I just came home from a work trip to Connecticut, and I was amazed at how the trees have changed colors so much earlier, just two hours north of our home in the Garden State! It got me thinking–where can I take the kids and my husband for some weekend or day trips during this fabulous Fall season?
Here are some suggestions I hope you FALL for (get it?):
--Cape May: I actually have only driven through here on my way to the Lewes Ferry, so I plan to bring my family this season to Cape May. We lived in Ocean Grove for a few years, so I’m sure the comparisons will be non-stop, but we have friends and family that have raved about Cape May’s grand hotels, the Victorian homes, the amazing restaurants, and the Cape May Zoo. (Ooh! This reminds me that the Rehobeth-area, DE, is another fun, family spot! However, if it were me, I’d prefer to go to a beachy-town more in the warmer months so the kiddos can play on the beach and do water activities.)
--Mystic, CT: Take the GSP to the Tappan Zee Bridge (you may marvel at some extreme northern NJ exits and how quiet the roadway gets!), then head on the Merritt Parkway (parallel to Interstate 95 in CT, which, believe me, will give you less headaches then the monstrous highway to the south and all its annoying construction), and make your way east, my friends. Yes, you’ll have to pop onto I-95 for a bit, and you’re a few inches from Rhode Island, but once you arrive in Mystic you will be in awe of the colonial maritime awesomeness. Take the kids to the Mystic Aquarium and the Mystic Seaport, and just west of Mystic is Groton, home to the US submarine fleet and an awesome submarine museum, www.ussnautilus.org.)
(You may even see signs for the picturesque routes of the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat; you can explore it here. http://essexsteamtrain.com/)
Another idea if you like Connecticut is to check out the state tourism department’s “fall foliage drives” page, here. http://www.visitconnecticut.com/state/scenic-drives/
--If you have more than a day and actually have the whole weekend (and maybe a Friday or a Monday, too – egad!), a trip to Williamsburg, VA, could be educational AND fun! There’s so much to do at Colonial Williamsburg, and there’s also Busch Gardens, which has rides and activities for younger kids, teens, and adults. I definitely recommend spending a night in Virginia, because the 6-hour trek will tire out the driver.
--The Poconos: The last time we were there was in the Spring, when it was too cold to swim outdoors, and I remarked how it would be so fun to go back in the Fall. There are a few brand-new indoor waterparks (though, warning: some come with a mandatory hotel stay, which increases your getaway cost), there’s tons of horseback riding options, the hiking can be very kid friendly, and there are even a few zip-lining adventures that allow kids to zoom, too!
The above tourist areas are really on my list because they have enough KID-FRIENDLY things to do…Frankly, I can’t go to a spa resort for the weekend, to a beach with a non-walking baby (too-stressful!), spend more than 5-7 hours driving, or head to any area in the Tri-State region and beyond UNLESS there are plenty of things to keep the children entertained. We are a family that likes kid museums, historical sites, parks with big playgrounds…and lots of ACTION!
Where would YOU like to take your family for a Fall road trip?