Overnight Trip from Jersey City
There are so many great weekend getaway options for Jersey City families. We live in a great location and we’re close to so much. So, pack your overnight bag and hop into the car. Here are some of my favorite spots to getaway for an overnight excursion or long weekend.
The beautiful little town of Woodstock in upstate New York is only about a 2-hour drive from Jersey City. There is so much to do in the area and it’s a great weekend getaway option for winter and spring. On my last trip to Woodstock, I found a cute cottage to rent on HomeAway (this one, actually). The price was decent and it was very spacious. My son was about 9 months old at the time and we loved having the extra room to spread out for the weekend. Most cottage rentals are bigger than JC area apartments and the prices aren’t bad! A lot of them offer hot tubs (this house had one!), which is great for relaxation once the kiddies are in bed, and lots of property for older kids to play. You can even get a larger house and split with friends! There are so many things to do in Woodstock. Dining out is never a problem – there are many fantastic restaurant options. Also, there is a big art community in Woodstock, so there are galleries and shops galore. There are many family friendly activities, as well. The Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary opens for the season in April (open weekends only). This is a place where kids can meet a whole host of animals and tour the whole sanctuary. They also have a guesthouse bed and breakfast that you can stay at year round. You can get arty at Fiber Flame Studios and take a class or simply walk in for some crafts and art for all ages. Bethel Woods Center for the Arts offers shows, performances, exhibits, workshops and more. During the warmer weather they even offer outdoor concerts, click here for upcoming show information.
The summer isn’t the only great time to go “down the shore.” Spring is actually the most enjoyable time to enjoy some of what the Jersey Shore has to offer. Avoid the lines, waits and crazy crowds of people and have a more laid back visit. There are endless possibilities when it comes to the shore. I grew up at the Jersey Shore, so I know how fun it is during spring and here are just a few of my faves. You can take a day trip to any of these places or find a hotel and stay overnight – the hotels are MUCH less expensive before Memorial Day.
Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach is a family favorite in my house! The boardwalk gets pretty crazy during the summer, but most things are open year round (and more open as the weather warms up). Visit Jenkinson’s Aquarium, when it gets a bit warmer ride the amusement rides, get sugared up at the Sweet Shop or just take a relaxing stroll on the beach. The kids need to get out and run after the winter we’ve had, so let them breathe in some fresh ocean air while doing it! Buy your tickets in advance on April 18 – 20 when the annual 2-for-1 Easter ride ticket sale returns. Buy tickets at the boardwalk from 11am – 6pm or online all weekend and get reduced rates on ticket books for the entire season.
Spend the day in Asbury Park. Whether you are checking out the activities on the boardwalk or getting something delicious to eat, there’s a lot to do in Asbury! The Silverball Pinball Museum offers a ton of classic pinball machines to play and even has a café. If you have a kid interested in ghosts and the paranormal, check out Paranormal Books & Curiosities and the museum that features exhibits like “haunted objects” and “The Jersey Devil: Fact or Fiction.” They even do a walking ghost tour! Hot Sand is a glassblowing studio where you can blow your own unique piece of glass work or do a quickcast of your hand.
Cape May is a great place to drive to for the day (about 2.5 hours from JC), but the city offers many fun overnight options. There are many fun historic bed and breakfasts in Cape May. You may think that these are only for couples and although many B&B’s are “child free,” Cape May offers a host of child-friendly B&B options. Check out this list of historic B&B accommodations that allow children, some have age restrictions so be sure to check each individual website. There are also a lot of hotels that are very child-friendly like the Victorian Motel and even the luxurious Congress Hall. During the day, take kids to the NJ Audubon Nature Center and take a family workshop or learn about local wildlife, enjoy a trip to the Cape May County Zoo or take a trolley tour. Cape May boasts many delicious dining options. Some good kid-friendly choices include Cape May Peanut Butter Co., Della’s 5&10 Soda Fountain, The Lobster House and so many more.
This seaside town nestled in Connecticut is about a 2.5 hour drive from Jersey City. It is an excellent family destination with so many activities for everyone to enjoy. One of the big draws in the area is the Mystic Aquarium, which offers countless exhibits (Beluga Whales, Titanic, Arctic Watch and many more) a 4-D Theater and programs like the Encounter Program which allows kids get up-close and personal with their favorite animals. Plus, they offer family programs for various age groups. Another popular activity in Mystic is to take a ride on the high seas and embark on a half day or sunset sail! They offer different times of day and even private charters for larger groups. Olde Mistick Village is a fun-filled historic shopping experience for the whole family. Enjoy more than 60 small shoppes in a colonial setting. For your little (or big) train enthusiasts, don’t miss the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat, which is the only steam train and riverboat connection in the country. Plus, dino-lovers will enjoy The Dinosaur Place at Nature’s Art Village in nearby Montville, CT. The area is host to many family-friendly accomodations including The Comfort Inn Mystic, Taber Inne & Suites and many others. Click here for a list of hotels for families. As far as food goes, no trip to Mystic is complete without a visit to the infamous Mystic Pizza (yes, the one from the 80’s movie) or try S&P Oysters for great seafood with a decent children’s menu.
Touted as “the sweetest place on earth,” if your family is the amusement park kinda family with a sweet tooth, this place is for you! There are so many things to do for families in Hershey. There is the obvious big draw, Hershey Park that offers everything your typical amusement park would offer, but includes chocolate. This is more of a summer park, but they will open for two weekends in April for spring weekends (April 12-13 and 18-20). My favorite attraction as a child was Hershey’s Chocolate World, which offers a factory tour so you can see how the chocolate is made! In April there are several dates that they will be breakfast with the Easter Bunny and characters, check here for dates and information. A new attraction they offer is called XOXO and allows you to create your own Hershey’s Kiss using the perfect mix of your favorite colors and flavors! A more calm activity is visiting Hershey Gardens, a flower garden with attractions including the Butterfly House and the Children’s Garden. The gardens open for the season on April 5. Another fun option is ZooAmerica, a year-round 11-acre walk through zoo. Being a family destination, there are many family-friendly accommodation options in Hershey, PA. The Hotel Hershey is currently offering spring packages and the Hershey Lodge offers more affordable accommodations for families. As with hotels, there are many dining options for families, including Hershey Pantry, Smoke BBQ Joint and many more. Click here for more options.
If the weather is good, do plan to go for hiking with your family as it can be perfect get away from the city or if not planning to stay overnight just take the ferry and you will so many things to do and great food to eat.