People from all over the world visit New York City, but if you live here summer is the time when you might want to make a great escape. Summer in the city is not all it’s cracked up, once you factor in the heat, noise and crowds. Plus, with the kids out of school, it’s a great time to venture to some new and fun destinations that are a complete change of pace from your busy city life.
If you’re looking for a vacation destination in the tri-state area that the whole family will enjoy, you’re in luck. There are several very different places to choose from, but they all have one thing in common – loads of family fun.
This is the place that most often comes to mind when people think about a New England coastal escape. It has it all: beaches, camping, biking, hiking and lots of fun activities just for kids. Visit the National Marine Life Center to get up-close looks at injured sea life undergoing rehabilitation to be released back into the wild. The Cape Cod Children’s Museum has more than 20 interactive exhibits plus a planetarium and is sure to keep kids quite busy and engaged. As far as those beaches go, you have 559.6 miles of unspoiled coastline to bask in. Visit Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce for information about last-minute specials and deals.
There are so many beaches to choose from on the Jersey Shore, but Ocean City stands out as a longtime favorite summer destination. The beaches, the boardwalk, the waterparks, the mini-golf – it all screams summertime family fun. In addition, every Thursday in July in August is Family Night on the boardwalk, featuring face-painting, music, karaoke and other fun and free activities. Even if it rains, there’s lots to do, from the Ocean City Historical Museum to the fun arcades. Ocean City Vacations has all the information you need to know to plan your perfect trip.
The Pocono Mountain region of Pennsylvania is much more than champagne glass-shaped hot tubs for honeymooners. The Poconos are a perfect place to visit if you want to escape the city and retreat to the great outdoors. From camping to canoeing to mountain climbing, this is a place for outdoor adventures and family fun. In addition to getting back to nature, kids will enjoy the Claws ‘N’ Paws Wild Animal Park and Costa’s Family Fun Park, which features everything from go-karts and water slides to laser tag and batting cages. Be sure to pick up a Pennsylvania travel guide for more information about things to do in the Poconos and beyond.
Not far from the bustle of the Big Apple is the relative calm of Long Island. Relax on one of the beaches, climb to the top of one of its lighthouses or search for celebrity homes. You can charter a boat and even ride horses on the beach. Kids will enjoy visiting the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center, which was ranked one of the top 10 aquariums for kids by Parents magazine. The Long Island Children’s Museum offers tons of active and hands-on exhibits, including fun with bubbles and a Sound Showers experience. Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau has all the information you need for the perfect getaway.
If you enjoy seafaring history, the town of Mystic, Conn., is the perfect vacation spot for you. This shipbuilding and whaling port was founded in 1654, so there are lots of historic sites to choose from. Explore the Mystic Seaport – The Museum of America and the Sea, where you can board historic tall ships and stroll through a recreated 19th-century village. Adults and kids alike will enjoy cruising Mystic River and Fishers Island Sound aboard Argia Mystic Cruises. Whatever you do, don’t pass up the fantastic seafood! Visit the Mystic County website for all you need to know to plan your trip.
All of these destinations are close enough to New York City to make for an easy trip, but far enough away to feel like you’re in a different world. Wherever you go this summer, don’t forget to bring your camera to record the memories and your sense of adventure.