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I am specifically interested in walking/hiking/cycling rather than going to the beach or skiing.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Karlson, drat, choster, Heidel Ber Gensis, Mark Mayo Jun 1 '14 at 13:14

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

The Appalachian Trail is a stop on the Metro North Railroad on weekends.

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Considering the available schedule from Grand Central I'd make it a 2 day trip. – Karlson Feb 11 '12 at 15:25

If you don't like biking around Central Park. Try Bear Mountain. There is a race there in the summer but I can't find the info now.

You can go to the Poconos for hiking, Trail Biking, Kayaking, Fishing. More on the Poconos here.

There is also Catskills but I wouldn't do it in one day.

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I once did a day trip from NYC to Princeton University, which is not that far away. I really went for the campus, which is really nice (when compared to the 1970s concrete bunkers of my Uni) and also for record shopping. But there are several hiking trails nearby. The Sourland Mountain ones look interesting. I haven't been around in New Jersey that much, but that part of it was actually quite nice.

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