Monday, May 23, 2011

Five Summer Getaways Every Kid Should Experience

Our family vacation plans are on hold as we figure out how to pay for college for 2 kids, and keep the third happy.

Luckily, in New York City, you can find lots to do that is free, and takes you away from your regular self.

Go to an Island
No, we are not heading to St. Barth’s or even Cape Cod. But Governors Island has so many free activities that we could head there again and again, and still enjoy ourselves.

We can laze away in a hammock, ride a bike (Bike & Roll even offers free bikes for an hour on Fridays) or splurge on a family surrey ride.
And free ferry rides provide service from Brooklyn and Manhattan to Governors Island.

Go to the Beach
This is not exactly the same as going to an island, as anyone who has tried to swim in the waters off Manhattan (an island) can attest. From our house in Brooklyn, we can take the subway to Coney Island or Brighton Beach, and spend the day at the shore for the cost of a Metrocard swipe ($2.25; free for kids under 44 inches).

We can also ride our bikes to the somewhat less crowded Manhattan Beach (no direct subway access, but you can take a bus there, too, or pay $10 to park). If we are feeling really adventurous, we can bike to the bucolic Rockaways, particularly Breezy Point.

Take in a Game
The boys of summer played baseball and if you don’t live near a major or a minor league baseball stadium, you should take a trip. We can see the Mets and Yankees (both major leagues teams; the Mets, alas, barely) or minor league affiliates, the Staten Island Yankees and Brooklyn Cyclones, again, all just a Metrocard ride away.

Time with the Grandparents
My husband’s mother lives in a house that can accommodate our entire brood, and just down the road, a free pool and tennis court provide entertainment. Yes, we have to get there, but this kind of family vacation, spending time with the older relatives, is invaluable. We also get to see other relatives who live in my husband’s hometown, and see how he spent his boyhood.

Amusement Parks
Even if we can’t afford a trip to Disney World this summer, we can still spend a relatively inexpensive night at a nearby water park or theme park and get our fill of thrill rides and fried dough.

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