If you've got kids, there's a good chance you'll be visiting an amusement park this summer. If the very idea of a roller coaster makes you nauseous, we've got you covered: Behold several adult-friendly activities at or near four theme parks within driving distance of NYC, and leave the screaming to the kids.
Hershey, Pa. (hersheypark.com)
Hershey's got plenty of roller coasters and water rides, as well as the famous Great American Chocolate Tour.
For adults, the 23-acre botanical gardens known as Hershey Gardens are a good bet. For those willing to venture further, historic Lancaster County - home to the country's largest Amish settlement - is about 30 minutes away. If you want a glimpse into the very traditional and "plain" Amish lifestyle, a horse-and-buggy tour is a good bet (amishbuggyrides.com).
To stay: Hershey accommodations include the swanky Hotel Hershey (thehotelhershey.com), the family-friendly Hershey Lodge (hersheylodge.com) and the Hershey Highmeadow Campground (hersheycamping.com).
To eat: The Circular Dining Room at the Hotel Hershey is designed for chocolate lovers with fat wallets. It's a jacket-required type of place.
During the spring, summer and fall, Lancaster County is full of roadside farm stands selling produce and baked goods. Whoopie pies are a local specialty.
Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom
Allentown, Pa. (dorneypark.com)
The park offers plenty of thrill, water and kiddie rides, but if you're in the mood for a nostalgic treat, check out Becky's Drive-In Theatre (Beckysdi.com), which opened in 1946 and is located about 11 miles north of Allentown. It's one of the country's last remaining drive-in movie theaters - and for New Yorkers, the $8 adult tickets feel like a steal.
To eat: Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market (fairgroundfarmersmkt.com) is a permanent market with vendors selling everything from baked goods to Chinese food.
To stay: The Holiday Inn Express (hiexpress.com) is simple, clean and close to Dorney.
Williamsburg, Va. (buschgardens.com)
At this "European-themed" park, young kids can explore a "Sesame Street" area and older kids can get their adrenaline pumping at the new 240-feet Mach Tower. You, however, can stay closer to the ground and explore Williamsburg's history. Check out Colonial Williamsburg (history.org), a living museum where actors re-enact life in the 18th century, and Jamestown Settlement (historyisfun.org), the country's first permanent English settlement.
The over-21 crowd also can take a tour of Virginia's largest winery, the Williamsburg Winery (williamsburgwinery.com). For $10 per person, you'll get a tasting of three reds, three whites and a dessert wine.
To stay: Colonial Williamsburg offers 26 historic lodging options known as Colonial Houses. These are private homes, etc., that have been updated for modern travelers.
To eat: The Williamsburg Winery has two dining options - the Gabriel Archer Tavern, which is open for lunch and dinner, and Cafe Provencal, the restaurant within the Winery's hotel, Wedmore Place, which is open for dinner only.
Six Flags Great Adventure
Jackson, N.J. (sixflags.com/greatadventure)
Your best bet for non-roller-coaster entertainment is to time your trip for one of the adult-friendly events at the park. On June 11, MercyMe will perform songs from their sixth album, "The Generous Mr. Lovewell." On July 27, singer Mike Posner will perform tunes from his debut album, "31 Minutes to Takeoff."
There's also the park's Wild Safari, a 350-acre preserve that features giraffes, lions, rhinos, bears, kangaroos and much more.
To stay: If you want to stay, the Holiday Inn and Days Inn in East Windsor and the Radisson in Freehold offer "Stay & Play" packages (hotels.sixflags.com).
To eat: Two of the best-reviewed places in the area are the Italian spot Solo Bella (solobella.com) in Jackson, which is known for its thin-crust pizza, and Koto in Jackson Crossings Mall, which serves hibachi and sushi.