Yes the thought of a full-fledged vacation somewhere warm and tropical sounds pretty fabulous right about now, but given it’s already mid-December (how did that happen, again?) we’ve resigned ourselves to the fact we’re not going to be able to pull it off this winter break. The good news is there are tons of Holiday Break getaways perfect for family fun close to NJ that fall somewhere between beachfront bliss and holing up in the house all week. Here are five totally doable overnight trips within driving distance where you can still get your family fun on.
The Jersey Shore will forever be linked with summer for most of us, but this elegant Victorian-style hotel – that happens to be the country’s oldest seaside resort – just screams holidays from the snowy rooftops. Its Winter Wonderland offers storybook stuff like Mrs. Claus reading classic Christmas tales, carousel rides, and a festive trip on the Congress Hall Express train. And with multiple restaurants, a speakeasy-style bar with live music, and a spa on the property, we swear you won’t miss the beach.
Stay at either the Grand Cascades Lodge or the Minerals Hotel, both part of this year-round resort (that’s less than 40 miles away!) and take advantage of holiday festivities happening through the end of the month including a holiday light display on the golf course and a Santa’s Winter Workshop for the kids to explore. And there are lots of other activities to check out, from skiing at nearby Mountain Creek to laser tag to animal exhibits to indoor pools. Plus, there are plenty of pastimes involving imbibing for us parents like paint and sip nights, mixology classes, and wine cellar tours, and make sure to save a couple of hours for a spa treatment (or two).
This beautiful bustling city packed with stuff to do is just four hours away and if you haven’t been in a while, the holiday season is the perfect time to head north to New England. The luxe Four Seasons’ Back Bay location is about as convenient as it gets – just a stone’s throw from Boston Common and swanky shopping mecca Newbury Street – and is decked out in decadent decor this time of year and will even hang a stocking on your door Christmas morning. And for holiday fun nearby, you can take a horse and carriage tours at historic Faneuil Hall, catch a performance of The Nutcracker by the Boston Ballet or check out the Boston Common Christmas tree before skating on Frog Pond. (Psst, it actually beats Rockefeller Plaza’s rink, but don’t tell anyone we said that.)
You can live out your winter wonderland fantasies at this grand old lakeside lodge in the Adirondacks, whether it’s via ice skating, snowshoeing (the hotel will provide the shoes) or hitting the nightly snow bonfire that takes place every night no matter the weather complete with hot chocolate and s’mores. By night you can sit by the fire at the pub, sipping an adult beverage while playing a game of chess or backgammon like one does on a blustery evening. And nearby there’s skiing, of course, but for something new, try a toboggan or bobsled ride or climb aboard a dog sled pulled by a gaggle of huskies. Kinda’ makes plain-old skiing suddenly seem like a snooze ...
The winter weather isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so might as well let the kids get some swimming and splashing at an indoor water park if you can. The cool part about Aquatopia is that it’s part of Camelback Resort so you can hit the waterpark one day and ski the next. Camelback is also home to the country’s biggest snowtubing park and is offering a deal that throws in access to the waterpark and snowtubing lift tickets for up to four with room reservations. But if you’re looking for something really different to do on Christmas, Kalahari is touting a “Holiday Buffet and Stay” package that includes a room for four, holiday dinner for two adults and two kids, and admission to the water park (one of the country’s largest). Just remind everyone to wait 30 minutes after eating before taking the plunge ...