approximately 2 – 2.5 hours
While New Yorkers find that “The City” is the center of the country, Philadelphia was the start of it all. The triumphant treasure of American history, the City of Brotherly Love offers excellent tourist options from the Philadelphia Museum of Art (think Rocky steps), the Franklin Institute, and the Philadelphia Zoo – the oldest in the country. Explore and compare the various restaurants that claim they have the best Philly cheesesteak and then take a trip back in time to soda jerks of yore at the Franklin Fountain.
If you’re up for a little side trip while in town, make sure to visit the rolling hills of Valley Forge National Park and the nearby King of Prussia Mall, which is the second largest retail mall in the country.
approximately 3.5 – 4 hours
The nation’s capital is one of the best vacation destinations in the country not only for its historical, cultural, and governmental importance, but because so much of what the District has to offer is free. The Smithsonian Institution, located in the heart of D.C., is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, which is made available to the public at no cost. The biggest attractions within the Smithsonian are the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, and the National Zoo. Other crucial spots to visit include the National Mall – made up of the country’s most important memorials, the Spy Museum, and Newseum.
Newport and Watch Hill, Rhode Island,
approximately 2.5 – 3 hours
Newport, Rhode Island, once THE summer playground of the Astors and Vanderbilts, still remains relative in its chic draw with its dramatic seaside location, sweeping beaches and renovated Colonial core. If you’re interested in the scenery, you have to visit Newport’s renowned Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile paved walk along the bluff overlooking Easton Bay and several of its local mansions.
Watch Hill, on the other hand, was the tourist home to the masses during the mid-1800s through the turn of the century. It’s enchanting sunset views and welcoming beaches still attract crowds today. The area’s premier hotel, Ocean House, was a grand resort built in 1868 that was eventually renovated as a 43-room Chateaux hotel. While the average nightly rate starts at $800 during peak season, visitors all enjoy treating themselves to the hotel’s restaurant, Seasons, for its outstanding food and views. If you’re looking to get away from the tourist congestion of Watch Hill, aka Carousel Beach, head over to Napatree Point Wildlife Preserve that boasts no lifeguards, bathrooms, or services.
The Jersey Shore
approximately 2 – 2.5 hours
From Long Beach Island to Cape May, the beaches of the Jersey Shore have a little something for everyone. Recognized as a National Historic Landmark, Cape May is crowned “the nation’s oldest seashore resort.” Aside from the clean beaches, visitors can shop the Washington Street Mall, board the Cape May trolley for a spooky ghost tour, or explore the historic district on their own. The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities offers a great variety of events, performances, festivals, and concerts throughout the year. Don’t forget a trip to the Cape May Lighthouse and Historic Cold Spring Village for a truly unique Jersey experience.
The Pocono Mountains,
approximately 2 – 3 hours
Craving a little more of an outdoor adventure vacation, the Pocono Mountains are your place to go. Known for steep hillsides, narrow streets, and beautifully landscaped gardens, the mountain destination in the heart of Pennsylvania has become a premier location for mountain bikers, hikers, runners, and general outdoor recreationalists. With seasonally-changing activities, the Poconos offer year-round entertainment and tourist attractions.
Other runner-up destinations on our list include Boston, Massachusetts; Lake George, New York; Mystic, Connecticut; The Catskills, New York; and Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Did our list give you just enough wanderlust? Grab a bag, pack it tight and hit the road! Brooklyn will be here when you get back.