13 Family-Friendly Weekend Getaways near NYC

Enjoy a  wild visit to the Philadelphia Zoo during a weekend getaway to the City of Brotherly Love. Photo courtesy of the zoo
Enjoy a wild visit to the Philadelphia Zoo during a weekend getaway to the City of Brotherly Love. Photo courtesy of the zoo

New York City is unlike any other place in the world, and we wouldn't have it any other way. Still, it's great to take a break and skip town for a weekend with the family. If you're looking for family-friendly weekend getaways near NYC, you don't have to travel far to feel like you're a world away.

We've rounded up a baker's dozen of our favorite kid-friendly destinations for city families—all within 3 hours of NYC. If you're looking for other comprehensive guides to weekend getaways near NYC, check out our definitive list of the Hudson Valley's top attractions, our exhaustive survey of family-friendly options in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and our directory of some of New York State's top attractions for families. 

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Family-Friendly Weekend Getaways Near NYC: Long Island's East End
The beautiful beaches on Long Island's East End are only 2 1/2 hours from the city. Photo courtesy of Montauk Yacht Club

Family-Friendly Weekend Getaways in New York State

1. Montauk

2 1/2 hours from Midtown Manhattan
For a quintessential beach town getaway near NYC that offers plenty of things to do any time of the year—in rain, sun, or snow—Montauk is an obvious choice. Climb to the top of the Montauk Point Lighthouse and take in the view, charter a boat, ride bikes, eat fresh seafood, or just stroll the beautiful sand in search of shells. In fact, we've got details on top things to do in Montauk to help get you started. No car? No problem. Montauk is also accessible via LIRR. Hartman's Briney Breezes Motel is a great budget-friendly spot to stay, while a pricier option is Gurney's Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, the only four-season beachfront resort in the Hamptons.

2. Poughkeepsie

1 hour 40 minutes from Midtown Manhattan
If you're craving fresh air, hop in the car or take Metro-North to Poughkeepsie for year-round adventures. The 212-foot-high Walkway over the Hudson is renowned as the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world, offering breathtaking views of the Hudson River and the surrounding area. For indoor play, check out the newly remodeled and reopened Mid-Hudson Children's Museum during your weekend getaway near NYC. The museum has a Rivertown play area where children can pretend to make pies in a bakery, respond to calls in a fire truck, or put in a day's work on a construction site. 

RELATED: 25 Family-Friendly Spring Day Trips From NYC

Rent a bicycle at People's Bicycle to see Beacon on two wheels during a family-friendly weekend getaway near NYC
Rent a bike at People's Bicycle and check out the town of Beacon on a weekend getaway near NYC. Photo courtesy of the shop

3. Beacon

90 minutes from Midtown Manhattan
The Hudson Valley is a breeze to get to by train or by car, so it's always a popular pick. Beacon offers gorgeous scenery and a laid-back, artsy vibe. Dia Beacon is a must-see year-round, but if your family likes to sample tasty treats (and what family doesn't?) think about timing your visit to coincide with the annual cupcake festival in May, or the strawberry festival in June. Visits to local shops and eateries round out a memorable family weekend getaway. The Roundhouse is an ideal option for overnight stays.

4. Sullivan County Catskills

2 hours from Midtown Manhattan
For a trip your kids will keep talking about for years to come, consider river rafting in the Sullivan County section of the Catskills. It's a pleasant respite from the hectic pace of city life and a great excuse to get outdoors with each other. From camping to kicking back at one of these family-friendly Catskills resorts, you can't go wrong with this part of the region. And if you're looking for other ways to make a splash on your family getaway, check out The Kartrite—the largest indoor water park in New York state.

RELATED: 100 Things To Do in New York State With Kids Before They Grow Up

Crystal Spring Resort offers all-inclusive luxury during a family-friendly weekend getaway near NYC
With its lush tropical foliage, the Grand Cascades Lodge at Crystal Springs Resort is a quick getaway near NYC that truly seems like a world away. Photo courtesy of the lodge

Family-Friendly Weekend Getaways in New Jersey

5. Hamburg

90 minutes from Midtown Manhattan
Sometimes it's just about indulgence. Live it up with all the amenities you can ask for at Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, New Jersey. The property's sister resorts at the Grand Cascades Lodge and Minerals Hotel also offer varying seasonal activities, including skiing, swimming, zip-lining, and horseback riding.

