Summer in Harlem can mean cool cocktails on a rooftop, or breezy walks along the waterfront. But it can also mean sticky subway stations and flocks of tourists along 125th Street and more. The happy medium: Leave the crowds behind come Friday and swap views of the Hudson for a weekend trip to the beach or country. You can see these easy, awe-inspiring destinations in two days—and they’re all less thantwo hours from Harlem, NY.
Book a Friday night flight to this British island and you’ll spend less time in transit and more time diving shipwrecks, browsing waterfront shops, and teeing off on golf courses with stunning views. Summertime also brings celebrations like the cricket competition Cup Match, and Non-Mariners Race—a day of boats, rafts, and music. Stay at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, set on turquoise waters, where, this June, Exhale Spa opens its doors. Don’t leave without a fish sandwich from Woody’s. ~2-hour flight from Harlem.
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Acadia National Park, Maine
Trade city sidewalks for granite peaks, jagged coastlines, and sweeping views of the Atlantic at Acadia National Park. It’s long been reported that this is the first place in the country to see the sun rise, inching over Cadillac Mountain—the highest point on the North Atlantic seaboard. Camp in what is one of the smallest—but most popular—National Parks, or stay in the West Street Hotel in nearby Bar Harbor, a town rich with unique shops, B&Bs, and restaurants. While you’re there, try a fresh Maine lobster on the deck of Beal’s, a working lobster and fishing pier. ~1-hour 40 minute flight to Bangor and a 1-hour drive.
Reach the charming seaside town of Annapolis—home to the Naval Academy—by bus, Amtrak, or plane, and be greeted with an Instagram-worthy boater’s paradise. Learn to sail at a local sailing school, book a sunset cruise, or explore the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, where scientists study the Chesapeake Bay. The Annapolis Waterfront Hotel—part of the Autograph Collection—has a maritime feel and a city location. When you’re hungry, crab cakes from O’Learys are a must. ~3.5-hour drive from Harlem; 4-hour train ride; 1.5-hour flight to Washington D.C., 45-minute drive.
Board in Manhattan, de-plane in one of Canada’s quirkiest locales. The Toronto Islands—Centre, Ward’s, and Algonquin—are about a 10-minute ferry ride from downtown and will satisfy your seaside fix. Book the “Escape the City” trip from the Culinary Adventure Co. and picnic on the islands after paddling over. While you’re there, tour English-style gardens and the haunted Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, or spend the afternoon at Centreville Amusement Park. Stay in the heart of the city at the Four Seasons Toronto—a glass tower high above shops and restaurants, offering vantage points of it all.~1.5-hour flight from Harlem.
Asbury Park, New Jersey
If your ideal summer afternoon involves a cool music scene, antiquing, and a boardwalk dotted with seaside shops, you’ll love Asbury Park. The historic shore town is home to the Stone Pony, a grungy-but-cool venue where Bruce Springsteen made a name for himself. Take in a show on the town’s summer stage, grab a bite with ocean views at Watermark, and score one-of-a-kind finds from the Antique Emporium. Drop your bags at The Asbury Hotel, a brand new property by designer Anda Andrei and SALT Hotels co-founder David Bowdwhich, which opens May 26. Bonus: It has a pool. ~1.5-hours from Harlem, Seastreak Ferry to Highlands, NJ, then taxi to Asbury Park.