Planning a summer vacation is a great way to get through the long winter months of being cooped up inside. Living in or near New York City means there are plenty of fun summer vacation destinations within just a few hours’ drive. These are 5 of our favorites, especially for families with little ones.
Since I was nervous about traveling with a baby in the busiest season, my travel planning began way in advance. And I didn’t want the drive to be too taxing for the driver (my husband) or the baby. So I looked for driving destinations within five hours or less of New York. In order to accommodate the baby’s nap schedule in to our travel itinerary, I also wanted to be in an area that offered scenic drives and other towns/attractions within a one- to two-hour radius.
In the spirit of summer, being close to a body of water is a high priority. I also looked for downtown areas that were stroller friendly and a variety of restaurants that were open to dining with babies. Here are top five summer vacation ideas with baby in the eastern part of the United States.
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Newport, Rhode Island
The old world charm of the gilded age amidst beautiful surroundings makes Newport such a spectacular place to visit. The city offers a lot of kid friendly activities. I found the mansion tours, cliff walk and 10 mile drive especially suited when visiting with my 6-month-old. We also spent an evening driving to the state capitol of Providence which was less an hour away and had a great downtown with a stroller accessible river walk.
Jersey Shore, New Jersey
The most famous strip of beaches on the East Coast doesn’t need much introduction. Though it has the reputation of being wild and crazy, there are beaches that are suited to babies. This area has rebounded splendidly after the destruction from Hurricane Sandy. We really enjoyed our visit to the historical town of Cape May as well as the busy boardwalk of Wildwood. Atlantic City with its wide range of restaurants and shopping also makes a worthwhile stop along any Jersey Shore trip. Though most beaches cost money, there are a range of kid friendly free activities in this area.
The greater Burlington area is a destination that offers a variety of activities year around. The glistening waters of the Champlain Lake amidst the back drop of the green mountains is spectacular in the summer months. The downtown is also less busy as fewer students are enrolled in the summer sessions at the University of Vermont. State parks, farm houses, factory tours and farmer’s markets are activities that were particularly baby friendly. Located less than an hour away, Stowe is a nearby town that also offers a lot to explore.
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Cape Cod, Massachusetts
The most well known beach in Massachusetts is great getaway for kids of all ages including babies. The national sea shore, surrounding state parks and eclectic downtowns makes a visit to Cape Cod more than just a beach vacation. There is a range of towns along the coast which can act as your base. Hyannis and Provincetown offer a festive atmosphere while Falmouth is more laid back. There are ferry connections to the islands of Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket which could be a great day trip.
The reputation of being one of the most family-friendly beaches was my first draw toward Bethany. Unlike the other destinations that had a lot of diverse attractions, the beach was the central focus in Bethany. The downtown was small but easy to navigate with a stroller and the restaurants were very welcoming toward my one year old. The beach was clean and even at its busiest time didn’t seem to be over crowded. We were also in close proximity to Rehoboth in Delaware and Ocean City in Maryland for when we craved boardwalk entertainment.