Now that the warm weather is here, you’ll probably start looking for local activities to enjoy. The lower Hudson Valley and northern New Jersey have many attractions that will offer a lot of fun for its visitors. So, if you’re not sure how to spend a lazy summer day, here are some destinations right in your local communities that will add some wonderful memories to your time together.
In Rockland County, one place you should really consider visiting in the gorgeous weather is the Stony Point Battlefield. I know this might not appeal to children right away because they’ll see it as too educational for their summer vacation, but trust me, having been there a couple of times, it’s a really fascinating place to visit. Not only will you get a rich sense of the history that Rockland has in relation to the Revolutionary War, but you’ll also be treated to stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Going to the Stony Point Battlefield will surely add a new dimension to your appreciation for local history.
If you have a child who’s interested in animals and other aspects of nature, then take them for a visit to the Trailside Museums and Zoo at Bear Mountain State Park, located on the border of Rockland and Orange Counties. While there, your child can learn about the different kinds of mammals, birds, and reptiles that are native to New York State. Visitors can also take the opportunity to visit any of Trailside’s four museums: the Natural Study Museum, the Herpetology House, the History Museum, or the Geology Museum. When you bring your child here, they will be amazed at what they can learn about nature, and it’s even more fun to do so at a site as gorgeous as Bear Mountain.
While in Orange County, try the Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, New York, which is considered to be one of the world’s top sculpture parks and has been in operation since 1960. When looking for someplace local that offers a day of magnificent artistry, you can’t do any better than here. With there being over 100 sculptures to marvel at, you can spend the whole afternoon gazing at and analyzing the works in front of you. If you bring your child here, it will provide them with an early appreciation for art and show them the importance of expressing creative potential.
If you want to satisfy your hunger for adventure, you should attend the Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo Park, New York, which operates on Saturdays, Sundays, and Labor Day from August 1 to September 27. The surrounding forest landscape offers much to the medieval-period feel of the faire and serves as an ideal location for the event. If you want to add thrills and excitement to your summer, but don’t want to go far away, go on a day trip to Tuxedo Park to take advantage of the local summer fun that your community offers.
Amusement parks are always fun to visit when you’re on summer vacation, and if you live near or within Westchester County, you don’t have to go far to find one. I’m talking, of course, about Playland in Rye, New York. It has rides for both younger and older patrons, and if you want to cool off after walking around the park and enjoying the rides, you can go for a swim at Playland’s beach. I remember going to this park when I was younger and having a blast, while also thinking how lucky I was to have a fun destination such as this that is so close to home. You’ll have a spectacular time when at Playland, and once you leave, you’ll be begging to go back.
When in the vicinity of Pleasantville, New York, nature lovers are treated to the opportunity of visiting the Rockefeller State Park Preserve. This preserve offers much for its visitors, with one of its most significant features being a system of carriage roads, built by John D. Rockefeller, which gives visitors the chance to take in the richness of the surrounding environment. There are also 180 species of birds in this preserve, making it the ideal place for birdwatchers. Some other notable attractions that are located in or near the preserve are: a 22-acre lake, a fern garden, an art gallery, and a bird-feeder area. If you’re looking to visit a place that shows tremendous appreciation for nature, this preserve won’t disappoint.
For those who are closer to Bergen County, you can visit Van Saun County Park in Paramus, New Jersey. It is one of the perfect places to go on a sunny day, and whether you’re coming from near or far, it will be worth the trip. This park provides many opportunities for visitors to have a memorable day of family fun, including train rides, a carousel, a zoological park, and a playground that’s ADA (American with Disabilities Act) accessible. With everything this park has to offer, you’ll want to spend the whole afternoon there.
Nature enthusiasts living in New Jersey or closer to New Jersey have the beauty of the Closter Nature Center, which is complete with forests, meadows, ponds, and brooks, all of which are sprawled across 136 stunning acres. Visitors can also take part in nature walks and lectures. For children ages 4-14, this center offers a summer program, which is an outstanding opportunity for youths to admire the splendor of nature and do some exciting outdoor activities.
With everything that these communities can provide for local residents, it all goes to show that you don’t have to travel far to have summer fun.
Be sure to check the websites for these locations for their hours and rates.