5 Socially Distant Road Trip Destinations in New York

Going on a road trip sounds like a thing you’d go for if you’re a New Yorker looking to escape the concrete jungle, even for just a weekend. Coronavirus restrictions got most of us canceling any and all travel plans in 2020, so it’s nice to know that, with New York State reopening slowly, we can finally get away and still practice social distancing.

So, if you’re longing to get out of the city but want to avoid crowds, check out our five suggestions for socially distant road trip destinations in New York.

Lake George, The Adirondacks

socially distant road trip destinations in New York
Lake George, New York. Image: Josh Luckey | Unsplash

Lake George in the Adirondacks was the go-to holiday spot of the Founding Fathers. For more than 200 years, this town on the banks of its namesake Lake George gave respite to visitors looking to get away from the city. You’ll be spoiled by the variety of activities you can do there. These include swimming or lazing about the beach, hiking up the surrounding mountains, indulging your inner foodie, or touring the town’s historic landmarks. Plus, the views around the town are simply astounding. Whatever you’re into, you’re sure to find something fun to do at Lake George, whether you’re traveling as a group, as a couple, or going solo.

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Canandaigua Lake, Finger Lakes

socially distant road trip destinations in New York
Canandaigua Lady. Image: John Dean | Unsplash

It’s quite obvious why the Seneca called this lake “Canandaigua,” which means “the chosen spot” in their language. The scenery created by its serene waters surrounded by rolling hills is simply breathtaking, and it’s the perfect change of scene that city dwellers may be craving. But it’s not just the views that draw visitors to Canandaigua Lake. There’s a plethora of activities you can dive into, such as kayaking or paddling, hiking the foothills, chasing waterfalls. If you’re a foodie, you can sample the local cuisine and tour the wineries that have reopened for wine tastings. And if you’re a history buff, you can enjoy the Sonnenberg Gardens while social distancing.

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Montauk, Long Island

montauk point lighthouse
Montauk Point Lighthouse. Image: enzol | Pixabay

Montauk is the place to go if you’re looking for a Long Island scene without the drama of the Hamptons. This hamlet on the island’s easternmost end is more laidback and casual, but you’ll definitely have no lack of things to do. If surfing is your thing, Montauk’s Ditch Plains Beach has fantastic waves you can ride. If you need to reconnect with nature, you can wake up early and head to Hither Hills State Park, where you can enjoy some birding, hiking, and exploring sand dunes. And if you’re up for a little history lesson, you can visit Montauk Point Light, the first lighthouse built in New York and the US’s first public works project.

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New Paltz, Hudson Valley

mohonk mountain house
Mohonk Mountain House. Image: Jueun Song | Unsplash

New Paltz has all the energy you can expect from a college town. While the coronavirus pandemic has made this picturesque town slightly quieter, there remains a lot to see and do within and around the area. You can walk around Historic Huguenot Street and admire the 300-year-old houses still standing there. You can also spend a day hiking and biking at the Mohonk Reserve. The place has around 40 miles of trails you can explore, plus opportunities for rock climbing and close encounters with wildlife. Not really into spending time in the Great Outdoors? No worries—you can visit the vineyards in the area for some wine tasting and great food. At the end of the day, you can treat yourself to spa time at Mohonk Mountain House, the only Victorian castle you’ll find on this side of the Atlantic.

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Woodstock, The Catskills

socially distant road trip destinations in New York
The Catskills at Woodstock. Image: Thomas Loizeau | Unsplash

Woodstock gets a lot of love from music fans around the world for giving its name to that famous 1969 music festival. It doesn’t matter that the event actually happened in nearby Bethel. But even before the town became an iconic center of 1960s-1970s counterculture, it has been enjoying a reputation as an artists’ haven for more than a hundred years. It’s not really surprising. Woodstock sits surrounded by the rugged beauty of The Catskills, the original American frontier that remains wild to this day. You can use the town as your base for exploring this wildness; there are certainly plenty of hiking, biking, and horseback-riding opportunities you can take advantage there. You can also spend the day checking out the eclectic art galleries and shops on the town’s main street. You’ll never know what gem you’d find.

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If you’re in New York City and looking for a safe escape out of the urban jungle, check out these socially distant road trip destinations in New York.

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Anna is a wandering writer. If she isn't wandering, she's working on other blogs. And if she's not doing that, either she's reading or she's busy with a crafting project.