Weekend Trips

Foxwoods Resort: A Mini Vacation for Families

Okay, okay. We know what you’re thinking. Casinos are not for children. There’s the gambling. And then there are the bars. And then the nightclubs. Except that there actually are a number of kid things tucked into Connecticut’s adult playground. We decided to check out the Connecticut casino midweek to see if Foxwoods proved to be a kid-friendly destination. And as it turns out, it is. Here’s what you can expect to find.

10 Picture-Perfect Holiday Day Trips Near NYC

New York City is magical during the holiday season. However, if you're looking to experience some holiday happenings not too far from home, we've rounded up great options for family day trips, where kids can see Santa, dazzling holiday lights, and even a North Pole village.

From right-in-our-backyard picks to rustic Christmas fun in Mystic, Connecticut and Hudson Valley, here are 10 holiday outings—listed from nearest to farthest from Midtown—worth a drive or train trek.

Family Camping at Bastrop State Park

About two hours northwest of Houston is the beautiful Bastrop State Park, and it's a campground I've enjoyed visiting for as long as I can remember. Although the Bastrop of my childhood no longer exists, the park is rising from the ashes after the 2011 Bastrop County Complex wildfire. There is evidence of new life and growth everywhere you look.

My family and I most recently camped here in mid-October (sadly, it was still scorchingly hot), and had a great time with our kids; a 3-year-old and 1-year-old. Read on for what you can expect, from activities to the best hiking trails.

Find Family Adventure with a Hike at Palisades Interstate Park

When the changing colors of falltime decorate the Palisades, there’s no better time to head out on a family hike at Palisades Interstate Park. This park can lure even the most reluctant hikers: in addition to breathtaking views of the Hudson River, it offers opportunities to spot hawks and explore a castle, and there's even a cafe where young troopers can refuel. Read on for ways to enjoy this stunning spot. 

NYC Car Services with Car Seats for Babies and Kids

Whether you're headed to the pediatrician, the airport, or just visiting New York City, it can be hard to find a taxi or car service that offers car seats. In fact, it's probably one of the most frequent questions we get asked by tourists and locals alike. 

If you have a car seat of your own, taxi drivers are required to let you install it. (I've had anxious drivers balk, but I've always made them wait.) But maybe you don't feel like lugging your seat to and from JFK or up and down the pediatrician's steps. Solution? Call a car service with car seats!

We've rounded up some of our staff favorites for service in all five boroughs. Just remember to specifically request an infant or a toddler seat depending on your child's needs.

Polar Express and Santa Trains Near NYC This Holiday Season

The magic of Chris Van Allsburg’s popular Christmas picture book, The Polar Express, comes to life again this winter with festive holiday trains within a whistle's blow of the New York City metro area. A huge hit with kids and parents alike, these trains spark the imagination and holiday spirit with seasonal snacks, stories, even token gifts—not to mention a visit from Santa himself.

These old-school cabooses (some harking back to the 1920s) offer a classic holiday ambience. There's a Polar Express just an hour south into New Jersey, or the one-day-only Tri-State Santa Train about 50 minutes away, or consider a day trip to the Catskills or weekend getaway to Pennsylvania Dutch Country for this Santa's Paradise Express. Best of all, families can combine the annual Santa Claus photo op with a sweet adventure sure to create lasting memories.

Remember: these train rides sell out quickly, often months in advance, so book now if you want to go.

A Dozen Easy Fall Hikes in NJ for Families with Small Children

Hiking with small children can be fun for the whole family, if you choose the right trails, pack enough snacks, and build in some break time for little legs. Autumn in New Jersey may be the ideal time to get the family outdoors for a nature walk or easy hike, when trees are ablaze with fall colors and temperatures are just right.

Read on for our list of short, family-friendly hikes with scenic vistas and shady picnic spots. As for the snacks, try letting kids make their own trail mix before a nature walk: set out some bowls of nuts, pretzel sticks, dried fruits, and chocolate chips or M&Ms, and let the kids fill a plastic baggie with their favorite fuel. Before setting out, make sure everyone dresses in layers and wears comfortable shoes, and don't forget to pack sunscreen, bug spray, and plenty of water.

For more outdoor adventures, check out one of the state's many nature centers, which offer a host of family-friendly activities as well as hiking trails. Happy hiking!

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