Yes, Long Island is a paradise of beaches, clam bars and ice cream shops in the summer. But it's not quite a vacation if you live here year-round. There's still time to really get away. Check out the following destinations, all distinctly different from Long Island but within driving distance, making them perfect last-minute choices for summer family fun.

Asbury Park, New Jersey

Credit: Getty Images

With hipster lodging, dining, shopping and leisure activities-- and its lively boardwalk --  it’s no wonder that Asbury Park is now known as the Brooklyn of the Jersey Shore. The Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel (berkeleyhotelnj.com), a 1920s Beaux Arts landmark, has been restored to its former splendor. The Asbury (theasburyhotel.com) screens movies on its turf-covered roof at night. Music venues range from the venerable Stone Pony (stoneponyonline.com) to the refurbished Convention Hall and Paramount Theater.

Long Beach Island, New Jersey

Credit: The Washington Post

For families, the main draw is Asbury Park's beach, with its lively boardwalk. There’s a vintage bowling alley, mini golf and Madam Marie’s fortunetelling shack made famous by native son Bruce Springsteen. Among the hot dog stands are the upscale contemporary Cuban restaurant Cubacan (cubacanrestaurant.com) and the snazzy Asbury Oyster Bar (asburyoysterbar.com).

Litchfield Hills, Connecticut

Credit: Alamy/Danita Delimont

Check into an all-inclusive family hotel for a nostalgic break. The Rocking Horse Ranch (rockinghorseranch.com) in Highland offers horseback riding, ponies, wagon rides, barn tours and horseshoeing demonstrations. Rooms with two queen beds and a bunk bed can accommodate up to six. Places like the old-fashioned Winter Clove Inn (winterclove.com) in Round Top have plenty of on-site activities (hiking trails, pool, antique bowling alley). Family-run for decades, Villa Vosilla (villavosilla.com) in Tannersville bills itself as “the last authentic Italian resort in the Catskills,” with a menu to prove it. It still has social directors organizing activities like dance classes and “Villa’s Got Talent.”

Newport, Rhode Island

Credit: LightRocket via Getty Images/John Greim

The Saratoga Springs racing season runs from August through early September. A visit to the track is surprisingly affordable ($5-$8, children under 12 free). Before the races, take a walking tour ($3) to get an overview of the historic facility.

Providence, Rhode Island

Credit: Getty Images

Families enjoy a fountain at Congress Park, pcitured, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, at Saratoga Springs. There are plenty of other kid-friendly attractions in the area. Pick up a map of the mineral springs and some empty water bottles and take a tasting tour of Saratoga’s naturally carbonated water. Saratoga Spa State Park is home to the grand Victoria Pool, built under the supervision of then New York Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt. The quaint downtown is filled with ice cream shops, candy stores and toy emporiums. Grab dinner at Hattie’s (hattiesrestaurant.com), famous for fried chicken since 1938. Spend the evening at the Malta Drive-In Theatre (maltadrivein.com). Accommodations range from the elegant Gideon Putnam hotel (gideonputnam.com), within the Saratoga Spa State Park, to the Best Western Plus (book.bestwestern.com), a short ride from downtown.

Cape Ann, Massachusetts

Credit: Getty Images

Devotees of Cape Ann claim it has the prettiest stretch of coastline in the state, with fewer crowds and less traffic than that other, more popular, Cape. The kids might like the Shipbuilding Museum in Essex. This village bills itself as “home of the fried clam,” and Woodman’s of Essex (woodmans.com) has been serving them since 1916. Wide, sandy, flat beaches in Gloucester are popular. But take time to visit Singing Beach in Manchester, so named because of how the sound resonates as you walk on it. Make a reservation with Captain Bill & Sons (captbillandsons.com) for a whale watching excursion or take a lighthouse cruise (capeannharbortours.com). The relatively low prices of many oceanfront motels, like the Atlantis Oceanfront Inn (atlantisoceanfrontinn.com) in Gloucester will shock those used to Hamptons or North Fork rates.
 

Ogunquit, Maine

Credit: Getty Images

Four picturesque towns provide plenty of charm. The Bradley Wharf in Rockport is home to a former fishing shack known as Motif #1, said to be the most painted building in America.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Watch how the Union side took the field during a Battle of Gettysburg reenactment. Show your children some of the places they’ve read about in history class. Or see the battlefield the way Robert E. Lee saw it, by taking a guided horseback tour (confederatetrails.com). Visit sites in Adams County along the Underground Railroad with a local historian (gettysburghistories.com). Determine if Gettysburg is indeed haunted by taking a spooky ghost tour (farnsworthhouseinn.com).

Lake Champlain, Vermont

Credit: Alamy /Richard Green

Enjoy swimming, boating, fishing and paddle boarding on “the sixth Great Lake.” When you are waterlogged, the Green Mountains are there for the hiking. Enjoy swimming, boating, fishing and paddle boarding on “the sixth Great Lake.” When you are waterlogged, the Green Mountains are there for the hiking.

Catskills, New York

Credit: Rocking Horse Ranch Resort

Go to the eccentric Shelburne Museum (shelburnemuseum.org), where collections of art and Americana include vast displays of dolls and toys, circus artifacts and the 220-foot Ticonderoga steamboat, seen here. Or spend a day in the charming small city of Burlington. There are some intriguing factory tours for rainy days: The Vermont Teddy Bear Company (vermontteddybear.com), Lake Champlain Chocolates (lakechamplainchocolates.com) and Ben & Jerry’s (benjerry.com). For a fishing camp feel, try the Holiday Harbor Lodge (holidayharborlodge.com) on Grand Isle, which offers rustic lakeside rooms. If money is no object, check into the Inn at Shelburne Farms (shelburnefarms.org), on the former agricultural estate of the Vanderbilt family.

