By Paula Conway & J.P. Hoornstra
Originally printed in NYDailyNews.com

With airlines offering less bang for your buck and the weather becoming downright blissful, it’s a good time to get away in a car. Your options include everything from the casinos of Atlantic City to pastoral portions of New England. Here are six drive-cations that will make your summer go by in a New York minute:
Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is a fun destination — even for just a day trip. Dating back to the early 17th century, this quintessentially Yankee city is where American liberty first found expression with the Boston Tea Party. The American Revolution erupted on the nearby village greens of Lexington and Concord. History abounds in Boston.

Drive time from New York City: 4 hours.

Activities: Stroll, shop and explore the 18th Century marketplace Faneuil Hall. Walk the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail through 16 legendary locations, including Paul Revere’s house (downtown’s oldest building), the Boston Massacre site, and the locale of the Battle of Bunker Hill. Take a Fenway Park tour with a guide who knows baseball history. Have a slice of pizza at Regina Pizza in Battery Wharf. The line is worth the wait. Then satisfy your cream-filled cravings at Bova, a 24-hour bakery (walking distance from Regina Pizza) dating back to 1921.

Stay: The Fairmont Battery Wharf, located in Boston’s oldest Italian neighborhood, is the only boutique hotel in Boston Harbor. Covered water taxis can take you from Boston’s Logan International Airport to the hotel directly, a scenic ride to the only hotel with its own water taxi landing dock. For pampering, the new Exhale spa is the perfect respite from a day of touring.

Room rates from $269/nightly. The Fairmont Fishies Family Package: $289/night, based on two adults and two children, includes four tickets to the New England Aquarium for four, ice cream sundaes for four, and early check-in.

Contact: Fairmont.com/batterywharf or call 617-994-9000.

 

Woodstock, Vermont

Woodstock is one of those perfect places where you can safely bike along country roads, sample freshly-churned ice cream, cheese and peanut butter along the way, and take a swim in a lazy river before falling asleep under a 400-year-old hemlock tree. This is quintessential charming Americana.

Drive time from New York City: 5 hours.

Activities: Lunch at the Simon Pearce restaurant overlooking the Quechee Falls and Quechee covered bridge.Tour the glass-blowing mill and shop.Visit The Billings Farm & Museum, a restored 1890 farmhouse with programs on caring for livestock, including the Junior Farm Vet for a Day (offered only on June 27, July 18 and Aug. 8 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.), where kids ages 10 – 15 learn the basic care of large farm animals with hands-on instruction. Take a pastry class at King Arthur Flour.See the upper valley of Vermont and New Hampshire in a Vermont Balloon ride.Travel the back roads with Bike Vermont.

Stay: The Woodstock Inn & Resort rests majestically beyond a white picket fence with beautiful panoramas from any room. Guests love to plop into one of the oversized chairs in front of the 6-foot fieldstone hearth, enjoy the Cabot cheddar fondue at The Red Rooster restaurant on property or take in a round of golf on the 18-hole masterpiece golf course.

Rates: from $190/night. The King Arthur Flour Package, where guests indulge their fantasy of becoming a top pastry chef, includes one-night accommodation for two (two-night minimum on weekends), country breakfast, a three- or four-hour baking class at the King Arthur Flour Baking Education Center in Norwich, 20 minutes from The Inn. From $397, based on double occupancy, excluding taxes and resort fee. July 6 – 8, August 3 – 5, September 7 – 9 October 12 – 14.

Contact: woodstockinn.com or call 802-457-1100.

 

Pocono Mountains, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Known as a wedding and couples getaway, the Poconos are also an ideal destination for families. Splashing waterfalls, winding rivers and rolling mountain terrain make up the 2,400 square miles of the Pocono Mountains There’s an endless menu of activities within.

Drive time from New York City: 1.5 hours.

