Spring has sprung, and summer is around the corner! The time to plan your family vacation is now, and we’re here to help. From beachside and bayside to the insides of the museum, here are five summer weekend getaway ideas that are fab for the whole fam. Cool off, hang out and enjoy what the weather gods have handed to us!


Cooperstown ILNY - Photos Courtesy of ThisIsCooperstown.com
Cooperstown
 

Cooperstown has a reputation for being all about baseball - and while it is home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (which you most definitely need to add to your bucket list) - it has much more than sports to offer. With its beautiful foliage, the Cooperstown landscape is reminiscent of a watercolor from the 1800s. Gorgeous scenery aside, there is something for travelers of every age in Cooperstown: So here’s the perfect itinerary for your next visit.

Day 1

Spend a day of fun in the sun at Otsego Lake! Captain your own pontoon boat with the help of Time Out Boat Rentals or spend the day fishing or head to Glimmerglass State Park for swimming and scenic hiking. Whatever you decide to do, you’re sure to work up an appetite. For a flavorful American cuisine grab a bite at Mel’s at 22 or head to Origins Cafe for a locally-sourced, seasonally fresh menu set in a real greenhouse!

Day 2

Baseball fan or not, if you’re in Cooperstown you have to go to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. From Derek Jeter’s cleats to a brick from the tavern owned by Babe Ruth, this place has everything even the most die-hard fan could hope to see. It’s the mecca for all things baseball, and a wonderfully interesting trip into American culture and history - not to mention a great photo opp for your kids! Check out Doubleday Cafe for a family-friendly atmosphere with plenty of tasty burgers and sandwiches or Danny’s Market - not your average deli, according to This Is Cooperstown - for lunch.

Day 3

You don’t need to be an animal lover or history buff to fall head over heals for The Farmers’ Museum. Explore the 19th-century Historic Village, rotating exhibits, family-friendly petting area, ride a horse-drawn carriage and more. Of course, you can also let your kids spend the day knocking it out of the park at Doubleday Batting Range. Open daily this spring and summer, it's complete with TRU-PITCH batting machines, which are used by many MLB teams. Later, make your way to Brewery Ommegang, where the restaurant and outdoor area create a lively, family-friendly atmosphere for all to enjoy. After all, you're in Central NY aka "America’s craft brew destination."

Accommodations

Try the Otesaga Resort Hotel. Over a century old, this resort is chock full of history and breathtaking views of Otesaga Lake. Oh - and it has a full 18-hole championship golf course right on site! Rooms start at $299 per night.

Splish Splash
North Fork

Long Island’s own vineyard-studded North Fork is the perfect weekend destination for the inner gastro snob within all of us. And with exciting outdoors activities, your kids will stay busy for your whole visit! Spend your weekend sampling New York State varietals and locally made dishes while your kids are hitting the beach to sunbathe and the bay to kayak. De-stress in the midst of this farmland’s nature beauty and bounty.

Day 1

Time to load up on sunscreen! Spend the day on Gardiner’s Bay, a rare maritime forest with red cedar, black-jack oak trees and prickly-pear cacti. Explore by foot, or rent a kayak or canoe from Eagle’s Neck Paddling Company. Use Long Island’s Wine Country guide to pick the best winery for your tastebuds, and start sippin’ while you lunch.

Day 2

Head on over to Lavender by the Bay in East Marion for a day of frolicking and relaxation. It’s New York’s premiere lavender farm and one of the largest in the entire country! Meander through the gardens and enjoy a snack in the fields, all the while soaking in the sunshine and taking in the beautiful lavender scent. Bring a camera -- this will make for a perfect family photo opp. Grab breakfast or lunch at Sterlington Deli, one of North Fork’s best by TripAdvisor. Enjoy a wide range of deli classics - including their much-loved sandwiches.

Day 3

Head to Splish Splash, just outside of the North Fork, for 90 acres of summer fun. With 30 rides and runs open starting this month, there are new adventures to be had at every twist and turn. After you’ve worked up an appetite, take perfect advantage of the local vineyards and farmland with a lavish dinner at North Fork Table. Taste seasonally inspired American dishes made mostly with produce, meats and fish local to the area. It’s the No. 1 restaurant in North Fork according to TripAdvisor! Zagat, too, gives the farm-to-sea spot an exceptionally high rating.

Accommodations

Stay at the Blue Inn at North Fork for a quaint, pet- and kid-friendly stay amidst beautiful natural surroundings. Rooms start at $125 per night.

Cayuga Lake Wine Trail - Photo by NYS ESD
Ithaca & the Finger Lakes

With its idyllic rolling hills and sparkling lakes, the Finger Lakes is one of New York State’s most beautiful regions. Known for its award-winning wineries, jaw-dropping waterfalls and gorge trails, the region offers plenty to do for people of all ages, making it a great choice for a family vacation. Seeing all of the area’s attractions in one weekend is near impossible, so we recommend choosing a home base central to the sights you most want to see: Ithaca. This vibrant college town boasts over 150 waterfalls across 10 square miles and more restaurants per capita than New York City.

