Holiday Weekend Trips with the Kids

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holiday weekend tripsWith the holiday winter recess around the corner, and everyone needing a little break from our daily routines, here are some easy weekend or short weekday trips. Most are less than three hours away to consider doing with your kids.

Mystic, Connecticut

An adorable little seaport town with so much to do, even in the winter. Kids and adults will love watching the drawbridge open and close. Check out the Mystic Aquarium to view the beautiful Beluga whales (remember the song Baby Beluga?) and watch how the aquarium transforms during Northern Lights. Advanced timed tickets are required. 

During the holiday season, the Mystic Seaport displays a lantern light village, an outdoor free-roaming experience, with festive light displays, live music, horse and carriage rides, fire pits, a visit from Santa, holiday-themed stories, crafts, and games. Also, there is the Community Carol Sing at the museum. Admission to the carol is free with the donation of a non-perishable item. 

There are great little stores at Olde Mistick Village, including a Holiday Carnival and an adorable ornament shop, where you will find every ornament imaginable. 

In Downtown Mystic, there’s a Holiday Stroll Luminaria, and it is also a great place to shop for last-minute gifts. You cannot visit Mystic without stopping at the infamous Mystic Pizza or at least taking a picture with it behind you. Another place not to miss is the Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream. If it’s not too cold, you can grab ice cream and sit under the drawbridge to watch it open and close.

North Conway, New Hampshire 

Check out Santa’s village, where it is Christmas year-round. It is about an hour from North Conway (a 4-5 hour drive from Westchester) and has reindeer elves, cookies, ice cream, roller coasters, and other rides and activities. Reservations need to be made online. 

Santa’s Holiday Express train ride at the Conway Scenic Railroad. Head to the Christmas Loft, a magical Christmas wonderland all year long, with Christmas trees, decorations, and other unique holiday finds for holiday shopping. 

Visit the Cranmore Mountain Resort for skiing, night skiing, snow tubing, and lessons for fun winter activities.

New Hope, Pennsylvania

New Hope is an adorable little town to visit, especially during the holiday season. Folks should head to the Peddler’s Village for unique holiday shopping and dining, along with a display of gingerbread houses. There is a Holly Jolly Weekend in early December with Santa parades. Kids can also take pictures with Santa. There are gingerbread and cookie decorating workshops and a carousel and arcade. In January, there is also a display of ice sculptures. The entire village is lit up with Holidays lights until January 9, 2022 and is truly magical.  

Kids will love the Bucks County Children’s Museum, where there is so much for them to do, such as operating a pretend ice cream stand, going grocery shopping, finding fossils, and operating a pretend ambulance. Reservations are required.

Check out Santa’s Steam Train ride at the New Hope railroad station, where Santa and his Mrs. Claus walk through the train as it heads to the North Pole. There is live music, entertainment, snacks, and hot chocolate. Tickets must be purchased online.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The city of brotherly love is a quick trip from Westchester County and has so much to do during the holiday season. This is the first year that Sesame Place will be open during the holiday season for a Very Furry Christmas, and you can dine with Elmo and his friends. The park will turn into a winter wonderland for all to enjoy. There’s even an all-new Christmas family fun zone. 

For fun activities closer to Philadelphia, put your ice skates on and head to the rink at Blue Cross River Rink. Kids would also love the Please Touch Museum, which is shortly opening its new Market store experience. Online reservations are required, and so are masks. There is also the Philadelphia Zoo that would be a huge hit. To have kids burn their energy, head to the Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse. On the way to Philly or back home, one could even stop at the Adventure Aquarium if you kids aren’t already tired out from all the fun activities in Philly. There they have Christmas underwater with Scuba Santa and the world’s tallest underwater Christmas tree.

One or more of these places will be on our list this year. Where do you love to get away with the whole family for the holidays?

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Bena is a a wife and mom to a little girl born in July 2017 and another little girl born in April 2021. Her and her husband, both born and raised in Long Island, randomly ended up living in New Rochelle, Westchester when they fell in love with the downtown area, which had the best of two worlds, walking distance to parks, coffee shops, great restaurants and a short drive away from great hikes and nature. Since then they have moved a hop, skip and away to Pelham, which is an adorable little town. Mostly, Bena is just trying to figure out how to do this mom thing, while also working a full-time job. After a few years of the juggling act, she feels a little more confident, but everyday there are new challenges, especially when #2 arrived. When she is not momming, she is usually lawyering, working out, cooking, running errands or somewhere out exploring nature and the world (pre-covid, of course)!