5 Fun Northeast Travel Ideas for Families

By: Maria Trimarchi

The Northeast has many destinations for nature lovers and city dwellers alike.
The Northeast has many destinations for nature lovers and city dwellers alike.

Sure, it's fun to visit the Northeast during fall foliage season but did you know there's more to offer than leaves and cider? We've pulled together a list of five family destinations that will satisfy the outdoorsy types, the romantics and the die-hard chocolate fans out there -- although unless you're a master roadtripper, not all at the same time.


5: The Adirondacks and Lake George Area

The Adirondacks are a mountain range running through northeastern New York, and includes the Lake George Area. Families in search of an outdoor adventure in the Northeast will find it in The Adirondacks, no matter what the season.

With over 20 lakes and the Hudson, Moose and Sacandaga Rivers, there are plenty of water sports to enjoy, from kayaking to river rafting (Class I-V rapids) to leisurely river tubing and cruises. Camping, hiking and biking are also popular here -- especially beautiful in autumn as the foliage turns.


Lake George also offers summer boardwalk-style fun, mini golf and amusement parks -- for when you're taking time off from exploring.

4: Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island

Mount Desert Island lies off the coast of Maine and is where you'll discover the town of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. It's Acadia's largest island yet still small -- only about 100 square miles -- but packed with Maine beauty. Hike in spruce and fir forests, paddle around lakes and mountain bike along the park's carriage paths, all while enjoying the expansive views of the Atlantic.

And when you want to get back in touch with civilization, Bar Harbor is a "down east" kind of town that offers the same beauty of rocky coast and granite cliffs, but instead of trekking through a forest, if has leisurely shopping and nice little family dining spots.


3: Cape May

Cape May is not the "Jersey shore" you grew up with - or, perhaps, joked about. Sure, it's a New Jersey beach town but this little island (a canal separates it from New Jersey mainland) off the coast is America's oldest seaside resort and a National Historic landmark, home to pristine shoreline and a beach bum vibe.

While you might visit to check out Cape May for its beaches, it will charm you with its tree-lined streets and colorful Victorian gingerbread-style homes. Our recommendation? Explore the town's nature trails, go on a whale watch or partake in a ghost tour (those Victorian mansions aren't just eye candy!).


2: Hershey!

You could go to Hershey, Pennsylvania for the live entertainment and the museums but who are we kidding? You're going to Hershey for Hershey Park and Chocolate World. Ride the roller coasters and snack on chocolate - there's even a chocolate spa for relaxing with a chocolate moisturizing massage. (Can you say YUM?)

Near Hershey Park are the Indian Echo Caverns, where you and the family can take a 45-minute tour of the limestone caves underneath the land where the Susquehannock Indians once lived.


For a dose of history, both Gettysburg and Lancaster (also known as Pennsylvania Dutch Country) are less than an hour's drive from Hershey. Immerse yourself in the history and stories of the Battle of Gettysburg and visit the spot where President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg address.

While in Lancaster County, tour the covered bridges and Amish attractions -- don't miss out on a buggy ride

1: Cape Cod

Cape Cod, known to most as "the Cape," is a 70-mile stretch of land that bends like the elbow of Massachusetts into the Atlantic Ocean. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Cape's shores burst with tourists, swimming and exploring (on foot or on bike) its 40 miles of national seashore. But beaches are far from the only things the Cape has to offer.

As you wander through the Cape's charming small towns, lose yourself in the many art galleries, antique stores, jewelry shops and mini golf courses. And when hunger strikes, be sure to dig into Cape specialties: lobster rolls and clam chowder.


Staying for a few days? Consider one of the many beautiful - and historic - bed and breakfasts in the area.