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Although New York City is charming year round, there’s something special about the city in the fall. While the many events, changing leaves, and colder weather stirs up the fall experience for city dwellers, there are many unmissable fall destinations right around the outskirts of NYC. 

Here are five places and experiences to elevate your fall season without leaving the state:  

Catskills

A short two hours away from the city, the Catskills region offers gorgeous views of fall foliage in upstate New York. There’s a lot to explore in this area, including small towns (some of which we highlight below), hiking trails, and farm-to-table restaurants. But if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s a thrilling activity perfect for fall: a pedal-powered railbike tour with Rail Explorers in Phoenicia. The company has introduced a new way to traverse through the forests of the Catskills, alongside the Esopus Creek. You can book tours with railbikes for two-four people. Dogs are also permitted but check the company website for more information. It’s a fun and exciting way to enjoy the nature of the Catskills. Going to any upstate destination is easy as well! From Manhattan, you have the option to go by train (Amtrak offers numerous services to different upstate regions like the Catskills and Hudson Valley), bus (companies such as Trailways of New York or Greyhound have many options) or perhaps even renting a car for the weekend.  

Windham

A small town in the Catskills region, Windham is a great destination to enjoy the outdoors. The key place to visit is Windham Mountain. It’s a popular ski destination in the winter, and there’s as much to do in the fall. Their resort has numerous amenities for you to enjoy, such as golf and spa amenities, bike park, and hiking trails. To get the most out of your visit, riding the Skyride chairlift is a must. The scenic two-mile ride gives you breath-taking views of the Catskills. You can check out their website for more information on pricing and timings.

New Paltz 

Apple picking is a beloved fall activity. But with hundreds of orchards in the vicinity of NYC, it can be hard to choose where to visit. Well look no further than Twin Orchards, located in New Paltz! Their plantation features various types of apples, with a guide on their website for which apples are in season. Additionally, the orchard is home to an American Cider Association award-winner—Brooklyn Cider House. In the words of the cider house, their “ugly apples” is what makes their cider so delicious. They also offer live music and wood-fired pizzas and burgers for you to enjoy.  

Hudson Valley   

An hour away from the city, Hudson Valley is a great option if you’re looking for somewhere closer to home. The area has many parks to visit for leaf-peeping, such as Croton Park and Harriman State Park, with stunning views of the Hudson river as well. And as the day comes to an end, there is one last activity you need to do before heading home—The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. A perfect way to kick-start your Halloween festivities with over 7,000 hand-carved Jack O’ Lanterns in various sculptures and designs you can explore through. Be sure to check out their website for tickets, pricing and more information. 

Long Island 

Long Island is another popular summer destination located close to NYC. But there is a lot to discover in the fall as well, especially the North Fork of the island. Home to numerous farms, waterfronts and small towns, it is a relaxing place to unwind. To make your trip remarkable, check out the historic Big Duck landmark for some interesting Instagram photos. For more outdoor activities, head onto Harbes Family Farm where you can enjoy pumpkin patches, hayrides, corn mazes and much more. They have 3 different locations in Eastern Long Island—Jamesport, Mattituck and Riverhead (see their website for more information). There are many ways to get to the North Fork. The Long Island Rail Road has convenient exchanges from Penn Station all the way to Greenport (the farthest station on the North Fork). There’s also bus services (Hampton Jitney offers direct services), and again, you can always rent a car for the weekend for a more personal journey.

Mariam is a freshman at NYU SPS. With a passion for ice cream, travel, and music, she aspires to write relatable content for the HerCampus NYU community. To chat or ask any questions, you can reach Mariam at [email protected]
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