A good family vacation around Philly?
June 30, 2010 8:44 AM   Subscribe

Help me find a good family vacation destination within driving distance of Philly for a week in mid-August. Its our first attempt to take a vacation with our little kids (1 and 3), and with your hotel and destination advice, I hope to make it a good one...

Price is not exactly no object, but we can be flexible. Ideally, it would be a hotel/resort with a reasonably priced two-room suite, or else a nice rental unit. We'd love something for the 3-year old to do, and places to take the baby that might also be interesting for two adults.

We can do beaches, mountains, or anywhere else, just looking for a fun, not too stressful family vacation, and we are new to the Philadelphia region.
posted by blahblahblah to Travel & Transportation around Philadelphia, PA (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You could rent a cabin in Gatlinburg, TN.

From there you can hit the Great Smokey Mts Nat'l Park - and lots of other stuff in that area, including Dollywood (which is a ridiculous theme park, but very family friendly)
posted by Flood at 8:49 AM on June 30, 2010

Keep it simple and don't drive too far, would be my advice. You'll have a lot of years to go places that are more memorable for the kids, but at ages 1 and 3, I'd rent a cottage by the Jersey shore, for example in Cape May, NJ.
posted by beagle at 8:58 AM on June 30, 2010

We visited Rochester a few months ago and fell totally in love with it. It's a bit of a hike, but the entire city was lovely and kid-friendly, and it's the home of the Strong National Museum of Play (which is AMAZING - kids and grown-ups alike can easily spend days there).

There are lots of nice resorts up in the Poconos - very quick drive, plus it'll likely be cooler up there than in the city proper.

D.C. is also only a few hours away, and the Metro makes navigating town a breeze - a huge plus with kids. "Plop 'em on your lap and ride" is a damned sight easier than "wrangle two car seats".

Conversely, you could stay at a hotel in-town and do the kid-centric tour of Philly: the Please Touch Museum, the Smith Memorial Playground, the Philadelphia Zoo, Franklin Square, Clark Park, Baby Disco at Shampoo...
posted by julthumbscrew at 9:04 AM on June 30, 2010

I'd second Cape May. Growing up in the northeast suburbs of Philly, my family spent a week at Cape May every summer and it's one of my fondest childhood memories. I'm sad every year when they go and I can't make it. Cape May is also one of the most family-friendly Jersey shore towns.
posted by MidsizeBlowfish at 9:04 AM on June 30, 2010

We had a great time staying at the cottages at the Indian River Marina, just a mile or two south of Rehoboth Beach in Delaware.
posted by skwm at 9:07 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

you could go to the catskills in new york, it's not as far upstate as rochester and it's beautiful. i don't know how important "kid" activities are for you especially since they're so young, but the nature experience might be a cool thing to get them into. also, poconos.
posted by sarelicar at 9:27 AM on June 30, 2010

Come to Miane!

Portland has a lot to do for families with kids and if you like the outdoors, well..
posted by sneakyalien at 9:45 AM on June 30, 2010

I like the Delaware beaches idea. We did that a few times when ours were little and it was nice, quiet, and relaxing. Lewes is near to Rehoboth, and is a charming, quiet little town right on the water. The "downtown" area (sort of like a mini New Hope) is about 2 blocks long and includes King's (a fab little ice cream parlor), a nice toy shop, a few antique shops, and some good cafes. You can rent a house on the beach or a condo on the bay. The Cape May/Lewes ferry takes off right from the bay in Lewes, and you can make a day trip of riding the ferry to Cape May to spend the day there, and coming back on the ferry after dinner. Your 3 year old would love that. You can bring strollers onto the ferry for them to nap in. Rehoboth has a great boardwalk, some good restaurants, and DE has tax-free shopping. Lewes beaches (and gorgeous neighboring Cape Henlopen State Park, with nature preserves and empty beaches - costs 10.00 or so to enter for the day) are clean, not crowded, and easily accessible. Rehoboth is right on the other side of Cape Henlopen. So close, and easy to get to from Philly - you can leave home after breakfast and be on the beach before lunch. We're considering moving to Lewes in a couple of years, that's how much we luv it.
posted by iconomy at 9:48 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

If price is not an issue, I would say The Greenbrier. It's in WVA. Spectacular accommodations- from regular hotel suites to seven bedroom houses-- and everything in between.
posted by L'OM at 10:20 AM on June 30, 2010

Ocean City, NJ.
posted by Miko at 11:06 AM on June 30, 2010

i enjoyed the B&B experience at the Delaware Water Gap.
posted by infini at 11:46 AM on June 30, 2010

I like the suggestions of Cape May and Delaware beaches, but if you are looking for something a little less crowded and a little more relaxing I would recommend the Poconos.

Lots of people rent their houses/cabins during the summer months. My family has stayed at Saw Creek in the past. Bushkill Falls are very nearby, though they might not be a practical attraction for a couple with small children.
posted by adamdrici at 12:14 PM on June 30, 2010

Mohonk Mountain House!
posted by minervous at 1:11 PM on June 30, 2010

AAA has fantastic content within an ugly website about 'Drive Trips'. They provide directions, sights to see, places to go, etc.
posted by Kololo at 1:17 PM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

If Lancaster/Amish country isn't too close to home for you, I'd highly recommend that for a summer Philly getaway. Lots of great kid-friendly farm/animal/craft/food activities, and you can make the trip as fast-paced or as relaxed as you'd like. If I remember correctly, the Willow Valley hotel has a great pool and various child-oriented activities available.
posted by Bardolph at 7:31 PM on June 30, 2010

I'm not fond of driving long distances in a car with young kids, but here are some good destinations near there -

Dutch Wonderland - good especially if they're into Thomas the Train

I'm sure that you've seen the signs for Sesame Place nearby as well.

Baltimore's within a reasonable drive as well - their aquarium is top notch.
posted by blahblah at 3:26 PM on January 13, 2011

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