National Parks Just a Drive Away From Westchester

Drivable Getaways
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National Parks Just a Drive Away From Westchester

As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, Westchester families are eager to embrace the outdoors. While Westchester has many options for taking in nature, for many families, our spring and summer plans always include getting away from our regular routines and taking in something new.  

If you’re a Westchester family looking to escape for a weekend and reconnect with nature, these national parks are just a drive away. They’re not only ideal for a day trip but also perfect for a fun-filled weekend getaway, offering a refreshing change of scenery without the hassle of long travel. 

Be sure to check out 9 Road Trips to Explore With Your Family Near Westchester

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park, a scenic 5-6-hour drive from Westchester (depending on your starting point), is a haven of tranquility and natural beauty. This national park offers breathtaking views, various summits, and hiking trails suitable for all ages. There are also ranger-led programs, nature walks, and junior ranger activities for families with children. This must-see spot can fill up any itinerary and provides a serene and peaceful setting for a weekend getaway. It’s a place where adventure awaits, ready to be explored by Westchester families. 

According to the National Park Service, “Acadia National Park preserves approximately 50,000 acres along the mid-section of the Maine coast, containing the tallest mountains on the eastern seaboard, an iconic rocky Maine coastline, and subalpine rocky summits.” Making this national park one to add to your bucket list. The park itself has so much terrain to cover. 

Every visitor has to start their trip to Acadia bright and early. One of the many reasons travelers visit from all over is to catch the incredible sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain. Cadillac Mountain is the tallest mountain on Mount Desert Island and the Atlantic Coast, making its views spectacular. Other must-sees when visiting include Thunder Hole, Great Long Pond, Sand Beach, and Schoodic Peninsula. 

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is located in Virginia, and it takes approximately 5 hours to drive from Westchester County. This park boasts stunning hikes, waterfalls, and beautiful nearby lodging options that are perfect for families planning a weekend getaway. 

Whether looking for adventure on the trails or a quaint trip for the family, planning a visit to Shenandoah National Park has the potential to cater to all your family’s needs and ensure an enjoyable trip. It’s a place where every family member, from the youngest to the oldest, can find something to enjoy.

What makes this park extra enjoyable? It’s the perfect place for hiking fanatics. This hiking haven can’t be missed with several hiking options, including short hikeslong hikeshikes to waterfalls, and even hikes for kids. Shenandoah is perfect for any active family looking to explore all that our East Coast nature has to offer. 

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Delaware Water Gap National Park is approximately two hours from Westchester County, making it the perfect stop for a day trip. This national park offers peaceful landscapes, plenty of hiking opportunities, paddling, fishing, hunting, and incredible vistas along the 40-mile-long free-flowing river east of the Mississippi. 

Bring your bikes, explore the park while bicycling, rent a canoe, kayak, or raft from nearby liveries, and get out on the water. This park is another go-to for lovers of hikes and trails, with varying difficulty levels depending on what best suits you. 

The National Parks Services states, “Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area offers over 150 miles of trails of various difficulty levels. From wheelchair accessible trails, like Dingmans Falls boardwalk trail, to strenuous hikes, like the Mount Tammany Red Dot Trail, there is a perfect adventure for everyone.”

The possibilities for planning and exploring a fun-filled day in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area are endless. 


Gateway National Recreation Area consists of three units: Jamaica Bay, Sandy Hook, and Staten Island. It overlaps two states and includes areas in three New York City boroughs: Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. As the National Parks Service describes, “spanning 27,000 acres from Sandy Hook in New Jersey to Breezy Point in New York City, the park is both the gateway from the ocean into New York Harbor, and the gateway to the National Park Service for millions of visitors every year.”

Gateway offers visitors a variety of recreational activity options. They can choose from bicycling, bird watchingboatingcampingfishingswimming, and even archery. Gateway also offers a variety of guided programs and even junior ranger programs that are perfect for kids. There are many options for family activities, and it would be a nice change of scenery for those who have never been. 

Just under 2 hours away, this national park and recreation area is the ideal day trip from Westchester County. It’s where every family member can find something they love this spring/summer. 

When we think of breathtaking national parks, we don’t tend to think of the East Coast, but it’s surprising just how close we are to some spectacular views guaranteed to leave anyone speechless. We will definitely be putting these drivable getaways on our bucket list this summer and head straight to these national parks.