Q: Help! Teacher’s Convention is this week in New Jersey and I’ve got a 4 day weekend with the kids! Where can we go if I haven’t made plans already?
A: Live in New Jersey? Have kids in public school? Then you’re the winner of a 4 day “Teachers’ Convention” break this week! The good news is that the crowds are usually thin, and prices low, for this long weekend in many destinations since only New Jersey public schools have off. (Which is not to say there are no crowds — at Disney World these November dates are called “New Jersey Week,” and the theme parks — and flights to Orlando, and actually Florida in general — are packed!)
If you haven’t made plans yet, all is not lost. It’s not too late to road trip to family friendly cities such as Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, or Washington, DC, all great getaways that Georgette and I have personally road tested with our families. Feel up for a longer drive? Pack up the car and go north: Montreal is a 6-7 hour drive (allow additional time for the border crossing) from the Garden State, but truly gives you the feeling of an international getaway (check out my Montreal guide for Family Fun). As long as you’re heading north, Brattleboro, Vermont, is another great fall getaway for families, especially if you don’t feel like dusting off passports and birth certificates to go to Canada.
There are plenty of fun options closer to home, too. Consider one of the roaring indoor water park hotels such as Great Wolf Lodge, a great choice for 9 and under, and Kalahari, a top pick for tweens and teens.
My family is driving upstate into New York State to check out the foliage and take advantage of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week at the Culinary Institute of America, one of our favorite day trips. It’s not far from Storm King Art Center outdoor sculpture park, as well as the historic estates in Hyde Park and the new Walkway Over the Hudson (we’ll be staying in the area and reporting back next week). And it’s near Mohonk Mountain House, one of our favorite spots (although rooms are almost sold out for this week’s break).
Finally, consider a “staycation” in New York City. Catch a Broadway show such as Matilda, or a concert at Symphony Space, indulge in the chocoholic menu at Max Brenner (one of my son’s favorite New York spots), tour around Rockefeller Center or relax in Central Park — then either head home or make it a real vacation by hitting the hay in a cool NYC hotel—my son Aidan and I did this last year at Kimpton’s swanky 70 Park Avenue in midtown east and we had a blast! (An extra bonus of our overnight is that we got to visit the Empire State Building after dark; a real treat for a suburban kid.)
Safe travels! Enjoy the weekend!
Have a family travel question?
Email Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org