New York

12 Great Family Camping Spots Near NYC

Camping trips are great for kids, especially NYC kids. They get to spend time outside in green spaces that may seem, to city kids, to go on forever. Plus they can learn esteem-building skills, including how to canoe, fish, chop wood, cook over a fire, pitch a tent, and more. Although there are a number of campgrounds offering fancy perks these days, from wi-fi to heated swimming pools, many camping trips are low-tech, so they allow families time to unplug and reconnect with one another. Plus, pitching a tent is generally an affordable alternative to a hotel.

Read on for more top campgrounds within a few hours of the city that are packed with things to keep kids busy, and two of which are within city limits. A number of these prime destinations are accessible via mass transit, and one campground even provides nearly everything you need. Remember, some of these favorites book up early!

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 lake regions, and deafening Niagara Falls to the culture and arts found in New York City on up through the Hudson Valley river towns and beyond—we feel pretty lucky.

As a state, 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, parks, 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 East End of Long Island. We collected suggestions from 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!

19 Best Family Hotels in New York City With Perks for Kids

As a born and bred New Yorker who is raising children here myself, my out-of-town friends always ask my advice when planning their NYC family vacation. They want to know everything: the best things to do, places to eat, museums to explore and, perhaps most important, where to stay.

New York City is, of course, loaded with hotels, many of which are kid-friendly. And while it's nice to have options, there are so many it can feel overwhelming. That's why we've compiled this list of 19 NYC hotels for families based on a combination of personal experience, trusted recommendations from friends, and great reputations. These hotels offer kid-friendly amenities such as pools, free strollers, and even bunk beds. A number of our choices are located right next to top kid attractions; some are more budget-friendly and others a splurge.

Our picks aren't all in Midtown Manhattan. We included places to stay with kids in Lower Manhattan, the Upper West Side, and Upper East Side, and even hotels that are in hot neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens.

Family-Friendly Farm Stays: Meet the Animals and Work the Farm

Farm stays provide guests of all ages with a taste of farm life. Whether by milking cows and collecting eggs, or gathering fresh fruit from a pineapple plant for breakfast, families who choose to stay at a farm hotel, which might be cabin, house, or even a tent, will likely have more fun than Old MacDonald led you to believe is possible.

Time your farm stay with the kids for spring, summer, or even fall. Check out which seasonal activities might be going on before picking the dates of your farm vacation, as well as the location. We've rounded up 10 of our favorite farm "hotels" around the country, from Maine to Texas to California.

I've found that farmer-hosts have a strong desire to educate little farmers on how to live a more sustainable and balanced life. Unplug, relax, and enjoy the fruits of a hard day’s work around a campfire. Lessons learned on these farms will stay with you long after you return home. 

Find more vacation ideas and weekend getaways in our Family Travel Guide, or check out your local Farm Fun Guide for local petting zoos, harvest festivals, and pick-your-own fun.

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.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2018: Where to Watch, What's New

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade celebrates its 92nd anniversary this November, taking over the streets of Manhattan on Thursday, November 22, 2018, and decorating the city with its boisterous marching bands, extravagant floats, and giant balloon characters. Every year brings a mix of old and new characters to the parade, and 2018 is no exception, with a mix of new balloons, floats, and balloonicles set to make their NYC debuts.

If you're planning to attend the parade with the kids (and millions of others!), read on for the most up-to-date information on the route, best viewing locations, and other highlights. Check out our in-depth inflation post for an overview of the Wednesday-night festivities. You'll find more holiday inspiration in our Thanksgiving Fun Guide.

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 the New York City metro area. A huge hit with kids and parents alike, these trains spark the imagination and holiday spirit with seasonal snacks, stories, even gifts—not to mention a visit from Santa himself.

These old-school cabooses (some harking back to the 1920s) offer a classic holiday ambience. There's a Polar Express just an hour south into New Jersey, as well as the one-day-only Tri-State Santa Train about 50 minutes away. You could also consider a day trip to the Catskills, or a weekend getaway to Pennsylvania Dutch Country for the Santa's Paradise Express. No matter which Santa Train experience you choose, your family can combine the annual Santa Claus photo op with lasting memories of a sweet adventure.

Remember: these train rides sell out quickly, often months in advance, so book now if you want to go.

11 Perfect Fall Weekend Getaways Near NYC for Families

Fall in the Northeast is a lovely time of year as the trees explode in a kaleidoscope of red, orange, and gold. The crisp air and outdoor activities are hard to resist for most kids (and grown-ups). New Yorkers can experience that magic right in the city's gorgeous parks, some of which feel almost like a countryside retreat during a foliage walk. But for a weekend away, perhaps over those fall school holidays, consider a weekend trip to fully immerse the family in fall fun.

We’ve rounded up 11 options, from a luxury retreat in Connecticut to glamping in New Hampshire to an Adirondack wilderness retreat where you can really unplug. 

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