Day 1

Stop by the Ithaca Farmers Market at the tip of Lake Cayuga for a fresh and healthy lunch or breakfast. The market is a foodie’s dream with over 100 vendors selling locally grown produce, ready-to-eat delicacies, and artisanal crafts and gifts. Then, just eight miles north of Ithaca, Taughannock Falls State Park is an oasis offering a plethora of activities from boating and fishing to camping and a lakeside swimming beach. The park’s main attraction is its 215-foot waterfall -t that’s higher than Niagara Falls! Hike or drive up to the Falls Overlook and you’ll have quite the family photo opp.

Day 2

Shop till you drop. The newly reconstructed Ithaca Commons is a four-block pedestrian-only zone in downtown Ithaca. The Commons boasts more than 100 unique shops, restaurants, street vendors and street entertainers. After you're done hitting the stores, stop for dinner. With restaurants representing a diverse range of cuisines in the Commons and bordering Aurora Street (commonly known as Ithaca’s “Restaurant Row”) there’s something for every taste.

Day 3

Traveling with the kids doesn’t mean you can’t sample some of the famous Finger Lakes wine. Everyone’s got to eat, so stop by stopping by a vineyard for lunch! The Thirsty Owl Wine Company, just one of many award-winning wineries on the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, boasts a lakeside bistro that serves family-friendly favorites like flatbreads and burgers alongside their delicious wines. (Try the Snow Owl.) Spend the rest of your afternoon escaping the heat with a day of family fun at the Cascades Indoor Water Park at Hope Lake Lodge in Cortland, NY, just half an hour from Downtown Ithaca. The area’s premier indoor water park, Cascades offers plenty of fun for everyone from the littlest to the most adventurous swimmers.

Accommodations

Stay at the Statler Hotel at Cornell University, central to town and rated best place to stay in Ithaca by TripAdvisor. Rooms start at $200 per night.

Saratoga Race Course
Saratoga Springs

Nestled at the foothills of the Adirondacks, just south of Lake George and just north of Albany, Saratoga Springs offers top notch lodging, dining and cultural attractions all with a backdrop that reminds you of a Norman Rockwell painting that can only be described as a beautiful destination ideal for all ages.

Day 1

Experience the thrill of thundering hooves as the finest thoroughbreds in the world compete at Saratoga Race Course. But this is much more than a race track; spending an afternoon at the course means being part of a festive atmosphere that includes great food, live music and people-watching that can’t be beat, as the locals come out in their best dress, and the competition for best hat is almost as contested as the race itself. It’ll be a trip your kids will never forget.

Day 2

Nestled in Saratoga Spa State Park in a re-purposed bottling plant, come to the Saratoga Automobile Museum to see some of the greatest cars from around the world. Then, head to The National Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame to experience a life-size starting gate with all the sounds and pre-race whinnies of the horses as they load and break, and watch a movie about the majesty of thoroughbreds. Fuel up at the Corner Café across Congress Park on Church Street for a deliciously simple lunch.

Day 3

Just 25 miles outside of Saratoga Springs you’ll find epic fun at the Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom, chock-full of indoor high-octane coasters and water rides that will keep your whole crew screaming with joy.

Have lunch at the park, or duck out and go to Hattie’s, a local restaurant with a storied past dating back to 1938. Hattie’s is known for its fried chicken, winner of the Food Network’s Fried Chicken Throwdown with Bobby Flay, and original time-tested recipes for things such as collard greens and macaroni & cheese.

Accommodations

Stay at The Saratoga Arms, a unique historic inn overlooking Broadway. This family-owned and operated gem offers modern amenities in a classic setting and - with its 5-star TripAdvisor rating - it’s a great choice for a home base for this itinerary. Room prices start at $289 per night.

Canalside Buffalo
Buffalo

Rich in history as well as architectural and natural beauty, Buffalo is the perfect destination for the whole family to expand their horizons. With landmarks including one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most notorious architectural workings and the historic Forest Lawn cemetery, you’ll never run out of places to go, things to see, or history to uncover.

Day 1

Your first day will be spent soaking in the great outdoors. Head to Delaware Park in the morning to sit amongst Buffalo’s beautiful scenery and picnic while the kids play. Grab a bite at Five Points Bakery, a Buffalo essential according to Step Out Buffalo, for a freshly baked pastry or sandwich. Spend your afternoon letting your kids get to know American legends like President Millard Fillmore at Forest Lawn Cemetery, one of America’s premier historic cemeteries. Take a walking or trolley tour to really grasp the full history that lay among the rolling greens.

Day 2

While in Buffalo, you don’t want to miss the Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House Complex. Built between 1903 and 1905, the complex is considered to be one of the most important projects from Wright’s Prairie School era, ranking among the Guggenheim in Manhattan and Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. Continue your journey into American history at the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, where Teddy Roosevelt was inaugurated as the 26th president of the U.S. Learn all about his path to greatness. Wrap up your day with a nice, sit-down dinner with the whole family at The Left Bank - slated as the best restaurant in Buffalo according to TripAdvisor.

Day 3

Spend your last day right outside of Buffalo at Darien Lake Amusement Park. With a water park and ride for kids (and adults!) of all ages, you’ll laugh and scream and create memories that will last a lifetime. Head to Larkin Square for dinner, live music and local shopping. It’s the hopping city center that will make you want to stay in Buffalo forever!

Accommodations

Stay at the boutique hotel InnBuffalo off Elmwood, the best place to stay in Buffalo according to TripAdvisor, for a taste of historical comfort -- it is the former home of industrialist H. H. Hewitt. Rooms start at $139 per night.