Whether you are looking to take a day trip or a plan a weekend getaway out of the city with your family, the guide below can help you plan your trip. Our recommendations include an array of venues, programs, and activities suitable for the entire family to enjoy in Long Island, New York, New Jersey, and the Hudson Valley.
Long Island Weekend Getaways:
Long Island has long been considered a summer destination for families to retreat to from the hustle and bustle and humid weather of the city. However, choosing to go in the off-season for a weekend getaway can be a great decision, ensuring cooler weather and less people milling about. Listed below are several suggestions to keep in mind this fall.
Greenport is a village in Suffolk County, New York, and is located on the North Fork of Long Island. It offers a multitude of family-friendly activities to partake in, including shopping, dining, boating, and touring the historic seaport. A popular destination spot to stay at for the weekend is The Harborfront Inn. Additionally, families can visit Harbes Family Farm and Vineyard for the chance to get lost inside the corn maze, go apple picking, and get ready for the Halloween season by picking the best pumpkin on the lot. It is also a child-friendly vineyard so parents can relax and enjoy a glass of wine at the wine barn while children visit the Harbes Barnyard Adventure. For parents looking to enjoy the weekend without their children, take a trip out to Sannino Vineyard.
Fire Island is a long barrier island that is parallel to the south shore of Long Island, NY. It is nearly 35 miles long and comprised of about 20 communities, each with its own distinct personality. Cars are not permitted on the island but it is still accessible via ferries. Popular things to do on Fire Island include a trip to Robert Moses State Park, the Fire Island Lighthouse, or the Sunken Forest, a hidden gem.
New Jersey Family Fun:
New Jersey has beautiful forests for hiking as well as interesting playgrounds and parks for your child to explore. Listed below are several popular tourist attractions to visit in the area.
Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary: The arboretum and bird sanctuary is popular among many families, as it features numerous age-appropriate hikes and trails for your toddler or adolescent to enjoy. Kids also remain in constant contact with animals throughout their walk. The arboretum offers camp programs, after-school programs, and monthly guided hikes. It is an hour outside of Midtown Manhattan depending on traffic.
Greenwood Gardens: Families should take the opportunity to unplug at The Greenwood Gardens. The venue recommends silencing your cell phones while there and instead, explore the historic 28-acre public garden. Upcoming workshops include The Barnyard Tour for the chance to meet Lilac and Lily, their Tennessee Fainting goats. They are located an hour outside of Midtown Manhattan, depending on traffic.
Alstede Farms: This family-owned farm is located in Chester, New Jersey, which is less than a ninety-minute drive outside of New York. Here, families can pick a variety of fruits and vegetables until the end of October. Children’s activities include pony rides, moon bounces, and wagon train rides. As part of its fall festivities, their giant 10-acre corn maze is now open. Alstede Farms also hosts numerous festivals throughout the year, including a Strawberry, Blueberry, Peach, and Harvest Moon festival.
Stonyhill Farms: Fall wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the pumpkin patch. Here at Stonyhill Farms, families can pick the perfect pumpkin to take back home with them. Afterward, families can enjoy the Corn Maze and Fun Park, which allows children access to games, hayrides, plus gemstone mining, complete with a small gem bag. Stonyhill Farms is a ninety-minute drive outside of the city.
Catskills Adventures and Fall Foliage:
The Catskill Mountains lie in southeastern New York State, and are home to wildlife, hiking trails, and various ski resorts. It is a two-and-a-half-hour journey from New York City depending on traffic so it’s best to visit for a weekend. Listed below are two popular tourist attractions in the area.
Kaaterskill Falls: The Kaaterskill Falls is the tallest two-tiered waterfall in New York, and suited for children over the age of 7. They’re not an easy trek, and visitors will climb along large rocks for most of the half-mile journey, but the view at the top makes it worthwhile.
Bailiwick Ranch and Animal Park: The animal park is open year-round, weather permitting. Families can go horseback riding and enjoy the scenic mountain trails. The park also features a hands-on petting and feeding area for children to engage with the farm animals.
Adirondacks Family Travel Ideas:
The Adirondack Mountains form a massif in the northeast of Upstate New York. While there, enjoy the Wild Walk, a trail that takes visitors up a set of bridges to the treetops of the Adirondack forest. The truly adventurous can lay down or walk across a web woven above the ground at The Spider’s Web. Listed below are additional attractions to visit in the area.
Lake Champlain: The Lake Champlain region is beautiful during the fall season, the colors reflecting off the water. The wooded trails are great for cycling, and there are plenty of stops along the way to stop, rest, and enjoy the view. During your visit, make sure to check-out one of the numerous farm stands and markets that are set up. There, families can go apple picking, sip cider, and enjoy local produce. Other notable lakes to visit in the area include Lake George and Lake Placid.
High Falls Gorge: High Falls Gorge is a 22 acre, privately owned nature park. There are four Adirondack waterfalls cascading over ancient granite cliffs. There are child-friendly hikes and trails available for children of all ages as well as a longer, more intermediate level nature trail that ascends 300 feet up the side of Whiteface Mountain.
Hudson Valley Parent Guide:
The Hudson Valley area is comprised of the Hudson River and its adjacent communities in New York State. Counties in the area include Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene and Westchester. Hudson Valley has been called “one of the top 20 must-see destinations in the world” by National Geographic Traveler, and is designated as a National Heritage Area. Listed below are well-known tourist attractions in the area.
Walkway Over the Hudson: The Walkaway Over the Hudson is a popular attraction for people visiting the Hudson Valley area. It is considered to be the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge, spanning 1.28 miles over the Hudson River in upstate New York. The walk offers scenic views of the river and valley.
Woodloch Pines Resort: This popular resort is considered to be one of the best hotels for families, and has amassed a multitude of favorable reviews since its opening nearly sixty years ago. The resort is extremely child-friendly, and guests have access to a toddler room. There are over 30 social activities to participate in on a daily basis, as well as a six-sided rock climbing wall, indoor and outdoor pools, bumper cars, and more.
Bear Mountain State Park: Bear Mountain State Park is a 5,205-acre state park located on the west side of the Hudson River in Rockland County, New York, and offers something for everyone. There are miles of hiking trails for intermediate walkers and for the families that are just out for a scenic walk. The park also has paddle boats and rowboats available to rent. Picnics and playgrounds can be found all across Bear Mountain. There are also numerous festivals and crafts shows throughout the year. Families should also make it a point of visiting the Merry-Go-Round at the park features painted scenes of the park and 42 hand carved seats of native animals, including black bear, wild turkey, deer, and others.
Cold Spring: Cold Spring is located 50 miles north of Manhattan on the Hudson River. The rural area is filled with history and offers many New Yorkers the chance to escape for the weekend. Families can browse the artsy boutiques and shops on Main Street, and explore kid-friendly trails. Popular parks to visit in the area include Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve and Little Stony Point.
Learn More with The Nanny Authority
Looking for additional suggestions on optimal trips outside of New York City? The Nanny Authority works with nannies who are up-to-date and knowledgeable about New York City’s surrounding areas. Please contact us at 973-466-2669 or via e-mail for more information today!