Easter is early this year, on March 31, and Passover isn’t until April 22, so if you have to split your Spring Break plans and don’t have time to fly, pack up the car and take a road trip. Here’s some fun inspo:
Your Little League star will be in heaven in this quaint village upstate. Best known as the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, this spot is full of stats and memorabilia for your young athlete. But Cooperstown isn’t just about baseball. It’s also home to the Fenimore Art Museum, which is packed with exhibitions and gorgeous grounds to explore (it reopens for the season on April 2), as well as the Farmers’ Museum, where kids learn what it’s like to work the land. Don’t miss a visit to Brewery Ommegang or a local winery. On the way home, make a stop at Howe Caverns in Howes Cave and discover a whole world 15 feet underground, or try the H2OGO Balls (12-foot blow-ups riders climb into and roll in) and ropes course at Howe High Adventure.
Finger Lakes, NY
This region is popular for its wine and cheese, but there’s a ton for kids to do, too. Known for sprawling vineyards, picturesque hikes and a vibrant food scene (the area’s ice cream will be a hit with the kids), the Finger Lakes were also home to monumental women’s rights leaders like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Among the many historic spots worth visiting are the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House in Rochester and the Harriet Tubman Home, a National Historic Park in Auburn. From Buttermilk Falls in Ithaca to spectacular gorges at Watkins Glen State Park, there’s tons of outdoor exploring to do. The kids can make their own masterpieces at the Corning Museum of Glass (and they get in for free) or explore American art at the Rockwell Museum, also in Corning.
Lake Placid, NY
Situated in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, Lake Placid offers downhill and cross-country skiing, ice skating and more snow sports in the winter and picturesque hiking in the spring, summer and fall. Home to the 1980 Winter Olympics, the village is teeming with history from the games, amazing local food and drink and lots of shopping in its charming downtown. There is no shortage of spectacular hikes in the Adirondack Mountains. High Falls Gorge is a must-see nature park that offers beautiful views of its waterfalls as you walk through its suspension bridges. Whiteface Mountain is the fifth highest peak in New York. Drive to the summit and then ride an elevator to the top and take in views as far away as Canada. A visit to the Lake Placid Olympic Museum is another must-do. Save a day to visit Ausable Chasm, a sandstone gorge also known as the Grand Canyon of the East Coast. Head to 46 Sandwiches for amazing breakfast and lunch sandwiches (it’s worth the wait), Smoke Signals for BBQ and the Great Adirondack Brewing Company for steak, brews and beautiful lake views.
While some of Pennsylvania’s Dutch population eschews technology and cars, the rest of this city in the heart of Amish Country bustles along beside them, making for a vibrant little hybrid. You’ll find amazing restaurants serving traditional Amish delicacies like Shoofly Pie (molasses crumb cake). Indulge in the local stuff by eating your way through Lancaster Central Market, scoping out covered bridges on a driving tour and taking a buggy ride. Sprinkle in some fun with a visit to Dutch Wonderland amusement park, perfect for younger kiddos who’ll love rides tailor-made for them. There’s also Strasburg Rail Road’s steam-powered trains that go from Ronks to Paradise, PA, or the nearby National Toy Train Museum, a must-see for little Thomas the Tank Engine fans. Extend your trip and take your older thrill seekers to Hershey Park. Once you’re done binging on chocolate, get some steps in by walking around 23 acres of botanical bliss at Hershey Gardens.
Lehigh Valley, PA
Rich with history and farm-to-table fare, this region is less than two hours from NYC. Lehigh Valley has three main sections: Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton. Visit the Allentown Art Museum on a Sunday to score free admission. Go shopping in Bethlehem or take a guided tour of the Moravian Museum. Venture to Easton for the epic farmers market (it’s the longest continuously running open-air market in the U.S.!), and of course, spark the kids’ creativity at the Crayola Experience. Then, grab a bite at Easton Public Market, famous for Mister Lee’s ramen bowls and Dondore and Heister’s craft butchery. The best part? Lehigh Valley is just a short drive from rural farms and vineyards (try Seiple Farms in Bath or Galen Glen Winery in Andreas).
If you’ve never been to Philly, you’ll want to check out landmarks like the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Penn’s Landing, the Philadelphia Museum of Art (home of the Rocky statue!) and the Philadelphia Zoo – they’ve got a cool troll exhibit up through April 15. But if you’ve been there and done that, there’s a lot more to see. The kids will want to spend hours at the Franklin Institute, an awesome science museum with a giant walk-through human heart, and the Please Touch Museum, whose special exhibit will be dedicated to “Namaste India.” Don’t miss the Wanamaker Organ, the largest functioning pipe organ in the world, inside the downtown Macy’s. Take a trip to the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden to see stunning cherry blossoms or walk through Reading Terminal Market to grab some Philly-famous cheesesteaks and pretzels. Older kids can check out the Mütter Museum, filled with bizarre medical oddities, or brave their way through the historic (and haunted) Eastern State Penitentiary. Stay at the Kimpton Monaco Philadelphia, located just steps away from the Liberty Bell, and you can use their micro kickboard scooters and custom bikes while sightseeing, for free. The hotel is family-friendly and pet-friendly, too.
Shenandoah National Park, VA
This Virginia gem is a must-visit. The 105-mile Skyline Drive, which runs the entire length of the park in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is filled with scenic photo ops. Go camping (make sure you reserve ahead) or stay in the park at a cabin or lodge. Spend your days hiking, biking, fishing or horseback riding, and trek to a waterfall that fits your fam’s skill level. Sign up for a ranger program to be guided by a pro through the park.
Jennifer Amato and Ronnie Koenig contributed to this story.
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