Best Weekend Getaway From Ithaca

Ithaca is a dazzling city located at the head of Cayuga Lake in New York and it offers everything from small-town charm to gorgeous natural wonders like Taughannock Falls. It is a great place with no shortage of things to do. Regardless of how beautiful the city is, sometimes it’s too much to visit the same places again and again.

Therefore, we have compiled a list of places near Ithaca which can be your next great weekend getaway.  

The Poconos

Possibly the most renowned tourist destination near Ithaca, the Poconos is a region that encompasses portions of Carbon, Monroe, Pike, and Wayne counties in Pennsylvania. The Pocono region attracts close to 29 million tourists every year, making it one of the top vacation destinations in the United States. The Poconos is also known for its natural landscape, recreational activities, restaurants, and elegant vacation rentals. 

How to Travel to the Poconos 

Travel Options: Drive & Bus

Distance: 136 miles (via I-81 N), 139 miles (via I-380 N)

Travel Time:  Drive (2 hrs 30-50 min), Bus (4 hrs 50 min)

Best Time to Visit

The Poconos is a year-round destination. Therefore, you can visit the Poconos any time of the year. 

Major Attractions

As stated above, the Poconos offers a plethora of things to do and places to explore. So, here are some of the top things to check out on your visit to the Poconos.


  • Asa Packer Mansion Museum
  • Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm
  • Old Jail Museum
  • Mauch Chunk Museum & Cultural Center
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Paintball
  • Tree Adventure
  • Skiing
  • Waterparks
  • Ice Fishing
  • Kayaking
  • Theme Parks
  • Scenic Rail Tours
  • Skating
  • ATV/UTV Tours
  • Waterfalls
  • Hiking/ Biking
  • Shopping

New York City

New York City or NYC is a unique and iconic city that offers a lot more than a normal city can offer. It is known for its cultural divergence, museums, skylines, art, nightlife, and food. NYC comprises five boroughs and all these boroughs offer something unique. Years of migration of people to the city made New York City one of the most diverse and this reflects in its culinary culture too. 

How to Travel to New York City

Travel Options: Drive, Bus, or Flight

Distance: 222 miles (via I-81 S and I-80 E), 234 miles (via NY-17 E)

Travel Time: Drive (4 hrs 30 min), Bus (4 hrs 58 min), Flight (3 hrs 38 min)

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit New York City largely depends on individual preference. April-June and September-November are good times to enjoy splendid weather and outdoor activities. Winter is also great for people looking for winter activities.

Major Attraction

New York City is always a popular destination with every street offering something to behold. Following are some of the best of New York City that can be listed on your nearby Ithaca weekend getaways.

  • Statue of Liberty
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Empire State Building
  • Times Square
  • Central Park
  • The National September 11 Memorial & Museum
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • The Museum of Modern Art
  • New York Aquarium
  • China Town
  • Uncle Guccy’s
  • Berber Street Food
  • Carnegie John’s
  • Lil Zeuz Food Truck
  • New York Dosas


Once known as the Lumber Capital of the World, Williamsport is a town now surrounded by 300,000 acres of state gameland, making it a very popular destination for hunting and outdoor recreational activities. The town is also known for its museums, breweries, history, and Little League World Series.

Best Time to Visit

Williamsport is on the list of destinations that offer year-round entertainment for vacationers. Though summer is considered the peak season, however, spring, fall, and winter too offer a plethora of attractions to explore.

How to Travel to Williamsport

Travel Options: Drive & Bus

Distance: 122 miles (via US-15 S), 115 miles (via NY-34 S and PA-14 S)

Travel Time: Drive (2 hrs 21 min), Bus (7 hrs 3 min)

Major Attraction

This iconic city is loaded with history, nature, breweries, sports, and many more interesting attractions which makes it one of the best and perfect weekend getaways from Ithaca.

