When my Brooklyn family needs to get away from the hustle and bustle of NYC, we don't leave town; we head straight for Inwood Hill Park in Upper Manhattan, where we spend the day picnicking, hiking and bouldering. You name the outdoor activity and this awesome park probably offers it. You can even go camping here!
While exploring the park is a fun-filled activity at any time of year, the opportunity to sleep under the stars (in a tent, actually) is only offered in the summer. The Parks Department family camping lottery takes place today, Wednesday, June 17 (don't worry if you miss it—there will be other sessions this season), and my kids are teeming with excitement at the thought of being selected. If overnight camping is a little more adventure than you're ready to take on, Inwood Hill Park offers lots of other activities for all ages, including family drumming and capoeira, a Brazilian art form fusing dance, martial arts and music.