Spring Fling: Best NYC Weekend Getaways

Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast or a culture vulture, here are eight easy ways to escape the city this weekend

Monday, May 6, 2013  |  Updated 2:38 PM EDT
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Spring Fling: Best NYC Weekend Getaways

Heading out the The North Fork on Long Island to tour wineries is a great weekend escape.

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With so much already going on in our vibrant city, it's easy for New Yorkers to forget how many exciting escapes are only a quick drive away.

That said, spring in the northeast can be a tricky season to satiate your wanderlust. The snow has already melted off the ski slopes upstate while seaside resorts are still six weeks away from rolling out their beach towels.

Luckily, shoulder season doesn't need to keep you confined to the city on weekends. There are still plenty of fun trips, all accessible by car or train. From outdoor sculpture museums and mountaintop adventures to casinos and small cities, check out our eight favorite escapes.

Storm King Art Center
Just one hour north of NYC and located in the lush lower Hudson Valley, Storm King Art Center is home to over 100 impressive sculptures created by acclaimed artists, all carefully laid out over 500 pristine acres.

MASS MoCA
Since 1999, MASS MoCA has displayed some of the most important artistic works of the modern era in its 11,000 square feet of gallery space, all housed on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century New England factory buildings. Peruse the exhibits, attend a lecture or take in a performance -- everything from indie rock to avant-garde theater. Added bonus? MASS MoCA is located in the heart of Massachusett's bucolic Berkshires region, meaning you can explore mountains, charming towns and tasty restaurants too.

Dia:Beacon
Since 2003, this 240,000 square foot museum has housed Dia Art Foundation's permanent collection, representing major artwork from the 1960s to present. Admire works by Andy Warhol, Robert Whitman and Blinky Palermo, then wander the seasonal-changing gardens surrounding this former Nabisco box printing facility.

Cycling Lehigh Valley, PA
With its rolling hills, winding roads, little traffic and pastoral splendor, it's no wonder the editorial staff at Bicycling magazine calls Emmaus, PA home. Pack the car with bikes, then embark on a leisurely cruise or a spirited group ride (the infamous Derby departs every Sunday morning at 10 a.m. out of nearby Trexlertown) before rewarding your efforts over lunch and some local craft brews.

Winery Tours, Long Island
If trees grow in Brookyln then it should be no surprise that vineyards flourish on Long Island. Home to award winning wine producers, LI grape growers have been bottling vino for over three decades but have only recently been recognized for their contributions. Whites like Riesling and Chardonay fair well thanks to the climate and soil, but so does Merlot. Te best vineyards to tour are all clustered in the North Fork. Need a grape break? Visit breweries like Blue Point or Southampton Public House for a few pints of craft beer.

The Catskills
Popular among skiers, the Catskills are just as fun after the snow melts. Located two hours north of NYC, the mountainous region is an easy escape for adventure-minded travelers. Head to Hunter Mountain for a four mile zip line tour, or rent a mountain bike at Plattekill to ride the resort's extensive network of lift-serviced trails. The following day, descend 156 feet below the earth's surface for a guided tour of Howe Caverns, an otherworldly labyrinth of dramatic rock formations, stone rooms and waterways. Then, on the way home, decompress at Ananda Ashram, a yoga retreat located in Monroe, NY.

Atlantic City
It might be another six weeks until you can hit the Jersey Shore, but Atlantic City bustles all year long. After a quick two hour drive from NYC, channel your inner Sinatra by hitting the casinos and shows at this iconic resort or satiate your inner gourmand at celebrated restaurants like Buddakan, Bobby Flay Steak or The Palm. Just remember to save some energy for the energetic clubs, which boogie down until the wee hours of the morning.

Portland, Maine
Portland--no, not that hipster capital on the west coast--might be half a day's drive away, but the trip is worth every mile you rack up on your odometer. Maine remains the preferred summer getaway of New Englanders, but Portland is always in season thanks to galleries, local food markets, spirited nightlife (from indie rock to lively bars) and a culinary revolution lead by farm-to-table restaurants and New American cuisine. If you need further convincing we have two words for you: Lobster rolls.

*NBC New York assumes full responsibility for the information contained within this article.
 

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