NYC is gorgeous in the fall, and so is the surrounding area. This fall season, why not take a step away from NYC and plan a daycation to one of the amazing locations found just a short car or train ride away from the city? Enjoy the foliage, some autumn activities, and some new experiences at these excellent daycation spots, all under two hours away from the heart of NYC.

Kaaterskill Falls, Catskill Mountains, NY

A visit to the Kaaterskill Falls leaves the family with some amazing memories -- and even more amazing photos. This 1.7-mile hike is steep but easy and short enough for the kids to manage, making it an extremely popular attraction for families and hikers. Kaaterskill is the highest waterfall in New York State, and consists of a two-tiered cascade. The first tier of the falls forms an impressive basin called the Amphitheater, which, according to legends, is where Rip Van Winkle took his fateful nap. Although the hike is relatively easy, the rocks do get slippery, so be watchful of the kids and keep away from the trail's edges. Luckily, the trail has recently gotten upgraded with some better safety features, so as long as you stay on the trail and don't go beyond the yellow trail end marker, you're sure to have an enjoyable hike.

For an easier trek, you can view the equally beautiful Bastion Falls, located right at the foot of the Kaaterskill Falls. If you complete the trip quicker than you expected, you can make a side trip to the town of Woodstock, a nearby quaint little locale with little shops, restaurants, and cafes to explore. Visit on a Saturday or Sunday for the Mower's Flea Market, an eclectic collection of items and sellers that's well worth the detour.

Getting there: Take Interstate 87 to the very winding Route 23A West. Drop off passengers when you see the well-marked trailhead behind a guardrail; the parking lot is about 50 yards up the road.

Fees and costs: None, unless you stop by the Mower's Flea Market, in which case you will likely not go home empty handed!

Photo: Rohit Ravindran via Flickr

Where do you go for some fun in the fall? Tell us in the comments! 

— Cheryl deJong-Lambert & Yuliya Geikhman