5 Fall Day Trips from NYC

Find New England fall fun less than three hours from Manhattan

Fall Foliage at White Memorial Conservation Center
Barry Winiker / Getty Images

You don't have to leave New York City for long to feel refreshed this autumn. Plan a day trip away from NYC while New England's fall foliage is putting on its annual show. These destinations—all within three hours of NYC—offer fun things to do in addition to admiring the colorful fall scenery.

1. Take Your Family on Safari at Action Wildlife
Want to share a memorable and educational animal adventure with your kids this fall? Action Wildlife, a 116-acre zoo and museum just over a two-hour drive from New York City in Northwest Connecticut, is an affordable family day trip destination where you can meet an oryx, stare down a water buffalo, watch bison roam, touch moose hair, ride an orange snail and have a deer feeding out of your hands. Don't believe it? Come along on a photo tour.

2. Get Outdoors at White Memorial Conservation Center
Litchfield, Connecticut, with its antique shops, galleries, scenic roads and rolling hills, is an extremely pretty place to visit in the fall. Why not plan a day trip to Litchfield's White Memorial Conservation Center? In addition to 4,000 acres of spectacular foliage, the Center has a nature museum, hiking trails and a Gift Shop: a great place to start your holiday shopping.

The grounds of the Conservation Center are open 24 hours a day, year-round. The museum and gift shop are open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call 860-567-0857.

If your day trip is on a Sunday, you might want to make reservations for brunch at the White Horse Country Pub & Restaurant located in nearby Marbledale.

3. Be Inspired at Chesterwood
You'll enjoy a lovely drive from New York City to the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts this autumn if you plan a day trip to Chesterwood, the former studio and home of renowned sculptor Daniel Chester French. French was a leading turn-of-the-century sculptor, most famous for crafting the seated Lincoln statue at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Chesterwood is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Columbus Day. You'll see nearly 500 models, studies and full-size sculptures created by French on exhibit in the studio, museum, gallery and gardens. For more information, call 413-298-3579.

While you're in Stockbridge, plan to have a memorable lunch or dinner at the Red Lion Inn, or a more casual dining experience at the restaurant's pub. A Stockbridge landmark since 1773, The Red Lion Inn is sure to satisfy your cravings for cozy Yankee hospitality.

4. Paddle the Saugatuck River
Don't own a car? No worries, mate. Just take a Metro-North train out of NYC to Westport, Connecticut, and you're a 5-minute walk from Downunder: a kayak and SUP outfitter located directly on the Saugatuck River. This stretch of tree-lined river is gentle and beginner-friendly, and you can choose to rent kayaks or paddleboards to explore on your own, book a lesson or join a guided tour. Experienced paddlers can head downriver to explore islands in Long Island Sound. In addition to admiring foliage views from the water, you may glimpse birds making their annual fall migration.

5. Tour America's Oldest Winery
Brotherhood Winery in Washingtonville, in the foothills of New York's Catskill Mountains, is an ideal day trip destination for wine lovers who want to escape to the country. Time your trip right, and you'll see the Catskills displaying their full autumn splendor. Established in 1839, Brotherhood is the oldest continually operating winery in America. The winery is open for tours and tastings daily through December. You'll learn all about grape growing and wine making, sample a wide variety of award-winning wines and can spend the day exploring the winery store and other small shops and restaurants on the winery grounds.

Call 845-496-3661 for more information. A map is available online.