Popular day trips and excursions to take with a hire car
Located in the Hudson Valley, Sleepy Hollow is a popular destination for day-trippers thanks to its spooky reputation. You can tour the town that inspired one of America’s most famous books and photograph the Headless Horseman.
Those who prefer culture can visit New Haven and learn more about Yale University on a campus tour. Or check out quaint Beacon, home to the innovative Dia:Beacon modern art museum and scenic river views.
1. Sleepy Hollow
Head to the village of Sleepy Hollow to explore a 17th-century church made famous by Washington Irving’s ‘The Legend of the Headless Horseman.’ Outside the church is a giant spectacular sculpture of the Headless Horseman, and an actual bridge that formerly spanned a creek at this spot – although the actual bridge crossing mentioned by Irving’s story was actually further upstream inside the cemetery.
In October the riverfront village is a hub of gorgeous foliage and superb Halloween events retold through Irving’s tale. You can also take a classic evening lantern tour of the historic Sleepy Hollow Cemetery – step back in time by kerosene lantern light, visiting titans of industry like Andrew Carnegie and William Rockefeller and admiring beautiful art, architecture and cool cemetery symbolism along the way.
2. New Haven
The coastal city of New Haven, nicknamed the “Elm City” for its many elm trees, is a rich center of academic excellence and culture. From historic buildings to renowned museums and three nationally-ranked regional theatres, there’s plenty of things to see and do.
Those with a penchant for art can spend time strolling the galleries at Yale University and the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The former is Louis Kahn’s first commission and features one of the oldest collections of university artwork in America.
Grove Street Cemetery is a hive of history and culture with its gate, designed in the Egyptian Revival style that was popular in America at the time. Nearby West Rock Ridge State Park offers scenic views and hiking trails.
3. Hamilton Township
With wine tastings, concerts and tours of vineyards, a visit to the New York State wineries in Hamilton Township is perfect for anyone with an appreciation for the smooth taste of a glass of wine. It’s also a great way to escape the buzz of NYC and enjoy the quiet of the countryside.
For history buffs, the town is home to Jockey Hollow National Park where George Washington spent his winter camp. The park features reconstructed soldier huts, as well as the Ford Mansion and Headquarters Museum.
For those who want to get outside the city, Hamilton Township has a wide variety of scenic parks and recreation areas. The Sayen Botanical Gardens and Sayen House are a sanctuary for nature lovers, with their azaleas, dogwoods and rhododendrons. There are also walking trails, ponds, bridges and gazebos. visit to hire a car.
4. Cold Spring
Despite being a small town, Cold Spring has more than enough activities to keep visitors busy all day long. It also boasts beautiful natural surroundings, historic attractions and a thriving Italian art museum.
Start the day with a hike at Breakneck Ridge or Mount Taurus. Then, head back into town for a stroll up and down the charming Main Street. Pick up creative nicknacks from Cold Spring General Store and browse the antique shops.
For a more cultural experience, visit Magazzino Italian Art Museum. This beautiful, modern museum features colorful original pieces from the postwar Arte Povera movement. Alternatively, see the ruins of the former Hudson Highlands estate at Boscobel House and Gardens. The grounds are filled with dainty flowerbeds, woodland and a gorgeous Victorian mansion.
5. Iona Island
The tiny Isle of Iona lies off the southwestern tip of Mull and is best visited as part of a day trip from Oban. Regular coach-and-ferry trips include the abbey and a tour of the village.
St Columba arrived on Iona with Irish followers in 563AD and founded the first Christian community in Scotland. The resulting Abbey remains one of Scotland’s most historic sites and is a major pilgrimage destination.
The island is also renowned as a wildlife haven. Bird watchers can spot oyster catchers, sandpipers, curlews and plovers. Sea-birds like puffins, great northern divers and sea eagles breed here too. You may also see the rare corncrake amongst the reed beds. Whether you visit Iona as a pilgrim or just for the scenery and wildlife, it is sure to be a memorable experience.