Ithaca, New York

Credit: Alamy

At Robert H. Treman State Park, walk along a gorge past 12 waterfalls, including the 115-foot Lucifer Falls. Then enjoy a swim in a stream-fed pool beneath one of the falls.

Woodstock, Vermont

Credit: Alamy /Philip Scalia

The Herbert F Johnson Museum of Art, designed by I.M. Pei, pictured, is on the campus of Cornell University. The Hyde Park Mastodon is on view at the Museum of the Earth (priweb.org). The Purity Ice Cream Company (purityicecream.com) serves burgers, salads, and sandwiches for lunch as well as ice cream fountain treats and homemade pies. There are plenty of chain hotels in town, or you could try luxury camping at Firelight Camps (firelightcamps.com), where locally sourced breakfast is complimentary and at sundown there is a communal campfire in an outdoor lounge.

 

Cape Ann, Massachusetts

Credit: Alamy

Introduce your kids to Vermont — maple candy, covered bridges, cows — with a visit to this quintessential village. Shop at Gillingham’s General Store (gillinghams.com) for penny candy, maple syrup, and Cheddar cheese. Walk across the Ottauquechee River on the covered Middle Bridge. Fuel up for these activities with breakfast or lunch at Mountain Creamery (mountaincreameryvt.com), where the milk, eggs, meat and produce are locally sourced.

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/GeorgeBurba

Four picturesque towns provide plenty of charm. The Bradley Wharf in Rockport is home to a former fishing shack known as Motif #1, said to be the most painted building in America.

Credit: Alamy

Watch how the Union side took the field during a Battle of Gettysburg reenactment. Show your children some of the places they’ve read about in history class. Or see the battlefield the way Robert E. Lee saw it, by taking a guided horseback tour (confederatetrails.com). Visit sites in Adams County along the Underground Railroad with a local historian (gettysburghistories.com). Determine if Gettysburg is indeed haunted by taking a spooky ghost tour (farnsworthhouseinn.com).

Credit: Alamy/B. Christopher

After you've watched a Civil War reenactment at the Gettysburg Battlefield, pictured, capture your family vacation the old-fashioned way by dressing up in Victorian garb and having your photo taken at the Victorian Photography Studio (victorianphotostudio.com). The Lodges at Gettysburg (gettysburgaccommodations.com) offer luxury cabins built on a picturesque ridge that can accommodate families. The Gettysburg Hotel (hotelgettysburg.com) has a rooftop pool for cooling off after a long day on the battlefield.

Credit: Alamy/George Robinson

Enjoy swimming, boating, fishing and paddle boarding on “the sixth Great Lake.” When you are waterlogged, the Green Mountains are there for the hiking. Enjoy swimming, boating, fishing and paddle boarding on “the sixth Great Lake.” When you are waterlogged, the Green Mountains are there for the hiking.

Credit: Alamy /Kevin Shields

Go to the eccentric Shelburne Museum (shelburnemuseum.org), where collections of art and Americana include vast displays of dolls and toys, circus artifacts and the 220-foot Ticonderoga steamboat, seen here. Or spend a day in the charming small city of Burlington. There are some intriguing factory tours for rainy days: The Vermont Teddy Bear Company (vermontteddybear.com), Lake Champlain Chocolates (lakechamplainchocolates.com) and Ben & Jerry’s (benjerry.com). For a fishing camp feel, try the Holiday Harbor Lodge (holidayharborlodge.com) on Grand Isle, which offers rustic lakeside rooms. If money is no object, check into the Inn at Shelburne Farms (shelburnefarms.org), on the former agricultural estate of the Vanderbilt family.

Credit: Alamy /Tom Uhlman

At Robert H. Treman State Park, walk along a gorge past 12 waterfalls, including the 115-foot Lucifer Falls. Then enjoy a swim in a stream-fed pool beneath one of the falls.

Credit: Alamy/Philip Scalia

The Herbert F Johnson Museum of Art, designed by I.M. Pei, pictured, is on the campus of Cornell University. The Hyde Park Mastodon is on view at the Museum of the Earth (priweb.org). The Purity Ice Cream Company (purityicecream.com) serves burgers, salads, and sandwiches for lunch as well as ice cream fountain treats and homemade pies. There are plenty of chain hotels in town, or you could try luxury camping at Firelight Camps (firelightcamps.com), where locally sourced breakfast is complimentary and at sundown there is a communal campfire in an outdoor lounge.

 

Credit: Jerry Moorman

Introduce your kids to Vermont — maple candy, covered bridges, cows — with a visit to this quintessential village. Shop at Gillingham’s General Store (gillinghams.com) for penny candy, maple syrup, and Cheddar cheese. Walk across the Ottauquechee River on the covered Middle Bridge. Fuel up for these activities with breakfast or lunch at Mountain Creamery (mountaincreameryvt.com), where the milk, eggs, meat, and produce are locally sourced.

Credit: Twin Farms

Visit the Billings Farm & Museum (billingsfarm.org), an operating dairy farm and museum of Vermont’s rural past. Stay at a country inn: 506 on the River (ontheriverwoodstock.com) has two-bedroom suites with kitchenettes and a farmers market next door. The Woodstock Inn & Resort (woodstockinn.com) has a heated saltwater pool and an Orvis-approved fly-fishing program. Hike Mt. Tom or a part of the Long Trail to the Long Trail Brewery and Restaurant (longtrail.com).

Latest Videos