Activities: Have a splash in one of the eight waterslides at Camel Water Park. Zipline from the top of CBK Mountain at CBK Mountain Adventures. Shop ’til you drop at The Crossings Premium Outlets. Pedal at your own pace down the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail and see fantastic rock formations, tumbling waterfalls and abundant wildlife. Do some whitewater rafting around the Lehigh River.

Stay: The Inn at Pocono Manor is a newly remodeled 3,000-acre resort on the National Registry of Historic Places, welcoming guests since 1902. The property has a championship 36-hole golf course, horseback riding and hiking trails, fly-fishing and sporting clays.

Rates: from $159/nightly.

Contact: poconomanor.com or call 570-839-7111.

 

Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlantic City is home to the country’s first boardwalk, a cluster of diverse shopping malls and miles of beaches. Most visitors, however, come for the 12 casino-hotels that set Atlantic City apart from every vacation spot outside of Las Vegas. Bring some gambling change and some comfortable walking shoes. A little luck here goes a long way.

Drive time from New York City: 2.5 hours.

Activities: Stock up on candy while wandering the Boardwalk. Do some dolphin-watching on an Atlantic City Cruise boat. Ride the Boardwalk carousel Climb to the top of the Absecon Lighthouse, which dates to 1854. Prowl the high-end (Pier Shops at Caesars) or low-end (Atlantic City Outlets) shopping malls — and everything in between. Win thousands of dollars from each of the 12 casino-hotels. Indulge in the all-day Happy Hour at the Wild West Casino. Savor Sunday brunch at Bally’s buffet.

Stay: The Revel Hotel is the newest addition to the Boardwalk scene. Its smoke-free casino opened in April, but you won’t have to pass through a bunch of slot machines to get to your room. Unlike its dimly lit brethren down the Shore, Revel is geared toward rest and relaxation in a bright, modern setting. In addition to nearly 1,900 rooms — each with a view of the water — a spa, an outdoor garden, 14 restaurants, 10 pools and a 5,050-seat theater await.

Rates: from $239/night.

Contact: revelresorts.com or call 1-855-348-0500.

 

Montauk, New York

On the easternmost end of the Hamptons, Montauk is home to six state parks, fishing spots galore and not a single chain restaurant or hotel — which merely adds to the local charm. The beaches teem with activity during the summer, creating an ideal destination for a family getaway. You’ll want to take the natural beauty home, so pack a camera.

Drive time from New York City: 3 hours.

Activities: Explore the trails at Hither Hills State Park. Ride horses on the beach at Deep Hollow Ranch. Unwind with a massage at the Deborah Thompson Day Spa. Ride the carousel at Watch Hill. Climb the fourth-oldest lighthouse in the U.S. at Montauk Point. Surf off the shore of Ditch Plains Beach. Tour the historic military installation at Camp Hero State Park.

Stay: The Montauk Manor is a castle sitting atop a hill, with sweeping sunset views. Built in 1926, the manor has a vintage feel, beginning with the exterior and extending into the grand lobby. Don’t be deceived by the upscale look — the vibe is laid-back and families are welcome. The indoor and outdoor pools, shuffleboard court and picnic area are good for kids.

Rates: from $110/night.

Contact: montaukmanor.com; or call 631-668-4400.

 

Whitefield, New Hampshire

The Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa, in Whitefield, New Hampshire, sits amid the White Mountains and Presidential Range, and dates back to 1865 when it began as a working farm. Guests feel an immediate connection with New Hampshire’s agricultural past, visiting with the llamas, alpaca, Angora goats and rabbits daily.

Drive time from New York City: 6 hours.

Rates: from $199/nightly

Activities: Visit indoor and outdoor pools. Participate in horse programs for the family. Pet animals on the farm. Play golf on a historic course. Utilize indoor movie theater, tennis courts, wine tastingsand even axe-throwing (always a plus). Indulge in an award-winning spa. Toast marshmallows over an open campfire nightly. Nearby you can enjoy whitewater rafting excursions, hiking and fly fishing lessons.

Contact: mountainviewgrand.com, or call 1-866-484-3843.