Best Upstate Destinations

This Spring, we know you want to get away—even if just for the weekend. Luckily, detached from the mania and overwhelmingly grey tones that New York City offers up is a delightfully slow and relaxed intermission at just about any popular upstate destination.

There’s no doubt that NYC is the cultural hub, but sometimes you just need to take a breather. From hiking in the mountains overlooking the Hudson River to an open-air art museum that spans over 500 acres, here are the best upstate getaways for those beloved day trips and much needed weekend stays.

The Roxbury Motel

How Far: 3 hours from NYC

There’s a Wizard of Oz-themed room, yellow brick road and all. There’s a disco-themed “dancefloor” suite. There’s even a bewildering “Shimmer Spa” for guests to kick back and immerse themselves in the luxurious, animated experience. Authentically maximalist, the Roxbury Motel can serve as either the perfect home base for exploring the surrounding attractions of Catskill, NY or as the main attraction itself. Lay out in the motel’s lush backyard and catch some rays, then watch as the building lights up in vibrant colors when the sun goes down. Stay a couple nights and branch out into the surrounding area to go zip lining or to a wine tasting—just make sure to take lots of pictures.

Storm King

How Far: 1 hour from NYC

Whether you call it a “sculpture park” or an “adult playground,” Storm King Art Center is nothing less than exquisite for those of any age. The center’s mission is to “exhibit, acquire, borrow, and conserve modern and contemporary art,” and given that they have 500 acres of woodlands, rivers, and rolling hills to their disposal, the result is a breathtaking collection of some of the world’s greatest art. Look to your right, and you’ll see a geometric rooftop firmly planted in the grass. Walk a little further, and you’ll encounter a giant canoe painted by Roy Lichtenstein. The shift in perspective will cure any sort of city blues you may be battling.

Bear Mountain

How Far: 1 hour 15 minutes from NYC

Feeling outdoorsy? There’s no reason for you not to head up to Bear Mountain. The state park is not only your go-to for the most pristine hiking and biking trails, but there is also a plethora of other options like lake and river fishing, picnic groves, and even a zoo. On top of it all, the park is overlooking the West Bank of the Hudson River—talk about scenic. Make a good two or three days out of it, and stay at Bear Mountain Inn. Built in 1915, the hotel not only includes fifteen luxury guest rooms and a spa/restaurant but has housed the likes of Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Eleanor Roosevelt. History meets luxury meets scenery.

Rivertown Lodge

How Far: 2 hours from NYC

Being so close to tourist behemoth Hudson, we highly recommend this one for a weekend stay—you’ll need to allot enough time to absorb all the cuteness. Once a movie theater from 1928 to 1958, the now renovated Rivertown Lodge is an independently-owned hotel right in the center of Hudson’s bustling Warren Street. With 27 rooms—all donned in luxury, custom-made decor—your stay here will satiate any and all Americana dreams. Walk into town and shop curated vintage at Finch, sip the finest espresso and motocross gear at MOTO Coffee/Machine, and Parisian style crepes at Le Gamin. You probably won’t want to leave, but luckily you’ll have Rivertown Lodge.


How Far: Less than 1 hour from NYC

As far as modern art goes, New York City has MoMA, the Whitney, and the Metropolitan Museum—however, the one thing missing from these incredible establishments is space. Dia:Beacon has got that in abundance, and given that the root “Dia” means “passing through” in Greek, it’s no wonder this expansive modern art presentation makes for the perfect day trip. If you’re hungry after the museum’s twice-daily (Saturday and Sunday only) hour long free tour, walk onto Main Street and savor some fresh baked bread at Beacon Bread Company or get a drink at family-owned Max’s On Main. You may be passing through, but you’ll feel right at home.


Words by Ivan Guzman