Head up the Hudson for a day out of the city. Photo by Matt Nighswander
Head up the Hudson for a day out of the city. Photo by Matt Nighswander

25 Kid-Friendly Spring Day Trips for NYC Families

By the time spring rolls around, my family has reached its limit of winter-induced stir-craziness. Despite all our city has to offer in spring, we collectively feel desperate for a getaway from NYC. Having this list of 25 spring-inspired day trips at our fingertips gives us something to look forward to, especially with spring break here.

From hiking to smelling the blooms and strolling amid sculpture gardens, there is something on this list for everyone.

We have a low tolerance for driving, so all of these day trips are within two hours of New York City. Find more ideas in our Day Trips Guide or our Family Travel Guide.

Editor's note: While we are trying to promote safer activities that occur outdoors or with social distancing guidelines in place, please keep your family and others safe by always wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. If you arrive at a venue that appears too crowded, try using the “nearby” search feature on our Event Calendar to find something else to do.

the wonder wheel at denos coney island
The view from the top of the Coney Island Wonder Wheel is one of a kind.

Spring Day Trips in NYC

1. Coney Island

Experience Coney Island's thrills at Luna Park and Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, both of which debut new rides this season (opening dates are still TBA), including Big Wavez and The Phoenix rollercoaster. Afterward, hit the beach, stroll the boardwalk, and feast on a hot dog at Nathan's.

2. Roosevelt Island

Ride the tram over the East River to explore Roosevelt Island and get a fresh perspective on the city. Our favorite spot is Southpoint Park and the nearby lighthouse. Take your scooter or bike and ride around on the promenade.

RELATED: 35 Things To Do During a Spring Staycation With NYC Kids

two kids on bikes on governors island
Hop the ferry to Governors Island to explore all the island has to offer. Photo courtesy of Governors Island

3. Governor's Island

Hop on a ferry to Governors Island, which generally reopens for the season in May. There's always a ton of activities, including zip-lining, creative playgrounds, biking-riding, and splash pads, just to name a few, to keep the whole family entertained.

4. Pelham Bay Park

Pelham Bay Park is the largest park in NYC. It's three times the size of Central Park, and to say it has something for everyone is an understatement. Take a stroll along the Orchard Beach Promenade and behold the beauty of spring.

people looking at view of water from Wave Hill.
Explore the enchanted gardens at Wave Hill. Photo courtesy of Wave Hill

5. Wave Hill

Bask in the wonders of nature at the splendid Wave Hill in Riverdale.

6. Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Reaching Flushing Meadows Corona Park is a day trip for many in NYC, but well worth it: You'll find the Queens Botanical Garden, the the Queens Zoo and the Queens Museum.

RELATED: Parks and Playgrounds Guide for NYC Kids

girl at Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden
Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden is a delight for kids! Photo by Janet Bloom

7. Snug Harbor

Take the ferry to Staten Island and visit the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden. Behold all the little treasures this small nook in Staten Island holds.

RELATED: Hudson Valley and Catskills With Kids: Top Sights, Towns, and Places to Stay

kids on trail at Rockefeller State Park Preserve.
Roam the trails at the Rockefeller State Park Preserve.

Spring Day Trips in Westchester

8. Rockefeller State Park Preserve

Head to the Rockefeller State Park Preserve for a hike when the stunning peonies bloom in late April or early May. Or try one of these other destination hikes in Westchester.

9. Empire State Trail

Explore the newly completed, 750-mile-long Empire State Trail, which is the the nation’s longest multi-use state trail, running from Manhattan up to the Canadian border and from Buffalo to Albany, providing a wonderful way to experience the natural beauty of New York and its rich history.

10. Untermeyer Gardens

Ride bikes along the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail from Van Cortlandt Park to Untermeyer Gardens in Yonkers, where you can enjoy 43 acres of New York's most beautiful landscaping.

RELATED: Easy New York State Park Hikes for Families

Long Island's Sands Point Preserve is a great day trip destination
Enjoy a run along the breathtaking grounds of Sands Point Preserve. Photo by Jaime Sumersille

Spring Day Trips on Long Island

11. Sands Point Preserve

Hike the dinosaur trail, or explore the rest of the grounds at the Sands Point Preserve, which also houses a castle and is near the family-friendly village of Port Washington.

