Best Cute Towns To Visit With Kids Near NYC

Some of the best cute towns to visit with kids near NYC await your next family adventure! With so many New Yorkers searching for their next family-friendly destination, why not consider an adorable vacation town within driving distance? New York’s convenient location puts you within hours of amazing gems in New England, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, most of which are ideal to visit with children during the summer! From these towns, you can also glean a better idea of some of the best day trips to take, depending on how much time you spend exploring. Next time you’re ready to plan a road trip from New York, check out our list of best cute towns to visit with kids near NYC to arrange your next itinerary! 

Saratoga Springs, NY

Welcome to Welcome to Saratoga sign in Saratoga Springs, NY one of the Cute Towns To Visit With Kids Near NYC
Photo Courtesy: Beth Lehmann

Saratoga Springs is a summer destination for all ages! Famed for its summer horse racing season, the town is also known for its amazing restaurants, walkable center, and quaint antique shops. Saratoga Race Course is a must-visit for any horse racing fan! Every August, it holds the “Travers Stakes,” which is easily the most popular day of the Saratoga summer racing meet. For more family-fun, drive to a local stable, like Old Friends Horse Farm, home to retired racehorses! Though hotel prices are usually higher than average from July through September here, the countless options here guarantee a diverse trip for the whole family. Putnam Market is a must for tasty lunch options and sweets from the bakery, from macarons to brownies, cakes, and pies. Those with a strong sweet tooth should also head to Mrs. London, known for its sweet pastries, fire bread, and lavishly decorated cakes! 

Easy Day Trips From Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs is also famous for its namesake mineral baths and stunning natural scenery. Definitely save some time to visit Saratoga Spa State Park to fuse both elements, as this massive protected area encloses natural springs, two golf courses, and nature trails. If you plan to stay overnight, consider glamping at a treehouse nestled up in the canopies, surely a fun experience for kids! Or, visit John Boyd Thacher State Park near Albany, which offers easy hiking trails and panoramic views of the Green Mountains. At the Howe Caverns, explore amazing rock formations, take a boat ride in an underground river, or even visit a zip-lining adventure park! Parents who want some alone time can also take a drive to Ballston Spa, a small town nearby comprising hundreds of rare antique stores. Nearby Lake George or Lake Placid also makes a great day trip with the entire family! 

For more information about Saratoga Springs, NY, visit www.discoversaratoga.org.

Litchfield, CT

Litchfield ton one of the Cute Towns To Visit With Kids Near NYC
Photo Courtesy: Joe Mabel

Take a trip to Litchfield for a tranquil escape from the city! Its darling town center is popular with locals due to its family-friendly restaurants, antique shops, and natural agriculture. Splurge on accommodations at the Winvian, which even features special themed-rooms like “Treehouse” or “Helicopter.” In addition to a variety of boutiques to explore, kids will also enjoy Litchfield’s nearby farms! Animal enthusiasts will love the goats at March Farm, featuring berry-picking and an animal yard. If you’re searching for riding lessons, Litchfield also boasts various horse stables. Afterward, satisfy your sugar cravings at the nearby Winter Winds Farm to sample some sweet homemade maple syrup. Or, head to Peaches N’ Cream, which serves fresh homemade scoops sourced from the nearby Arethusa Farm.  

Easy Day Trips from Litchfield

Boy and dad after the hike with the view of the hills on the background,

Litchfield also puts you in driving distance to more of the best cute towns to visit with kids near NYC! Stroll through scenic nature trails at Kent Falls to arrive upon a waterfall so perfect it belongs on a postcard. If you happen to be visiting during July or August, you’re also in luck. Check out the Goshen Country Fair for carnival events, the unique Goshen Stampede, and an annual hot air balloon festival! Action Wildlife is also a kid-friendly sanctuary park filled with exotic animals, worth a visit for younger children. Consider escaping to Lake Waramaug for a more extended getaway, a stunning State Park to rent canoes, picnic, or camp. Kids can also ride a vintage roller coaster at Lake Compounce, the oldest amusement park in the country! 

Cold Spring, NY

Town of Cold Spring, Cute Towns To Visit With Kids Near NYC
Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

Cold Spring is a historic village located along the Hudson Seaport. Once a center for the American Civil War, it’s now a picturesque town in proximity to Bear Mountain, Storm King, and other family attractions like the West Point Museum. Nature meets creativity on its Main Street boutiques and restaurants, perfect for an afternoon stroll. Le Bouchon is also a family-favorite for its inventive kid’s menu. Afterward, treat yourself to some dessert from Moo Moo’s Creamery! Split Rock Books, an indie bookstore, also hosts occasional story readings for little ones, great for a rainy afternoon. When Cold Spring’s sun is shining bright, soak up the Hudson River’s splendor at Dockside Park, overlooking Storm King Mountain. Younger kids will especially love a trip to Cold Spring Tiny Tots Park, a playground created with toddlers in mind. Older children looking for a challenge should definitely try hiking nearby Breakneck Ridge Mountain

Easy Day Trips From Cold Spring

girl sitting on the bench facing the lake and the hills.
Photo Credit: Ananda Vartak

