NEW YORK CITY — Memorial Day, which falls on May 30 this year, is fast approaching, but just because you haven't booked any travel yet doesn't mean it's too late.
We've scouted some great trips, all within either a 3-hour plane, train or car trip from New York City — and some much closer — but all the listed destinations should make you feel like you're worlds away from the city.
Use the three-day weekend as an excuse to kick off the summer season by taking a fun, restorative trip with friends, family or your significant other.
Cherry blossom season is over, which means the crowds have thinned in our nation's capital, but there are still plenty of flowers and days that are warm, but not yet sweltering. For New Yorkers used to paying $25 for entry to the city's cultural institutions, D.C.'s free museum policy is a breath of fresh air.
The three to three-and-a-half hour Amtrak train trip means staying overnight makes sense. Depending on when you depart, one-way tickets are as low as $49. A bus ride makes for a longer, but more affordable trip.
Beacon falls under the category of easiest and cheapest to get to — the trip involves an hour and a half scenic ride along the Hudson River on Metro North for $16 each way.
Once you're there, go on a hike up Mount Beacon and take in panoramic views of the Hudson River, go gallery hopping in town, visit the renowned modern art museum Dia:Beacon and then settle in for a night of craft beers, live music and a farm-to-table dinner.
If you're looking to get into nature, without a long traffic-filled drive ahead of you, Woodstock offers serenity and proximity to the city. It's about a two-hour drive from the city.
Surrounded by state parks, Woodstock has plenty of hiking and exploring options, as well as a charming town for shopping and dining.
The North Fork, Long Island, N.Y.
Welcome the summer season by dipping your toes in the ocean, eating a fresh lobster roll and cracking open a bottle (or two or three) of rosé in the North Fork.
While you can easily get to the North Fork on the Long Island Railroad to either Greenport or Southold, it's ideal to have a car to get around to the various wineries, farms and beaches while you're there.
To avoid paying city car rental rates, take the train out and rent a car once you're there. Or you can arrange a wine tour in which you and friends get driven around, but note that not all wineries allow limos or buses, as they want to discourage boisterous parties.
Don't miss wineries like Croteaux, which specializes in rose, has an enchanting outdoor garden for sipping flights and Kontokosta, which has a large back lawn that leads all the way to the ocean for stunning views while you sip your wine and nibble snacks.
If you have enough time, head over to Shelter Island via a $2 ferry from Greenport and explore the island's bike paths and beaches.
On your way back to the city, stock up on local produce at one of the many farm stands along the main roads, and at Catapano Goat Farm meet the goats behind their delicious cheese.
If you have a couple work days to spare, you can hop a three-hour flight to Bermuda on Sunday and be back Wednesday for less than $300 round trip. Flights on Friday and Saturday are a bit pricier at this point, but if you have less time to spare, this is the way to feel worlds away from New York City without a major travel hassle.
By the end of May, the water temperature is about 80 degrees, and this is when most Bermudians take their first dip. Whether you're bouncing in the warm, buoyant waves or snorkeling around one of the many reefs, you won't want to get out.
Savannah is a quick non-stop two-hour flight away. Round trip tickets for the most popular travel days of Memorial Day weekend — Friday and Monday — will run you about $400, but you can score a deal if you have some flexibility.
The city is known for its charm, hospitality and architecture. Preservationists and history buffs will love how much of Savannah's 18th-century history has been kept intact through its buildings and squares; you won't find any skyscrapers downtown.
The renowned Savannah College of Art and Design, situated in the center of the city, means lots of galleries, shops and restaurants are continually popping up.