Road tripping is one of the most American things to do as a resident of this great country. However, the act can be a bit time consuming—especially because the options are seemingly endless. Narrowing the travel radius is the first step in cutting down planning time and getting the family out for a day trip.
This article caters to residents of the New York City metropolitan area for close-to-home day trips that are fit for the whole family. Just in New York state, there are many options for full day family-friendly trips to get out of the Big Apple. Other areas of interest often include surrounding states like Connecticut, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania.
The greater New York City area offers a little bit of everything from scenic coastlines, to state parks, and bustling cities. Families from Brooklyn or Manhattan don't have to travel too far to feel like they've strayed from their normal routine and into an enjoyable family outing. Before the journey, travelers should consider the following list regarding the best day trips for families...
Day Trips from NYC to Excite the Whole Family
1. Long Island, New York
The name doesn't lie; clocking in at over 100 miles, this is quite a long island. This piece of New York state land juts out into the Atlantic and has been an iconic travel destination for New Yorkers over the years. The island is made up of four different counties: Kings, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk County. More specifically, many New Yorkers choose Long Beach, NY as their travel destination of choice.
This beach town has everything an NYC family needs to have a great day trip at the shore. The best beaches are those like Lido Beach that have a great staff on patrol that keep the water safe for young kids. Just minutes from the beach is a bustling town with a diverse main street full of restaurants, delis, taverns, and more. Breakfast at Long Island Bagel Café is always a great choice when one rolls into town. Gino's of Long Beach has the whole family covered for lunch or dinner with some great pizza that New Yorkers will appreciate. The boardwalk in town at Long Beach is a great spot for a stroll. Families with young kids should stop at Magnolia Playground along this walk to let the kids enjoy the small park. After a fun day, Ralph's Italian Ice or one of the nearby ice cream vendors will put a sweet, tasty cap on the road trip.
2. Captree State Park, New York
The Captree State Park is another great Long Island stop that's just a little further out than Long Beach, but not as far as the Hamptons. Captree is located on the Eastern tip of Jones Island at the end of the Ocean Parkway. It features an area known as The Overlook for its beautiful view of Fire Island, the Fire Island Lighthouse, and the Fire Island Inlet.
This state park is home to the biggest public fishing fleet on Long Island with many vessels docked and available for charter. What's more, the park has a great fishing and crabbing setup for those who want to cast of the fishing pier, the docks, or off the sandy beach. Boat launch areas are also available for families who want to bring their own vessel. Standard motorboats, kayaks, canoes, and standup paddleboards are most often brought to the state park when visitors come out.
This spot is perfect for the whole family. Dad can reel in a fish from the salty Atlantic while Mom sets up a picnic nearby. Eating here is no problem, with a casual refreshment stand located on site and some great restaurants in close proximity.
3. The Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Bushkill, PA is a straight shot West of New York City. This is a great day trip option for families in NYC metro area due to its' stark difference from the average urban backdrop.
In less than two hours, families can immerse themselves in nature over the 70,000 park acres, 150 miles of trails for hikers, 40 miles of the Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River, and the area's beautiful waterfalls. For families that are looking for activities, the recreation area has it all. Families can plan for camping, hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing, boating, fishing, picnicking, and more.
People from New England to Philadelphia travel hours to get to this destination. So, New Yorkers should feel lucky to have this recreational area so close.
4. Hoboken, New Jersey
The city of Hoboken, New Jersey is a beautiful and bustling town on the Hudson River. Hoboken is located just over the bridge from New York City, so travel is very easy by car or via train ride. NYC families can experience a completely different city by traveling just a few miles.
Hoboken features awesome waterfront parks that make for perfect family travel destinations. Pier A Park, Pier C Park, and Pier 13 Park are areas of note with activities and accommodations for the whole family. Parks are often visited for pick-up sports, beautiful skyline views, picnicking areas, fishing spots, playgrounds, food trucks, and cold drinks. Hoboken is also great due to the range of shopping and dining options available. Foodies and families can seek out their favorite establishment or simply walk the scenic area until they see something that tickles their fancy.
5. Hudson Valley, New York
Escape from NYC and follow the Hudson River upstate to the suburban town of Cold Spring in the Hudson Valley. Sitting just over an hour north of the city, this small town is frequently visited by families who hope to tap into historic landmarks, art galleries, outdoor adventures, and more. The ferry to Bannerman Castle is a great option for those who'd like to experience a boat ride along the Hudson and walking tour of the historic Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island. New Yorkers often travel up to the Adirondack Mountains or the Catskills for views like these. However, Cold Spring, NY is closer to the city and has many of the same outdoor activities on offer. This area is also home to the Stonecrop botanical garden, Magazzino Italian Art Museum, Hudson Highlands State Park, nearby Bear Mountain, and more.
When traveling to these close-by destinations, any family from the NYC metro area is liable to have the best day with their loved ones.
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