Spring Break Travel Destinations in the Tri-State Area

Spring break is right around the corner! After getting through midterm exams and stressful homework assignments, it’s time to take a much-needed break. Here are some travel ideas within the tri-state area that are both fun and budget-friendly.

Sandy Hook
About 30 minutes away from campus, Sandy Hook is a beautiful, must-see destination in New Jersey. You will encounter beautiful wildlife, clean sandy beaches, and trails where you can hike or ride your bike. Its beautiful ocean and bay beaches allow for swimming, fishing, picnicking, and surfing. Weather permitting, you can even go kayaking or paddleboarding with some friends through Sandy Hook Kayaking. Bring your camera and prepare for some breathtaking sunsets.

You can also visit Fort Hancock, an old army base dating back to the Revolutionary War. It houses the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, the oldest operating lighthouse in the United States, as well as historic houses that were once home to the fort’s officers and their families. The National Park Service has even restored and refurbished some of the houses to what they would have looked like during World War II when Fort Hancock was at its busiest.

American Dream
Located in East Rutherford, American Dream is the largest indoor theme park in the Western Hemisphere. Positioned right next to MetLife Stadium, this shopping center/theme park is home to an array of one-of-a-kind attractions.

Spend your day exploring all that American Dream has to offer including the DreamWorks Water Park, the continent’s largest indoor water park with the largest indoor wave pool and tallest indoor water slide. The park also features Nickelodeon Universe, with rides themed around Nickelodeon shows like Jimmy Neutron, Rugrats, SpongeBob SquarePants, Avatar the Last Airbender, and more.

This park is open to all ages and has thrilling rides like The Shredder and Kraang Prime Pandemonium—two exhilarating rides inspired by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—and Timmy’s Half Pip Havoc— a skateboard-shaped coaster inspired by The Fairly Oddparents.

The park also features Big SNOW, the only indoor real-snow park in North America, which offers year-round ski and snowboard packages. The Snow Day Packages include a ski or snowboard equipment rental, outerwear (pants and jacket), a helmet, a two-hour slope access ticket, and access to their skills area and instructors. This is the perfect opportunity to hit the slopes if you missed them this past winter.

American Dream also hosts a variety of retail stores like H&M, PRIMARK, Lululemon, Sephora, and the world’s first “candy department store.” If you’re feeling hungry, there’s plenty of dining options such as the Coca-Cola Eats food court with local and international cuisines, Grisini Coffee shops, Best Pizza, and more!

New York City
If you’re looking for something to do in New York this spring break, think about visiting the city that never sleeps! New York City offers a plethora of options for you to choose from, meaning there is something for almost everyone in this city.

Julianna Lalor, a sophomore communications student, commented, “I recommend Times Square because there is so much to do there! There are great places to eat, great shopping options, and many photo opportunities.”

Some of the more infamous locations in New York City include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Madame Tussauds, Rockefeller Center, Broadway, and Bryant Park. There are also famous restaurants such as The Hardrock Café, Gordon Ramsey: Fish and Chips, Carmine Italian Restaurant, The Reading Room, and Havana Central, all of which boast menus full of delicious and diverse cuisines.

If you’re unsure of what to do when faced with all these options, take a bus tour! Bus tours around New York City will give you a chance to look around and see what places may interest you. While you are walking around, don’t forget to take photos of all the beautiful sites.

Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Located in Ulster County, New York, this beautiful site is worth the drive. The park features gorgeous waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, lush forests, and spectacular views, the perfect outdoor environment for a multitude of activities.

Bailey Fredericks, a sophomore communications student, said, “Lake Minnewaska is so beautiful, and there are a ton of hiking trails with different levels of difficulty.”

One of the easier hikes includes a trail around Lake Minnewaska, which is about 1.5 miles long and a perfect opportunity to check out the park’s stunning views. If you’re looking for something a little more challenging, try exploring Gertrude’s Nose, a 6–7-mile trip that is one of the most popular hikes in the park. If you are into mountain biking, the park also offers many biking trails to reach deeper areas of the park.

Fredericks added, “I think it is a nice activity to do outside the hustle of the city if you want to see some nature.”

Other than hiking, visitors can enjoy activities like scuba diving, horseback riding, rock climbing, picnicking, and boating. The park even has its own tent-only campground—the Samuel F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway Campground—in the magnificent Shawangunk Mountains that includes its own pavilion and cooking area, bathhouse and restroom facilities, and trails.

Another major city in the tri-state area, Philadelphia has its own kind of magic. This city is chockfull of activities to do and places to see, some of the most popular being the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Zoo.

Abigail Brooks, a graduate student studying interactive digital media, recommended visiting Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens: “It’s really beautiful and has some great photo opportunities. It’s perfect for the beautiful spring weather!”

This stunning attraction is a gallery space made up of two indoor galleries covered in mosaics and a two-level outdoor sculpture garden. It hosts tours, workshops, exhibitions, and more, making it a must-see spot if you’re planning on taking a trip to this amazing city.

As one of the country’s first cities, Philly also has plenty of historic attractions where you can travel back in time. Go visit Philadelphia’s Historic District to see the Liberty Bell, take a stroll through Elfreth’s Alley, and visit Independence Hall to see the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence.

Brooks concluded, “I feel like people normally migrate from Pennsylvania to the shore over spring break, but there’s plenty to do besides going to New Jersey for the beach.”

With all these fun places to visit, make the most of this nice weather and stay a little closer to home this spring break to explore all that the tristate area has to offer.