We love Brooklyn, but sometimes to appreciate the charms of NYC, you need a break. So, to aid in your imminent end-of-summer planning, I've picked my 5 favorite getaways that are located just outside the city.
1. For the Outdoorsy-Type: Croton Point Park; Croton-on-Hudson, NY
What To Do: Camping, picnicing, boating, fishing, and hiking are all at your fingertips at the Croton Point Park. Take a cooler and head out for the day or stay overnight at one of their cabins or BYO tent.
Getting There: Rent a Car and be there in 1.5 hours (which is advised, and yes, it's a little more than an hour) or Metro North to Croton Harmon + 1.3 mi walk
How Much?: A 6-person cabin will run you $75 or a tent site for $50, plus the cost of rental car and road snacks. Free to visit.
FIPS Pro Tip: Wait to stock up on groceries and picnic supplies until you're close by. There's a Shoprite grocery store in nearby Croton.
2. For the Artsy-Type: The DIA; Beacon, NY
What To Do: This old Nabisco printing factory is now a hidden gem in the otherwise quaint town of Beacon. Spend your day surrounded by large-scale works by Richard Serra, Donald Judd, Richard Flavin, and Andy Warhol, or check out their long-term collection and constantly changing current exhibitions. Have a picnic on the grounds or take a walk to downtown Beacon if you have time.
Getting There: 1 Hr 10 min on Metro North to Beacon Station. The musuem is a 2-5 minute walk.
How Much?: If you use MNR's One Day Getaways deal, $31.50 includes your Metro North ticket AND your admission to the DIA: Beacon.
FIPS Pro Tip: Before or after your trip to the museum, take a minute to walk down Main St. and grab a coffee or a cold brew at the Bank Square Coffeehouse. Excellent quality, comfy couches, and a patio to soak in the Hudson Valley air.
3. For the Shopping-Type: Woodbury Commons; Central Valley, NY
What To Do: This is the mother of all outlet malls. I mean, if throwing money at something is how you want to beat the hot-ass weather, I can't think of a better place to do it. Woodbury Commons has everything from discount Gucci/YSL to Ed Hardy/Uggs (errrg...), so yeah, there's something for everyone. The weekends can get pretty dicey, so taking a mid-week "personal day" with 5 of your best gal pals might just be worth it.
Getting There: Rent a car and embark on a short 1 hour drive, OR you can brave Metro North Railroad and use one of their One-Day Getaways...BUT remember, you might be overloaded with bags, so a rental might be the way to go.
FIPS Pro Tip: Check out the sales & events section on the Woodbury Commons website. That way you can plan a trip during your favorite brand's sale. Also, pro tip #2...bring patience and sharp elbows on a Saturday.
4. For the Surfer-Type: Rockaway Beach; Far Rockaway, NY
What To Do: Get over your snobbery of NYC-area beaches and get out to Far Rockaway. There's plenty of sand, sun, and (potentially) non-stinging baby jellyfish in your future. After spending a few hours becoming a less translucent version of yourself, head to the boardwalk for an ice-cold Michelada at the biergarten and a fresh lobster roll from Motorboat and the Big Banana. Vegan bakery Babycakes features their yummy sweets for a mid-afternoon nosh on the boardwalk as well. Also: do not go to Rockaway Taco. Not because the food sucks, but because I can't wait in line for the best fish tacos and watermelon juice any longer than I already do. So let me have this one.
Getting There: 45 minutes on the A train to Broad Channel and then transfer to the shuttle train...just follow everyone else that's sporting swim gear. My favorite stop is 98st-Playland.
How Much?: Round-trip subway fare ($4.50).
FIPS Pro Tip: Check out the Rockaway Beach Club's full guide to all there is to see at Rockaway Beach this season.
5. For the Historian-Type: Fort Hancock; Sandy Hook, NJ
What To Do: By bike or on foot, explore Fort Hancock's 100 buildings and structures left from the 1890's until 1974. While you're there, take time to see the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, which remains the nation's oldest continuously operated lighthouse. This historic piece of property was defended by British loyalists to confirm safe passage of British ships into NYC during the American Revolution. You can sign up for a ranger-led bike tour or explore the grounds by yourself.
Getting There: During the summer, take the Seastreak ferry to Sandy Hook, NJ or rent a car.
How Much?: Ferry cost is $45 for adults and $17 per child.
FIPS Pro Tip: If you go with a history nerd, but don't share the same passions...head to the Sandy Hook beach to catch a few rays while they explore each nook and cranny of the fort.
Any other favorites, Fipsters?