We’re all about trying to be appreciative of the little (and big!) things these days. One thing we feel especially grateful for? That the Northeast (that would be where we live if you hadn’t noticed) is one of the few parts of the country where we can travel without quarantine restrictions right now. That means we can book a COVID-era-friendly getaway with one less thing to worry about on our verrrrry long things-to-worry-about-right-now list. Here are five spots to consider if you’ve got the end-of-summer travel bug.
Maine may only a six-hour drive from North Jersey, but it feels worlds away, and so does Migis Lodge. Think of this 100-plus-year-old lakeside resort as a summer camp for your whole family. The 125 acres of pine forest along Southern Maine’s stunning Sebago Lake serves as a backdrop for just about any activity you can think of, taking place on both the water and dry land – from waterskiing to wakeboarding, canoeing to karaoke, and bingo to bonfires. Meals in the main lodge will make you feel like you’ve landed in Dirty Dancing (jackets required at dinner for the guys!) and you can also try one of the outdoor culinary experiences like lobster bakes and breakfast and lunch cookouts. Definitely opt for one of the 35 private cottages, each with private porch and stone fireplace. If Migis is booked, try Inn by the Sea, The Samoset Resort, or The Nonantum Resort.
This Massachusetts seaside paradise on the peninsula is home to whale watching, long stretches of beaches dotted with lighthouses and lined with dunes, tons of golf, and a quaint village filled with art galleries, eateries, and boutiques. Lodging choices are dizzying, but we especially love the Honeysuckle Hill Inn near Sandy Neck Beach for a historic B&B experience. The place dates back more than 200 years and has just five rooms and a wraparound porch you’ll want to sit on all day. The nine-room The Inn at Cape Cod, which butts up against a 100-acre nature preserve, has more of a Southern feel and was originally built as the private mansion for salt industry mogul John Sears.
We Garden Staters love this quintessential Jersey Shore town for its history, pristine beaches, and plenty of old-school summertime family fun – from bike riding to dolphin watching to alpaca petting to salt water taffy indulging. Our go-to hotel here is Congress Hall, the oldest beachfront resort in the country smack in the middle of the historic district. The kids can splash around in the onsite pool or you can opt a spot at the beach in front of the resort, where staffers will set you up with towels, chairs, and umbrellas. (No schlepping stuff necessary!) And you’ll have no choice but to pull up a rocking chair at the end of the day and take in Congress Hall’s perfectly manicured Grand Lawn ... after you get a massage at the spa. (You deserve it, in case you needed a reason.) Check out other vacation-worthy Cape May hotel options here.
Yes, there’s mini golf, al fresco dining, outlet shopping and historic forts, but the big draw here is in the name – the lake. You can rent a pontoon boat, spend the afternoon floating on inner tubes, try stand-up paddle boarding, water-skiing or wakeboarding, or just go for an old-fashioned swim. The Sagamore, is our iconic go-to when it comes to staying over in the area. Situated on a 70-acre private island, it’s family (and dog!) friendly with plenty of activities, stylish rooms, and fab restaurant options.
The Grand Canyon
Yes, it’s a little further from the rest and a big splurge, but your family can hit up one of the country’s greatest natural wonders via private train for a truly one-of-a-kind experience. You’ll hop aboard in Williams, Arizona, and make the 65-mile ride to the Grand Canyon in either a steam or diesel locomotive complete with food and beverage service, luxe suites, bathrooms, and options for live entertainment. After exploring the Grand Canyon for the day, you’ll get back on board, watch the world whiz by, and end up where you started.
Still looking for other options before you decide on where to bring your brood? We get it ... and we’ve got you covered with our East Coast Family Travel Guide.