Looking for family fun weekend trips from Rochester, New York? From outdoors to theme parks, this list of best weekend getaway from Rochester, NY will help inspire your next family trip.
Planning a weekend trip from Rochester NY gives you so many options. From visiting a small town in the Finger Lakes Region to the many upstate New York destinations you can find something that is a great fit for what you are looking for.
If you are looking to expand into the neighboring states you can plan an awesome weekend getaway but you might have to drive a little longer.
One of the reasons I love living in Rochester, New York is there are so many places close by to have a weekend getaway.
My kids are getting older and traveling with teens can be more complicated with everyone’s schedules. Planning a weekend getaway is sometimes all the time we have and can end up reconnecting us, even with a limited amount of time.
We have experienced these trips as a family of five and I have included a few that we would like to do for more family travel ideas.
We like to visit new places in the United States often, check out how many states we have visited so far in this post: Traveling All 50 States: How It’s Going (Updated 2022) If you only have time for a day trip read this post: 17 Best Family Day Trips from Rochester, NY
Fun Weekend Getaways from Rochester NY
Traveling for a weekend offers family time that is a change from the everyday and you don’t need a week of vacation time. You get to see new things and experience new places together.
It often provides the recharge and reconnection we are looking for without taking a long vacation. It can also be a budget friendly way to getaway.
There are so many amazing family friendly destinations within driving distance from Rochester. Most we have visited but a few I have added to our family travel bucket list to explore soon!
Best Weekend Getaways from Rochester, New York
I tried to keep most of the trip under 6 hours so you would have time to enjoy the destination and not spend most of the time driving. If you are not a fan of driving consider flying to maximize your time at the destination.
Weekend Trips Around Rochester, New York with Kids
Lake Placid, New York: Drive Time – 4 hour 52 Minutes
Lake Placid has been on our list to visit for a few years now. I would love to see the Olympic Village and take in the view of the Adirondacks. You can go bobsledding and visit the Olympic Museum.
There are many family friendly things to do and Lake Placid is a great place for families.
Update: In late 2021 we had an opportunity to spend the morning in Lake Placid after visiting the Wild Center in the Adirondacks.
We visited the training center and got to see athletes practicing the luge. It was a really cool experience.
Niagara Falls, Canada: Drive Time – 1 hour 36 Minutes
We love a visit to Niagara Falls and visit often. Niagara Falls has so many options. You could spend the weekend on Clifton Hill enjoying the Wax Museums and Arcades. You could visit Niagara-On-the-Lake full of charm and quaint shops.
One of our favorite things to do is take a boat ride to the falls on the Maid of the Mist. This is a unique experience that allows us to get really close to the falls. Be ready to get wet and see the falls in a whole new way.
The Maid of the Mist is on the American Side and would be a great stop on your way across the border. Your family could view the falls from the American and Canadian side.
If you are on the Canadian side of the falls you could ride The Hornblower which is a boat ride that gets close to Niagara Falls.
Winter is another great time to visit Niagara Falls. We visited the Sheraton on the Falls for a winter weekend getaway and it was a perfect location to view the falls. Sheraton Fallsview Hotel is a great spot to stay with kids.
We have also made day trips there. Check out our favorites for what to do in Niagara Falls in the winter.
New York City, New York: Drive Time – 5 hours 29 Minutes
New York City is a huge city and you would need many weekends to explore it all. From amazing places to eat to incredible museums to tour, New York City has something for everyone.
In winter of 2021 we made our first visit to NYC. We did so much walking and outside exploring. It was the perfect “taste of NYC” and we can’t wait to go back.
I really like staying at the Westin Times Square because it is the perfect location for families.
Our New York City Trips:
- New York in 2 Days: Tips for First Time Visiting NYC with Kids
- Where to Stay in New York City: Westin New York Times Square Review
- Best Things to Do in Times Square with Kids
Boston, Massachusetts: Drive Time – 5 hours 56 Minutes
Boston is a city full of history. This is another big city I visited before kids but we haven’t visited as a family. The New England Aquarium is a must do and there are many historic buildings to discover.
