You are a New Yorker. By definition, you’re bold, adventurous, and hungry to experience something new. You also, likely, don’t own a vehicle. Don’t let that stand in your way! Mere miles from the city limits lie the wild, beautiful, and accessible Catskill Mountains, just waiting to be discovered. Thanks to an abundance of alternate transportation, these mountains provide the perfect opportunity for a day or weekend trip from New York City without a car. Hiking, biking, fishing, and fabulous food are waiting for you – and we can get you there. So grab your gear, pack your bags, and get ready to escape to the Catskills.
How to get to the Catskills from NYC without a car
Take the Train
Unless you hail a cab or call an Uber every time you need to get around the city, you’re already well-acquainted with taking the train. Instead of taking your usual Uptown 6, head to Penn Station or Grand Central and hop on a train going out of town!
- Eastern Catskills: New Paltz, NY – Hip Mountain Town
One of the hippest mountain towns in New York, New Paltz is a unique cultural haven set amidst a backdrop of stunning mountains and surrounded by lush farmland. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or just a new city to explore, New Paltz is the perfect destination. Full of art, music, and incredible locavore food, New Paltz is also conveniently close to hiking, fishing, and camping opportunities galore! It’s also home to several breweries, wineries, cider houses, and distilleries. Take a tour or simply enjoy a local brew on tap! To get here, take the Metro North Hudson Line from Grand Central Terminal or Amtrak to Poughkeepsie and then hail a ride share for the last eleven miles to New Paltz. Pro tip: You can also take a Trailways bus from Port Authority to New Paltz!
- Southern Catskills: Bethel, NY – Woodstock-inspired Immersion
Visit the place where true magic happened – the 1969 Woodstock Festival. Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, located minutes outside the town of Bethel, is dedicated to preserving the past and encouraging positive change for the future through the arts and humanities. Soak in history on the 1969 Woodstock festival field, catch a show at their 15,000 capacity Pavilion Stage amphitheater, pull up a beanbag chair in their 360° theater, or take a ride on the psychedelic bus in the Museum at Bethel Woods. In addition to concerts, they also host a variety of humanities programs, festivals, workshops, speaker series, and more. To get there, head to Penn Station and take NJ Transit’s Main Line or Bergen County Line to Suffern, NY, then transfer to Metro-North Railroad’s Port Jervis line to Otisville. From Otisville, call a ride share to take you the remaining 30 miles. Roundtrip bus transportation is available on concert days through CoachUSA, Shortline from New York City, Ridgewood, NJ and Middletown, NY. Service is available for main Pavilion Stage concerts only.
Board the Bus
Okay, maybe buses aren’t the most glamourous way to travel, but they’re efficient and convenient for a last minute weekend getaway from NYC! Besides, there’s still a certain Kerouac “On The Road” romanticism to boarding a bus to escape the city. Catching a bus out of town is easy, as they leave from and go to so many different locations. Check online for a variety of options, or head to Port Authority (on 8th Ave and 42nd Street) to buy an Adirondack-Pine Hill Trailways or Greyhound ticket bound for the Catskills.
- Northern Catskills: Catskill, NY – Artist’s Getaway
Take a Greyhound bus from Port Authority to the Town of Catskill, located on the banks of the Hudson River. The perfect artist’s getaway, Catskill is home to Thomas Cole’s House, the first stop along the Hudson River Art Trail. Take a guided tour of the house, studio, and grounds, and enjoy special exhibitions of Hudson River School paintings. Book a room at The Caleb Street's Inn, originally built in 1785 and expanded in the 1820's and 1950's. The quintessential Bed and Breakfast, The Caleb Street’s Inn boasts two large porches where, on summer evenings, you can enjoy refreshments as you overlook the Catskill Creek and Marina.
- Western Catskills: Andes, NY – Farm to Fork Flavors
Try something completely different from your day to day. Plan a weekend farm stay in the Western Catskills! Take a Pine-Hill Trailways bus from Port Authority to Andes, NY and you’ll be centrally located in one of New York’s richest agritourism regions. While you can discover the fresh tastes of local food producers – from honey and maple syrup to fresh produce and farm-raised meats – at one of the many farmers’ markets, farm stores, or farm-to-table restaurants in the region, you can also take it one step further and experience life on the farm for yourself! Glamp or stay in a tiny home at Greenane Farms. Enjoy a farmhouse suite at Stone and Thistle Farms and take a tour of the organic livestock farm. Or, visit Turquoise Barn for a healthy, farm-style retreat.
The wild and remote nature of the Catskills is what makes it such an alluring escape from New York City. However, that also means that not all towns are reachable by train or bus alone. To get deeper into the Catskills, get creative and combine a couple methods of travel. You can get almost anywhere in the Catskill Park and surrounding region by taking a bus or train most of the way, then requesting a rideshare for the last leg of the trip. To make the most of your travel days, consider a multi-day trip and take advantage of the premium lodging opportunities in the Catskills. Discover exciting new destinations and remember to enjoy the journey – after all, getting there is half the fun!