The Mid-Atlantic area of the United States is teeming with sites that cater to families with kids of all ages. First off, there is apparently an oceanfront that stretches for several thousand miles. I’ve only seen the Atlantic Ocean from the perspective of Florida, but I have it on good authority that there is Atlantic Ocean coastline available as borders on such Mid-Atlantic states as Virginia, New Jersey and Delaware. Apparently, the ocean as a family fun place is not far away from Pennsylvania, either.
Baseball Hall of Fame-Cooperstown, NY
Until construction begins on the much-needed Baseball Cheaters Hall of Fame, Cooperstown is the Mid-Atlantic family funtime destination where you can see guys who hit homeruns the natural way like Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron as well as guys who, shall we say, had a little unnatural help like, well, you know. Baseball may not be the attraction for kids the way it was when I was growing up-if I could go back in time and be anything I wanted, I would go back in time and become the youngest second baseman the New York Yankees ever had so that I could play alongside Thurman Munson in his final, tragic season-but the Baseball Hall of Fame might just be inspiring enough to bring the game back to the level where it belongs.
Funland-Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, Delaware
You know, of course, that America’s obsession with theme parks began in the Mid-Atlantic with the Coney Island amusement park. Funland is a cheap, fun and family-oriented way to spend a day in Delaware. Or you could just spend the day by walking across the entire state. This is the kind of retro amusement park that parents will enjoy, teens will hate and young kids will love. Ride bumper cars, a carousel or a Ferris wheel. The rides aren’t extravagant, but they are cheap and the littlest members of the clan will definitely enjoy the day.
Gillian’s Island Water Theme Park-Ocean City, NJ
That is not a misprint. Not Gilligan’s Island, but Gillian’s Island. You’ve got a short boardwalk, water slides, pools, and a spray pool for the littlest kids. You’ve also got non-water rides like a carousel, the Crazy Submarine and a miniature golf course. Just across the street sits the Pier View Apartments and Townhouses so you can take a break for napping or eating and then head back later in the day. This Mid-Atlantic family theme park is affordable and fun throughout the summer. I wouldn’t consider sliding down the Serpentine Slides when the water has frozen over during the winter, however.
National Museum of Natural History-Washington, DC
The National Archives is something adults won’t want to miss. But make up the boring tenor of that for kids by taking them to the National Museum of Natural History. What kid doesn’t go through a stage where dinosaurs are the coolest thing that ever existed. This Mid-Atlantic family attraction has enough to entice teens and grandparents as well as the younger kids who will positively thrill at the site of all the animals caught in a moment of action.
Luray Caverns-Luray, Virginia
One of the coolest parts of traveling through the Mid-Atlantic area of the United States is the phenomenal array of geographical interests. There’s the Atlantic Ocean, of course. There’s rock formations like Chimney Rock. There’s mountains galore. And there are many caverns. If you head inland a little bit you’ll definitely be reminded to see Rock City and Lookout Mountain and Ruby Falls. The Luray Caverns are a better bet if you aren’t heading toward Chattanooga. Luray Caverns is one of the kid-friendliest natural attractions you’ll find up, down or smack in the middle of the Mid-Atlantic states. It is also less touristy than Ruby Falls. The highlight of a trip through the Luray Caverns is the world’s largest musical instrument: the Great Stalacpipe Organ. You’ll never be in a place where the acoustics are better for listening to organ music. Do me a solid and request “Green Onions” while you’re there!