12. Old Westbury Gardens

Enjoy the fragrant blooms at Old Westbury Gardens when it reopens Thursday, April 1, just as the cherry blossoms begin to bloom.

RELATED: Spring Break in NYC: 50 Fun Things to Do With Kids

 Caumsett State Park trail in spring flowering
Adventurous hikers and cyclers will love exploring the park's natural trails.

13. Caumsett State Park

Pack a picnic lunch and head to Caumsett State Park, which sits on a peninsula that juts out into the Long Island Sound. Your family can enjoy miles of beautiful nature paths; it's one of our favorite state parks on Long Island.

14. Montauk

At the furthest end of Long Island, Montauk makes a relaxing day getaway. You can enjoy the sand and waves, explore the lighthouse, or take a hike through Montauk State Park. Enjoy some delicious seafood before heading back.

RELATED: 5 Metro-North Day Trips for Families

Girl on a small bridge over pond at Olana house
Olana's landscape includes a working and ornamental farm, meadows, outbuildings, a man-made lake, native woodlands, and more than 5 miles of carriage roads. Photo by Diana Kim

Spring Day Trips in New York State

15. Olana State Historic Site

Experience natural beauty, history, amazing art, design, and architecture at the the Olana State Historic Site. It's a great destination for the whole family, offering sights and activities for kids as well as their parents.

16. Bear Mountain State Park

Hit the road for Bear Mountain State Park. A go-to destination for my family every spring, this treasure trove offers beautiful hiking, a charming Trailside Museum, and even a sweet zoo.

17. Legoland New York

The wait is almost over. Legoland New York is set to open sometime in late spring. Families can enjoy more than 50 rides, attractions, and games, including a brand-new ride exclusive to this location–the Lego Factory Adventure.

RELATED: Outdoor Art Day Trips Near NYC

Little boy at Dia: Beacon
The warehouse-sized, loft-like space at Dia: Beacon offers plenty of room to take a break and engage with the art, so pack a sketchbook and some pencils for your visit. Photo by Diana Kim

18. Beacon

Head to Beacon to explore its charming, fun-packed Main Street, and visit Dia: Beacon, where you can view cutting edge, large-scale art installations.

19. Storm King

At Storm King Art Center, a stunning outdoor sculpture garden, kids can walk the grounds and hills without fear of bumping into the art. Pack a picnic to enjoy at the tables during after your excursion.

20. Walkway Over the Hudson

Walk, bike, scoot, or blade across the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie, which connects Dutchess and Ulster counties.

kids looking at sculpture at the grounds for sculpture
Kids can admire sculptures, like this piece from Isaac Witkin, at the Grounds for Sculpture. Photo by David Howarth for dmhphotographer

Spring Day Trips in New Jersey

21. Grounds For Sculpture

Visit New Jersey's whimsical 42-acre Grounds For Sculpture. Inquire about monthly activities, like its Artboxes, kids can complete at the garden or at home.

22. Palisades Interstate Park

Just on the other side of the George Washington Bridge, Palisades Interstate Park is a perfect place to head for a gorgeous guided hike. You'll find ample parking, stunning Hudson River views, and a snack bar.

23. Six Flags Great Adventure

Thrill seekers should get tickets now for Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson. Return this summer to ride the record-breaking Jersey Devil Coaster.

RELATED: Here's When Amusement Parks Open for the Season in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

Hersheypark thrill ride
Catch a thrill at Hersheypark. Photo courtesy of the Park

Spring Day Trips in Pennsylvania

24. Hersheypark

For sweets and thrills, head over to Hersheypark, which marks its 115th season this year. Ride the Candymonium, the longest, tallest, and fastest coaster in the park and satisfy your sweet tooth at Chocolatetown.

25. Philadelphia

Take a day trip to Philly to explore its history and kid-friendly attractions.

A version of this article was first published in 2016; it has been updated.

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