If you’re dreaming of getting away with your family to a mountain hideaway or a condo on the beach, where you wake each morning to see the sun rising over the ocean, then head to the area around Jersey City, New Jersey. Many superb destinations are situated only a three to five hours’ worth of driving from Jersey City. As for accommodations, there are plenty of Jersey City vacation rentals to choose from. When it’s time to stop dreaming and begin planning, use this list of the top weekend getaway spots from Jersey City to get you started.
1. Hershey, Pennsylvania
In a little less than three hours, arrive in a town that combines chocolate and an amusement park. Hershey has something for everyone in your family. Hersheypark, a chocolate-themed amusement park, provides thrills for your teens who want to ride on the Great Bear and Comet, while younger kids enjoy the kiddie rides and shows. Stretch your legs in the Hershey Gardens to see the flowers in bloom, visit the butterfly house, and let the kids play in the dirt in the children’s garden. Cool off underground at the Indian Echo Caverns. The tour takes your family through the limestone caverns and past the underground lakes.
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2. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Soak up the sun while the kids play in the waves in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Driving time to this charming coastal town is a little over three hours, and you can find a vacation rental close to the boardwalk on the beach. Hike or bike on the elevated boardwalk around Gordons Pond. The trail winds around the water and through a lush forested area. Jungle Jim’s is a local water park where kids and the young at heart zoom down waterslides and play in the wave pool. Learn more about the area’s maritime history and the men and women who protected sailors at the Indian River Life-Saving Station.
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3. Lake Placid, New York
Walk in the footsteps of Olympians after your four and a half hour drive to Lake Placid, New York. Arrive in the winter months to spend a long weekend on the slopes. In the summer months, Mirror Lake Beach is the place to work on your tan while the kids play in the water. Glide through the Adirondack Mountains and water the breath-taking scenery move past your window with an afternoon on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. ADK Aquatics offers tours on the lake, where you can zoom around on a powerboat or something with a slower pace. At the Olympic Park, see if you’re brave enough to try the Bobsled Experience, where you race down the track with a professional driver and brakeman.
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4. Barnstable, Massachusetts
Explore the quaint little Cape Cod town of Barnstable, Massachusetts, after driving four and a half hours. Let the kids play on the beach and dip their toes in the cool water of the North Atlantic Ocean. Main Street is the best place in town for an afternoon stroll past the windows of art galleries and eclectic shops – all inside gorgeous historic buildings. Put on your eye patch and practice your wild ways on the Pirate Adventures Hyannis, where you go out on the water, learn a little local history, and live the life of a pirate. Older family members can tour Cape Cod Beer to learn more about making craft beers and sample some great brews.
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5. Utica, New York
Less than four hours away from Jersey City, Utica offers a great low-key weekend and many vacation rentals. Kids love the guided tour of the charming Utica Zoo, where they learn more about the animals and conservation along with a stop at the petting zoo. See the dino skeletons at the Utica Children’s Museum and learn about science through the interactive exhibits. Step back in time to the 1850s when you tour Fountain Elms, a historic home, that contains many of the original furnishings. If you bring your bikes from home, the Erie Canal biking trails are the perfect way to see the gorgeous scenery along the canal.
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6. Lewes, Delaware
A little over three hours driving time brings you to the waterfront town of Lewes, Delaware, with its rich maritime history. Cape Henlopen State Park is the place to spend the entire weekend exploring. This state park has beaches, hiking trails, abandoned military buildings, and an observation tower, where you can see for miles. Boat Hole Marina rents boats to take your family out on the water for a day of soaking up the sunshine and fishing.
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7. Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore is a three-hour drive and provides a vibrant city to explore. Take the kids to the National Aquarium in the Inner Harbor area. Kids love walking through the shark tunnel and touching squishy things in the touch tanks. After seeing the fish, walk around the Inner Harbor for a little shopping at your favorite stores, including Claire’s and Gap, and new ones, such as Crabby Jack’s General Store. Tour Fort McHenry to learn about the War of 1812 and the inspiration behind the song, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
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