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NYC Labor Day Weekend Trips: 8 Car-Free Family Getaways Near New York City

The (unofficial) final weekend of summer is just a few days away and with the kids going back to school, the three-day holiday is the perfect time for one last family getaway.

Over on our Travel site, we posted about a bunch of cool last-minute travel deals, most involving plane or car rides. But for those looking to vacation without having to hit an airport or rent a vehicle, we've rounded up some of our favorite family destinations that are less than three hours from New York City and accessible via public transportation. From gorgeous beaches to ride-filled amusement parks to out-of-town culture spots, here are eight great Labor Day weekend trips for NYC families.

Southeastern CT Indoor Play Place: Stay and Play, Old Saybrook, Connecticut

STAY & PLAY IS NO LONGER OPEN FOR BUSINESS.

Imagine a local spot that is chock-a-block full of giant playscapes, ball pits, riding toys, ropes, slides, games, offers nutritious, organic snacks for both kids and adults, serves fair-trade coffee, caters to kids ages birth to 12, AND offers free Wi-Fi.  And, imagine this same facility holds a wide array of classes and space for birthday parties.  Surely, if such a perfect place existed, they'd include special events for our special needs kiddos, too. Consider your wish come true. Here's an indoor play space in Eastern CT that you'll want to check out. Welcome to Stay and Play in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

Trick or Treating /Trunk or Treating Events in Southeastern Connecticut

The brisk chill in the air, the sounds of walking on crunchy leaves, homes decorated with pumpkins and mums...all signs point to the heart of fall!  And, that means for most of us Moms, we're in the midst of constructing crazy characters or making that last, mad dash for the department store to find our kiddo's favorite costume!  (While you're there, don't forget to pick up your goodies to hand out on Halloween!)  Want to supplement your neighborhood trick-or-treating experience or would you rather your kids attend a safe trick-or-treating event?  Southeastern Connecticut has lots of fun events coming up!

Pumpkin Patches in Eastern Connecticut

Apparently, eight years old is the age where Halloween really begins to matter.  In previous years, we settled for a rushed trip to the department store costume department and grabbed whatever fit from the disheveled, picked over displays.  Decorations were minimal and the pumpkin never saw a knife.  It did, however, see the outside of my front door for long, long after it was considered "fresh".  This year?  Not so much.  My kids are ON the BALL.  My children chose their costume choices (an obscure Minecraft character and a soccer fairy) in early September, and are expecting the full decoration treatment.  They've even begun decorating their rooms.  So, I'm guessing they're also anticipating the entire Halloween/Fall experience, which for me, includes a trip to the pumpkin patch, and lucky for us, (and you!) we've got lots of options to choose from in Eastern Connecticut!

NYC Labor Day Weekend Family Getaways: Nearby Destinations for Weekend or Day Trips

Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, is fast approaching. While there are certainly plenty of ways to enjoy one last blast of summer right here in NYC, the three-day weekend is the perfect time for a quick family getaway before school starts.

Whether you're looking for a spectacular day trip or a multiday break, our tri-state area sites in New Jersey, Long Island, Connecticut and recently launched Westchester County have been covering the best things to do and places to go in their respective locales all season. In just one click, you can find out everything you want to know about visiting the Poconos, the Jersey Shore and other family hot spots with kids. We're highlighting six awesome areas for a Labor Day getaway, all within comfortable commuting distance of New York City. For even more family travel inspiration, check out our NYC Day Trips Guide, which includes a post about car-free Labor Day getaways, and our Travel site, which has a roundup of Labor Day weekend vacation deals.

A Day Trip to the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme

Interested in a great day trip? It may seem strange, to those who don't know about Miss Florence Griswold, that the home, gardens and grounds of this woman's home in Old Lyme, CT has gained such notoriety and attracts thousands of visitors each year from all over the world.  But, just take a quick visit to the Florence Griswold Museum, and a brief tour by any of the museum docents, and you'll soon discover why this hidden gem plays such a huge role in the history of art in the US.

Back to School Shopping Tips in Eastern Connecticut

School doesn't start for weeks, and yet I'm compelled to shop for all things back to school RIGHT NOW!  I blame it on the cool August weather streak we're in and those last few weeks of summer where I see the light at the end of the vacation tunnel!  Both factors have put me into list making overdrive and revisiting our favorite spots in Eastern Connecticut for stocking up on all our back to school supplies, clothes, and finishing those imperative back to school errands to ensure we start off this school year right!

Places to Volunteer with Kids in Eastern CT

From a very young age, I learned that some of the most rewarding experiences come as a result of doing for other people.  More specifically, giving your time or energy to a project or cause without expecting anything in return.  Since my parents instilled this valuable bit of life knowledge in me at a young age, I wanted to do the same with my kids.  It's paid off for the folks we've helped and for our little family ten-fold.  Not sure where you can donate your time with the kiddos?  There's a few places in need right in Eastern CT. And if you are looking for opportunities in Hartford, Fairfield, or Litchfield Counties we have that covered too.

Day Trip to Galaxy Roller Rink in Groton, CT

Unless you've been living under an industrial sized, air conditioned rock, you may have noticed it's a tad warm around the area. Shockingly, the hottest temperatures of last week's heat wave hit the shoreline like a ton of very hot and humid bricks.  We beach folks aren't used to 100 degree days, so on the off chance we see one or, in last week's case, several in a row, we headed for the most entertaining places that accommodate us the longest and with the best cooling system. Our Indoor Play Guide has come in handy for many trying to have fun on rainy or hot days. And, now that my twins are nearly 8, our adventures include more exciting excursions during the summer, so to beat the heat, we headed out of this world. Well, not exactly, but close. We spent the day recently at Galaxy Roller Rink in Groton, Connecticut and, to say the least, we had a blast!

Sailfest 2013, New London, Connecticut

Every year, the weekend following the July 4th holiday, the city of New London transforms from mild mannered, seaside city, into one of the premiere festival destinations on the East Coast during Sailfest. Sailfest boasts food from all corners of the world, a two city block carnival midway, vendors, tall ships, and one of the largest fireworks displays east of the Mississippi. And, while it's almost impossible to do everything Sailfest has to offer, we've got your inside scoop on what are the must sees and dos!

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