22 Family Weekend Getaways in the Northeast

Looking for family weekend getaways in the Northeast? From outdoors to theme parks, this list of best weekend trips for the Northeaster USA will help inspire your next family trip.

When I am planning a weekend getaway I am looking for under 3 hour drive, lots of fun things to do, and not a lot of things to plan ahead of time.

We live in Rochester, NY, so many of these trips are around the Rochester area but they are also great weekend destinations on the Northeast that families will love!

24 Weekend Trips Around the Northeast

  • Lake Placid, NY
  • Niagara Falls, Canada
  • New York City
  • Boston, MA
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Lake George, NY
  • Toronto, Canada
  • Alexandria Bay, NY (Thousand Islands)
  • Corning, NY
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Cooperstown, NY
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Hershey, PA
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Ottawa, Canada
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Mystic, CT
  • Montreal, Canada
  • Utica, NY
  • Jamestown, NY
  • Watkins Glen, NY

I am always adding to this list so check back as we visit new places! Want more? Read on for details about all the weekend getaways listed above and start planning your next trip.

watkins state park trail.
Hiking to the Rainbow Falls at Watkins Glen state park.

Fun Weekend Trips for Families

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 that are our “go-to” weekend spots. The drive times listed below are out of Rochester, NY.

Lake Placid, New York: (4 hour 52 Minutes from Rochester)

Lake Placid is home to the Olympic Museum and you can visit the Olympic Village. On our visit we saw athletes training for different events.

We got to see the luge, which was really cool! There are many family friendly things to do and Lake Placid is a great place for families.

If you have time plan a visit to The Wild Center which is also located in the Adirondacks. It is a little further out but could make for a great addition to your weekend.

Where to Stay in Lake Placid:

the wild center in tupper lake new york stickworks
The Wild Center

Niagara Falls, Canada (1 hour 36 Minutes from Rochester)

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.

Winter in Niagara Falls is unique time to visit. We stayed at the Sheraton Fallsview Hotel. It had amazing views and was walkable to a lot of the attractions.

rochester weekend getaways niagara falls canada
The view of Niagara Falls from the Sheraton on the Falls makes a perfect weekend getaway in NY.

New York City, New York: (5 hours 29 Minutes from Rochester)

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!

I recommend staying at the Westin Times Square because it is the perfect location for families. Below I share a few articles that get into more details about planning a NYC trip.

Boston, Massachusetts (5 hours 56 Minutes from Rochester)

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 (1 hour 15 Minutes from Rochester)

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.

buffalo riverworks
Read our article about visiting Buffalo to have this fun photo-op with Shark Girl.

Lake George, New York (3 hours 59 Minutes from Rochester)

Lake George is great if you want to experience a mix of outdoors and family activities. We recently spent a weekend in Lake George and it was great for families. We stayed at the Lodge at Cresthaven which have private beach access and spacious accommodations.

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.

Toronto, Canada (3 Hours 6 Minutes from Rochester)

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.

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.

Best of Toronto for Families
The Panda exhibit at the Toronto Zoo.

Alexandria Bay, NY (Thousand Islands) (2 Hours 43 Minutes from Rochester)

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 (1 Hour 35 Minutes from Rochester)

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.

northeast weekend getaways corning ny

Cleveland, Ohio (4 Hours and 4 Minutes from Rochester)

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.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (5 Hours and 19 Minutes from Rochester)

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is another city great for a weekend getaway from Western New York. From the food to the museums, there is a lot to explore in Philly!

Cooperstown, New York (2 Hours and 52 Minutes from Rochester)

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.

national baseball hall of fame

Baltimore, Maryland (5 Hours and 40 Minutes from Rochester)

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 (4 Hours and 35 Minutes from Rochester)

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.

hersheypark things to do with kids
Hershey has awesome family events like Hersheypark in the Dark.

Syracuse, New York (1 Hour 24 Minutes from Rochester)

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.

green lake state park visit in syracuse
Green Lake State Park.

Ottawa, Canada (4 Hours and 19 Minutes from Rochester)

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.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (4 Hours and 23 Minutes from Rochester)

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.

phipps in pittsburgh pa
Phipps Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, PA.

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.

northeast weekend getaways near rochester mystic ct.

Montreal, Canada (5 Hours and 20 Minutes from Rochester)

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 from Rochester)

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).

northeast weekend getaways from rochester Utica NY

Jamestown, New York (2 Hours and 22 Minutes from Rochester)

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.

Watkins Glen State Park (90 minutes from Rochester)

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.

There are so many different trips you can take as a family for a weekend getaway in the Northeast. I hope I have inspired you with ideas to plan your next trip.

Read Next: 20+ Unique Family Vacation Ideas with Teens

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