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Drive Vacations for Families

Summer road trips within a few hours of Central New Jersey.

My family and I are hoping to take a road trip this summer, to take the kids to see some sights and get some recreation. I’ve been surfing the Internet for the past few days, trying to get trip ideas and itineraries. We are hoping to go somewhere on vacation that doesn’t require too long a drive, and doesn’t require airfare, as flying would significantly jack up the price of our vacation. Of course, there’s always the New Jersey shore, but I haven’t included our local beaches in my search, since those can make a good day trip and don’t require a hotel stay (unless one longs for a week at the beach).

Here is what I’ve come up with so far:

Hersheypark/Hershey Lodge: You can’t go wrong with Hershey, Pa. The town is only about 2.5 hours from Central New Jersey and is home to the theme park Hersheypark. The great thing is that if you stay in either Hotel Hershey or the more family-friendly Hershey Lodge, you can get discounted packages that include tickets to Hersheypark (which includes a great waterpark for one price), Hershey Gardens (which has a butterfly house) and The Hershey Story Museum. My family went to Hershey last summer and had a wonderful time.

Washington D.C./Williamsburg, Va.: Washington, D.C., with the White House, museums and historic places, is a great family trip. D.C. is less than 4 hours from Central New Jersey. If you
travel south from D.C., there’s Colonial Williamsburg, which is another terrific historical place for kids to see. In Williamsburg, there’s also Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, fun amusement parks for the whole family. I figure if we choose this trip, we could hit D.C. first, and then head over for a day or two to Williamsburg. There are several discount packages available to Williamsburg’s historical areas and theme parks.

Lake George: Lake George, located in New York State in the Adirondacks, is a longer drive away (about 5 hours), but it offers lake recreation and beautiful scenery. At the lake, families can enjoy water sports, lake cruises, hiking and sightseeing. I am intrigued by the Sagamore Resort, which sits right on Lake George. The beautiful private island hotel offers a sandy beach and an outdoor pool, fishing, golf and a spa. Nearby are the town of Bolton Landing for shopping and dining, historic Fort William Henry, and the Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom amusement parks.

Lake Placid: Also in New York’s Adirondack Mountains and about a six-hour drive from Central Jersey, Lake Placid offers beautiful lake and mountain views and plenty of outdoor activities. The alpine village was the location of two Olympics and is home to the Winter Olympic Museum. The Mirror Lake Inn offers its own private sandy beach, a swimming dock and use of the inn's kayaks and paddle boats. The inn was rated as one of America’s best mountain resorts by Travel + Leisure magazine.

Have an idea for a great road trip within a few hours’ drive of Central New Jersey? Tell us in the comments.

 

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