Have you been considering New York City for vacation? If so, just go ahead and make the choice right now! It will not disappoint. We (my best friend and I) took our four kids ranging in age from 2 – 10 for a world wind of a trip! We live in Missouri so it was a pretty good distance (almost 16 hours) to travel with so many kiddos.
Here are some questions/answers to hopefully help you make your way to the Big Apple!
- Did you drive straight through or make stops?
- We did not drive straight through. We stopped at a few different road side parks along the way to give the kids time to get out and run off some energy.
- Our first official stop was in Hershey, Pennsylvania. We didn’t intend to make it quite that far but due to weather and time constraints we drove into the wee hours of the night to make it work for us. Hershey is an AMAZING town! We loved it so much. It is so clean and safe as well as easy to navigate. The amusement park seriously rivaled Disney for a fraction of the cost. I think a ticket was about $48. The kids all agreed they liked it as much as Disney. This could be the destination for a vacation all on it’s own! We spent two nights there before heading on into the city.
- Where did you stay?
- We stayed in New Jersey. We were so glad that we did! We had the coolest experience getting to see how neighborhoods worked there. We got to witness neighbors chatting, dog walkers, kids hurrying off to school and much more. We used Airbnb to find us an apartment. One thing worth mentioning is that most of these apartments don’t have central air…just so you’re aware. There are window units but not central air. My recommendation…do this trip outside of the hottest summer months.
- I also highly recommend you stay as close to the PATH system as you can. We were about seven blocks from the PATH…and in NJ/NY standards that is close. We would make the trip daily and think nothing of it. The PATH itself was super easier to learn. It only has a few stop options and they literally drop you off exactly where you need to be in the city! Something worth noting…those doors close fast, stay clear!
- Did you feel safe or were you nervous?
- We felt very safe. In fact, we felt way safer in NYC than we often do in St. Louis. The police presence is great. We were also SHOCKED to learn that New Yorkers are sooooooo nice. If we stopped for more than a couple seconds anywhere, we would have someone stop and ask if we needed help. We had someone swipe his PATH card for us…paying for us to get on…just as a random act of kindness. Swiped it and carried on with his business. In the World Trade Center, we asked someone for directions. She watched us get on the wrong elevator and literally ran down a flight of steps to stop us and tell us we were going the wrong way. We ate breakfast at Dunkin Donuts every morning because it was right next to the PATH. One morning there weren’t quite enough seats for our whole group of kids. Without us asking, the group of construction workers sitting beside us, jumped up and started moving tables/chairs around for us to all fit. Seriously, I could go on but you get the point.
- The only part of the trip that made us feel nervous was driving in New Jersey. Wow…normal driving laws don’t really apply. We figured out that everyone just does what makes sense and they do it VERY quickly! We did the smallest amount of driving possible inside the city. And we would NEVER have made it driving in NYC. My advise…just don’t. Use the public transportation and don’t give yourself that stress!
- Where all did you go?
- Statue of Liberty…we got on the ferry on the NJ side which is waaaaaay less crowded and shorter lines. I recommend getting on the very first ferry you can as they get busier throughout the day. This was so fun & a must do if you’re making the trip!
- World Trade Center. This was our very first adventure and it was beautiful. So incredible to just see. I don’t know what I was envisioning but it wasn’t this! The PATH literally dropped us off in the Center so it was a good first outing.
- Madison Square Gardens. This was very neat to see. It was quite the walk but worth it. We also had the only uncomfortable moments of the trip there. There are people dressed up as characters that are way too pushy. They had a hold of my stroller not letting go because they wanted us to take a picture with them and then pay them. We managed to deal with it and move on. I, personally, would just avoid them.
- Central Park. This was also really cool to see. It is crazy coming from “farm country” to realize that there is seriously no grass/greenery/trees in almost all of the city. Then you get to Central Park and it feels more like home. It was cool to see the horse drawn carriages. We were up to the walk so we just walked around but the carriages could give you a chance to sit and relax if you wanted to.
- Ground Zero. It was super moving. Very cool to experience.
- How expensive was it?
- It wasn’t crazy. We only ate out once or twice a day. We had enough snack stuff with us to keep from having to try and navigate three meals out a day with all the kids. Had we stayed in NYC, it would have cost way more for the apartment/hotel. Staying on the NJ side, definitely saved us some money. The PATH transportation cost the six of us total about $15 a day. Kids don’t need to swipe. A police officer told us this so we assume it’s true. 🙂
Overall, we really had a great time in NYC. We only spent a few days before moving on to Niagara Falls. With the kids in tow, we felt like a few days was about perfect. I do really want to go back on an adults only trip to do much more exploring!