Cold Spring is one of the best cute towns to visit with kids near NYC for a reason! Staying here puts you in short driving distance to some other fantastic New York destinations.  Foodie families will definitely want to make a trip to New Paltz, renowned for its world-class restaurants. Among the best family-friendly restaurants in town are A Tavola Trattoria, a rustic farm-to-table restaurant showcasing some of Italy’s best regional cuisine. Parents with younger children shouldn’t hesitate to visit Rocking Horse Ranch, a dynamic complex featuring horseback riding, hot springs, exotic wildlife exhibits, and more. Woodbury, another New York town, also showcases premier shopping outlets if you’re more into searching for discount designer brands. The actual town of Woodbury also has incredible landscape panoramas if you visit Trail View State Park!  

Rhinebeck, NY

Town of Rhinebeck, NY Cute Towns To Visit With Kids Near NYC
Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

Rhinebeck is an adorable place to start exploring The Hudson Valley! Just two hours from NYC, it’s reachable by Amtrak for a comfortable vacation. Here, you’ll find accessible supermarkets, pharmacies, and a selection of family-friendly restaurants, like The Matchbox Cafe. For a family gathering around dinner time, travel back in time at the Hyde Park Drive-In, an old-timey movie theater about fifteen minutes outside of Rhinebeck. Or, pick your own fresh fruit at Greig Farm! From blueberry picking to goat feeding, there’s no better place to enjoy Rhinebeck’s beautiful natural scenery. (Parents can have a treat at Alison Vineyard right next door!) Also, venture toward Ferncliff Forest Park for non-strenuous hiking. (Burger Hill is perfect for a toddler-level “hike.”) Don’t miss the Rhinebeck Aerodrome, with air shows to entertain every age. Lastly, every day in Rhinebeck should end at the legendary candy store Samuel’s Sweet Shoppe! 

Easy Day Trips From Rhinebeck

Kids in the animal farm in Rhinebeck
Photo Courtesy: Michelle Munenzon

The Upper Hudson Valley has plenty of other scenic towns within driving distance of Rhinebeck! To explore more of the area, consider taking a day trip to Poughkeepsie or Hudson, a historic town turned recently trendy haven. Future firefighters will love a visit to the Hudson Firefighter Museum to take a look at some real equipment! In Poughkeepsie, those with younger children will love the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, perfect for budding minds to explore, build, and challenge their creativity. Combine this with The Walkway Over The Hudson for an amazing view of the valley! Or, try the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, where kids can hunt for bugs, explore natural playgrounds, and more! Older kids who are a bit braver may also fancy a trip to South Salem to visit its Wolf Conservation Center. Afterward, curb your sweet tooth with a visit to a local institution, Daddy’s Donuts & Bake Shop! 

Woodstock, NY

Town of Woodstock, NY Cute Towns To Visit With Kids Near NYC
Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

Take a trip to Woodstock to unwind among greener pastures! Families love this vibrant community focused on nature, artistic culture, and farm-to-table cuisine. In Woodstock’s Town Center, stroll quaint boutiques, ice cream shops, and restaurants for blocks on end. (On some Sundays, residents even gather for a drum circle turned dance party.) To experience Woodstock’s scenery, head to Woodstock Waterfall Park, a stroller-friendly trail overlooking a cascading waterfall. Other popular trails to hike include Overlook Mountain and Ashokan Reservoir, providing dramatic views of the Catskill Mountains. When you’re hungry, Woodstock Village is also a great place to stop for dinner! Oriole 9 boasts a healthy kids menu and pressed coffee for parents, and Catskill Mountain Pizza is great for pies fresh from the oven! 

Easy Day Trips From Woodstock 

women of the lake beach
Photo Courtesy: Megan Pohorylo Tucker

Woodstock’s location in The Catskills also puts you near some other best cute towns to visit with kids near NYC! Don’t miss the long route to the iconic Saugerties lighthouse, crossing through the town’s best nature trails. Or, teach kids more about rescued animals at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary, which houses adorable goats, horses, and chickens. Art lovers may also want to make a visit to the nearby Opus 40, an outdoor sculpture park and an open-air museum! 

In nearby Windham, get active by hitting the Windham Adventure Park, a ski and summer destination for all ages. For a more relaxing vacation, Phoenicia, a sleepy town along the Catskill Mountains, maybe your answer. Stoll the town center, take an easy hike, or a more daring plunge tubing down Esopus Creek. Tannersville, a small village community within Catskill State Park, also boasts family-fun at Rip Van Winkle Lake! 

New Hope, PA

spring time in New Hope, PA Cute Towns To Visit With Kids Near NYC
Photo Courtesy: Shinya Suzuki

New Hope is Bucks’ County Pennsylvania’s shining jewel! Unhurried and unassuming, this charming indie town is filled with quaint boutiques – like the once East Village staple Love Saves the Day – seasonal-focused eateries, such as The Landing Restaurant, and forget-all-your-troubles B&Bs galore. Between hopping from one interesting activity to the next, be sure to get back to nature, which is far and wide in New Hope! Rent a bike to cruise down the Delaware Canal Towpath and you can take the opportunity to make it a historic visit, too. Up the road from Washington Crossing Historic Park, tell kids all about The Delaware River and the role it played in the American Revolution! 

