28 Spring Day Trips from the New York City Metro Area for Families

Hop the ferry to Governors Island to explore all the island has to offer. Photo by Diana Kim
Hop the ferry to Governors Island to explore all the island has to offer. Photo by Diana Kim
3/10/23 - By Mariko Zapf

These spring day trips from the NYC metro area are the perfect antidote to winter-induced stir-craziness. Whether you're looking for a fun way to fill the spring break holiday, or your family just needs a collective getaway, having this list of 28 spring day trips at your fingertips provides plenty of daycation inspiration.

From hiking to smelling the blooms and strolling amid sculpture gardens, there is something on this list of spring day trips from the NYC metro area for everyone. Since we have a low tolerance for driving, all of these spring day trips are within two hours of New York City. Find more seasonal inspiration in our Guide to Spring Activities and travel ideas in our Guide to Weekend Getaways.


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Spring day trips from New York City metro area: Coney Island
The view from the top of the Coney Island Wonder Wheel is priceless. Photo courtesy of Coney Island

Spring Day Trips in NYC

1. Coney Island

Experience Coney Island's thrills at Luna Park and Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park. You can also visit the New York Aquarium to catch a show with the cheeky sea lions. Afterward, hit the beach, stroll the boardwalk, and feast on a hot dog at Nathan's.

2. Roosevelt Island

Ride the Roosevelt Island Tram over the East River to explore Roosevelt Island and get a fresh perspective on the city. Our favorite spot is Southpoint Park and the nearby lighthouse. Take your scooter or bike and ride around the promenade, which is particularly stunning during cherry blossom season.

3. Little Island

Little Island is perhaps the city's most magical green space. Opened in 2021, this whimsical park practically floats on the Hudson River and has winding paths, stairs, tons of interesting plants, and two large grassy hills that beg to be rolled down.

RELATEDParks and Playgrounds Guide for NYC Kids

Spring day trips from New York City metro area: Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden
The Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden is a delight for kids! Photo by Janet Bloom

4. Snug Harbor

Take the ferry to Staten Island and visit the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden. Behold all the treasures this small nook in Staten Island holds.

5. Governors Island

Hop on a ferry to Governors Island. There are always a ton of activities, including zip-lining, creative playgrounds, biking-riding, and splash pads to keep the whole family entertained. Extend your visit with a glamping adventure at Collective Retreats come May.

RELATED: Hudson Valley and Catskills With Kids: Top Sights and Towns

Spring day trips from New York City metro area: Wave Hill
Take in the spectacular views from Wave Hill. Photo by Diana Kim

6. Wave Hill

Bask in the beauty of nature at Wave Hill, a bucolic public garden and cultural center. Offering family programs and events, a spring day trip to Wave Hill is a great way to enjoy a warm, sunny day.

7. Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Reaching Flushing Meadows Corona Park is a day trip for many in NYC, but well worth it: You'll find the Queens Botanical Gardenthe Queens Zoo, and the Queens Museum here. Head out in late spring to romp in the spectacular play fountain at the foot of the Unisphere.

8. Pelham Bay Park

Pelham Bay Park is the largest park in NYC. It's three times the size of Central Park, and to say it has something for everyone is an understatement. Take a stroll along the Orchard Beach Promenade and behold the beauty of spring.

RELATEDNew NYC Playgrounds We Can't Wait to Visit

Spring day trips from New York City metro area: Rockefeller State Park Preserve
Roam the trails at the Rockefeller State Park Preserve. Photo by Sara Marentette

Spring Day Trips in Westchester County

9. Rockefeller State Park Preserve

Head to the Rockefeller State Park Preserve for a hike when the stunning peonies bloom in late April or early May, or try one of these other destination hikes in Westchester.

10. Empire State Trail

Explore the spectacular 750-mile-long Empire State Trail, which is the nation’s longest multi-use state trail, running from Manhattan up to the Canadian border and from Buffalo to Albany, providing a wonderful way to experience the natural beauty of New York and its rich history.

11. Untermeyer Gardens

Ride bikes along the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail from Van Cortlandt Park to Untermeyer Gardens in Yonkers, where you can enjoy 43 acres of New York's most beautiful landscaping.

RELATED: Easy New York State Park Hikes for Families

Spring day trips from New York City metro area: Long Island's Sands Point Preserve
Enjoy a run along the breathtaking grounds of Sands Point Preserve. Photo by Jaime Sumersille

Spring Day Trips on Long Island

12. Sands Point Preserve

Hike the Dinosaur Trail, or explore the rest of the grounds at the Sands Point Preserve, which also houses a castle and is near the family-friendly village of Port Washington.

