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Top Drive-To Destinations for Family Vacations

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Hersheypark ride- photo courtesy of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts.

Hersheypark ride- photo courtesy of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts.

Families who live in the northeast US have a terrific range of driveable destinations. Below are suggestions, in three sets of driving times. See also Road Trips Tips: with online trip planners; games to print out; Kids Eat Free; and last but definitely not least, Fuel Cost Calculator.

DRIVE-TIME UNDER FIVE HOURS

Remember: Mapquest driving time estimates aren't factoring in traffic, or bathroom stops!

Great Wolf Lodge Poconos
Great Wolf Lodge is a well-known name in resorts with indoor waterparks; this one, near Scotrun PA, has themed suites, animated show in the Grand Lobby, outdoor pool, Cub Club, arcade, MagiQuest interactive fantasy game, and -- if you're planning for December-- a special "Snowland" season.

    -Mapquest estimate from NYC to Scotrun: 85 miles; 1 hour 40 minutes.

Hershey PA
"Chocolate Town USA" has the Hersheypark amusement park, grand old Hotel Hershey, with kids club; Hershey Lodge, and more.

    -Mapquest estimate from NYC: 162 miles; 3 hours.

Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Waterpark
This 200-suite Adirondack-themed family resort is part of the Great Escape theme park across the street, and is also the first hotel with an indoor waterpark in NY state; location is in Queesbury NY.

    Mapquest estimate from NYC to Queensbury: 220 miles, 3 hours, 40 minutes.

UNDER TEN HOURS

New Hampshire's White Mountains
Great scenery; biking tours; Appalachian Mountain Club family adventure programs; camping; and underground caves and waterfall.

    Mapquest estimate from NYC: 370 miles; 7 hours.

Tyler Place, VT
On Lake Champlain, with 165 acres and myriad family activities; programs for many different age, from newborn up. 30 miles from Champlain NY, 350 miles from NYC.

    Mapquest estimate from NYC to Lake Champlain: 340 miles, 5-1/2 hours.

Smugglers Notch, VT
Best known as an award-winning ski resort, but with plenty going on in summer too; numerous kids programs, a child-care centre, and two teen centers.

    Mapquest estimate from NYC to Burlington: 306 miles, 5 hours, 45 minutes.

More New England Family Vacation Ideas: cottage rentals, family camps, etc.

Canada: Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Ottawa
Montreal and Quebec City have family fun, historical areas, and joie-de-vie; French is spoken, but those in the tourism industry welcome guests in English too. Multicultural Toronto, on Lake Ontario, has city pleasures and lots of fun for families, including relaxed Toronto Island right near downtown, and Ontario Place unique amusement park. Canada's capital city, Ottawa, is known for its Parliament Buildings and pretty canal.

    Mapquest estimates from NYC: Montreal, 380 miles, 6-1/2 hours; Quebec City, 525 miles, 8 hours, 45 minutes (and you can stop in Montreal en route) ; Ottawa, 440 miles, 7-1/2 hours; Toronto, 490 miles, 8-1/2 hours, and cool stop en route is Niagara Falls.

LONG HAUL

Sandusky OH:
Sandusky is one fun place in summertime, thanks to the famous roller coasters at Cedar Point Amusement Park. Sandusky also has a cluster of resorts with indoor waterparks. Being waterfront on Lake Erie is nice, too.

    Mapquest estimate from NYC: 512 miles; 8-1/2 hours.
    -cool detour:Hershey PA - with Hersheypark theme park

Colonial Williamsburg, VA
Colonial Williamsburg takes your family back in time: not only to stroll past historic buildings, but to watch real-live blacksmiths, talk to inn-keepers, hear patriots whisper about revolution... A staff of 3500, including archaeologists and historians, plus hundreds of volunteers bring the 18th century back to life.

    -Mapquest estimate from NYC: 390 miles; 6-1/2 hours.
    -cool stops en route: Philadelphia; Washington DC q

Myrtle Beach SC
Myrtle Beach is on the coast of South Carolina, 98 miles north of Charleston, and in the middle of 60 miles of beaches called the Grand Strand: budget-friendly, family-friendly place; many hotels have kids activities, playgrounds, waterpark features; fun parks, water parks, amusement parks.

-Mapquest estimate from NYC: 685 miles; 11-1/2 hours.
-cool detour: Colonial Williamsburg VA
-cool stop en route: Washington DC

More Southeast Destinations for Families - Sea Island GA, legendary resort; Stone Mountain Park GA, with inn and resort; Hilton Head SC.

Orlando, FL: It can be done! And there are plenty of families who drive long distances to the most powerful magnet in the world for vacations with kids. Read about:

    -Mapquest estimate from NYC: 1087 miles; 17 hours.
    -cool detours: Colonial Williamsburg VA; Myrtle Beach
    -cool stops en route: Washington DC; Savannah Georgia

Wisconsin Dells
So you want to head to the mecca of resorts with indoor waterparks: Wisconsin Dells has the Kalahari, the Wilderness Resort, the original Great Wolf Lodge, and more; not to mention public outdoor waterparks in summertime.

    -Mapquest estimate from NYC: 985 miles; 16 hours.
    cool detour: Hershey PA - with Hersheypark theme park
    -cool stops en route: Chicago

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