Dutchess County, New York

Dutchess County, located in southeastern New York, spans from Fishkill and Beacon to Rhinebeck and Red Hook covering (in total) thirty cities, towns, and villages. There are literally hundreds of ways to explore the area, but I thought I would share twelve ways families can enjoy all that Dutchess County has to offer together. The county borders western Connecticut and is about 90 minutes from Manhattan. Driving from the north end of Red Hook south to Beacon takes less than an hour, so you won't spend days in the car exploring the area.

Start your planning by checking out DutchessTourism.com, which is a well organized, well informed network of suggestions for eating, staying, and exploring the county.  They have a section dedicated to family fun and even have itineraries broken up in one, three, and five day stays (in additional to organizing suggestions for shopping, craft beer, spa, LGBT and other themed trips).

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FDR Presidential Library, Museum, and NHS, Hyde Park, New York

We just returned from a wonderful trip to Dutchess County, New York. Less than two hours from Manhattan, Dutchess County is filled with hundreds of ways to learn about American history, agriculture, and the arts. Check out dutchesstourism.com for advice, suggestions, itineraries, and maps. I'll have a full write up of our travels in two weeks.

Whenever we travel, we always check our National Parks Passport and our Presidential Library Passport to see if there are any locations near our destination. We hit a double when we found The Franklin D.  Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum and the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, both located on the same property in Hyde Park, New York. We love the National Park Service (read about why here) and our son is quickly becoming a presidential scholar, so we had to spend the morning exploring the complex. America’s first presidential library and museum was designed by FDR himself and opened to the public in 1941. The museum has over 400 collections, including 51,00 volumes and 150,000 photographs, negatives and audiovisual items, as well as plenty of research and meeting spaces.

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StoryLand in Glen, New Hampshire

Opened in 1954, StoryLand is a nursery rhyme themed amusement park that will take you back in time. Story Land is located in Glen, New Hampshire, a small community in the town of Bartlett in the beautiful White Mountains. It's a short, ten minute drive to the town of  North Conway (a popular skiing destination) with many family friendly things to do. StoryLand is fun for the whole family, but it especially caters to younger children in size, calmer rides (with a few exceptions for the thrill seekers), and plenty of interactive shows and meets and greets. Even on a busy day, you won't wait more than 30 minutes for a ride (and that's an unusually long time)

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Acadia National Park, Maine

I may not be a huge hiker or camper, but I am a huge fan of the water, especially the ocean water, and love any view that involves water or mountains. I’m also a HUGE fan of the National Parks Service system and have been visiting historic sites, monuments, museums, and parks for years, learning all about our country’s history and collecting stamps for my National Parks Passport. So, it seemed logical to put Acadia National Park in Maine on my bucket list. This summer, I helped to plan a family reunion in York, Maine (post coming next week) and I seized the location and added a visit to Acadia National Park.


Acadia National park is a 47,000 acre park (the only National Park located in New England) It’s located on Mount Desert Island, right next to the beautiful village of Bar Harbor. Acadia is unique in the sense that there is no one, defined entrance and exit site. There are multiple spots to enter and the park weaves in and out of the community. There are sections that require a park pass, which for 2017, was a $25 fee for a week pass for a noncommercial vehicle. Lucky for us, the Every Kid in a Park program allows fourth graders, and their families, to receive entrance to all National Parks all year long, so we got in for free! There is SO much to do in Acadia, it would take days to cover it all. Here are some of my family’s top spots:

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