We are always looking for a fun weekend away to reconnect as a family and were pleasantly surprised with our recent visit to Jamestown, New York. There are so many things to do in Jamestown, NY making it a great, and often overlooked, family fun destination.
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Jamestown, NY is a short drive from our home in Rochester, NY. It is under 3 hours making it a great spot for a weekend getaway.
Weekend getaways are great because they can be budget friendly, you can explore a new area locally, and they are a great way to travel with kids.
When we learned we were going to visit Jamestown I didn’t know what to expect. I started researching more about the area and knew that Lucy Ball was from there.
Jamestown is also home to the National Comedy Center. The National Comedy Center opened in 2018 and has quickly made numerous top ten lists for the best museums in the USA.
That was a big honor and I couldn’t wait to explore more of the museum and learn more about what a weekend in Jamestown with kids would be like for our family.
I’m going to be honest, we weren’t sure if this would be fun for the kids. They didn’t know what to expect but we all went in with an open mind and look forward to the weekend away.
Things to Do in Jamestown NY
There are actually a lot of things to do in Jamestown for families. The National Comedy Center was the highlight of our weekend but we also enjoyed kid friendly restaurants, outdoor areas, and a ferry ride across Chautauqua Lake.
Where is Jamestown NY
Jamestown, New York is located in Western New York about 20 minutes from the Pennsylvania border. It is easy to get around and parking was plentiful during our visit.
How to Get to Jamestown NY
Most people will arrive in Jamestown by car. The drive from Rochester is 2 hours and 23 minutes (140 miles) and from Buffalo it is 1 hour and 22 minutes (71 miles). If you are flying into Jamestown Bradford Regional Airport, Erie International Airport, and Buffalo Airport are your closest options.
Weather in Jamestown NY
Jamestown weather is typical for New York state. During the summer and fall months you will have the best weather with temperatures ranging from 60s-80s. In the winter months expect snow and cold conditions.
Jamestown NY Accommodations
One of the biggest decisions when traveling with kids is where to stay. We stayed at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel and it was a perfect location for all the activities we wanted to do. Check prices of places to stay in Jamestown here.
Best Things to Do in Jamestown, New York
There are a few activities in and around Jamestown that I would say are must see things to do. They include the National Comedy Center, Panama Rocks Park, and exploring Bemus Point.
During our weekend in Jamestown we included these activities as well as a few others to have a great weekend getaway in Jamestown, NY.
3 Day Jamestown NY Itinerary
- Day 1: Depart for Jamestown, Check-in to Harbor Hotel, Riverside Saturdays
- Day 2: National Comedy Center, Lucy & Desi Museum, Bemus Point
- Day 3: Panama Rocks Park, Drive Home
Depart for Jamestown and Lunch (Day 1)
We started our drive to Jamestown around 10:00 am and arrived at our first stop La Cucina Della Nonna for lunch. This was one of our favorite restaurants for the entire weekend!
Every dish we ordered was fantastic and I highly recommend the pizza roll or the spinach roll. They were delicious!
After our lunch we arrived at our hotel for an early check-in. The Chautauqa Harbor Hotel is located overlooking Chautauqua Lake and is a great place for families.
We had stayed at the Watkins Glen location during a weekend trip last year, and were excited to stay for this visit. The hotel has an indoor and outdoor pool, mini-golf, a park across the street, and an on-site restaurant.
After the drive we wanted to relax at the hotel before we went to dinner at the on-site hotel Lakehouse Tap & Grille.
The Lakehouse does have some pricier items but you are getting a great meal. One thing I love about eating there is their kids meal prices are reasonable starting at $5.99. So parents can splurge on a great meal and you don’t have to splurge on the kids meals.
After dinner we drove the short drive, around 10 minutes, to the National Comedy Center for Riverside Saturdays.
Riverside Saturdays in located on the open grass area behind the National Comedy Center. Guests can park at the Comedy Center and enjoy this free family fun event.
Every Saturday through August 7, 2021 guests can watch a movie under the stars starting at dusk. The schedule can be found here.
Before the movie there is live entertainment, concessions, and lawn games that are perfect for families. This event really highlights the community and bringing them together for a fun night.
At the end of the night we headed back to the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel to get some rest for the next day.
Visiting the National Comedy Center (Day 2 Morning)
We started with breakfast at the Lakehouse Tap & Grille inside the hotel. Most days when we travel we pack breakfast to eat in our rooms but sometimes we splurge and go out.
Depending on what kind of budget you have for your trip you can do either. The Chautauqua Harbor Hotel does provide complimentary coffee on each floor to its guests. We also had a refrigerator in the room but no microwave, so keep this in mind when planning your visit.
After breakfast we made the 10 minute drive over to the National Comedy Center. The National Comedy Center has two parking lots and both are free to guests of the museum. There are signs to follow for parking.
The highlight of our day was visiting the National Comedy Center. We had gone on a tour the day before and we couldn’t wait to start exploring all the exhibits and activities.
A good tip to remember when visiting with kids is try to arrive at opening of the museum. This allows you to be one of the first people inside the museum and means you will get to experience everything you want to see and do.
We arrived a few minutes before the 10:00am opening and I was so happy we did. It allowed us to stay ahead of the crowd.
