Summer is here, and whether you’re single, a couple, or married with children, you’re probably thinking of a getaway. What if you don’t have a budget for a vacation this summer, or the time? This is where a staycation comes into play.
Like last year, I’ve listed fun, historical, and dream vacations, and have loosely matched them with local, much more affordable, daily or overnight excursions. Take a look at last year’s post, Summer Staycation Ideas, for other creative and fun suggestions.
Wild Safari - Six Flags maintains a nice park where most of the animals can roam free. The best part is you’re GUARANTEED to see animals. You can take your time driving through, and stop for video or photo ops. If you take photos, zoom in to eliminate unnatural objects like fences, and it’ll look as if you were on a real safari.
Circle Line - This isn’t JUST for tourists. Go on a full island cruise around Manhattan this summer. You can see New York in a whole new way. Besides, it’s not just about the sights, it’s also about the experience. If you’ll be bringing children with you, consider the Kids’ Cruise.
Disney Cruise - If you have a weekend to spare, Disney offers a 2-Night cruise to nowhere. I consider this a staycation, because it departs from New York and it stays close to home… just at sea.
Lambert Castle Museum - Medieval revival architecture graces this Paterson castle that’s listed in the New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places. It resembles some of the castles in the UK. Consider heading over to Paterson Great Falls, one of the most spectacular falls in the country, before or after your visit here.
The Cloisters - Amazing European architecture of the Middle Ages adorn this branch of the Metropolitan Museum. Their works of art cover the 12th – 15th centuries.
GCU Arboretum - Duke Farms and Gardens has a Japanese garden, but it’s enclosed in a greenhouse. This is a larger outdoor garden, giving it a more authentic atmosphere. There is also a genuine teahouse and wooden footbridges on the grounds on one-acre. The garden paths rise and fall to create a natural landscape. The spring and autumn boast fabulous colors, so go back during different seasons.
Japanese Hill and Pond Garden - If you don’t mind a longer drive, the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens has one of the oldest and most visited Japanese gardens outside of Japan. It ‘s a fusion of the hill-and-pond style, and the stroll-garden style. This allows the three-acres of landscape to be gradually revealed along winding paths.
Revel Resort - It’s the new kid on the block in Atlantic City has brought more tables, services, dining, and entertainment to town, and rivals the Borgota. There are many other resorts to choose from, at various price points. Stay mid-week for a better value. Who needs Vegas in the desert, when we have AC along the shore?
Unionville Vineyards - They just placed second in the 2012 Judgment of Princeton competition with their 2010 Pheasant Hill Single Vineyard Chardonnay surpassing THREE French white wines! Take a complimentary tour of the winery, and stay for a wine tasting. You can also purchase bottles of your favorites. This can be combined with Lambertville for shopping or dining. New Jersey vineyards are gaining recognition, so watch out Napa!
Heritage Vineyards - Their Estate Reserve BDX 2010 was the top New Jersey red wine in the 2012 Judgment of Princeton, placing third. Join them for a complimentary sampling of wines, and take their winery tour. After a visit there, you can take the ACE over to Atlantic City to continue the fun.
Pleasant Valley Lavender - This is the only lavender farm in New Jersey. They have a labyrinth you can walk through in summer. You’ll have the feeling of walking through lavender fields in Provence, France.
Camelbeach Mountain Waterpark - Simulations of surfing, ocean waves, white water rafting, waterfalls, geysers, and rock climbing are in the beach area. Cabanas are available, but there are some areas with shade, which change in time. Mountain adventures include zip lining, tandem zip flying, high ropes, mountain coasting, and Segway mountain touring. This will have to do if you can’t get to Malibu for surfing or Navitat Canopy Adventures in Wrightwood for tree top activities.
Port Liberté – This waterfront community has European-influenced architecture in Jersey City. The signature canals give it the feel of Venice. The catch is, this is a gated community. However, you can take a NY Waterway ferry from Pier 11/Wall Street in Manhattan to the gatehouse. You’ll only be able to see a bit the development though. If you REALLY want to see inside the community, you’ll have to visit a resident, make an appointment with a realtor, or have access to a boat.