9 Fall Break Ideas for NYC Families

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Fall in New York City is a special time of year. The weather starts to chill – and sometimes gets downright cold. It also starts the busy holiday season. Now that Halloween is over, the big rush towards the holidays begins.

During a season full of hustle and bustle, I like finding the time to take a nice break. That’s why I love fall break trips! Whether your family plans to travel over the long Thanksgiving break or you can only squeeze in a weekend trip, fall break trips are a must! You need that time to put away the work stuff and the holiday planning to enjoy some quality time with the ones you love.

I’ve come up with a list of 9 fall break ideas for busy NYC families that cover lots of different budgets. Even better, most only require a tank of gas!

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The Catskills, New York

If you want beautiful scenery, head to The Catskills. You will find plenty of places to take Insta-worthy shots, and your kids will be able to use up some of their energy on one of your family hikes.

Portland, Maine

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Kids love Portland for its ferry boats rides, and parents love Portland for the ambiance of the bay. You can visit the lighthouse, explore the children’s museum, and eat loads of lobster.

Washington, DC

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Many families hesitate to take their little ones to DC, but they really shouldn’t. DC is great for kids! In addition to tons of free national monuments to view, there are also several free museums. Dc also has a great food scene, so mom and dad will be happy, too.

Poconos, Pennsylvania

If you are looking for relaxation, a visit to the Poconos may be just what you need. From beautiful mountain scenery to beautiful lake views, the Poconos offer a quiet escape from the city.

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is a fun city to visit. In addition to the mass amounts of history you can learn on a tour of the city, you will also love the culture. Bostonians are proud, and you can feel it in the air. Plus, Boston has a lot of fun things for kids to enjoy such as the duck tours.

Hudson Valley, New York

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If you plan a trip to Hudson Valley in the near future, you are likely to surrounded by all the breathtaking colors of fall. You will be able to capture beautiful family photographs as you explore the area and wander through the quaint villages.

The Adirondacks, New York

Looking for an early winter escape? Look no further than the Adirondacks. This is the ideal skiing location for winter getaways. Even better – the Adirondacks are home to several breweries and wineries.

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Do I even have to sell you on this one? This whole town celebrates chocolate! The big appeal for families is clearly the HersheyPark, and why not? It’s a theme park that is focused on candy. What’s not to love?

Enjoy a Staycation!

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Sometimes the best kinds of breaks are the ones that don’t take us anyway. Those of us who call NYC home can easily enjoy a staycation and still manage to visit places we have never been. Explore new parts of the city that appeal to your whole family or spend your vacation visiting all your favorite spots. The point is to rest.

What plans does your family have for fall break? Let me know in the comments!

Things to Do in New York for Halloween with Your Family and Kids

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Now that the Halloween season is upon us, I love to find family-friendly Halloween events in New York. This means I look for events that are not too spooky and are mostly geared at encouraging costumes, fun, and treats without too many tricks.

Part of the fun of having kids is that you get to celebrate Halloween all over again as an adult! My girls love any opportunity to dress up, and I love any excuse to celebrate festively. Honestly, there are so many fun, family-friendly Halloween events in New York that the hardest decision I have to make each year is deciding which ones to put on my family’s calendar.

Well, I have done my research and I am happy to share the Halloween events in New York my family is most looking forward to in 2018.

Boo at the Zoo

Photograph - Julie Larsen Maher

Photograph - Julie Larsen Maher

We absolutely love Boo at the Zoo held each weekend through October at the Bronx Zoo. The combination of zoo animals, Halloween decorations, trick-or-treat, and costumes make this event that cannot be missed by families! Add in a spooky hayride, pumpkin carving, and a costume parade and this event will have everyone in my family cheering “Happy Halloween!”

Annual Halloween Festival and Great PUPkin Dog Costume Contest

Photograph: Jasmin Chang

Photograph: Jasmin Chang

Mark your calendars for October 27, 2018, for the super fun and silly Great PUPkin Dog Costume Contest at the annual Halloween Festival at Fort Greene Park Conservatory. In addition to giggling at all the adorably costumed pups, your kids will have a blast since the festival also includes live music and other Halloween festivities.

Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Flotilla

Photograph: Filip Wolak

Photograph: Filip Wolak

You know what is even better than a family-friendly Halloween event? A FREE family-friendly Halloween event! On October 28, 2018, from 4 PM – 7 PM, families can celebrate Halloween in Central Park (near the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center). In addition to the main event (the charming pumpkin flotilla), families can also listen to spooky stories, do some Halloween crafting, carve pumpkins, and march in a costume parade.

The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze

Photograph: Jennifer Mitchell

Photograph: Jennifer Mitchell

Families must plan a trip to Hudson Valley, New York this fall season to experience The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze running select dates from September 28th – November 24th. A quick explanation – this is the Halloween version of going to look at exquisite Christmas light displays. The long explanation – see over 7000 glowing, intricately carved pumpkins as well as seeing flying ghosts, Sleepy Hollow’s Headless Horseman, and stargazing in the pumpkin planetarium. It will be the highlight of the fall season for your family.

The Village Halloween Parade

Photograph: Filip Wolak

Photograph: Filip Wolak

An event that both kids and families will enjoy on Halloween night (beginning around 7 PM) is the Annual Village Halloween Parade through Greenwich Village. Costumed families can march in the parade or view it as spectators. Want to look your best? 2018’s theme is I AM a Robot! Expect to see elaborate costumes and have some delightfully spooky fun with the family!

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Which family-friendly Halloween events in New York are your favorites? Let me know in the comments!