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Cool Car Trips

Destinations worth the drive

baltimore sailabrationMay isn’t too early to start planning for some easy summer jaunts with your family. These out-of-state destinations are only a short trip away by car, and will enrich the lives of your crew with history, science, music, and art.

Baltimore Bound

You may need to plan ahead for a trip to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in mid-June, when more than two dozen ships from all over the world are expected to kick-start the city’s Star-Spangled Sailabration. The week-long event marks the national launch of the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and “The  Star-Spangled Banner” anthem, and features free entertainment from June 13–19.

Visitors can tour both the tall ships and naval vessels, watch the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration squadron perform an impressive air show, and see concerts and fireworks. For a full list of events and details, check out the Star-Spangled Sailabration website.

And in Pennsylvania

Closer to New Jersey, in the Lehigh Valley area, some hidden gems await. If you’re really ambitious, you can probably see all of them in one day.

At The Crayola Experience in Easton, you’ll find more than a dozen interactive exhibits that teach kids to think outside the lines. The Dry E-Race Car allows kids to use dry-erase crayons to color on a kid-sized race car. The exciting Meltdown zone is a color-infused area housing eight vats of melted Crayola crayons, giving little artists a delightful and unique experience: painting with melted wax. At Cool Moves, kids can jump, dance, move to music, and watch their bodies become art, projected on a giant screen in cool colors and patterns. Visitors are encouraged to take a peek at their website before going, to check which exhibits are open. Reservations are recommended during the summer and holidays.

Just a short drive from The Crayola Experience is the Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown, with two floors of interactive exhibits. One of the most popular attractions is the spinning GyroSphere. Thrill-seekers (more than 4-feet-tall) can experience the sensations astronauts feel when training for spaceflight, as they whirl around in every direction. Visitors can also explore the ocean touch tank, honeybee hive, and the pitch-black twists and turns of the Tunnel Vision experience.

Nearby, in the Bethlehem area, the nonprofit organization ArtsQuest presents music, arts, and festivals all year long. During its 10-day flagship event, Musikfest, which is Aug. 3-12 this year, Banana Island will be the hotspot for kids, with rides, crafts, and other attractions. And from June 22-24, ArtsQuest will present the ¡Sabor! Latin Festival, celebrating Latino culture with free family programs, interactive exhibits, and activities.

Lauren Pollack is the calendar editor and editorial assistant at New Jersey Family. 

Photos courtesy of Sail Baltimore and The Crayola Experience.

What places does your family venture off to when looking for some out-of-state adventures?

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