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7 Favorite Upstate New York Getaways for Families

New York City and its surrounding suburbs have enough attractions to keep a family busy for a lifetime, but that doesn’t mean you should let its magnetic energy prevent you from exploring upstate New York’s bounty. The less visited northern and western parts of the state are loaded with fantastic and even international attractions that present a feast for families. Whether you're seeking nature, culture, recreation or a combination of all three, the Empire State won’t disappoint.

Check out these seven kid-friendly upstate vacation destinations that will have the whole family saying “I Love New York.” 

And find more regional travel ideas in our Weekend Getaways and Day Trip Guide and Travel 

Best Amusement Parks for Preschoolers in and Near NYC

For young children, a ride on a carousel’s painted pony, a spin with dad around the bumper car track and a dripping swirl of frozen custard are the stuff summer memories are made of. No need to seek out the latest scary high-tech roller coasters (which means you can cross Luna Park's most scary rides off your list).

Rides that look mild (or frankly, downright boring) to big people usually provide just the right amount of thrills for toddlers and preschoolers. Happily, there are a number of amusement parks and water parks in and near New York City that offer these kinds of tame attractions. Here's our roundup of theme parks that are perfect for the pint-sized.

25 Things To Do with Kids in Tallahassee, Florida

Forget what you know about Florida. As I learned on a recent visit to Tallahassee, the Sunshine State's capital is the other side of Florida and I don't mean just geographically. Twenty miles south of the Georgia border, this isn't where families go to hit the sand and surf or to visit one of the state's famous town-sized amusement parks. Instead, Tallahassee is a vibrant college-city packed with outdoor adventures, nature and wildlife, art and culture and great eats.

Tallahassee is a perfect weekend getaway (or mid-point break on a trip to Orlando, Tampa or Miami) with something for everyone: Spanish colonial and American Civil War history can be found at every turn, kayaking, hiking, fishing and cycling beckon the outdoor enthusiasts, and critters like alligators and manatee can be spotted in their natural habitats. Plus, there are a couple of cool things you can only see in "Tally" such as the spot where Hollywood filmed the 1950s sci-fi flick Creature from the Black Lagoon and a graveyard full of early generation, rusting Ford trucks.

Read on to find out what else there is to do on a Tallahassee family vacation. 

Summer Weekend Getaways for Families Just 3 Hours From NYC

Thinking about a last-minute Memorial Day weekend getaway with the family? Or plotting an escape with the kids when school comes to an end in late June? With a slew of kid-friendly escapes just a few hours from New York City, the hardest part could be deciding whether you want a woodsy outdoor adventure, a quiet beach town, an island escape or a historical expedition. Here are four picks for a weekend of fun, all less than three hours from NYC by car.

You can find more travel inspiration in our Day Trips Guide and on our US Travel Guide.

Best Water Theme Parks Near NYC for Families

While there are no full-fledged water theme parks in NYC (yet), you don't have to go too far to find some awesome ones. We've rounded up 13 of our favorites for kids in the tristate area, mostly in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and all are less than a two-hour drive from Midtown Manhattan. No two are alike: Each one offers different experiences and thrills.

For more water fun, check out these toddler-friendly water parks and year-round indoor water parks near NYC.

7 Must-Do Long Island Day Trip Ideas for Families

For those of us lucky enough to live on Long Island (especially during the summer months), there’s plenty of time to explore everything our beautiful home has to offer. But for families who might be coming in for just a few days, it's essential to make the most of your time here. With that in mind, we’ve come up with our top seven must-see locations for those taking a quick trip to Long Island.

Exploring these places—and we've included both indoor and outdoor fun so you don't have to worry about the weather—will leave you making plans for another visit ASAP. And for more to do in the area, be sure to check out our Events Calendar and Long Island Spring Fun Guide.

25 Things To Do with Kids in Daytona Beach, Florida

With 23 miles of sand and surf, no wonder Daytona Beach is a vacation favorite. Swimming and sand castles combine with an old-fashioned pier, arcade games and salt-water taffy for a throwback family vacation of the finest caliber.

This Florida beach attracts a magnetic force, but this town boasts a range of non-beach attractions. Famous as the birthplace of auto racing, no visit is complete without a pit stop at the Daytona International Speedway. Motorbikes are a major presence in Daytona Beach and you’ll see bike enthusiasts of all ages cruising around town. Rainy days are no problem, as the Smithsonian-affiliated Museum of Arts & Sciences will keep the kids entertained.

It's true that spring break is big here, but once the college kids leave, families rule. The vibe is pure Americana and the retro feel translates to prices. Budget-friendly hotel, restaurants and attractions add to the appeal. 

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