Eastern US

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 New York City. 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. Best of all, families can combine the annual Santa Claus photo op with a sweet adventure that is 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 popular train in New Jersey had already sold out by early October).

For more seasonal fun close to NYC, check out our Fall Fun Guide and 30 Fall Day Trip Ideas.

15 of Our Favorite Family-Friendly Fall Getaways in New England

Summer vacation gets all the attention, but in New England, fall can be an even better time to get away. Leaves are changing colors and the air is cool and crisp, making outdoor activities a must. To help with your fall getaway planning, we’ve compiled a list of 15 family-friendly destinations in New England that we love. They’re all kid-tested and parent-approved, so you’re sure to have fun and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Sleep in a Lighthouse and More Hudson Valley Family Resorts

The Hudson Valley is an easy weekend getaway for those in the New York City vicinity. Its proximity makes getting there a breeze, even with a car full of kids.

Once you’ve arrived, natural possibilities abound. In fall, leaf peeping is spectacular and farms are ripe with pick-your-own fruit options and stands selling warm donuts and sweet cider. The Hudson Valley is history heavy, with names such as Roosevelt and Vanderbilt prevailing. Pedestrian-friendly towns such as Hudson, New Paltz, and Saugerties attract hip New Yorkers and their kids like bees to honey. There are a variety of overnight accommodations at a range of prices, from an all-inclusive dude ranch to a stately Grand Dame hotel to a farm stay.

Get packing for a quick getaway to this wide-open region just north of NYC.

25 Things We Are Excited To Do with Philly Kids This Fall

Summer is over, there’s a chill in the air, and the kids have settled into the school year. Before we know it, we’ll be talking holiday shopping and snow days! Until then, there’s plenty of time to take the children to some of the coolest playgrounds, check out the latest museum exhibits, and enjoy everything Philly has to offer.

We've rounded up the top 25 things we're most excited to do with the family this fall. With so many fun activities to squeeze in before the holidays, the days of crisp, autumn air will fly by in a flash!

Dolphins, Plus 30 Other Things To Do in the Florida Keys with Kids

When talking Florida Keys with kids, it's best to point straight at the dolphin in the room. Swimming with dolphins is without question one of the biggest draws in the Keys for families, and while the experience is not cheap, it is the stuff that bucket lists are made of. I confess that I grew up watching Flipper (I say "confess" because a few of you just worked out how old I am), and I've harbored a secret desire to catch a ride from a dolphin ever since. My kid got to live that dream a whole lot younger than I did when I discovered that Key Largo is barely an hour's drive from Miami and an easy add-on to a Florida vacation. Continuing to Key West adds another three hours along the Overseas Highway, a drive touted as one of the most beautiful in the country, stretching over water for seven straight miles at one point.

100 Things to Do in New York State with Kids Before They Grow Up

We might be biased, but we think New York state has it all for families. From the gorgeous Hamptons beaches to the rugged state forests, serene lakes, and deafening Niagara Falls to the culture and arts found in New York City on up through the river towns and beyond—we feel pretty lucky.

Plus, we’re pretty good at making delicious food items from ramen burgers and bagels to ice cream, and even wine at family-friendly vineyards on Long Island and through the Finger Lakes. There are children’s museums galore. Kids have no shortage of water and theme parks, cool playgrounds, zoos, outdoor art, and nature, of course.

And yet, the thing about childhood is that it’s finite. The kids grow up, maybe move away. Sniff, sniff. We want to soak up every moment. So we put together this list of 100 of our favorite things to do around New York, from upstate and the Adirondacks to Long Island and NYC. We collected suggestions from the many Mommy Poppins contributors, past and former, to fuse it all together just for you (OK, for us, too). Whether you're planning a long-weekend getaway or a family day trip, you're sure to find some ideas here. Enjoy!


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