Whether coming to NYC from abroad or from another part of the US, your idea of a great trip probably isn’t being stuck in traffic in a taxi, unable to see more than 5 feet in front of you, or spending the majority of your time cooped up in a hotel room.
Do you want to get out and experience New York and vicinity in ways that will create lasting, lifetime memories? Here are some tips to help make your trip a true adventure:
1. Take a Hop-on, Hop-off Bus Tour
Buy a very affordable and always available hop-on, hop-off bus pass to the city, and you can see a wide swath of NYC’s most iconic sites in a single day. An all-day pass lets you get on or off tour buses at stops all over the city, when and where you please.
You have the freedom to “create your own itinerary and schedule” while avoiding the hassle of fighting heavy traffic (on street or sidewalk). Everything from Times Square to the Empire State Building to Brooklyn Bridge to China Town can be visited in rapid succession.
2. Join Cycling and Skating Competitions
If you’re the “competitive type” or if you just want to practice in style at your cycling and skateboarding in the heart of New York City, read on. Visit Kissena Velodrome in Queens to test your cycling skills on Olympic asphalt against NYC’s best.
Or, stop by “Pier 62” skatepark any time of year from 8am to dark. Inside, you’ll find 15,000 square feet of skateboarding paradise, divided up into zones ranging from beginner to pro. The cool “California design” of the park and the view of the nearby yacht dock add to the experience.
3. Golf Where the Stars Golfed
Up by Yonkers, golfers will be pleased to play the green at Van Cortlandt Golf Course. This place has a “mystic” appeal to many as it was once the playground of such stars as Babe Ruth, Joe Lewis, and Moe, Larry, and Curly. With a million and half dollars of recent renovations, it is up to date even while maintaining its “old style” mystique.
4. Climb Brooklyn Boulders
If you’ve never gotten into the sport of “climbing,” Brooklyn Boulders is the perfect opportunity: You can get lessons on the spot. But old pros come here too: it’s not a climbing park you “outgrow.” Climb on beginner boulders or on a more challenging “Brooklyn Bridge miniature.” For those who want a hands on tourist experience, this is a prime stop.
5. Explore New York’s Waters
Not all the adventure in and around New York City is onshore. Take your choice of sailboats, water taxis, speed boats, yachts, and more, and explore New York Harbor. Or, go on a multi-day sailing excursion up the Hudson River. Also, don’t neglect a free Liberty Tour out to see Lady Liberty in all her grandeur (and nearby Ellis Island).
But if you need even more adventurous opportunities on the water, consider a kayaking trip down the Delaware River or a whitewater rafting trip down the Lehigh River in the Poconos of northern Pennsylvania. It’s a short drive from NYC to get started.
6. Surf at Rockaway Beach
In Queens, not an hour outside Manhattan, lie the beautiful sandy beaches of Rockaway Beach, a shore with steady surf swells and a classic surfing spot for New York locals and visitors alike. If it’s wintertime, you might want to stick with ice skating in Rockefeller Center, but for the warmer months of the year, Rockaway is the perfect get away.
7. Brave the “Tough Mudder”
Finally, just up on Long Island, visit the village of Old Bethpage in July to fight your way through an over 10 mile obstacle course called the “Tough Mudder.” There are 20 tough obstacles to get past, but you can do the shorter 5-mile version with only 13 obstacles if you prefer.