Weekend Trips

12 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 Christmas lights, and even a North Pole village.

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

Top 10 Christmas Towns and Villages That Absolutely Sparkle

When it comes to the best places to visit for Christmas as a family, there are plenty of holiday travel options. You can head to Rome and Vatican City to soak in the religion of it all. Vienna, beautifully drenched in festive lights, boasts first-rate Christmas markets and concerts. Head north to Lapland, Finland, to visit Santa’s official hometown. Or, if you want to lie beneath Christmas-lit palm trees, a Caribbean vacation might do the trick.

Yet, some of the best Christmas towns and bedecked Christmas villages are actually right here in the US, offering those traveling with small kids a way to save on money and time. These local destinations go all out for Christmas with unique holiday light shows, special performances, and plenty of opportunities to meet with Santa Claus.

Read on for some of our favorite Christmas vacation ideas for those looking to get into the holiday spirit in a big way, from New York City to Williamsburg, Virginia, to Newport Beach, California. Find even more ideas in our Family Travel Guide.

7 Best Train Ride Day Trips To Take from Los Angeles

One of the best parts about living in Los Angeles is getting out of Los Angeles. With an unending supply of beaches, mountains, deserts, and historic highways just a short distance away from the city, there’s always an excuse for a day trip. But what are the options if you’re looking to leave cars out of the equation and travel by train to your favorite SoCal destination? Here are a few of the best spots Angelenos can get to by rail and still be home by bedtime.

9 Family-Friendly Fall Weekend Getaways Near Philly

Summer has come and gone and the days of vacation at the shore have passed. If you've still got some vacation days left, maybe you're thinking about taking a long weekend away. Or, maybe you'd just like to take a weekend to see the leaves change color and enjoy the beautiful weather before winter hits. We've rounded up some beautiful vacation spots nearby that are full of lovely fall activities and sights. If you're taking a longer trip, check out our 10 Family Road Trips Under 10 Hours Away post for more great ideas.

Paterson Great Falls: History and Natural Beauty for NJ Families

Waterfalls are one of those treasures in life that we don’t often come across—but when we do, we’re mesmerized.

While New Jersey has a handful of picturesque cascades, most are tucked away on hiking trails or in wooded areas, such as Hemlock Falls in the South Mountain Reservation in West Orange or Boonton Falls in Grace Lord Park in Boonton.

If you’re not much of a backpacker, however, or are just looking for a quick jaunt, check out Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park in Paterson. It’s an easy day trip with a view to remember—and one you can drive right up to.

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!

Is Your Family Ready for a Ghost Town Vacation at this Popular SoCal Tourist Spot?

If you thought vacations in ghost towns were only for sitcom families, think again! Just a short drive from LA is the Calico Ghost Town, an old mining town that boomed in the 1880s but was abandoned not long after. Walter Knott, of Knott's Berry Farm fame, restored the town in the 1950s into a Wild West locale perfect for a family vacation. And while Calico may or may not have actual haunted houses, it can be a wonderful Halloween month outing all the same.

NJ's Living History Farms: Old-Fashioned Farm Fun for Families

The Garden State's many wonderful farms are perfect spots for a family-friendly outing any time of year. But a few special farmsteads offer visitors the unique opportunity to experience farm life just as it existed many years ago. These living history farms give visitors the chance to try their hand at chores like bottle-feeding lambs, gathering honey, and harvesting ice. If you're looking for a fun, educational experience for the entire family, hands-on historical farms are a great choice.

For even more outdoor family fun, check out these New Jersey farms and historic villages

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