Sure the hustle and bustle of the city can be fun, but sometimes you just need a getaway for some fresh air and relaxation. If you’re in Newark (or the entire NYC metropolitan area, for that matter), there are dozens of amazing travel destinations within a few hours and many are ideal if solo travelling.
With a nice mix of culture and nature, the Northeast has so much to offer, and Newark is well situated for a variety of destinations. From coastal New England to the breezy New Jersey Shore, your next weekend getaway can be an epic one. But where to go?
Here are the best weekend getaways from Newark Airport:
Asbury Park, New Jersey
Being only a few hours from Newark is hardly the only reason Asbury Park is one of the truly underrated destinations on the East Coast. Asbury Park is famous for its boardwalk, which is bested only by the historic Atlantic City but considerably closer to Newark.
There’s a huge energy in this city, with cultural offerings that have begun to take cues from Brooklyn and Manhattan. You’ll start to find coffee roasters, craft breweries, and dozens of hip bistros and bars to relax in after a day in the ocean. There is also a solid music scene here, with the iconic Stone Pony hosting popular indie rock bands.
This is no cute college town or granola-centric hiking outpost. Well, it’s sort of both of those things, but Burlington is so much more. While a trip to the Green Mountain State generally means hiking or skiing, there are plenty of cultural offerings that make Burlington a kist-visit for residents of the Northeast.
Craft beer nerds will probably already have Burlington on their list of “must-visit” beer cities, but novice enthusiasts will find the city’s dozen-or-so breweries approachable and fun. There are numerous festivals throughout the year, like the Vermont Brewers Festival, that have become a pilgrimage for those in the know.
When you’re not soaking up craft-brewed suds, most visitors to Burlington are enjoying the Lake Champlain waterfront and driving out to the many trails for hiking or mountain biking. Most folks won’t associate Vermont with sailing, but there is a massive scene based around Burlington, with boat rentals being popular for sailors of all levels.
Cape May, New Jersey
New Jersey has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to fantastic beach towns, and Cape May is one of the absolute best. It may lack the national recognition that Atlantic City and Asbury Park get, but Cape May offers an amazing getaway destination for Newark residents, especially families.
There are plenty of vacation rentals and hotels in Cape May, but there is a considerably more relaxed atmosphere in town. Restaurants tend to be more quaint and unassuming, which is perfect for city folks looking for a break from the monotony of the trendy Ironbound or Brooklyn dining scene.
The access to nature is spectacular in Cape May, with miles of waterfront access for visitors. There’s even whale watching!
Hudson Valley, New York
Everyone who lives in New York, Newark, or Jersey City might be sick of hearing about “heading upstate” for the weekend, but Hudson Valley is a popular weekend getaway destination for a reason.
There is the serene natural beauty that is the perfect counterpoint to the bustle of Newark, with a lot of the cultural offerings enjoyed by residents of New York City. The Culinary Institute of America is headquartered here, with a ton of amazing restaurants located in this region as a result. It’s the only place near Newark you can hike for a few hours and then immediately grab a Michelin-quality meal. And certainly don’t sleep on the craft beer scene!
Long Beach Island, New Jersey
Long Beach Island is a classic weekend destination for Newark residents. It’s only about 90 minutes by car, and the entire drive is along the beautiful Jersey shoreline. About 20 miles of absolutely stunning waterfront await travelers, with dozens of outdoor options ranging from hiking to sunbathing to sightseeing.
The Barnegat Lighthouse is the most notable attraction to see, but “Old Barney” is far from the only thing to do in town. For traveling families, hang out at the Viking Village, with quaint (if kitschy) shops and restaurants that are perfect for grabbing souvenirs and gifts.
There are plenty of small bars and restaurants, most notably the Mud City Crab House selling freshly-caught and buttery seafood and, legitimately, some of the best crab cakes outside of Maryland. Long Beach Island is far from just being a family destination, there’s nightlife as well. Hit a waterfront bar or grab a beer at a local brewery and sit around a firepit, meeting locals or other visitors.
You’ve probably heard of Martha’s Vineyard… We all have. But just because it’s an island doesn’t mean you can’t easily reach it from Newark. The car ride through Southern New England ends with a short (and beautiful) ferry ride to the region’s most iconic island.
All the best features of New England are evident on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Lighthouses, fishing villages (turned into resort towns), and pebbly beaches all make this an iconic travel destination. A quick note: this is an upscale place with upscale prices.
Whether you’re looking to refresh with a book and a view of the water, enjoy some evergreen hiking, or party it up, taking a weekend for yourself has plenty of benefits. If you’re in Newark and are feeling like you need a getaway, there are so many options. The Northeast is chock full of superb weekend destinations, so take full advantage of a few hours in the car (or ferry) and go have some fun!
Photos courtesy of Unsplash