With the long Labor Day weekend coming up, the end to summer, and lots of Fall weekends ahead, here’s a list of in-person excursions for the whole family to enjoy. These places are open for visitors and many have made adjustments for safe social distancing. Here’s a mix of outdoor and indoor activities. Be safe and don’t forget your masks!
Delaware Water Gap (adjacent to NJ)
This region has so much to offer. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area has sports activities galore. You’ll find boating, white water rafting, canoeing, swimming, and fishing. Take a walk along Dingmans Falls Boardwalk (about 1.5 mile long) to view Dingmans Falls. The back trail is good for all skill levels and primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips and bird watching. Also nearby is the Pocono Snake and Animal Farm. Head out to visit Bushkill Falls, the Niagara of Pennsylvania. Many waterparks are nearby including Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark, Kalahari, Great Wolf Lodge, Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark.
For a list of other NJ, PA, and NY resorts, read Getaway article.
Philadelphia (1+ hours from NJ)
Philadephia is right next door and home to so many attractions. Here are a few that have reopened for visitors.
Explore Philly from One Liberty Observation Deck (the tallest standing attraction within Philadelphia which offers panoramic views of the city-scape), now reopened to the public. Take in the iconic sights like City Hall, the Ben Franklin Parkway, the Ben Franklin Bridge, the stadium complex, University City and the rest of Philadelphia.
Explore BRICKLIVE Ocean Center at DaVinci Science Center
An entirely outdoor, socially distanced, contact free special exhibition featuring 25 awe-inspiring sculptures of marine life, including life-sized sharks, dolphins, seals and sea lions built from 1MM interlocking construction toy bricks.
Get up close with dinosaurs at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Visit Dinosaur Hall with more than 30 species represented, along with skeletons, dinosaur eggs, footprints, sculptures and more. /. Other exhibits that are open include: Science at the Academy, Survival of the Slowest, Wildlife Photographer exhibition featuring the world’s best nature photography.
Hershey Park and Chocolate World offers a fun free ride that takes you through the special process of making that delicious candy. Enjoy roller coasters (from first time riders to high-speed thrill seekers) and water slides. Your family can experience a wide variety of family friendly and kiddie rides that will keep everyone happy. Save big before summer ends. Check out the Kids Stay, Play & Eat FREE Package, their most popular summer package good until End of September.
Mystic Connecticut (2+ hours from NJ)
Good long weekend getaway to Mystic CT. Explore Mystic Seaport Museum, a 40 acre maritime museum with 60 historic buildings and a wooden whale ship. Guests can enjoy all of our outdoor spaces like the Henry B. Dupont Preservation Shipyard where they are completing work on the vessel Liberator or the 19th century Maritime Village with sweeping views of the Mystic River.
Discover Mystic Aquarium with indoor and outdoor spaces open. Walk around historic downtown Mystic with restaurants and shops.
Newport Rhode Island (3+ hours from NJ)
Visit Newport for a lovely short getaway. Go on a 3.5 mile Cliff walk where one side are mansions and the other side is the ocean. Take mansion tours and see how wealthy families once lived. The Breakers, The Elms and Green Animals Topiary Garden are open! Check out Fort Adams State Park to see views of Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay. For kids who like tennis, bring them to visit The International Tennis Hall of Fame. Museum, grounds and Hall of Fame Tennis Club are open. (www.tennisfame.com)
Go dip your toes in nearby beaches: Easton's Beach, Goosewing Beach, Fort Adams State Beach, King Park Beach.
Lake George in New York’s Adirondacks (3+ hours from NJ)
Picturesque Lake George is surrounded by lovely mountain peaks. A fantastic family vacation destination - fun for all ages. Go play a round of mini-golf, hang out at the arcades, learn about history at the Fort William Henry Museum, fish off a boat or pier, or eat at the A&W Root Beer Drive In for burgers and root beer. Numerous lodging accommodations that fit any budget. Side trip to Natural Stone Bridge and Caves Park in Pottersville, NY is sure to please the kids. Walk the self-guided and above ground nature trail to witness this spectacular display of ancient Adirondack geology. You’ll see the Sawmill Site Waterfalls, Artists’ Gorge, incredible potholes and surface caves. There’s a more adventurous cave crawl that’s part of the Adventure Tour in the summer. For the winter, check out the winter tours.
Lake Placid in New York's Adirondacks (4+ hours from NJ)
Head to Lake Placid, the site of the 1980 Olympics Winter games and take a tour of the Olympic venues. Walk through the Olympic Center and you’ll see hallways with plaques and banners of past Olympians. Check out the Miracle on Ice Arena or the Lake Placid Olympic & Paralympic Museum, filled with photos, memorabilia, and video footage of the Olympic Games in 1932 and 1980. Take a ride on a bobsled, if you dare!
Lake Placid and Mirror Lake are both breathtaking. Lots of nature activities, hiking, walking, biking, horseback riding, boating, canoeing, rafting, and tubing! Spend some family time at the Lake Placid Public Beach. Check out the village and the downtown area, filled with restaurants and shops. See beautiful waterfalls at neaby High Falls Gorge, a 30 minute round trip walk.
Fingerlakes Upstate NY (4+ hours from NJ)
There are 11 lakes in the Fingerlakes region of New York. Many state parks to explore. See spectacular waterfalls at Watkins Glen State Park. Go fishing or boating at Cayuga Lake or Seneca Lake. Lots of outdoor activities for the whole family - swimming, hiking, water sports, and more. Get an interactive map of the best trail sites at www.gofingerlakes.org. Watch amazing glass blowing at The Corning Museum of Glass, the largest space dedicated to contemporary art and design in glass. Go visit the Rochester Museum and Science Center.
Link to quick family getaways for more ideas.