When you think of vacation, does it conjure up thoughts of large suitcases, overpriced plane tickets, long lines and impatient children at the airport? Once you have kids, travel becomes a whole different ball game. Gone are the days of ordering a mimosa on an early flight, sliding the headphones on and slipping into a blissful state of napping as you jet off on a relaxing vacation. Everything with kids seems to take a bit longer, and be a bit more complicated. You know what seems a bit easier? Vacationing in your own “backyard.” Pack lighter, stay within 100 miles of home, buckle up, crank the fun tunes and head out on a road trip with your family. There is no “extra charge” for all the bags and accessories that come hand in hand with having kids and nobody to open up and check every drink you pack. We can assure you that within 100 miles of your front door there are plenty of awesome sights to see, places to eat and ground to explore.
Ready to travel? Buckle up, here we go!
If you are on a road trip and preparing to head out of the city, a trip to FAO Schwartz is definitely in order! This is a great way to get the kids pumped up and excited before the trip gets underway! The flagship store which is located in New York City is a must-see destination! It is filled with toys beyond kids’ and adults wildest dreams. From their larger than life stuffed animals to their larger then life piano there is fun to be had in every little corner of this store.
From lego statues for your little lego-lover to a candy store to rival any candy store, there is something to appease everyone! Starting your trip off here is sure to put everyone in a fantastic mood!
The Bronx Zoo
If you are looking for a road trip stop that will please and entertain everyone in the car, than the Bronx Zoo is a perfect stop! Located in the Bronx, it is among the largest metropolitan zoos in the world. Housed on 265 acres and home to over 600 species it’s home to four separate zoos and an aquarium! Visit the Congo Gorilla Forest, the Wild Asia Monorail, Tiger Mountain, and their newest exhibit, Madagascar. Check out their schedule before you go to learn about enrichment activities and feeding opportunities.
The world’s largest urban zoo will entertain and teach you as you meet their mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and insects. Educate yourself and learn about their natural history, biology and cultural roles.
No trip leaving NYC would be complete without a stop at Arthur Avenue. Located in the Belmont Section of the Bronx, in the midst of a city that thrives on the fast paced and modern, this neighborhood still does things the old-fashioned way. It is home to classic Italian charm and some of the freshest fare to be found. Lined with family-owned shops, local pride and a unique personality that keeps people flocking back. You can never go wrong with a quick stop for a bite or an just an afternoon stroll at Arthur Avenue. You will find festive red, white and green garland hangs from street poles year-round. Inside the stores you will be pleasantly overwhelmed with colorful pastries, cured meats and fresh fish.
If you are in the mood for a mouth watering Bronzino then stop for lunch at Blue Mediterranean. This melt in your mouth dish is sure to please even the littlest of connoisseurs. Follow up your meal with a pastry, or take a box of pastries to stock up for your trip ahead from Madonia Brothers Bakery. Whether your palate craves a warm piece of olive bread, a mouthwatering cannoli or a cake to share with the family, you will surely be in the right place.
Once you have made it out of the hustle and bustle of the city, you may be long overdue for a road trip stop that is calm, quiet and relaxing. Lyndhurst Castle in Tarrytown, New York fits all of these criteria. This is a Gothic Revival country house located on it’s own 67 acre park directly beside the Hudson River. You are able to tour the castle, walk the narrow halls and admire the intricate gothic appeal. The beautiful grounds are the perfect place to stretch your legs, take in the sights or have a leisurely picnic or packed snack!
Black Duck Cafe
If you are headed out of New York by way of Connecticut it would be in your best interest to stop in for a casual and informal meal at the Black Duck Cafe. This is an exceptional local restaurant where you can enjoy delicious beer, burgers and wings! It is located directly on the water and full of tons of neat decorations for your kids to admire.
Are you a Food Network Fan? This Restaurant was featured on season 6 Of “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives”! Their wings will satisfy the pickiest of wing eaters and their menu seems to have something for everyone!
Maritime Aquarium is a great stop that will NEVER disappoint! This aquarium focuses solely on just one body of water, the one it runs parallel too, Long Island Sound. You can touch sting rays, jiggle the jelly fish and experience amazing marine life! Lobsters, mollusks, game fish, jellies, sea turtles, sharks (big and small) and seals are just some of the amazing life you will get the opportunity to witness. They also have amazing exhibits that change regularly.
The IMAX Theatre at the Maritime Aquarium is the largest in Connecticut, with a screen as tall as a six story building. Their showings vary but currently you can learn about the Island of Lemurs, Swim with the Great White Shark, Get a little wild with the Monkey’s or Journey to the South Pacific. This a a road trip stop the will please EVERYONE in the car. And what is better then mixing a fun and an educational stop, all in one!
Hammonasset Beach State Park
A road trip out of the city wouldn’t be complete withough a visit to Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison Connecticut. If you are looking for just another day of relaxation Connecticut’s largest shoreline park is over 2 miles of beach. Enjoy swimming, strolling along the boardwalk, or just relaxing in the sun and surf. The kids will love walking the sandy beaches, collecting rocks and digging in the sand. It is also a wonderful place for camping, bicycling, boating, fishing, hiking, picnicking and swimming.
For the nature lover Meigs Point Nature Center offers environmental and education programs and activities for park visitors on a year round basis. The center features a touch tank and live turtles, snakes, amphibians, crabs and fish.
Lenny & Joes
Just 100 Miles North East of New York City, in Madison Connecticut, you will stumble upon a Seafood restaurant to rival all seafood restaurants. What began as a small roadside “Clam Stand” has grown into a haven for seafood lovers! It’s broad menus consist of not only the fried seafood for which it is famous, but of broiled, char-grilled and sauteed seafood and, of course, lobsters. Be sure to ask about their Gluten Free Menu! For a real treat start your meal with classic clear-broth quahog chowder and, in the summer, side it with good fresh sweet corn.
Traveling here with the young travelers is nothing but a delight. Their scrumptious children’s menu is only rivaled by their owners outdoor ice cream shack and their small, quaint carousel. Everyday all of the proceeds from carousel rides are donated to a local charity.
If you stop here, be forewarned, we will not be responsible for you wanting seconds or even thirds! This tantilizing food is nothing short of addicting.
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Headed out of New York City and into New Jersey? In West Orange you will find the home and laboratories of Thomas Edison. Visitors get to explore this amazing laboratory complex with 20,000 square feet of exhibit space. At this fun and educational stop you can discover where America’s greatest inventor changed our world forever. Tours are now self guided, which means your family can pick and choose what interests them the most!
The World’s Largest Tooth At Ground For Sculpture
Looking for a short, fun stop in Hamilton, New Jersey? Take a stop at the Grounds For Sculpture. This 42-acre public sculpture park was founded in 1992 by J. Seward Johnson in an effort to promote an understanding of contemporary sculpture. The grounds are home to over two hundred and seventy large-scale contemporary sculptures. You can enjoy the outdoor sculptures and they offer indoor seasonal exhibitions. They are also home to the elegant Rat’s Restaurant.
For a fun and quirky stop be sure to seek out the “World’s Largest Tooth.” Just outside of the sculpture park and near the amtrak you can find this human molar standing at about 15 feet tall. The kids on your trip will get a kick out of this stop! It will certainly be the largest tooth they will ever see!
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