New York City is surrounded by picturesque country roads and highways worth exploring. If you own or can rent a car, these scenic drives in New York will tempt you to roll down your window and drive like a Sunday driver. New York’s lakes, oceans, mountains, and rivers await you from Long Island to Upstate. All you have to do is know where to look. This is where we step in. We’ve compiled a list of the ten best scenic drives in and around New York City. Plan your weekend getaway or day trip with this list!
Seven Lakes Drive through Harriman State Park
Seven Lakes Drive’s twisty roads are only about 25 miles from New York City’s midtown. They make for a great Sunday morning ride. This motorcycle route combines fun curves with the stunning scenery of Harriman State Park.
The drive passes by seven lakes, as the name implies: Lake Sebago and Lake Kanawauke in Haverstraw and Tuxedo, respectively, Lake Tiorati in Tuxedo and Woodbury, Lake Skannatati and Lake Askoti in Tuxedo, Silver Mine Lake in Woodbury, and Queensboro Lake in Highlands.
If you want farmland’s rustic beauty, head to Long Island’s South Fork along NY-27 East. There, you will also find views of the ocean and quaint shops that line the village. You’ll arrive in the Hamptons once you exit Sunrise Highway. Even if you can’t afford to stay overnight, the drive is well worth it.
Road 23 through the Catskills
An official road stretches for over an hour and takes you into the heart of the Catskill Mountains. It passes through towns such as Tannersville. There are numerous access points along this road where you can park your car and dip in a river.
Long Island’s North Fork Trail Scenic Byway
Do you prefer the laid-back rustic charm of North Fork to the polished Hamptons? Take the North Fork Trail from Southold to Orient Point via Route 25. The 36 miles of roads wind through quaint hamlets, numerous wineries, vast farms, and wetlands. Snatch the opportunities to pause and take in the ocean views.
It’s not widely known that the city contains a small fishing community akin to one in New England. However, you can visit City Island in the Bronx to find out for yourself. You can get there quickly by taking City Island Road off of I-95 at exit 8B. The island is only 1.5 miles long. Whether you travel by car or on foot, you can find a charming town with stunning views of Long Island.
Route 9 to Sleepy Hollow
Yes, the one from the spooky story of the Headless Horseman! As you approach Sleepy Hollow, a breathtaking view greets you. Take Route 9 to see forests, wildflowers, quaint storefronts, and rustic churches. The Rockefeller Estate, Kykuit, and the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where famous people like Washington Irving, the author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” are interred, are all close to the route.
Road 9 from Deerhead to the Canadian border
Road 9 is quite long. You can find it close to Lake George and Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain, located on Interstate 87. The only issue is that if you travel Road 9 in its entirety, it frequently lacks scenic areas. It would be best if you explored only certain sections, like this one.
Road 14 and 96A in Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes (west of NYC)
A stunning region known as the Finger Lakes is located in western New York State. It offers scenic drives, hikes, and tourist attractions like Watkins Glen State Park. You can also travel through Road 96A on the opposite side of the lake. Here, you’ll find lovely locations like Hector Falls, one of New York State’s most breathtaking waterfalls.
Palisades Parkway to Bear Mountain
You can observe the Hudson River Valley in breathtaking detail while driving along the Palisades Parkway. The drive is 42 miles long and showcases the Palisades cliffs and the river below. It runs from the George Washington Bridge to the Bear Mountain Bridge.
Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway
Farmland, 30,000 acres of nature preserves, and historic Dutch settlements flanked by the stunning Catskill Mountains are all visible along the 88-mile stretch. It starts about 90 miles north of New York City and circles the Wallkill and Rondout valleys. You can satisfy your desire to breathe nature in for a while just through these alluring views.
High Peaks Scenic Byway
If you’ve traversed the Adirondacks past Interstate 87, you should take the High Peaks Scenic Byway on your subsequent journey. You descend further into these mountains (northeast). There are a tonne of viewing points, hiking trails, swimming holes, and other adventures to discover along the way. However, the scenic drive is obviously the main draw in this location.
Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway
Follow this 52-mile section as it passes through Slide Mountain, Indian Head, Big Indian, Shandaken Wild Forest, and Hunter-West Kill. You can capture views of soaring mountains, glistening water, sprawling farmland, and charming villages outside your windows. Take Route 214 to 23A to 32 and then to 20 for a particularly breathtaking route. Here, see cascading waterfalls, streams, idyllic countryside, and leafy forests.
Along with skirting the Appalachian Trail’s Kittatinny Ridge, this route takes you close to the Delaware River. Drivers can also access the Kittatinny Point Visitors Center. After this, they can travel through Worthington State Forest, Turtle Beach, and Millbrook. You can also make a stop at High Point State Park before arriving in Newton.
Route 44 towards Lake Minnewaska
One of the best state parks in New York is Lake Minnewaska State Park. But we’re talking about the state’s most beautiful drives. Hence, you should also remember how beautiful the main road that leads to the park is. Route 44 travels for roughly 15 miles before getting you to the park’s entrance. It offers breathtaking views of New York’s southern Catskill region.
Interstate 87 from NYC to Canada
This scenic road plays a significant role in helping you discover some of New York State’s most stunning locations. Poke o Moonshine is the name of the mountain above. It’s in the Adirondack Mountains.
Interstate 87 travels hundreds of miles from New York City to Canada. You can expect to spend at least eight hours driving through New York State’s westernmost region.
Road 9N in the Lake George area
Want to see Lake George and enjoy the scenic drive on it? You should take road 9N, which runs for about 30 miles along the lake itself. Interstate 87 will get you close to the lake. Start from the first town you reach on this road. You’ll find lovely towns, stunning lake views, entertainment venues, very nice hiking trails, overlooks, and more.