Pennsylvania

Best Amusement Parks for Preschoolers in and Near NYC

For young children, a ride on a carousel’s painted pony, a spin with dad around the bumper car track, and a dripping swirl of frozen custard are the stuff summer memories are made of. No need to seek out the latest scary high-tech roller coasters (which means you can cross Luna Park's most scary rides off your list).

Rides that look mild (or frankly, downright boring) to big people usually provide just the right amount of thrills for toddlers and preschoolers. Happily, there are a number of amusement and water parks in or near the New York City metro area that offer these kinds of tame attractions. Here's our roundup of theme parks perfect for the pint-sized.

Find more seasonal rides in our Theme and Water Parks Guide for families.

Night at the Museum: Sleeping Over in the Nation's Best Known Museums

Taking a road trip just to go on a sleepover probably isn’t something you’d think to do, but that’s about to change with the Smithsonian’s Sleepover Series. This summer, kids can experience an overnight adventure at one of three Smithsonian museums, each with its own adventure. Just a two hour drive from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. means you and your elementary- and middle school-aged children could solve a mystery, explore outer space, or sleep beneath a 50-foot whale.

27 Reasons for Families To Visit Wilmington, Delaware

There is so much to see and do in Wilmington, Delaware. And with its proximity to Philadelphia, families can consider making a day trip or a weekend stay. A straight shot down I-95 (and even accessible by Amtrak), this family-friendly city is a delight for parents and kids alike. From sites along the Riverwalk to museums and outdoor adventures, Wilmington will have you coming back for more. Here is our roundup of the top 27 things to do as a family in Wilmington.

Still not sure where to take your next day trip? Check out our city guides for more ideas!

12 Family Camping Spots Near NYC in State Parks and More

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.

Camping can be dirty and difficult, though, and require plenty of equipment, including a car. That alone can make an overnight trip to the great outdoors a challenge for many NYC families. But it doesn't have to be that way. There are several campgrounds in the tristate area that are perfect for first-timers and families. For example, we recently tried Tentrr, an online site that rents campsites in the New York area, such as the popular Hudson Valley, that are fully equipped with tents, cots, and other equipment. Just reserve your favorite site and show up!

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!

There's no excuse not to hit the woods for a family vacation this year.  

Dutch Wonderland: A Fairy Tale Amusement Park in Amish Country

If you have a little thrill-seeker like I do, Dutch Wonderland might be just the right place to go this summer. The quaint, fairy tale-themed amusement park in Pennsylvania's Dutch Country caters toward the small but fearless like my ride-loving toddler.

In spite of the name and location, there isn't much Amish about Dutch Wonderland, aside from a photo opportunity with a horse and buggy statue. If you're in the area for more traditional Amish Country fun, Dutch Wonderland is nearby all of it, so the amusement park makes a great addition for a trip to Dutch Country. With over 35 rides, attractions, and shows, as well as a 15-acre campground right on site, you can easily fill a whole day here with the kids, or even a long weekend. Read on for our review of this theme park. If you're heading to Pennsylvania for a weekend or day trip, also check out our review of Hershey Park. For even more family fun with pint-sized rides, don't miss our round-up of NJ amusement parks that are perfect for preschoolers

25 Things To Do with Kids in Harrisburg, Other than Hershey

When many of us think about Harrisburg, PA, our minds immediately take us to the state capitol, politics, or maybe just a turnpike exit—not necessarily the stuff long weekend family trips are made of. However, given the time to map out an itinerary, the Hershey-Harrisburg area is a fabulous destination for families to enjoy, beyond HersheyPark and Pennsylvania’s political hub.

Here are our top 25 picks for must-see spots in Harrisburg and the surrounding area. We recommend planning out your visit, rather than just winging it when you arrive. You’ll be able to park and walk to some of these places, but as in any city, parking and navigating an unfamiliar area can be a challenge. If you’re making a long weekend out of it, consider staying in a hotel outside the city so you can easily access everything within the city limits, as well as the suburban spots.

Looking for more fun in the area? Visit nearby Lancaster!

Top Snow Tubing Spots for New Jersey Families

When it comes to winter activities, snow tubing is one of our favorites. Of course, we love ice skating and all manner of frosty sports, but snow tubing is something the whole family can enjoy—regardless of skill. No experience is necessary, and you can tube alone or in groups. In fact, tubing is a lot like sledding, but a whole lot easier. You can barrel down the snowy slope at thrilling speeds without having to hike back up the hill. It’s done for you! Now that's the kind of winter sport we can get behind.

Hersheypark: The Sweetest Place on Earth at Christmastime

Winter festivities practically require us to guzzle hot chocolate and overindulge in sugary goodies. One destination in Central Pennsylvania is dedicated to helping us fulfill that seasonal demand. Not every amusement park is open during the Christmas season, but Hersheypark offers holiday delights in the form of decorated trees, twinkling lights, family memories, and, of course, sweet treats. Amusement park rides might not be on some families' holiday activities list, but Hersheypark’s Christmas Candy Lane can change that faster than you can say "cocoa bean."

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