Summer day trips are great for exploring a new place, learning new things, and enjoying family activities. Due to Covid-19, many facilities did not operate last year, but are now up and running again! Whether your family prefers a beach day or a museum tour, there are a plethora of day trip plans to fit every preference! Read more about places less than a 2.5-hour drive away from NYC that you can take your family on a day trip to!
Fire Island, NY
A 2-hour drive from NYC, the 31-mile barrier island welcomes visitors of all ages to have summer fun. Families can swim at the alcohol-free Ocean Beach and stroll along the boardwalk at Sunken Forest Preserve, a fascinating assortment of vegetation growing between two sand dunes. The National Park Service also holds its annual Labor Day Sand Creation Contest, to which contestants of all ages are welcome to participate. The views at Fire Island are breathtaking, and make way for an immediate admiration for nature!
Located within a 2-hour drive from NYC, the town of Riverhead is loved for not only its mega-sized Tanger Outlets, but the Long Island Aquarium, which is home to diverse species of penguins, otters, sea lions, and an impressive coral reef assortment. Children can also have close encounters with stingrays and bamboo sharks at the aquarium’s many touch pools. Families can then go to Farm Country Kitchen for a healthy and tasty lunch, where they can grab sandwiches, salads, and seafood platters for reasonable prices. Splish Splash Water Park, also located in Riverhead, is another great stop for families who want to enjoy a pool day with fun water rides and tube slides!
Cape May, NJ
Dolphins, humpbacks, and finbacks can be spotted from the Cape May Whale Watcher of Delaware Bay. In the unfortunate situation in which no whales are seen, the expenses of the boat ride are returned. Upon coming back to dry land, families can sit for delicious seafood at Lucky Bones Backwater Grille, a local restaurant named after the hooklike claw of male horseshoe crabs that superstitious sailors once wore around for luck. Families can enjoy rounds of miniature golf at the Cape May Miniature Golf, and enjoy a cold, sweet treat from Cocomoe’s, its ice-cream parlor.
Buck’s County, PA
Home to Sesame Place, Buck’s County is bound to put a smile on your children’s faces. Aside from encounters with Elmo, children can dig for treasure, make their own race car, and learn how to operate the Delaware Canal system at the Bucks County Children’s Museum. At mealtime, families can choose from a myriad of dining options at Peddler’s Village. Families who prefer to be active can pitch a tent at the Colonial Woods Family Camping Resort and enjoy a day camping outdoors. For those who seek a more relaxing, laid-back day trip, the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad offers a 45-minute trip through the countryside on a 1925 steam locomotive.
Only an hour-and-half drive from NYC, Norwalk boasts its Stepping Stones Museum for Children, which offers stellar interactive experiences for children ages 10 and under. The Maritime Aquarium is also a popular location for families, as they can learn about marine life in the Long Island Sound, have encounters with real-life dragons and jellyfish, and enjoy viewing an IMAX film of their choice.
This story first appeared on our sister publication newyorkfamily.com.