There’s never a bad time to visit New York—and yes, that includes winter. Believe it or not, it’s one of the best times to see our state at its most beautiful. The Northeast is notorious for winter storms, but they’re actually few and far between… and for most of the season, we simply enjoy a winter wonderland.
If you’re consider a visit to New York City during the winter, you may want to jump into your LaGuardia airport car rental and explore some of our nearby cities and towns. The Big Apple is beautiful this time of year, but sometimes it just doesn’t compare to the kind of peaceful snow-filled landscape you’ll only find upstate. Consider an SUV rental New York or a vehicle that’s known for doing well in the snow, and get ready to fall in love with New York’s winters.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the best spots in New York to go for a winter getaway. Pick your favorite and plan for an extra few days away from the city for new adventures.
Hunter Mountain is a two and a half hour drive from New York City, and Hunter Mountain happens to be one of the best places to ski and snowboard in the state. Because it’s a resort destination, there are also plenty of great dining and shopping options for those who don’t ski or want to do other things as well. Hunter Mountain is actually the closest skiing destination to the city, so if you’re interested at all, it’s probably your best bet.
Hudson River Valley
Located about two hours north of the city, the Hudson River Valley is a winter wonderland. The National Geographic Traveler has declared the area one of the World’s Top 20 Destinations, and for good reason. The breathtaking landscapes really come alive when they’re dusted with snow, and the houses are almost all decorated for the holiday season. The amazing dining, outlet shopping and theater performances will only add to your amazing experience.
Montauk, which is a two and a half hour drive from the city (with traffic), is a wonderful place to visit in any season. It’s known more as a summertime getaway, but you won’t regret exploring it in the winter. The beaches are just as breathtaking, though you’ll want to bundle up before your beach walk. And even though some of the surf shops and beachside bars close up for the winter, you can still dine at the best seafood restaurants and indulge in a spa treatment without any competition. The Montauk Manor, situated on a hillside, is the perfect place to stay.
Lake Placid is a long drive from the city—about five hours. But it’s worth it. The Lake Placid Lodge goes all out for the season, when the silent, snowy forest and the frozen lake make a magical landscape for exploring… or for gazing from the comfort of your fireside lounge chair. The winter activities here are limitless: Skiing, sledding, ice fishing, ice skating, snowshoeing and bonfires, just to name a few. And if you need to warm up, the Lake Placid Spa & Salon is a great place to relax.
Shinn Estate Vineyards and Farmhouse, Mattituck
Mattituck is a quiet community about an hour and a half from the city on the Long Island peninsula. The Shinn Estate Vineyards is an all-in-one destination: you can taste and buy wine, stay at the luxurious but cozy farmhouse, take a self-guided tour through the vineyards, and enjoy a complimentary breakfast each morning. The pace slows down during winter, but it’s still a beautiful time of year to go.
New York’s Finger Lakes are located in Ontario County, which is a good five hour drive from the city (but a great way to explore the state). Canandaigua is home to Bristol Mountain Ski Resort and the beautiful Bristol Harbor Resort. Bristol Harbor really goes the extra mile to make sure your getaway is spectacular, with a fireplace in every room and heated bathroom floors to keep you cozy. Between all the amenities and the gorgeous view of Canandaigua Lake, you won’t want to leave… but if you can pry yourself from the ground, check out Twisted Rail Brewing Company and sample some local brew.
Niagara Falls seems like the perfect summer destination. But the state park doesn’t close for the winter, and in fact, this may be the best time to view the falls. The intense heat and extreme crowds of summertime can drive any sane person away, but during this time of year, the viewing areas are all yours. The popular Maid of the Mist boat ride does close down in early November due to icy conditions, but most of the viewing areas remain open. The nearby town of Buffalo is also a fun place to spend a winter weekend, with businesses offering snowshoe rentals and an outdoor skating rink at Canalside that’s four times the size of Rockefeller Center’s.