Staycations are somewhat local, budget alternatives to an expensive full-fledge vacation, and can be a week-long escape, a weekend getaway, or a series of fun day trips. Current economic conditions leave some people with limited choices for vacations, so I’ve put together a list of places to go that simulate dream winter vacations.
After a day of ice skating, sledding with the kids, or just navigating through snowy roads, indulge in a ski lodge experience by going to the Yankee Doodle Tap Room in the Nassau Inn. Order drinks with friends, and sit by their fireplace swapping tales of near frostbite experiences.
Consider renting a large home with 3-4 other families like this Masthope rental that’s a ski-in ski-out property chocked full of amenities like hot tubs, home theaters, a teppan yaki grill in the kitchen, and more. This one is at the top of Ski-Big Bear Mountain and sleeps 14 – 18 guests in its six bedrooms. There are also rentals at Camelback Mountain.
Normally you’d visit Alaska in the summer, since the winter is harsh. One thing that’s popular in the state is dog sledding. Arctic Paws in the Poconos will have you mushing through the snow for a fraction of the price they charge in Alaska!
NCL has a week-long cruise to Florida and the Bahamas. The reason why I have it listed under staycation is because you only travel to NYC, and board the ship like checking into a Manhattan hotel. You just happen to be on a floating hotel. You’ll get close enough to the Caribbean, and it’s tropical. You can reserve an inside cabin for up to four if you’re on a tight budget, and there’s NO airfare involved for a fabulous all-inclusive vacation.
The marina in the south of France is hard to match. There’s one in Newport (a community in Jersey City) that offers gorgeous views of New York. There’s a mall for shopping, but for a bigger variety you can take the nearby PATH train to the Big Apple for shopping, theater, and dinner (see more below). Return for an overnight at the Courtyard by Marriott Jersey City-Newport to avoid a late night drive home, or for a second day in the city, and the feeling of a well-deserved escape.
New York City
How fortunate are we to have one of the greatest cities in the world about an hour away? Before your journey to New York, secure a free museum pass to the Guggenheim, MOMA or other museums on the list, courtesy of the Princeton Public Library. Buy tickets to see the Rockettes in the Christmas Spectacular, go ice skating at Rockefeller Center or Wollman’s Rink, and wait in line to see the holiday window displays. Last year I was wowed by Saks Fifth Avenue’s projection display!
The Christkindlsmarkt is world renown in this German city. For a replicated atmosphere, go to one or more of these nearby Christmas markets for gift items, clothing, toys, food, drinks and so much more! Mifflinburg Christkindl Market, New York City Christmas Markets, Christmas Village in Philadelphia (I go to the Columbus Circle Holiday Market).
The Polar Express
This is great for families! Stroll around the beautful town of New Hope, then hop on the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad, which is an exciting steam engine train. Buy tickets for the North Pole Express and ride with Santa and Mrs. Claus for up to 1.5 hours while eating cookies and sipping on hot chocolate. Shhh! Each kid gets a gift!
Check out these full service spa hotels for a little pampering and R & R: Crystal Springs Resort – Elements Spa in Vernon, Borgata Hotel – Spa Toccare in Atlantic City, and Marriott Princeton Hotel & Spa at Forrestal in Plainsboro.
Atlantic City can be just as exciting as Vegas, and it’s right here in our own backyard. Even if you don’t gamble, there are hot tubs, spas, shopping, restaurants, dancing and shows to keep you entertained. The Borgata is the new AC darling, but there are so many wonderful casino hotels to choose from, i.e. Trump Taj Mahal, Harrah’s Resort, and Tropicana.