Follow the art up the Hudson

Shop till you drop, soak up the rays and check out the military machine.

Shop till you drop, soak up the rays and check out the military machine.

Woodbury Common

Not satisfied with shopping in the city? Then exercise your plastic and make huge savings on big-name designers such as Gucci, Versace, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan et al who hold court here at the world's biggest designer outlet mall. Expect to make savings of between 25 and 65 per cent of recommended retail prices.

By bus: take the Gray Line bus from the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue. The bus leaves at 8.30am, 9.45am, 11.15am and noon every day. It costs about $34 (£23) round trip; journey time approx 50 mins. By car: take the New York State Thruway (I-87) and follow sights from Exit 16; journey time approx 40 mins.

Long Island

Life's a beach on Long Island, which is fringed with miles of clean, fine, white sands along both the ocean and the bay, surrounded by secluded dunes, cliffside bluffs and lighthouses. In fact, Long Island is home to some of the world's best public beaches, featuring miles of boardwalks, beach trails, restaurants, picnic areas, not to mention spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Hang out with Hollywood royalty in the Hamptons, go gay on the Fire Island National Seashore or have a homely time on Jones Beach.

By car: head east on Highway I-495 to exit 70, then south on Route 111 to Route 27 and follow signs; journey time approx 1 hour plus. By train: take the frequent Long Island Rail Road service from Penn Station; journey time approx 1 hour plus.

Hudson Valley

No trip to the beautiful Hudson Valley is complete without visiting Kykuit, the historic Rockefeller Estate in Sleepy Hollow, home to four generations of the famous family. The views from the house are breathtaking and the gardens are glorious, especially the collection of 20th-century sculpture, which includes works by Picasso and Moore. The Beaux Arts mansion contains fine collections of art and ceramics.

By car: take the Henry Hudson Parkway north, followed by the Saw Mill River Parkway, then Route 119 and follow signs; journey time approx 50 mins.

By train: take the Metro-North Hudson Line from Grand Central Station to Philipsburg Manor, then taxi; journey time approx 45 mins.

US Military Academy at West Point

Do your best Richard Gere or Debra Winger impression and visit the Military Academy at West Point, where you will learn about its significant role in the shaping of US history. Walk the paths of American heroes such as Generals Patton, Eisenhower and MacArthur, before checking out the gothic cadet chapel, scenic Trophy Point, then cruise to Constitution Island and Breakneck Ridge.

By road: tours depart daily from Gray Line, Port Authority, 42nd Street and 8th Avenue; journey time approx 1 hour plus.

Art Trails

Explore the galleries, homes and studios of the Hudson River painters such as Jasper Cropsey, Robert Walter Weir and Raphael Hoyle by following the Museum Association of New York's Hudson River Valley Art Trail map (001 518 474 4116; hudson valley.htm).

By road: take the Henry Hudson Parkway north, followed by the Saw Mill River Parkway and follow signs to Hastings-on-Hudson; journey time approx 30 mins.

America Direct (0870 889 0827; offers seven nights room-only from £639 per person, including flights with Virgin Atlantic from Heathrow. Europcar (0870 607 5000; offers one week's car hire in New York from £282. New York State Tourism (020 7629 6891; email: