25 Spectacular Spring Day Trips Near NYC for Families

Head up the Hudson for a day out of the city. Photo by Matt Nighswander
Head up the Hudson for a day out of the city. Photo by Matt Nighswander

By the time spring rolls around, my family has reached its limit of winter-induced stir-craziness. Despite all our city has to offer in spring, we collectively feel desperate for a getaway from NYC. Having this list of 25 spring day trips at our fingertips gives us something to anticipate.

From hiking to smelling the blooms and strolling amid sculpture gardens, there is something on this list for everyone, and 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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the wonder wheel at denos coney island
The view from the top of the Coney Island Wonder Wheel is priceless.

Spring Day Trips in NYC

1. Coney Island

Experience Coney Island's thrills at Luna Park and Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, both of which debuted new rides last season, including Big Wavez and The Phoenix rollercoaster. Afterward, hit the beach, stroll the boardwalk, and feast on a hot dog at Nathan's.

2. Roosevelt Island

Ride the 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.

3. Little Island at Pier 55

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.

RELATED: 35 Things To Do During a Spring Staycation With NYC Kids

two kids on bikes on governors island
Hop the ferry to Governors Island to explore all the island has to offer. Photo courtesy of Governors Island

4. Governors Island

Hop on a ferry to Governors Island, which is now open year-round. There's 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.

5. 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.

RELATED: Parks and Playgrounds Guide for NYC Kids

girl at Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden
The Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden is a delight for kids! Photo by Janet Bloom

6. 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.

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.

RELATED: Hudson Valley and Catskills With Kids: Top Sights, Towns, and Places to Stay

kids on trail at Rockefeller State Park Preserve.
Roam the trails at the Rockefeller State Park Preserve.

Spring Day Trips in Westchester

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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

Long Island's Sands Point Preserve is a great spring day trip destination
Enjoy a run along the breathtaking grounds of Sands Point Preserve. Photo by Jaime Sumersille

Spring Day Trips on Long Island

11. 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.

12. Old Westbury Gardens

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

RELATED: Top Attractions in Long Island: Best Things To See and Do With Kids

 Caumsett State Park trail in spring flowering
Adventurous hikers and cyclists love exploring the nature trails at Caumsett State Park.

13. 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.

14. Montauk

At the furthest end of Long Island, Montauk makes a relaxing day getaway. You can enjoy the sand and waves, explore the lighthouse, or take a hike through Montauk State Park. Enjoy some delicious seafood before heading back.

RELATED: 5 Metro-North Day Trips for Families

Girl on a small bridge over pond at Olana house
Olana's landscape includes a working and ornamental farm, meadows, outbuildings, a man-made lake, native woodlands, and more than 5 miles of carriage roads. Photo by Diana Kim

Spring Day Trips in New York State

15. Olana State Historic Site

Experience 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.

16. 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.

17. Legoland New York

With its grand opening just a year ago, Legoland New York opens its doors this season Friday, April 8. Families can enjoy more than 50 rides, attractions, and games, including a ride exclusive to this location–the Lego Factory Adventure.

RELATED: Outdoor Art Day Trips Near NYC

Little boy at Dia: Beacon
The warehouse-sized, loft-like space at Dia: Beacon offers plenty of room to take a break and engage with the art, so pack a sketchbook and some pencils for your visit. Photo by Diana Kim

18. 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.

19. 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.

20. 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

kids looking at sculpture at the grounds for sculpture
Kids can admire sculptures, like this piece from Isaac Witkin, at the Grounds for Sculpture. Photo by David Howarth for dmhphotographer

Spring Day Trips in New Jersey

21. 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.

22. Palisades Interstate Park

Just on the other side of 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.

23. Six Flags Great Adventure

With opening day set for Saturday, April 2, 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

Hersheypark thrill ride
Catch a thrill at Hersheypark. Photo courtesy of the Park

Spring Day Trips in Pennsylvania

24. Hersheypark

For sweets and thrills, head over to Hersheypark, which marks its 116th season this year. Ride the Candymonium, the longest, tallest, and fastest coaster in the park, and satisfy your sweet tooth at Chocolatetown. Check the calendar for spring hours.

25. 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.

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