where-to-escape-the-nyc-summer-heat-fire-island-feature

As the mercury rises, life in New York gets… sticky. Escape the scorching concrete jungle on a day trip to an arts centre, or cool down by crystalline lakes on a long weekend upstate. These are some of the best places to get out of town.

1. Montauk

Surfer bros and biddies will want to hop straight on the Jitney or LIRR on a Friday afternoon to head out to Long Island’s easternmost point. Known for its chill surfer vibes (despite recently attracting swells of cool-kid crowds), beach bars and gnarly waves, Montauk is a summer paradise for those in need of a good break. Hit the water first thing Saturday morning and then beat the crowds to Gurney’s or Surf Lodge for a well-deserved bottle of rosé.

2. Lake George

A favourite destination in upstate New York’s Adirondacks, Lake George is your go-to for a long weekend break. Book a sprawling lake house and spend days between the boat and the barbecue. If your gang is of the sportier variety, rent some water skis or a wakeboard and make the most of your waterfront location. Canoeing, kayaking, hiking and cycling are also upstate must-dos, so pack trainers in your weekend bag. When the sky is filled with stars at night (a sure sign you’re far, far away from the city lights), set up a bonfire and have an at-home summer camp night of s’mores and scary stories.

3. Princeton

Only an hour-long train journey from Penn Station, Princeton is as doable for an impromptu day trip as it is for a Friday-to-Sunday affair. If the sun and rooftop crowds are just getting too unbearable, hop on the train and head out to this preppy paradise. Start the day off with a stroll around campus to check out the school’s gothic architecture and eating clubs, then pop into sleek Mistral (a favourite among students going to dinner with visiting family members) for fresh burrata or salmon tartare and lavender lemonade.

4. Martha’s Vineyard

Leaving straight from East 35th Street at 4pm every day, the Seastreak Ferry will have you on the shores of Martha’s Vineyard by 9:15pm the same evening. A mecca for all things summer, this island greets you with beach houses and seafood galore, most likely starting with a lobster dinner on the night you arrive. En route to your weekend getaway, grab a few beers for the boat and watch the city fade into the distance from the top deck.

5. Storm King Art Center

The perfect escape for art lovers, Storm King is an open-air museum that is home to one of the United States’ largest collections of sculptures. A welcome alternative to the city’s air-conditioned and packed museums, it’s set in the rolling hills of Mountainville, with installations by the likes of Calder and Mark Dion sitting proudly on hilltops or nestled by forest lines. The art centre also hosts countless summer events, such as a farm-to-table summer solstice dinner and late-afternoon outdoor musical performances, making the trip up completely worth it.

6. Cape May

One of New Jersey’s most charming beach towns, Cape May is your go-to for an all-American seaside escape. Rent a house or stay at one of the adorable Victorian B&Bs by the water, and spend days taking a cooling dip, flipping through books and buying one ice cream after another from a beachside stand. Make the most of the local seafood with dinners of oysters and wine or clambakes on the beach.

7. Fire Island

For a laid-back alternative to the Hamptons, Fire Island is the dream escape, offering both proximity to the city and an abundance of beaches. A thin strip of land running parallel to the south side of Long Island, it’s only accessible by private boats or ferries leaving from Long Island. There are hardly any cars here, so weekends here are spent exploring on foot and cycling with a beach picnic packed into your bike’s basket.

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