Looking to get away from the stifling summer in the city? The Big Apple is situated between a number of breezier destinations that offer a break from the heat and humidity and are easy to visit by car or mass transit. Here’s how to spend a day in our three favorites we highly recommend for your quick escape from New York:
1. Asbury Park
A sunny stroll on the legendary boardwalk is just about an hour’s drive from the Lincoln Tunnel or an easy 2-hour train ride from Penn Station, but it feels a world away from our towering metropolis. Small shops, fresh seafood, fun outdoor venues, and a world-famous beach all converge to keep you well-fed and well-entertained. Order plates of oysters and other seafood bites at Seahorse inside the beautifully ornate Conventional Hall situated right on the boardwalk before walking just steps to Beach Bar for a tropical-themed cocktail and a mesmerizing view of the Atlantic. In the evening, venture off the sand and into town for some chowder and more bivalves at The Bonney Read, or perhaps hit the Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten for Bavarian brews, pretzels, sausages, and more. Don’t forget there’s a few outdoor live event spaces too, like the legendary Stone Pony, that have scheduled concerts for later in the season.
Roughly an hour and a half up the Hudson River from Grand Central by Metro-North train or an hour by car from the GWB is the town of Beacon, known for its contemporary art and Hudson Valley charm. Less than a 10-minute walk from the train station you’ll find Dia: Beacon, long-term home to thought-provoking works by Dan Flaven, On Kawara, and many more, including rotating exhibitions by other artists. A short taxi or shuttle ride takes you to the 500-acre outdoor Storm King Art Center, which juxtaposes modern and contemporary artwork against the bucolic backdrop of the Hudson Valley. Looking to get your heart rate elevated instead? It’s a relatively short hike up Mount Beacon, and you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views and the perfect spot for a picnic lunch. When you’re through, head back down to the town’s Main Street for a coffee on the patio at Bank Square Coffeehouse, a sour beer at Hudson Valley Brewery, and some local wine and cheese to bring home after sampling your fair share at Beacon Pantry.
Committing to a summer day out in Montauk is committing to a long day, but it is sure to be one you’ll remember fondly as you curse the dark cold come winter; this journey is 3 hours and 15 minutes each way from Penn Station by the LIRR, or 2 hours and 30 minutes from the Queens Midtown Tunnel (without traffic). Just before town on the side of the road there’s The Lobster Roll—known as “LUNCH” thanks to its iconic sign—and the Clam Bar, two seafood houses with a decades-long good-hearted rivalry between them, which in turn produces some of the best lobster rolls and seafood bisques you’ll have on the East Coast. Walk them off afterwards with a thrilling hop around the base of the Montauk Lighthouse right next to the ocean at low tide. The beach there is relatively rocky, so you’ll want to head back into town for a stretch out on the light, fine sand the Hamptons are known for. Surf shops and local eateries abound including the beloved Montauk Brewing Company and their lively little patio, with Tauk at Trail’s End serving a wide range of classic seasonal fare—from tuna, to clams, to ribs—right around the corner. If you’re looking for something a little more refined, Lower East Side-favorite Sel Rrose has an outpost offering their same stellar menu, or if a day on the sand has you craving meaty tacos and salty margs, there’s TT’s Montauk across town.