National Comedy Center Review
We absolutely loved visiting the National Comedy Center. There was so much to do and see, everything was interactive, and everyone really liked it.
When you arrive you are given a wrist band that will help you interact with the exhibits. You scan it at a kiosk in the museum lobby and fill out a survey about what kind of comedy you like. This will help the museum tailor your experience throughout your visit.
As you head into the museum you will see memorabilia, a comedy theater, and a Late Night exhibit. I suggest moving through those quickly and start in the next room where you can start with a lot of interactive things.
Be sure to sit on the bench on the way to the cartoon exhibit and check out the Fozzy Bear.
The next room allows you to create your own cartoons, impersonate a comedian, and create your own meme. We spent a good deal of time in this area and it was easy to go through all the exhibits.
After finishing we headed down to the prop room area where kids can pick out a prop and watch movie clips of how it was used. At each station guests will scan their band and the experience becomes interactive and personalized.
The final room we enjoyed was the Laugh Battle room. Here you tell each other jokes and try not to laugh. I think we did this 10x, it was so fun. There is also an area where you become part of the movie and the kids loved this too!
At the end of the museum you scan your band to see a collection of all your experiences. They will also email you everything if you included your email in your profile at the start.
The last place you will stop is a kiosk that give you a joke to go. I thought this was a great added touch to our visit.
Is the National Comedy Center for Kids?
I was a little concerned that the National Comedy Center might not be great for kids but I was wrong. The kids loved the props exhibit where you could pick out a prop and see how it has been used in movies. They liked practicing their stand up on the stage, and their favorite was trying to make each other laugh in the laugh battle.
There is a section of the comedy center that is just for adults. The Blue Room is accessible by elevator only, so you won’t just stumble upon it. It really is not for kids and there is a lot of profanity used in this area.
It dives into the more raunchy side of comedy. My husband and I each visited briefly to check it out and I wouldn’t bring the kids to this exhibit.
On the regular floors there are a few comedy bits that may be a little adult but for the most part we felt comfortable with our kids ages 13, 11, and 9. Younger kids would also be fine because most things would go over their heads.
After our visit to the National Comedy Center we walked the few blocks to the Luci & Desi Museum. This museum is in two buildings. One features their personal life while the other focuses on the TV and movies.
This museum is very small and not as interactive as the Comedy Center. If you are a big I Love Lucy fan you should check it out but with kids it may not be as interesting to them.
It took us about 15 minutes to tour both areas. You can purchase a combined admissions ticket for both museums and that may be a good option if you want to see what it is all about.
Visiting Bemus Point (Day 2 Evening)
We went back to the hotel to rest before our evening out. The kids wanted to enjoy the pool and rest a bit. I also should mention that we ate lunch in our room. We had a lot of leftovers that we didn’t want to waste.
If you are looking for a lunch place the National Comedy Center has a cafe that offers wraps and sandwiches for lunch.
We enjoyed the indoor pool and mini-golf before returning to our room to get ready for the evening.
Before heading to our car to make the 20 minute drive to Bemus Point we walked across the street to Lucille Ball Park. Here you will find two Lucille Ball statues.
There is also a playground at the park that will be getting an update in 2022. This will be a great area to let the kids run around after a busy day.
Bemus Point is a cute little town along Chautauqua Lake. Lined with shops and restaurants it is a great area to spend the evening. We started with dinner at Ellicottville Brewing Company and then explored the area and walked down to the ferry.
The Bemus Point Ferry is free to ride and you can take your car if you would like. We took the short ride (about 5-10 minutes) back and forth. It was a unique experience for us and something I highly recommend checking out.
After the ferry ride we walked back and got ice cream for dessert before returning to the hotel for the night.
Panama Rocks Park (Day 3)
Day 3 was our last day and we were headed to Panama Rocks Park. I was really excited to check this place out because I had seen pictures of it and it looked incredible.
We started with breakfast at Stedman Corners Café. They have breakfast and lunch options available. Be sure to plan ahead of time for breakfast because there are not a lot of food options close to the park. It will take you about 20 minutes to drive there from the hotel.
Panama Rocks has hiking trails, caves, and caverns to explore and is one of the most unique places I have ever visited. The rock formations are 300 million year old quartz conglomerate sedimentary rocks that will impress you at every corner.
The trail is a one mile loop that guests can veer off of and do their own exploring. Everything is well posted and marked making this great for families that want to explore a little.
Although the trail itself is not difficult older guests, young children, or guests with disabilities may find this hike to be a challenge. Groups should stick together and be aware that there are cliffs and ledges throughout the hike.
We are not super outdoorsy but found this to be a good fit for our hiking abilities. You could do as little or as much as you wanted during the hike. We thought Panama Rocks Park was a great part of our itinerary to Jamestown.
Reservations are recommended for your visit. Be sure to pack water and wear hiking shoes or sneakers.
After Panama Rocks we started our drive home. If you are looking for a place for lunch try Davidson’s in Lakewood. They have indoor and outdoor seating, are about an 18 minute drive, and have classic burger and shake options.
To say I was impressed with all the fun things to do in Jamestown with kids would be an understatement. I would highly recommend visiting and planning a weekend getaway for your family.