Summer Adventures: Things to Do Around NYC and Beyond

As the summer sun casts its warm glow over New York City and its surrounding areas, the opportunities for outdoor fun and exploration abound. From the bustling streets of the Big Apple to the serene landscapes of Westchester County and the Hudson Valley, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Here’s a guide to some of the best summer activities to make the most of the season.

1. Explore Central Park

No summer in NYC is complete without a visit to Central Park. Spanning 843 acres, this iconic green space offers a plethora of activities. Rent a bike and cruise through its scenic pathways, paddle around the lake in a rowboat, or enjoy a leisurely picnic on the Great Lawn. Don’t miss the free summer concerts and performances at the Delacorte Theater and Rumsey Playfield.

2. Hit the Beaches

Escape the urban heat with a trip to one of NYC’s beaches. Coney Island in Brooklyn is perfect for a day of sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying the historic amusement park. Rockaway Beach in Queens offers a more laid-back vibe with great surf spots and trendy food vendors. For a quieter retreat, head to Orchard Beach in the Bronx.

3. Take a Hudson River Cruise

Experience the beauty of the Hudson River with a scenic cruise. Several companies offer sightseeing tours departing from Manhattan, providing stunning views of the NYC skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and historic landmarks along the Hudson River. Sunset cruises are especially popular, offering a romantic end to a summer day.

4. Visit Governors Island

Just a short ferry ride from Lower Manhattan, Governors Island is a summer haven. Rent a bike or surrey to explore the island’s car-free paths, visit the art installations, or relax in a hammock at Hammock Grove. The island also hosts various events, including outdoor movies, music festivals, and food fairs.

5. Discover Westchester County’s Outdoor Wonders

A short train ride from NYC, Westchester County boasts beautiful parks and nature reserves. Visit the Rockefeller State Park Preserve for hiking and birdwatching, or enjoy kayaking and paddleboarding on the Croton River. The picturesque town of Sleepy Hollow offers historic sites and scenic river views, perfect for a summer day trip.

6. Explore the Hudson Valley

The Hudson Valley is a treasure trove of summer activities. Head to Bear Mountain State Park for hiking, picnicking, and boating on Hessian Lake. The Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie offers breathtaking views of the river and surrounding landscapes. Don’t miss the charming towns of Beacon and Cold Spring, known for their vibrant arts scenes, antique shops, and farm-to-table dining.

7. Enjoy Wine Tasting in the Shawangunk Wine Trail

For wine enthusiasts, a visit to the Shawangunk Wine Trail in the Hudson Valley is a must. The trail features numerous wineries, each offering tastings of locally produced wines. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon sampling a variety of wines, from crisp whites to robust reds, all while taking in the scenic vineyard views.

8. Attend Summer Festivals and Events

Summer is festival season, and NYC and its surrounding areas host a multitude of events. The New York City Summer Streets program transforms major city streets into pedestrian-friendly zones with activities, performances, and food vendors. In the Hudson Valley, the Dutchess County Fair in Rhinebeck is a beloved tradition, featuring agricultural exhibits, carnival rides, and live entertainment.

9. Visit Historic Sites

Immerse yourself in history with visits to some of the region’s notable landmarks. The historic mansions along the Hudson River, such as Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate, and Lyndhurst Mansion, offer fascinating tours and stunning grounds to explore. The West Point Military Academy in West Point provides guided tours of its storied campus and museum.

10. Experience Outdoor Dining

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy al fresco dining. NYC boasts numerous rooftop bars and restaurants with stunning skyline views. In Westchester and the Hudson Valley, many eateries offer outdoor seating with picturesque vistas. Enjoy a meal at the waterfront restaurants in Tarrytown or a farm-to-table experience in one of the valley’s many charming towns.


From the energetic streets of New York City to the tranquil countryside of the Hudson Valley, summer offers a wealth of activities and experiences. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these destinations provide the perfect backdrop for unforgettable summer adventures. So, grab your sunscreen and get ready to explore all that this vibrant region has to offer.

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