Family Fun in the Tri-State: The 5 Best Day Trips for Families

The Tri State area is a great place to visit for families. These ideas for family-friendly outings have something for everyone from beaches to boardwalks. 

best day trips for families in the tri state area 5 1

What are the best day trip destinations for families in the tri state area?

Whether you are a local family or visiting the Tri State area from out of town, you have one mission this weekend; to keep the kids busy at all costs! These are some of the best day trips in the Tri States.

  1. Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty
  2. Lakota Wolf Preserve
  3. Cape May
  4. Grounds for Sculpture
  5. Jersey Shore

The Tri State area is full of fun day trip ideas and is an ideal place for families to explore. The best day trips in the Tri States cover the gamut from themed restaurants to the sounds of the Jersey Shore that you’ll hear long after you’ve left for the day. These are the places to go, sun, rain, or snow, around this eclectic region. 

About The Tri State Area

The Tri State area is an informal name for New York City and its surrounding areas that include parts of New Jersey and Connecticut

It is also generally known as the New York City metropolitan area

The Best Family Day Trips in the Tri State Area

The NJ Tri State area and the Atlantic Ocean provide a ton of potential for day trips. Here are some of the best day trip ideas! 

Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty 

best day trips for families in the tri state area

Location: Jersey City, NJ

Liberty State Park in New Jersey is a great place to take kids of all ages. The park’s convenient location next to other attractions like Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty makes it a perfect destination for those wishing to bring a history lesson into a fun day trip! 

There are plenty of outdoor activities to keep everyone busy, from taking a picnic lunch under the oak trees to hiking trails that wind their way around the waterfront. 

For kids with an interest in wildlife and nature, the Wildlife Observation Area is stocked with binoculars so they can get up close and personal with seabirds, ducks, and geese. 

With plenty of open space, playgrounds, and basketball courts, children will enjoy hours of recreational fun while being inspired by the sights and sounds of one of America’s most iconic locations, while the adults get a refresher in history. 

Pro Tip: The Liberty Science Center is an interactive museum that is also in the park and worth a visit, especially on a hot day when you want to get out of the heat.

Lakota Wolf Preserve

best day trips for families in the tri state area 1

Location: Columbia, NJ

A perfect getaway in the  Tri-State area, the Lakota Wolf Preserve offers families with kids an exciting adventure experience out in nature. 

Kids of all ages can observe the wolves and explore their natural habitat for a unique and educational opportunity.

The preserve is home to many acclaimed species of wolf, including howling grey wolves, Arctic wolves, and red wolves. 

Furthermore, guided nature walks are offered throughout the facility which offer special insights into native ecosystems and animals found in New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania and Northern Delaware. 

Visitors can also participate in group activities with live predators such as hawks or owls; a truly one-of-a-kind experience to share with family!

Cape May

best day trips for families in the tri state area 2

Location: Cape May, New Jersey

A trip to the Cape May Peninsula is a great way to spend a day with the kids. Cape May was once referred to as “America’s Oldest Seashore Resort” and offers plenty of fun activities for the whole family. 

From boat tours and miniature golf, to relatively uncrowded beaches and nature preserves teeming with wildlife, Cape May has something for every type of visitor. 

Spend the day hiking coastal trails through cape may point state park then take a break from the sun and explore some of Cape May’s historic sites like the Cape May Lighthouse or Cape May County Zoo.

Grounds for Sculpture

best day trips for families in the tri state area 3

Location: Hamilton Township, New Jersey

If you are looking for a unique experience that has a little of everything, the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey is a great day trip destination from the Tri state area. 

This is one art immersion experience that the whole family can get on board with. The park features hundreds of interactive sculptures amongst landscaped gardens and outdoor artwork, as well as great food at Rat’s Restaurant (a cozy French countryside cafe) from the movie “The Wind in the Willows”. 

While it’s free to explore the grounds and picnic in designated areas, many of the attractions onsite like interactive art installations, art classes and special tours can be booked in advance for an additional fee. 

To make a fun day out of it, pack a lunch basket, a blanket to sit on and cameras to take pictures of your family among the artwork. 

Once recharged after all that exploring, tire them out by running around Rat’s Restaurant courtyard or playing catch at the lush meadows near Waterloo Lake.

Jersey Shore

best day trips for families in the tri state area 4

Location: Jersey Shore, New Jersey

As far as fun day trips go, this might take the cake! Taking a day trip from the Tri-State area to the Jersey Shore is an amazing experience that the whole family will love. 

Just a short drive away from either Atlantic City or Ocean City, visitors can enjoy thrilling rides, arcade games and of course, cotton candy. 

The boardwalk is lined with shops and stands filled with unique souvenirs to bring back home. 

There’s something special about experiencing the Jersey Shore whether that means an afternoon of rides or relaxing in one of the numerous restaurants or snack spots located along the beachfront. 

Taking your kids to the Jersey Shore provides a great way to spend a fun-filled day as a family, creating memories that will last long after summer has ended!

Pro Tip: If you are looking for other beach destinations for day trips in the Tri State area, Point Pleasant Beach, Seaside Heights, and Long Beach Island are also worthy destinations! 

Key Takeaways

  • There are plenty of day trips in NJ and the Tri State area for families. 
  • Liberty State Park is best for diversity in history, the outdoors, and activities. 
  • Beach destinations abound in the Tri States, with the Jersey Shore being one of the best options for a day trip.