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New York for the Beginner

Coney Island.  

Day Four: Excursions

1. Located about 50 miles north of New York City, in the picturesque Hudson Valley region, Bear Mountain State Park counters the sidewalk jungle with hiking trails and rugged mountain paths, plus lakes with rentable paddle boats and rowboats. There’s even an outdoor swimming pool and, from November through March, an ice-skating rink. (Once in the park, clearly marked signs will direct you to all of the above.) Take a Short Line bus from Port Authority Bus Terminal on the West Point route; the last bus heads back to New York in the late afternoon on most days, so be sure to check the current schedule.

2. About an hour from midtown (take the D, Q, N, or F train to Stillwell Avenue), Coney Island is still a worthwhile destination. Enjoy the rides at Luna Park (named after the one that burned down in the ’40s), the latest addition to the beach's amusement-park legacy, or ride the legendary Cyclone roller coaster (built in 1927) or the Wonder Wheel (built in 1920). Also be sure to check out the New York Aquarium or Nathan’s Famous (home of the notorious Fourth of July hot-dog-eating contest).

3. Sitting at the very tip of Long Island’s South Fork about 120 miles from the city, Montauk offers a variety of day-trip diversions. Both kids and adults will get a kick out of seal watching, half-day fishing excursions, or visiting the Montauk Point Lighthouse, not to mention surfing, kayaking, or plain old sunbathing. Take the Long Island Railroad, the Hampton Jitney, or a rental car to reach Montauk.

With reporting by Candace Taylor.

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