Top Ten New York City Getaways

By Dave Lutz
August in New York can be a scorcher, but don't let that scare you away. Here are GORP's picks for hot weather adventure in the outdoors.
  1. Ride the Drum Boats
    Head to Flushing Meadows Park to take part in the old Chinese tradition of drum boat racing. Races take place on the park's lake every weekend, and regulars welcome new participants.
  2. Jump In
    Celebrate New York's waterways with a dip in its most famous member: the Hudson River. Sound crazy? Visit the Manhattan Island Foundation ( for a list of organized swim meets in the inner harbor, which now meets cleanliness standards for legal swimming.
  3. Go Beyond the Cyclone
    An old New York tradition just got better. Days lolling on the beach on Coney Island are now enhanced by dissipated crowds, new playgrounds, and volleyball courts. Forgo the popular Rockaways for the ambience and soft surf of Coney.
  4. Hop Off the Highway
    Saugerties, just a few minutes off the New York Thruway in the in the Catskills, with its lush and rugged landscape, seems a world away from the Hudson River Valley. Car campers head to North Lake for one of the best facilities around (see for reservations). Backpackers two-foot to Echo Lake, a secluded spot just five miles down a escarpment trail.
  5. Catch a Summer Breeze
    The winds pick up in August, and windsurfers head to Plumb Beach, near Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn. Radio forecasts of breezes from the south will bring scores of colorful sailboarders on to this rare naturalistic city beach. Come to watch or join the fun.
  6. Fly a Kite
    For families or the less adventurous, kite flying may fill the bill. Head to Staten Island's South Beach or Jamaica Bay's Floyd Bennett Field for some of the best kite launches around.
  7. Kid Showers
    Kids love nothing more in the summer heat than water, and most local playgrounds offer wading pools for the toddlers. For one of the city's largest and most dramatic sprinkling sites, visit the fountains of Flushing Meadows Park.
  8. Hop the Tottenville Trolley
    Grab the ferry and head to this Staten Island train for an historic trip through Tottenville, a sleepy town at the southernmost point in the city. Visit Conference House, where Ben Franklin unsuccessfully talked peace with the British, then walk up the beach to the island's newest park, Mount Lorretto, for great harbor breezes and views.
  9. Seek the Rainbow
    A steep hike up Rainbow Mountain in New Jersey's Stokes State Forest (210-768-1360) offers no guarantees of multicolored light, but you will find vistas of forest and farm, as well as waterfalls and rocky outcroppings.
  10. Camp al Fresco
    Overnight under the stars with a trip to Castle Rock--just one hour from the city on MetroNorth's Hudson Line. Follow the path from the train station over broad carriage roads, through high-country meadows to the Camp Smith Trail.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 30 Mar 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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