I suggest adding a day in Springfield, MA to explore the Dr. Seuss museum. This is on the way from Rochester to Boston, and a great stop for families.
Buffalo, New York: Drive Time – 1 hour 15 Minutes
Buffalo, New York may not be the first place you think of for a weekend getaway but it is an amazing places to visit. I may be biased because I grew up there but Buffalo has a lot to offer.
They have great food, an awesome zoo, and lots of festivals all summer long. We spent a weekend in Buffalo and it is one of our favorite places to visit near Rochester.
Lake George, New York: Drive Time – 3 hours 59 Minutes
Lake George is great if you want to experience a mix of outdoors and family activities. We recently spend a weekend in Lake George and it was great for families.
During our visit we went to Saratoga Springs which has a lovely main street. It was a great spot to walk around and grab dinner.
Six Flags Great Escape offers amusement park fun, an indoor water park, and on-site accommodations. It’s a relaxing vacation that offers many hikes and other outdoor activities. Learn more about Lake George.
Toronto, Canada: Drive Time 3 Hours 6 Minutes
Toronto is an awesome city with so much to do! You could spend a week exploring it all and still have more to see. Toronto was our first family weekend getaway as a family of five. I share our trip in this article: Our First Family Weekend Getaway to Toronto.
We traveled there when my youngest was 3 months old and it is a trip I will never forget! Some of our favorite attractions are Canada’s Wonderland, Hockey Hall of Fame, and the Toronto Zoo.
Alexandria Bay, New York (Thousand Islands): Drive Time – 2 Hours 43 Minutes
Plan a family weekend to Alexandria Bay for a relaxing and quiet pace. Enjoy time by the water and exploring the quaint towns.
Visit Bolt Castle-one of the can’t miss attractions at Alexandria Bay. This area is perfect for a family weekend of relaxation and enjoying family time.
Corning, New York: Drive Time 1 Hour 35 Minutes
Corning is a great place to visit for a family weekend getaway. We love visiting the Corning Museum of Glass to watch the glass pieces being made. Guests can explore the many exhibits, learn about the science of glass, and participate in classes they offer.
The Rockwell Museum is another fun museum where you can learn about Western History. You are also withing walking distance to the Gaffer District if you want to explore the town more.
We visited Corning for a weekend and really enjoyed the town and fun family activities. On your way to or from Corning consider stopping at Letchworth State Park.
Cleveland, Ohio: Drive Time 4 Hours and 4 Minutes
Cleveland, Ohio is a great place to have a family weekend getaway. There are so many things to do and family friendly attractions. They have an excellent zoo and we loved visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
My husband and I visited before we had kids, it was actually our first getaway together. Now that we have kids we would love to plan a weekend in Cleveland.
Check out this article from our friends at The Mom Trotter for 25+ Fun Things to Do in Cleveland with kids.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Drive Time 5 Hours and 19 Minutes
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is another city great for a weekend getaway from Western New York that we haven’t visited!
I would love to walk up the Rocky stairs and explore the all the historical sites to see. Plus I would have to try an original Philly Cheese Steak!
I can’t believe we haven’t gone there, and it was actually on our list this year to visit. Our friends at Passports and Parenting share 21 free things to do in Philadelphia to start planning.
Cooperstown, New York: Drive Time 2 Hours and 52 Minutes
I thought Cooperstown, New York was all about baseball but there is so much more to this quaint town. The National Baseball Hall of Fame is a must for fans of the sport.
We spent a weekend in Cooperstown and I loved everything about it. From the food to the relaxing vibe, Cooperstown is a great weekend getaway trip from Rochester.
Baltimore, Maryland: Drive Time 5 Hours and 40 Minutes
Baltimore, Maryland is another city rich in history that offers a lot to do for families. Last time we visited my oldest was 6 months old but we hope to get back again. The National Aquarium is an awesome place to visit!
Hershey, Pennsylvania: Drive Time 4 Hours and 35 Minutes
Visiting Hershey is visiting a chocolate paradise. The town was built on Hershey Chocolate and everywhere you look you find small details reflecting that.
From the Hershey Chocolate Lamp Posts that line the streets to the Hershey Factory Tour at Hershey Chocolate World this family weekend getaway is all about the chocolate.
