Skip to site content
Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader

Get out of the City in New York

If you have ever wanted to spend a weekend in New York, there are plenty of ways to make it memorable.

Manhattan and the other boroughs of New York City might get most of the pop culture attention, but the Empire State is brimming with beautiful natural destinations that offer idyllic retreats perfect for a weekend getaway. Long Island’s North Fork is peaceful and picturesque, and the Catskill Mountains are a favorite destination for skiing and outdoor adventure. And travelers will find waterfront fun, fascinating history and a wealth of local food and wine in other favorite New York destinations such as the Finger Lakes, the Adirondacks and the 1,000 Islands.

Whether you need a quick respite from life in a big East Coast city or want to incorporate a relaxing weekend into a longer tour of the Northeast, make the most of 48 hours in any one of these New York jewels.

Greenport and Long Island

Many people know Long Island as a Manhattan suburb, but there’s much more to this area than just bedroom communities. Long Island’s farmland is known as some of the most fertile in the country, and groups that take the time to visit the smaller communities on the island will discover a peace and charm that’s a great antidote to the stress of the big city.

The North Fork of Long Island is known for its vineyards, and the Long Island Wine Council coordinates Friday evening events at vineyards such as Bedell Cellars and Sannino Bella Vita. The next day, spend time strolling scenic Greenport, a beach village with a small historic district, a public marina, farm-to-table restaurants and frequent live music. The final day, take a ferry to Shelter Island, where the Mashomack Nature Preserve offers miles of coastline and forest trails.

Groups can also enjoy shopping at many of the small boutiques and antique shops in the villages of the North Fork.

Hunter and the Catskills

About 50 miles south of Albany, the town of Hunter lies in the beautiful Catskill Mountains. A weekend trip to this area offers groups a combination of great outdoor fun, exciting food and resort relaxation.

A convenient base for the weekend is the Kaatskill Mountain Club, a resort and spa that focuses on natural experiences. From May through October, a highlight of the trip will be the Hunter Mountain Skyride the Kaatskill Flyer, a chairlift that takes riders up 3,200 feet above sea level to take in the beauty of the Catskills from above.

Groups have plenty of other options in the area as well. Active and adventurous travelers can opt for a treetop adventure on a zip-line tour of Hunter Mountain, or they can go horseback riding on the trails at Bear Creek Landing. For a more laid-back experience, Hunter Mountain Brewery offers food and locally made pilsners, lagers and pale ale.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.