I travelled as part of a group of 5 – 3 adults and 2 children.

We planned our trip as a road trip flying in and out of New York.

Our trip (times are approx.)

New York – Long Beach Island (2 hours 30 minutes)

Long Beach Island – Lancaster, Pennsylvania (3 hours 10 minutes)

Lancaster – Washington (2 hours 20 minutes)

Washington – New York (5 hours)  

Long Beach Island:

We stayed at the beach for 5 days in a friend’s house in beach haven. LBI is the perfect place for anyone with a kids as they have many family based activities.  We found that even with two very fussy eaters, there were no issues at any of the restaurants in the area.

There's a wide range of shops for everyone, that are all set together beside the amusement park.

Fantasy Island Amusement Park – roughly $5 per ride but they have deals on for example, when we were there it was $25 for unlimited rides between 3-7pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Beautiful pristine beaches.

Adventure Golf – they have two different 18 hole adventure golf courses set in beautiful scenery. They have the whole golf course set up to look like a cave and rainforest.

Barnegat Lighthouse – you can walk up to the very top of the lighthouse (over 200 steps) and look out over the sea. There are also picnic benches and a coastal walkway set up at the base of the lighthouse.

We got up to watch the sunrise as this was recommended to us and it was beautiful.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania:

We were only in Lancaster for 2 days, one of which was in Hershey Park, but it was lovely. The whole area was scenic with rolling green fields and farms. There were a lot of outlets nearby which are definitely worth going to. They have no sales tax in Pennsylvania and they had deals as much as 75% off some items.

My must dos:

Tour of the Amish town and countryside – You can walk through an Amish house and farm which has been set up to display their different trades and machinery as well as a petting farm. The tour of the Amish countryside is about 1 and a half hours. You are brought by the farms and school on a small bus – 16 seater.

As you pass, you can see the farmers with their horses and carts and you get the chance to stop at a local farm where the farmer produces ice cream from his own cows. He also has ponies and calves there that you can pet and you can buy ice cream.

Bird-in-hand farmers market – The farmers' market has loads of sweets and chocolate handmade by the Amish families along with many crafts. There is also a diner within the market. Most of the market stalls are run by Amish families or have Amish staff.

Hershey Park – Ideal for families. They have an app which allows you to plan your visit beforehand, you can check what the height restrictions there are on the different rides along with wait times. The tickets can be expensive but they almost always have deals online – (adult 1 day ticket = $69, adult 2 day ticket = $45)

When you get in:

Locker for the day = $20

Only pay for food, drinks and arcade games

Water =$3 a bottle but they allow you to bring in as much as you want

You can leave and comeback during the day

They have over 70 rides

They have a water park with a wave pool and water slides

You can also do a tour of the chocolate factory

They allocate different heights based on sweets so certain sweets can do certain rides.

Washington DC:

We stayed in Washington for 2 full days and found it very similar to European cities. The memorials are all located within walking distance from each other. Everyone we met was very nice, in one restaurant the waiter even gave us a table and water 10 minutes before they were opening so we didn’t have to wait outside.

You can do a guided tour of the monuments during the day and at night but we walked them by ourselves and I would recommend that, as the groups had very little time at each monument. My most memorable…

Washington Monument

Lincoln Memorial

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

Franklin D Roosevelt

Vietnam Memorial

Korea Memorial

White House – If you are doing a tour of the white house it is important to note that you can’t bring in a bag of any kind and they do not have facilities for you to leave them anywhere. Other things you can’t bring in include tobacco products, personal grooming items, food, drinks, strollers, cameras/recording devices, pointed objects or selfie sticks. Tours must be requested no less than 21 days in advance and you need your passport both to apply and on the day.

Newseum – the newseum is an 8 floor museum of famous news stories around the world and throughout history. You can find out what the big news stories were from the year you were born. They also have interactive screens and small cinema rooms. They have interactive games for kids and you can even record your own news broadcast using their green screens. This could easily take up at least 2 hours with something for everyone and is only $25 per person. They also have lift facilities if necessary.

They have scooters all over the city that you can get an app for and rent for however long you want. They say that you can rent them for $1 however that is $1 to rent and then an additional $0.30/min after that.

Written by Róisín Shaw