For most New Yorkers, the sense of beautiful desolation that blankets the city during those endless winter months almost makes up for the biting cold, bitter winds, and puddles of black slush.
The mob of tourists starts to thin out (unless you’re around Rockefeller Center), and that overall frenetic energy finally cools down. It’s a time when locals get to enjoy the city for what it is, without all the distractions. What’s more, the surrounding natural landscape takes on a whole new life, including a range of running trails, mountain hikes, and campsites.
To get the most out of the season ahead, we teamed up with New Balance—which just released its All Terrain seasonal outdoor collection—to create a bucket list for anyone looking to escape and experience the great outdoors this winter without having to stray too far from their NYC apartment. Some of these day trips are more intense than others, but each one is guaranteed to be an adventure.
Quick Trips Within NYC
What to Bring: New Balance 850 All Terrain
A jog along Manhattan’s west side is nice and all, but venture a little farther uptown to Fort Tyron Park for a literal journey back in time. The trail meanders around rocky cliffs and imposing trees, eventually leading to a lookout point over the Hudson River. The real gem is The Cloisters, a branch of The Met that’s built from medieval ruins. The best part is that you can make a day of the park and the museum without changing your shoes. New Balance’s 850 All Terrain is engineered for comfort and durability on the trail and stylish enough to stroll around a hall of priceless relics.
Explore the Rockaways
What to Bring: NB Athletics Trail Blocked Sherpa Crew
Once the hoards of beachgoers starts to disappear, you’ll have the Rockaways all to yourself. While the really starts to pick up, there’s a ton of great things to do onshore as well, from exploring local shops to running down the 5.5 mile-long boardwalk. While a good deal of local spots have closed up for the season, a few solid restaurants, bars, and boutiques keep their doors all year. Get a good run of surf session, throw on a New Balance sherpa, then spend the afternoon exploring the neighborhood. Be sure to swing by Rockaway Beach Bakery for a pick me up and Off Season for locally designed gear.
What to Bring: New Balance Hierro v5
The New York City skyline is great and all, but there’s something seriously beautiful about seeing the city from deep within Central Park. Some corners of the park offer scenes straight out of a postcard, and the loop around the reservoir makes for a perfect trail any time of year (if you have the right footwear). Anything that carries Jackie O’s name is bound to be impressive. The sidewalks can get pretty crowded during the summer months, so you’ll definitely appreciate having the solitude.
Get Lost in Prospect Park
What to Bring: Wilderdog Black and White Leash
Prospect Park is like Central Park’s cooler younger brother. It has everything you love about Manhattan’s signature greenspace, plus a whole lot more. The sprawling lawns are off-lease before 9 a.m. offering a haven for hundreds of dogs to run free. Afterwards, you can take your pup on a run through the park’s miles of winding trails, passing by the iconic boathouse and other historic buildings along the way. You might be in the heart of Brooklyn, but you’ll feel like you’ve been transported upstate.
Upstate NY Day Trips
There are two ways to look at New York City during the winter: an icy urban oasis full of charm and culture, or a frozen wasteland marred by brutal winds and black slush. For those in the former camp, the city is a scene straight out of Miracle on 34th Street. For those in the latter, it’s best to stay indoors at all costs.
Even if you’re resigned to hibernate until spring, we’re here to tell you about a big, beautiful world out there worth exploring while you have it all to yourself.
What to Bring: New Balance 850 All Terrain
A common retreat for city dwellers in the summertime, Breakneck Ridge is a short train ride to a world completely detached from the urban chaos. It’s one of the most popular day hikes in the area, thanks to an array of waterfalls, creeks, and one of the best views of the Hudson River Valley. New Balance’s 850 All Terrain off-road shoes are the perfect companion when the trail gets tough. And don’t forget to stock up on some hiking essentials (water, energy bars, you know the drill) with their TOPO X NB Quick Pack.
What to Bring: Fujifilm X-A7 Camera
You’ve seen the ‘grams, and maybe you’ve already wandered the 500-acre sculpture park known as Storm King Art Center during the warmer months. But there’s nothing like Storm King in the snow. During the off-season in January, February, and March, they offer guided snowshoe tours of the grounds. Be sure to take a sturdy camera (Fujifilm’s X Series will do the trick) with you to capture the looming sculptures against a backdrop of rolling white hills.
What to Bring: Woolrich Blankets, Stanley Thermos
Roughing it this time of year might not sound all that alluring, but there’s nothing like a camping trip in the middle of the wilderness to really help you unwind. You can go the more traditional route of pitching a tent or renting a yurt, but we highly recommend staying in a cozy geodome. The Catskills, located around 90 miles outside the city, offer a few elevated options that are textbook definitions of the word “glamping.” Do it right by rocking head-to-toe NB with its Trail Blocked sherpa, packing a hardy Woolrich blanket or two for added warmth, and loading up a thermal with mulled wine or spiked apple cider to set the mood.
What to Bring: Arc’teryx Alpha FL Jacket
If you just saw Free Solo and you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, give ice climbing a shot. This sub-zero extreme sport takes rock climbing to a whole new level while offering stunning views of waterfalls and ice formations. Weekend trips regularly leave the city through March, and some routes are suitable for novices. Obviously, there’s a good amount of technical gear involved, but don’t skimp on the outerwear. GORE-TEX is the way to go. Arc’teryx’s Alpha FL line was designed with climbing in mind, offering serious protection and maximum mobility.
Weekend Jaunt to Vermont
If wanderlust is calling, but you don’t want to stray too far from home, consider a weekend trip to Burlington, Vermont. The bustling city is less than a two-hour flight from NYC and teeming with hip restaurants, dozens of micro-breweries, and live music venues, but the real action lies in the mountains just outside the city. Whether you’re into snow sports or just want to sip some craft beer, here are some of the best things to check out in Burlington this winter.
Hit the Slopes
What to Bring: Burton Southside Slimfit Pants
The slopes of Vermont are some of the most legendary in the world among ski bums and snowboarders alike, with mountains like Stowe, Mad River Glen, and Smugglers’ Notch all under an hour drive from Burlington. Keep cozy with a fleece crew from New Balance and warm up over some aprés-ski drinks at one of the dozens of craft beer bars with your squad after a hard day of carving powder.
Go on a Snowmobile Adventure
What to Bring: Oakley Flight Deck Snow Goggles
If you’ve got a thirst for adrenaline, look no further than traversing Vermont’s backcountry by snowmobile. It’s been a favorite winter pastime of locals for over 40 years, and Vermont makes it easy for people of any ability to ride with over 5,000 miles of well-marked trails. Tour operators like Snowmobile Vermont have multiple locations across the state. Opt for their two-hour backcountry tour that’ll take you on an adventurous 25-mile journey through the picturesque Mount Mansfield State Forest, but be sure to check the latest trail conditions across Vermont before booking.
Ice Fish at Lake Champlain
What to Bring: Ice fishing rod
As one of Vermont’s premier fishing destinations, anglers from far and wide descend on Lake Champlain every winter for a chance to ice fish on the frozen lake. Hire a licensed guide to get started with basic techniques and show you where the best spots are for the most prized fish.
Treat Yourself to a Spa Day
What to Bring: NB Athletics Sherpa Jogger
By now your body probably needs a break from the harsh cold, so why not end your winter escape with a relaxing spa treatment at Jivana Green Spa & Salon located at Church Street Marketplace in Burlington. With a focus on eco-friendly methods, they offer a unique range of body treatments, massage, and facial therapies to get you feeling your best before returning from your weekend escape.