, this is the Natural History Museum of the area. Here, you can meet wildlife, be surrounded by forests, and go on the Wild Walk.

Looking for a west coast road trip adventure? Check out our 5 Road Trip Ideas for Your Next Trip