(Flickr/Nicholas_T)

(Flickr/Nicholas_T)

The Poconos, PA

The Poconos Mountains in northeastern Pennsylvania offer four seasons of fun and all the facilities to create a fantastic escape from the city.  The wooded hills and valleys have long been a popular vacation area with resort hotels and endless opportunities for fishing, hunting, skiing, and other outdoor endeavors.

Getting There:   Both Martz Trailways and Greyhound have busses from Port Authority.  Check out their timetables and book tickets online.  The trip takes just over two hours.

(Flickr/jiashiang)

(Flickr/jiashiang)

Long Island Wine Country

New York's answer to Napa Valley, the world class wineries of Long Island's North Fork are just a two-hour ride from New York City.  This peaceful sliver of Long Island is a place where fruit stands vie for attention with rolling vineyards that dot the edge of the main thoroughfares.  Make sure to check out liwines.com for a full list of wineries, events, and maps of the region.

Getting There:  While you could rent a car for more flexibility, several companies offer tours from the city.  Most vineyards are found on the north fork from Riverhead to Greenport.

(Flickr/golfnride)

(Flickr/golfnride)

Fire Island, NY

The ever-popular Fire Island is a 31-mile-long barrier island adjacent to the south shore of Long Island.  The car-free island is a tranquil escape from the noise of the city where you can bike, camp, kayak, hike, or stay in a vacation home.  Fire Island National Seashore includes a sunken forest, cresting dunes, and secluded scrublands that are home to wild deer, rabbits, frogs, and a host of sea birds.

Getting There:  Take the Montauk Branch of the Long Island Railroad from Penn Station in New York City.  The Bay Shore and Babylon stations provide access to the Fire Island Lighthouse, while the Mastic-Shirley Station provides access to the William Floyd Estate and Wilderness Visitor Center. Contact the Long Island Railroad for train schedules.  Ferries to Fire Island depart from the following locations: Patchogue, Sayville, and Bay Shore.

(Flickr/ScubaBear68)

(Flickr/ScubaBear68)

The Catskills, NY

The Catskills provide the perfect environment in which to find yourself or lose yourself.  Rediscover history in the stone houses of Hurley.  Lose track of time flyfishing at Beaverkill Stream.  Catch your breath at the snowy summit of the diamond slope at Belleayre Mountain.  Abandon your inhibitions along the Shawangunk Wine Trail.  Add to your collection with a treasure from the Mountain Culture Festival.  Or, check out, turn off the cell phone, and soak up a treatment at one of the regions many spas and resorts.

Getting There:  CLICK HERE to see the numerous options from Amtrak and Metro-North to buses out of Port Authority.

(Flickr/jalapeno)

(Flickr/jalapeno)

Sandy Hook, NJ

One of the easiest beaches to get to from NYC, Sandy Hook New Jersey is just a quick ferry ride from Manhattan.  The seven-mile stretch of spectacular ocean and bay beaches is miles away from its Jersey Shore neighbors.  Nature lovers will revel in this quiet stretch of land that boast 300+ species of migratory birds as well as the pristine holly forest.

Getting There:  Take the seastreak ferry from East 35th Street or Pier 11 and arrive an hour later in Sandy Hook.

(Flickr/slowpoke748)

(Flickr/slowpoke748)

Rhinebeck, NY

The Gem of the Hudson Valley, Rhinebeck is a beautiful historic area in Northern Dutchess County that claims 437 National Historic Register sites.  The charming town is known for its quirky boutiques and shops, fabulous restaurants, and numerous B&B's.   Rhinebeck is the ideal base for touring the entire Hudson River Valley

Getting There:  If you go to Penn Station, you can take Amtrak to Rhinecliff, NY, which is a hamlet outside of Rhinebeck, and then take a cab into town.   If you go to Grand Central, you would take Metro North into Poughkeepsie and take a cab. Poughkeepsie is about 20 minutes away, but it is cheaper than Amtrak.

(Flickr/twelvecats)

(Flickr/twelvecats)

Mohegan Sun Casino, CT

Created in 1996 by the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut, the Mohegan Sun boasts three world-class casinos, family entertainment facilities, a luxurious day spa, a state-of-the-art poker room, as well as three major entertainment venues with seating up to 10,000 people.  Mohegan Sun is Connecticut's answer to Atlantic City.

Getting There:  Board the Metro-North train from Grand Central, get off at the New Haven train station and then hop on a bus to get to the casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. You'll be there in under three hours.

(Flickr/cisco1970)

(Flickr/cisco1970)

City Island, NY

Okay, technically you're still in the city.  But, this picturesque fishing town in the Bronx will have you feeling miles away from midtown.  If you crave fresh seafood and a relaxing day out of the water, head to the New York Sailing Center & Yacht Club and they'll provide free transportation to City Island for private lessons.  Most head north to City Island for a little bit of Nantucket in the Bronx!

Getting there: Just take the 6 to Pelham Bay Park.  Transfer to City Bus BX 29 towards City Island.

 

Any more suggestions?  Feel free to share in the comments below!