End the summer on a fun note by booking a last-minute trip to one of these 6 family-friendly Northeast destinations, all within driving distance and guaranteed to be enjoyable for everyone.
Avalon, NJ – Located on Seven Mile Island on the Jersey Shore, Avalon boasts a beautiful beach with cool water and huge waves. While relatively small in size, this family-friendly borough of Cape May County offers lots of fun things to do, including mini golf, a biking path, kayaking and fishing in the back bay, an arcade on the boardwalk, and a plethora of ice cream shops. Avalon is also a short drive to Stone Harbor, Cape May, and Wildwood, all excellent for shopping, eating, and beaching as well.
Mystic, CT – Known for its “quintessential New England charm,” Mystic is a popular tourist destination in Connecticut. The Mystic Aquarium, one of the village’s top attractions, makes for an exciting afternoon. There, you can see tons of aquatic animals up close – beluga whales, penguins, seals, poisonous frogs, sharks, stingrays – you name it! If you’re looking for something else to do, you can check out the Mystic Seaport Museum, which is the largest maritime museum in the country, or go shopping in Olde Mistick Village. Plus, Mystic offers exciting events, like art and food festivals, and plenty of restaurants.
Newport, RI – Many people travel to Newport for its beautiful beaches (definitely not a bad idea), but this seaside town offers so much more. Newport is known for its Gilded Age mansions which were once the homes of many prominent figures, like the Vanderbilts who spent many of their summers in The Breakers mansion. You can tour a handful. If you want a nice balance, you can spend some time on the Cliff Walk which offers panoramic views of the ocean on one side and the mansions on the other. You can also check out Newport’s wineries, breweries, and eateries as well as attractions, like the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the Newport Art Museum.
Lake Placid, NY – Known for hosting the 1980 Winter Olympics, Lake Placid is a village located in the Adirondack Mountains. If the Olympics fascinate you, definitely check out the Lake Placid Olympic Museum and explore the Olympic Sports Complex where you can take a gondola straight to the observation deck of the 120-meter ski jump and cruise in a bobsled down the track. Lake Placid also offers hiking trails, boat tours, shops, and restaurants, many of which overlook Mirror Lake which is a great spot for swimming, kayaking, and paddle boarding.
Bar Harbor, ME – Located just minutes away from Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor is a quaint coastal town along Maine’s Frenchman Bay. If you’re not interested in exploring the more than 120 miles of hiking trails at Acadia, you can check out the town pier, grab a lobster roll from The Travelin Lobster, or meander your way through the local shops. You can also sit back, relax, and explore Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park, and Cadillac Mountain on Oli’s Trolley Tour. We recommend spending one morning walking along the Ocean Path which leads to Otter Cliff, which promises breathtaking views of the sunrise. Fun fact: Cadillac Mountain is the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic Coast and boasts the first sight of the sunrise in all of the U.S. from October to March.
Martha’s Vineyard, MA – Just south of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard is a popular summer destination. There are lots of beaches to explore, like Long Point Beach, Moshup Beach, and Joseph Sylvia State Beach (famous for the bridge that was featured in Stephen Spielberg’s Jaws). The island is also home to a handful of wildlife sanctuaries that promise beautiful views, unique wildlife, and walking trails. You can grab a bite to eat at The Black Dog Tavern, known for its famous black dog logo, as well as spend some time with furry friends at Island Alpaca and catch the sunset at the Aquinnah Cliffs. If you’re interested in spending some time on Martha’s Vineyard, keep in mind the island is only accessible via boat or plane. There are several ferry options, only one of which allows cars, so be sure to plan accordingly.