Check out this article for all the family fun things to do in Hershey, PA.
Syracuse, New York: Drive Time 1 Hour 24 Minutes
Syracuse is close weekend destination, and offers a lot of family friendly attractions.
Destiny USA is a mall and entertainment complex that has something fun for everyone. Plan a day visiting the animals at The Wild Animal Park or the Rosamond Gifford Zoo.
Green Lake State Park offers a beautiful beach and park for you to enjoy time outdoors. We visited last summer and really enjoyed the area.
If you have time on your way to or from consider visiting Seneca Falls to see the Women’s Rights National Historical Park.
Check out this article for more about Syracuse: Fun Things to Do in Syracuse for a Family Weekend.
Ottawa, Canada: Drive Time 4 Hours and 19 Minutes
As we were researching this article we discovered Ottawa is less than 5 hours away from Rochester! I couldn’t believe we had never considered visiting and it is on our family travel list for the future. Check out Parliament Hill to watch the changing of the guard. Learn more about Ottawa.
Detroit, Michigan: Drive Time 5 Hours and 23 Minutes
Detroit, Michigan may not be the first place you think to visit during a family weekend getaway but if you do a bit of research you can find there are many family friendly things to do along this lake side city. For the foodies in your family, head to American Coney and Lafayetter Coney to pick the best Coney dog in the city.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Drive Time 4 Hours and 23 Minutes
We lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for 5 years and it is one of our favorite places to visit for a weekend getaway. My favorite place is Phipps Botanical Gardens. It is a must see when visiting with kids.
Read this article where I share all the best things to do in Pittsburgh with kids.
Pocono Mountains Pennsylvania: Drive Time 4 Hours
Pocono Mountains is close enough to drive for a weekend getaway and a great way to reconnect with nature. Learn more about the Pocono Mountains here.
Mystic, Connecticut: 5 Hours and 51 Minutes
Mystic, Connecticut is a little further than some of the other destinations but is a perfect place to combine some of the weekend getaways to make a bigger vacation.
We found a lot of family fun things to do in Mystic, CT and combined our visit to Springfield to make a long weekend away. My favorite was the Mystic Aquarium. It is a fantastic place to visit for kids and adults.
Montreal, Canada: Drive Time 5 Hours and 20 Minutes
Montreal, Canada is a chance to experience a different culture and it is within driving distance for a weekend away with your family. Montreal is high on our family travel bucket list for it’s unique city and history.
Utica, New York: 2 Hours and 5 Minutes
Utica, New York is a hidden gem in New York state. We recently spent a fall weekend there and found it to be a great place for families. We visited the Utica Zoo, Herkimer Diamond Mines, and the Adirondack Railbike tour.
It’s a short drive and a great choice for families. Read more about our visit: Things to Do in Utica NY with Kids (Oneida & Herkimer County Weekend Getaway).
Jamestown, New York: 2 Hours and 22 Minutes
Jamestown, New York is often overlooked because it is a small city but it packs a big punch. We spent a weekend and discovered there are many things to do in Jamestown for kids and adults.
We spent time visiting the National Comedy Center which is high on our list for one of our favorite museums ever! We spent time outdoors discovering the caves and caverns at Panama Rocks Park as well as explored Bemus Point along Lake Chautauqua.
I highly recommend considering Jamestown for your next family weekend getaway.
Watkins Glen State Park: 90 minutes
Watkins Glen State Park is a short drive from Rochester NY. It is a beautiful park with over 16 waterfalls. The nature trails are incredible. There is a good reason it is on everyone’s list of places to visit.
You could visit for a day trip but to avoid crowds you want to arrive early and having a weekend to explore will give you more time. I recommend reading the Best Things to Do in Watkins Glen (Family Weekend at Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel) for where we stayed and what to do when visiting.
Below you can find a list of hotel affiliate links that provide options of where to stay as a family. I hope they help get you started on your trip planning. Learn more about how I work with affiliates and sponsors here.
Planning a weekend trip from Rochester, NY is easy! From big cities to outdoor camping areas, there are so many great options for weekend destinations you may have to plan a few!