NEW YORK CITY — It won’t be long before the city becomes a sweltering urban dungeon New Yorkers are dying to escape from, if only for the weekend. For those without a home in the Hamptons, a weekend at the beach or in the woods or on the river can seem out of reach. Fortunately, the city is located a short distance from a wide range of scenic locations, many accessible via public transit and offering accommodations at a reasonable price.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
► Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk
Travel Time: About 1.5 hours from Midtown
How to Get There: Take A train, take the NYC Beach Bus or call a cab
Catch a wave on the city’s only legal surfing beach, hang out at bars/restaurants like Rockaway Beach Surf Club or Caracas Arepas Bar, or just stroll along the boardwalk and enjoy the concessions and the view.
It may not be the quietest spot in Queens, but Playland Motel is sure to offer a unique weekend escape. Described as a “funky beach motel” and “really perfect for vacation” by general manager Eric Bieber, Playland draws guests looking to hang out on the beach all day and make new friends at the tavern downstairs. Book one of 12 guest rooms, each designed by a different artist. Guests should expect shared bathrooms, dance parties, and Williamsburg-style food, drink and art. Weeknights peak season start at $99, weekend nights start at $199.
Those looking for a more sedate experience might check out D Piper Inn Hotel down at 158 Beach 114 St.It’s a restored, century-old beachside inn with open porches and a private bar.
► Jones Beach, Long Island
Travel Time: About 45 minutes from Midtown
How To Get There: Take the LIRR to Freeport Station and transfer to the N88 NICE Bus
Just a 40-minute ride from the city via the Long Island Railroad, Jones Beach State Park offers 6.5 miles of beaches, a boardwalk, a nature center, and a summer’s worth of music at the Jones Beach Theater.Freeport Inn and Marina offers a retro vibe, a waterfront patio bar, and close proximity to the hot spots. Reservations are available here; a weekend night in mid-June starts at $179.
Jones Beach Hotel, a tourist destination since 1929, offers another popular, inexpensive option for vacationing beachgoers.
► Staten Island
Travel Time: About 1 hour from Midtown
How To Get There: Swipe your Metrocard at the St. George Ferry Terminal and hop on the Staten Island Ferry.
Peace and hospitality may be hard to come by in Manhattan, but they’re just a ferry ride away on Staten Island. On the North Shore, you’ll find Victorian Bed and Breakfast, an Italianate Villa dating from the mid-nineteeth century that owner and hostess Danuta Gorlach converted into a traveler’s retreat. Four units are available: one night in a room with a double bed costs about $145. Victorian Bed and Breakfast is a 15 minute MTA bus ride from the Staten Island Ferry and close to Snug Harbor Cultural Center.
Alternatively, Rosemont’s Harbor House Bed & Breakfast welcomes visitors with reasonable rates, proximity to Staten Island’s South Beach, and an epic view of the New York skyline. You can reach it by taking Staten Island Transit to Clinton.
► Danbury, Connecticut
Travel Time: From Midtown, a little over 2 hours.
How To Get There: Take MetroNorth from Grand Central Terminal. Total fare: $15.25.
Danbury, a historic New England city in western Connecticut, is easily accessible for a little over fifteen dollars via Metro North’s New Haven or Harlem Line. In just a little over two hours, travelers will have access to quiet hiking trails, golf courses, theConnecticut Wine Trail, and water sports at Candlewood Lake. Travelers can find accommodations at the Ethan Allen Hotel, where an evening’s stay starts at about $129, or at the Newbury Inn in Milford, minutes away from Danbury.
Travel Time: About 90 minutes from Midtown
How To Get There: Book the Amtrak(prices vary) or take the MetroNorthfor $20-$30.
Picturesque Poughkeepsie, accessible via Metro-North, offers lush neighborhood parks, abundant hiking and fishing, and kayak trips down the Hudson. Go over the river or into the woods with a weekend at the Poughkeepsie Inn, offering a single room with two double beds for just $99.84 on the first Saturday in June.
Other affordable options include theMercury Grand Hotel and theResidence Inn Poughkeepsie.
► Fire Island
Travel Time: About 2 hours from Penn Station.
How To Get There: Take the Long Island Railroad to Sayville Station and board a Colonial Taxi to Sayville Ferry.
Fire Island, located off the south shore of Long Island, features several resort villages on the shore of the Atlantic. Check out Seasons, Ocean Beach’s only bed and breakfast, with rooms starting at $175 per night. Fire Island Hotel and Resort has a built-in swimming pool and and rooms starting at $215.
Travel Time: 1-2 hours from Midtown
How to Get There: Amtrak or bus.
The City of Brotherly Love is just about two hours away by train bus, and offers a welcome change of pace along with many well-known American history landmarks. Check out Reading Terminal Market (America’s oldest farmer’s market) for foodie delights or visit the blooming summer displays atLongwood Gardens.
Historic Wayne Hotel, located in a quaint town just out of Philly, offers affordable accommodations starting at about $169 per night. Cornerstone Bed & Breakfast in downtown Philadelphia offers standard rooms starting at $165 per night as well as special packages in coordination with local attractions like thePhiladelphia Zoo.
► Boston, Massachusetts
Travel Time: About 4 hours from the city.
How To Get There: Take Amtrak or one of several buses.
If you can get past the baseball rivalry, Massachusetts’ capital city offers sites for serene summer relaxation as well as many well-known cultural and historic attractions. Carson Beach in South Boston and Revere Beach are both a walking distance away from a stop on the T, the city’s public transit system. Boston is on the small side, so visitors can easily stay in the city center and head beachside for a full day. Discount accommodations include Friend Street Hostel andAbigayle’s Bed & Breakfast.
► Ocean City, Maryland
Travel Time: About 3-8 hours, depending on transportation.
How To Get There: Take theGreyhound bus for about $95 orAmtrak for about $200-$300.
A major Eastern Seaboard destination, Ocean City offers 10 miles of beaches, fireworks and a boatload of recreational, water, and fishing activities.
The east coast’s OC draws visitors with a range of accommodations, from intimate bed-and-breakfasts to major chains. Oceanic Motel offers bargain rates and a private beach, while Ocean City Condos rents independent beachside units with private kitchens, washers, and dryers.
Inn on the Ocean, which describes itself as Maryland’s only oceanfront bed and breakfast, is located just two miles from the Greyhound bus stop. Make reservations here: nights in June start at about $190. Owner Charlie Barrett told DNAinfo that Ocean City is attracting an increasing number of New Yorkers to the free, clean beaches, which he says are never overcrowded. For seafood, he suggests Captain’s Table Restaurant; but whichever spot diners choose, they should check out the crustaceans. In Ocean City, “if you have bad crabs, you’re out of business,” Barrett said.