9 Day Trip Destinations Across the U.S.
Here are 20 more staycation ideas.
Here at FamiliesGo!, we don’t put our traveling shoes in storage when the school year starts. Fall, winter and spring present nice weather and great opportunities for weekend jaunts, daytrips and staycations. We rediscover our own backyard and that can be pretty inspiring.
To inspire your school-year travel, we asked writers who love to travel from around the country to tip us off to their favorite staycation or daytrip destination. Here are the top nine (ours is in here as well).
City: New York
Destination: Oyster Bay, 40 miles away
Why: The big daytrip we’re planning for this summer is to Sagamore Hill, Teddy Roosevelt’s House. I first visited on a 6th grade class trip and was deeply impressed by all the relics of his adventurous life and big family. It’s ideal to visit his home in the National Parks’ centennial year because he has arguably been their best champion.
If we get an early enough start, we’ll drive afterward from the north shore to the south—a quick hop if there’s no traffic— to jump waves, play in the sand and walk on the boardwalk at Long Beach.
For dinner, it’s another short drive to the Point Lookout Clam Bar, where we can be a little scruffy from the beach as we eat raw, chowdered or fried clams, steamers and maybe a lobster roll, drink cold beer and enjoy a water view.
City: Washington, DC/Baltimore
Destination: National Harbor, MD, 30 minutes from DC, 90 from Baltimore
Why: Patricia Lee Hall of Fairfax Family Fun calls it “is a great place with lots to do for all ages, from young kids to teens.” She recommends the new Urban Pirates cruise (which we did in Baltimore and had a blast) and romping on the beach, where kids love to climb on “The Awakening,” a large statue of a giant coming to life from beneath the sand.
For a snack, her kids fairly reliably like the Peeps Store their fix of sugar-coated marshmallows and other candy.
To extend the day, she says, “Stop by the Gaylord National at night to see the fountain or laser light shows, both of which are open to the public.
City: Washington, DC/Northern Virginia
Destination: Bears Den State Park, Bluemont, VA, 90 minutes away
Why: Kath Race of Family Travel USA notes, “Hiking is a great staycation activity and there are many great spots in Northern Virginia for all ages and abilities.” Bears Den is one of her favorites because “you can take a short hike and enjoy lunch with a view on the Bears Den Overlook. “ On the way she often stops at Great Country Farms, “where you can pick seasonal fruits and vegetables.”
City: Los Angeles
Desination: Coronado, about 45 minutes away.
Why: Amber Myers Mamian of Global Munchkins says, “it feels like we’re miles away from home. We bring the whole brood including the pups because it’s such a dog-friendly town.” She continues, “We spend time at the beach and tide pools in front of Hotel del Coronado, play with the pups at dog beach, ride surrey bikes around the island,
For a snack, “We take the ferry over to Downtown San Diego for dessert at Ghirardelli.
Why: With two teens sons writer Karen Epper Hoffman can happily spend a day exploring the city’s cultural side. “We’ll check out whatever is new at the Experience Music Project (left). But we can also spend a day at the Pacific Science Center or the Seattle Art Museum downtown.”
When they need a break, it’s Seattle! A good cup of coffee or a place to sample some Pacific Northwest food is never far away, and there’s always something new to try.
Local Destination: Helen,GA, 90 miles away
Why: Lesli Peterson at 365 Atlanta Family says, “it is one of our favorite family day trip escapes. My 3YO and 7YO agree that it is fun to tour this Alpine town, tube down the river, hike the waterfall trails, or play at either of two State Parks.”
To extend your stay, Smithgall Woods creekside cabins and Unicoi’s barrel cabins “make for an adventurous overnight.”
City: Rochester, NY
Destination: Niagara Falls, 90 minutes away
Why: Dave Parfitt of Adventures by Daddy, has done this trip several times and has decided he likes The “American side” better. He explains, “You can touch the water of the Niagara River walking along a footpath, feel the spray of Bridal Veil Falls standing on the stairways, or conquer the massive rapids of the whirlpool in a Jet Boat, and all without a passport.”
For dinner with a view before your drive home, he suggests Water Street Landing in Historic Lewiston. A pub offers burgers and casual fare and a dining room with more upscale fare, both with river views.
To extend your day he recommends the Aquarium of Niagara, where, “I definitely was not expecting to see a California sea lion show or harbor seals while visiting Niagara Falls USA.”
Local Destination: South Haven, MI, 40 minutes away
Why: Jessie Voigts of Wandering Educators calls this small town on Lake Michigan (top), “A playground for all ages.” Both North and South Beaches are free and offer wide expanses of clean, sandy lake access. To fly a kite, she says, head to North Beach, where there’s more room to spread out and play. South Beach has the lighthouse and pier. “It’s fun to walk out and imagine heading all the way across the big lake to Wisconsin.”
For a snack, “Be sure to stop for ice cream at Sherman’s Dairy, which just celebrated its 100th anniversary this summer. If you’re looking for more sustenance, eat at Clementine’s, in a historic building downtown. We love the thinly sliced onion rings.”
To extend your day, swim at sunset, or take a sunset cruise on the tall ship Friends Good Will. “Imagine coming back into town at sunset on that incredible ship; what a memorable day.”
Destination: Mahoney State Park, 30 minutes away.
Why: Kim Bousquet of Oh My Omaha says the rest of her family likes tent camping at this state park, “but I prefer the new cabins.” For day-trippers and over overnight guests there’s horseback riding, a big water park, paddleboat, mini-golf, and an indoor activity center. “We go every summer.
To extend your trip, “It’s also near a great wildlife safari and Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum, not to mention a good winery.”
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