  • Little League World Series
  • World of Little League Museum
  • Original Field
  • Williamsport Crosscutters Game
  • Hiawatha Paddlewheel Riverboat Cruise
  • Pine Creek Rail Trail
  • Miners Run Falls
  • Jacoby Falls
  • Rock Run
  • Susquehanna Riverwalk
  • Community Art Center
  • Millionaires Row


Surrounded by the hills of northeastern Pennsylvania, Scranton is the sixth-largest city in Pennsylvania. The city offers a blend of natural beauty, rich history, and a vibrant downtown with diverse culture. The city’s proximity to the Pocono Mountains offers an excellent opportunity for outdoor activities.

How to travel to Scranton

Travel Options: Drive & Bus

Distance: 106 miles (via NY-79 E & I-81 S), 114 miles (via PA-267 S)

Travel Time: Drive (1 hr 50 min – 2 hr 30 min), Bus (2 hr 15 min)

Best Time to Visit 

Scranton is a great city to visit any time of the year. Spring is ideal for outdoor activities as the weather starts to warm up. However, summer is considered the peak time of the year in Scranton. Fall offers a great vibrant landscape, whereas winter offers winter activities and festivities.

Major Attraction

This vibrant and dynamic city offers a wealth of attractions and activities. From museums to art galleries to parks and gardens, the city offers an array of diverse options. Some of the major attractions are:-

  • Steamtown National Historic Site
  • Nay Aug Park
  • Electric City Trolley Museum
  • Electric City Aquarium Reptile Den
  • McDade Park
  • Anthracite Heritage Museum
  • Scranton Iron Furnaces
  • Houdini Museum
  • Everhart Museum
  • Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour
  • Pinchot State Forest
  • Lahey Family Fun Park


Another great city located just 89 miles away from Ithaca, Rochester is one of the major towns near Ithaca. This impressive city offers myriad exciting sights and places to explore which include beach parks, historic sites, museums, and a remarkable canal park. 

How to travel to Scranton

Travel Options: Drive & Bus

Distance: 89.8 miles

Travel Time: Drive (1 hour 36 min), Bus (1 hr 55 min)

Best Time to Visit 

The most suitable time of the year to visit Rochester is either Spring or Fall. The period between Mid-March through May and September-November is good to explore the city’s hidden gems.

Major Attractions

In this amazing place, there are plenty of iconic sites, world-class museums, art galleries, and numerous family-friendly attractions. Here are some of the best ones.

  • The Strong National Museum of Play
  • Memory Art Gallery
  • Seabreeze Amusement Park
  • Seneca Park Zoo
  • Highland Park
  • Ontario Beach Park
  • Lamberton Conservatory
  • High Falls
  • Cobb’s Hill Park
  • Rochester Museum & Science Center
  • George Eastman Museum


Whether you prefer outdoor activities like hiking, boating, or fishing or indoor activity such as paintball, arcade games, or indoor water parks, these are some of the top places near Ithaca that offer everything that makes a vacation perfect. So, don’t forget to add these names to your wishlist of places around Ithaca for an ideal weekend escape.



What are some outdoor activities to do on a weekend getaway from Ithaca?

There are a plethora of activities you can plan for your weekend getaway from Ithaca. All the top vacation destinations like the Poconos, Rochester, Scranton, etc. offer outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, outdoor waterpark, skiing, horseback riding, boating, swimming, etc.

How long does it take to reach the Poconos from Ithaca and what is the best time to visit the Poconos?

The Poconos is located just 136 miles or a 2 hr 50 minutes drive from Ithaca. The Poconos is open all year round, so you can visit the Poconos any time of the year.

What are some of the major attractions in Scranton?

Some of the major attractions in Scranton are Steamtown National Historic Site, Nay Aug Park, Electric City Aquarium Reptile Den, McDade Park, Electric City Trolley Museum, Anthracite Heritage Museum, Houdini Museum, Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour, Lahey Family Fun Park, Scranton Iron Furnaces, Everhart Museum, and Pinchot State Forest.

Are there any direct train services from Ithaca to Rochester?

No, there are no direct train services from Ithaca to Rochester.

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