New York boasts some incredible foliage, sure, but there’s even more beauty to be had outside of the five boroughs. The spots listed below earn major points for their proximity to New York (i.e., they’re perfect for day trips) as well as their beautiful surroundings. Bring your camera!
Adirondack Schooner Fall Foliage Sail
New York, NY 10011
Hop aboard the 80-foot, 1890s-style pilot schooner known as the Adirondack for an unforgettable cruise along the Hudson River. You’ll sail upriver from Chelsea Piers to Fort Lee, New Jersey, past the Palisades. This geological wonder boasts a tremendous amount of beauty year-round, but gets particularly gorgeous in the fall, when its many, many trees turn many, many colors. Best of all, your ticket to this four-hour cruise gets you complimentary drinks. Also available is a brunch cruise about a 1920s-era yacht.
Mohonk Mountain House
1000 Mountain Rest Road
New Paltz, NY 12561
Just 90 miles north of New York, the Mohonk Mountain House feels worlds away. Founded in 1869, this house is really a castle, a Victorian castle, to be exact. It’s surrounded by some 40,000 acres of protected forest. Along with leaf-peeping, you can hike 85 miles of trails, nosh on farm-to-table fare, get a massage or a facial at the on-site spa, swim in the indoor pool (which features underwater music!), take a tour of the Mohonk Barn Museum or Greenhouse, and play tennis. The hotel offers lots of midweek specials, making it ideal for a mini-vacay.
Old Croton Aqueduct State Park
15 Walnut Street
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
Unbelievable as it might sound, New York City is known for its delicious water, water that flows through a series of tunnels downstate and into our taps. This process began with the construction of the Croton Aqueduct in the 1830s (and water continued to flow from here until the 1960s). Today you can ogle the old structure while hiking, strolling, walking, or biking along the state park’s long path. Be on the lookout for waterfalls and wildlife, weir chambers and ventilators (designed to control the flow of water). The bridge-within-a-bridge Double Arch is pretty cool too.
Storm King Art Center
1 Museum Road
New Windsor, NY 12553
As one of the premier sculpture parks in the United States, Storm King takes seriously its mission to integrate its art with its natural surroundings, 500 acres in all. Here you’ll find rolling swells of green by Maya Lin, a snaking rock wall by Andy Goldsworthy, colossal objects in metal by Alexander Liberman, Richard Serra, and Tal Streeter; in all, you’ll espy more than 100 sculptures perfectly nestled in fields, woodlands, and long lawns. October is probably the center’s busiest month, erupting as the acres do in an amazingly artful array.
Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park
61 Parker Avenue
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Open from 7 a.m. through sunset, the Walkway Over the Hudson spans—you guessed it—the Hudson River near Poughkeepsie and Highland. A 21-story glass elevator takes you to the bridge, which rises more than 200 feet over the river. (It was once part of a rail line, and reopened as a pedestrian bridge in 2009.) From the bridge you can admire both the Catskills and the Hudson Highlands, 360-degree views of trees and river practically as far as the eye can see. Check the calendar for special events, and the website for info about things to do in the surrounding towns.