Easy Day Trips From New Hope

4 kids sitting on the rocks
Photo Courtesy: Melissa Dunham

Use New Hope as a starting point to explore some more hidden gems. Nearby in Lambertville, New Jersey, you’ll find plenty to do with younger children and teens alike! Little ones will probably love The Bucks County Children’s Museum, where immersive installations fill each room with a new scientific theory. Or, try the Bucks County Playhouse, a recreation center where kids can burn some energy and make new friends. Music Mountain Theater is also a great children’s theater to visit with kids if the shows interest you. At the Howell Living History Farm, enjoy a fantastic educational visit, as it doubles as an agricultural museum as well. Then, the whole family will have a fun time exploring Peddler’s Village, a colonial-style settlement that boasts cute shops and occasional events. Of course, to get a glimpse at a bigger city, Philadelphia is also within driving distance of New Hope! 

Mystic, CT

Head to Mystic to explore a walkable town! This outdoor retreat boasts natural adventures and rainy-day activities alike. Stroll by shops and ships in the famous Mystic Seaport on a warm day, though remember you’ll have to pay to enter. Kids will appreciate a visit to the Mystic Aquarium and the nearby Olde Mystic Village, where you can eat ice cream or browse toy stores. For an indoor activity outside of Mystic, visit the Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut in Niantic. The Essex Train Museum is also a hit with younger children just twenty minutes outside of Mystic. When you’re hungry, pies at Mystic Pizza are a sure kid-favorite, (and nostalgic for parents who have seen the famous movie.) Stop by the landmark Mystic Drawbridge after, and then grab ice cream at Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream. For date night, Engine Room or S&P Oyster Bar are great!

READ: Best Things To Do In Mystic With Kids This Summer

Easy Day Trips From Mystic

Visiting Mystic also puts you close to other adorable towns! Escape to a seaside oasis to nearby Rhode Island beaches with just a short drive. Visit Newport, for example, known for its sailing culture and picturesque landscapes. Or, consider taking a trip to Norwalk in Connecticut, where you can also spend your summer days lounging at the kid-friendly Calf Pasture Beach for a non-resident fee. Or, get some exercise in Westport at Compo Beach Skatepark! Glen Keen Farm, located a few miles away, is also a good option for a family bonding trip to greener pastures. For something in closer proximity to Mystic, you could also visit Mohegan Sun, a premier dining, shopping, and entertainment complex. 

Great Barrington, MA 

Town of Great Barrington, MA Cute Towns To Visit With Kids Near NYC

Great Barrington is an adorable Massachusetts town! Stroll past restaurants, cute cafes, and quaint shops when you visit its downtown Main Street. Stop in town for some wood-oven pizza at Baba Louie’s while you’re at it! Then, satisfy your sweet tooth at Soco Ice Cream, one of the best dessert places in town. Berkshire Mountain Bakery is amazing for fresh bread, pastries, and pizza baked daily! Great Barrington also has accessible public beaches and swimming holes along the Green River, with opportunities to kayak, paddleboard, etc. For a flat hike with younger kids, head to Housatonic to stroll right along the river. Beartown State Forest also offers various trails and activities on Benedict Pond like swimming, boating, or fishing. Adventurers will also race to Catamount Aerial Park, featuring zip-lining and obstacle courses. In Lee, hike the Appalachian Trail through October Mountain State Forest. 

In addition to summer activities, Great Barrington is also great to visit for winter skiing.

Easy Day Trips From Great Barrington

Great Barrington also puts you near other Massachusetts destinations. Take a day trip to Westfield, and kids can spend a rainy day at the Amelia Park Children’s Museum. Or, spend a sunny afternoon roaming free in Stanley Park. In North Adams, older kids with a more refined interest in art may particularly benefit from a visit to the art museum Mass MoCA. (Be sure to drive through the historic Hoosac Tunnel!) During the summer, Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort also showcases plenty of ways to stay cool, including a Mountain Adventure Park!  In Stockbridge, tour pristine estate and gardens at Naumkeag, featuring views overlooking Monument Mountain. Or, visit the Edith Wharton Mansion in Lenox, once home to a famous American author. Drive to reach the Connecticut border and you can also visit Bish Bash Falls in Mount Washington State Park, one of the tallest waterfalls in Massachusetts. 

Enjoy These Cute Towns Near NYC with Kids

No matter where you choose to travel, your kids will have a great time! We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of Best Cute Towns To Visit With Kids Near NYC. Happy Travels!

*Families Love Travel has compiled this article for future vacations. Please check both your home state and destination’s restrictions/opening before planning a trip.

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The Families Love Travel Team has a zest for life and an even bigger passion for globetrotting! Comprised of real-life travel professionals, we work hard behind the scenes to provide dynamic solutions for adventuring with children. Our enthusiastic team understands the challenges that often accompany traveling with kids and is committed to making Families Love Travel an inclusive space to convey these experiences.