People who spend time outdoors, particularly around trees and in gardens, have better physical and mental health, and the benefits can be immediate. One recent study at Stanford University found that volunteers who walked in a park-like section of the university’s campus were less anxious, less likely to dwell on negative things, and performed better on short-term memory tests than those who walked near a highway.
Arrange for a day of respite care and plan your escape! Here are day trips in the Hudson Valley, on Long Island, and in New Jersey that can help caregivers recharge. If you can only steal a few hours, we’ve also included ideas for NYC.
Note: Public transportation may be operating on limited schedules because of COVID-19. And many attractions have limited hours or are closed. Check before you go!
Short Line Bus offers day trips on both sides of the Hudson River to Bear Mountain State Park, Storm King Art Center, and (if you’re willing to travel a bit further) to the Vanderbilt and Roosevelt Mansions in Hyde Park. These tours take you to the parks directly.
Metro-North’s Hudson line takes you to several parks, from the Yonkers Esplanade to Poughkeepsie’s Walkway over the Hudson. In some cases, the hiking trails are a bit of a walk from the train station, but the views and vistas are worth it. If you aren’t up for a hike, tour Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate in Westchester County.
The Long Island Railroad offers several getaway packages. Many involve beaches, but you’ll find biking tours and walking tours on the North Shore’s Village of Stony Brook or on the Gold Coast. Caumsett State Park in Huntington and the Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay are within a short cab ride from the Oyster Bay train station.
The Palisades Interstate Parks Commission maintains several hiking trails in New York and New Jersey that are accessible from public transportation or via shuttles. If you’re not up for a hike, the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens are a short walk from the Montclair train station, or visit Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton.
New York City has plenty of green spaces. In addition to big public parks like Prospect, Van Cortlandt, and Central Park, the city boasts nine state parks. There’s at least one in every borough! Before you head out, check to see if your destination is closed due to capacity, or if there are limits on activities or attractions.