13. Old Westbury Gardens

Enjoy the fragrant blooms at Old Westbury Gardens when it reopens Saturday, April 1, just as the cherry blossoms begin to bloom.

RELATED: Top Attractions on Long Island: Best Things To See and Do with Kids

Spring day trips from New York City metro area: Caumsett State Park trail
Adventurous hikers and cyclists love exploring the nature trails at Caumsett State Park. Photo courtesy of the park

14. Caumsett State Park

Pack a picnic lunch and head to Caumsett State Park, which sits on a peninsula that juts out into the Long Island Sound. Your family can enjoy miles of beautiful nature paths; it's one of our favorite state parks on Long Island.

15. Montauk

Perched at the eastern end of Long Island, Montauk is filled with things to do and makes a relaxing day getaway. You can enjoy the sand and waves, explore the Montauk lighthouse, or take a hike through Montauk State Park. Enjoy some delicious seafood before heading back.

RELATED: 5 Metro-North Day Trips for Families

Spring day trips from New York City metro area: Legoland New York
Catch "brick fever" at Legoland New York. Photo by Diana Kim

Spring Day Trips in New York State

16. Legoland New York

Legoland New York opens its doors this season Friday, March 31. Families can enjoy more than 50 rides, attractions, and games, including a ride exclusive to this location—the Lego Factory Adventure.

17. Olana State Historic Site

Experience the natural beauty, history, amazing art, design, and architecture at the Olana State Historic Site. It's a great destination for the whole family, offering sights and activities for kids as well as their parents.

18. Bear Mountain State Park

Hit the road for Bear Mountain State Park. A go-to destination for my family every spring, this treasure trove offers beautiful hiking, a charming Trailside Museum, and even a sweet zoo.

RELATED: Outdoor Art Day Trips Near NYC

Spring day trips from New York City metro area: Dia Beacon
The loft-like space at Dia Beacon offers plenty of room to engage with art, so pack a sketchbook. Photo by Diana Kim

19. Beacon

Head to Beacon to explore its charming, fun-packed Main Street, and visit Dia Beacon, where you can view cutting-edge, large-scale art installations.

20. Storm King

At Storm King Art Center, a stunning outdoor sculpture garden, kids can walk the grounds and hills without fear of bumping into the art. Pack a picnic to enjoy at the tables during your excursion.

21. Walkway Over the Hudson

Walk, bike, scoot, or blade across the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie, which connects Dutchess and Ulster counties.

RELATED: 100 Things To Do in New York State with Kids Before They Grow Up

Spring day trips from New York City metro area: Grounds for Sculpture
Kids can admire sculptures, like this piece from Isaac Witkin, at the Grounds for Sculpture. Photo by David Howarth

Spring Day Trips in New Jersey

22. Grounds For Sculpture

Visit New Jersey's whimsical 42-acre Grounds For Sculpture. Inquire about the family-friendly activities, like its Tots for Sculpture and Young Artist Workshops.

23. Palisades Interstate Park

Just across the George Washington Bridge, Palisades Interstate Park is a perfect place to head for a gorgeous guided hike. You'll find ample parking, stunning Hudson River views, and a snack bar.

24. Six Flags Great Adventure

With opening day set for Saturday, April 1, thrill-seekers should start planning their trip now for Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson.

RELATED: Top Attractions in New Jersey: Best Things To See and Do with Kids

Spring day trips from New York City metro area: Hersheypark
Catch a thrill at Hersheypark. Photo courtesy of the park

Spring Day Trips in Pennsylvania

25. Hersheypark

For sweets and thrills, head to Hersheypark, which marks its 116th season this year. Ride the Candymonium, the longest, tallest, and fastest coaster in the park, satisfy your sweet tooth at Chocolatetown, and explore the rest of the fun things to do in Hershey, Pennsylvania, with kids.

26. Sesame Place

The ultimate amusement park for the younger set, Sesame Place offers rides, water play, activities, shows, parades, and special moments for a memorable spring day trip.

27. Pocono Mountains

The Pocono Mountains offer a wide array of family-fun activities in all seasons, especially in the spring. Enjoy hiking, swimming, boating, and other outdoor activities. Stay at one of the many mountainside resorts or rent your own cabin and turn your day trip into a weekend getaway.

28. Philadelphia

Take a day trip to Philly to explore its history and kid-friendly attractions.

A version of this article was first published in 2016; it has been updated.