6. Ocean City

2 1/2 hours from Midtown Manhattan
Another classic beachfront destination, Ocean City is great for riding bikes on the boardwalk, catching some waves, and then cooling off with ice cream cones. Playland's Castaway Cove and Gillian's Wonderland Pier offer thrills for all ages. Biscayne Suites, Port-O-Call, and the Flanders Hotel are all popular lodging options, but they tend to book up quickly, so plan ahead.

7. Cape May

3 hours from Midtown Manhattan
With its long boardwalk, wide beaches, and many family-friendly dining options, you can't go wrong with a visit to this seaside gem that's packed with family-friendly things to do. Take a leisurely stroll along the Washington Street pedestrian mall for some window shopping, souvenir stalls, and candy stores. Hop aboard the Cape May-Lewes Ferry for a day trip to Delaware, or enjoy the mini golf, a playground, and snack options at the ferry landing. 

RELATED: Top Attractions in New Jersey: Best Things To See and Do With Kids

The Hershey Lodge offers overnight accommodations and a water park during a family-friendly weekend getaway near NYC
The Hershey Lodge is an official resort of Hersheypark, complete with the indoor Water Works Splash Zone. Photo courtesy of Hersheypark

Family-Friendly Weekend Getaways in Pennsylvania

8. Hershey

3 hours from Midtown Manhattan
Head to the Sweetest Place on Earth and indulge in chocolatey goodness. Hersheypark is a one-stop destination for family fun, but there's more to this town than its thrilling, kid-friendly theme park. ZooAmerica is home to animals from across North America, and Hershey's Chocolate World takes you behind the scenes to show how all the chocolate magic happens. Read our full take on a Hershey getaway here. If you're staying the night, The Hotel Hershey offers high-end amenities, while Hershey Lodge and Hershey Camping Resort provide easy access to Hersheypark and have amenities like pools, splash pads, mini golf, and more.

9. New Hope

2 hours from Midtown Manhattan 
If you're looking for peace and quiet on a weekend getaway near NYC, escape to the family-friendly Bucks County. The town is full of charming shops, restaurants, and annual festivals. Stop at the Bucks County Children's Museum or take a ride on the New Hope Railroad. Dine and pick up souvenirs at the historic Peddler's Village, or say hello to your kiddo's favorite friends at Sesame Place.

10. The Poconos

2 hours from Midtown Manhattan
The Poconos has been a favorite vacation spot for generations. From water parks to river rafting to horseback riding, there's something for everyone at this family-friendly weekend getaway near New York. Where to stay? We recently checked out the Camelback Resort, which has huge indoor and outdoor water parks that sport multiple pools and water slides. The mountains where the resort is located are also popular for skiing and snowboarding in the winter. Find other places to stay in our roundup of the best family resorts in the Poconos.

11. Philadelphia

2 hours from Midtown Manhattan
Immerse your family in our nation's rich history with a visit to the very walkable City of Brotherly Love. You can show your kids the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution at Independence National Historical Park, or check out the iconic Liberty Bell. For culture, there's always the Philadelphia Museum of Art, while the Philadelphia Zoo is an all-ages crowd-pleaser. For other ideas, check out our list of 100 things to do with kids in Philadelphia before they grow up.

RELATED: Top Attractions in Philadelphia: Best Things to See and Do With Kids

Kids can enjoy a historical re-enactment at the Mystic Seaport during a family-friendly weekend getaway to the town
 Re-enactor​s bring 19th-century skills and trades alive in Mystic. Photo courtesy of Mystic Seaport

Family-Friendly Weekend Getaways in New England

12. Mystic, Connecticut

2 1/2 hours from Midtown Manhattan
Mystic is a popular and charming family-friendly getaway near NYC. Attractions like the Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Seaport Museum are well-known and worthy of their acclaim. Bank Square Books has a fantastic children's section, and Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream beats any national chain. Of course, '80s movie fans will love popping into the iconic Mystic Pizza for a slice. Mystic also offers numerous quaint inns and B&Bs for overnight stays.

13. The Berkshires, Massachusets

2 hours, 45 minutes from Midtown Manhattan
Even if it's a bit farther from the city than some other family-friendly getaways near NYC, the Berkshires are worth the trip. The collection of pastoral towns offers cool shops and big-city-worthy dining options, plus the Norman Rockwell Museum and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA). For a more in-depth look, check out our roundup of the Best Things To Do in the Berkshires. The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge offers the option to stay in a firehouse that served as the backdrop of a Norman Rockwell painting.

This post, originally published in March 2019, has since been updated.

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