Our Favorite Family Trips within 3 Hours of Burlington


Fall is one of our favorite times of the year to take weekend family trips and expose our daughters (and ourselves) to some of the wonderful activities around us.

For us, two to three hours is a reasonable amount of time in the car and allows us the opportunity to make these trips in either a day or extend to a few days. Whatever you decide for the length of time, I hope you enjoy some family trips soon!

Family Road Trips near Burlington, VermontGranby Zoo

Located in Granby, Quebec, this is always a family favorite. We prefer to do this trip in 2 days. This is because we like to take our time at the zoo, and then go back the next day for the amusement and water park. The drive is almost exactly 2 hours. We always pack a lunch and leave it in the car, then once lunch time hits, one of the adults goes out to the car to get our cooler. This saves some money, and we can make lunch we know the kids will eat to keep their energy going! 

The Wild Center in Tupper Lake

 The Wild Center is an indoor and outdoor gem, featuring animals and artifacts specific to the Adirondack Region. Their outdoor space and activities will engage and entertain from the youngest to the oldest in your group.  The center is open daily from 10-6, and our family of 4 easily spent the entire day there. From walking along the treetop trail, lounging in the human-sized spider web,  admiring some lake trout, and catching an otter show, there is something for everyone. Pack a picnic lunch, or grab something to eat in their Cafe. Either way, enjoying lunch outside will be a much-appreciated break from all the excitement.

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The Wild Center Family Trip

Lake Placid

After a day at the Wild Center, we drove on to Lake Placid where we had booked a room at Lake House Hotel which is a block away from Mirror Lake. They have a sister hotel on the lake which you have access to with this reservation. We enjoyed their pool, kayaks and stand up paddle boards. Many of the hotels in this scenic community border the picturesque Mirror Lake and offer free use of kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards. Spend the day basking in the sun, and swimming in this refreshing lake, or visit the Olympic Center at Whiteface. Make sure to grab breakfast or lunch at the Big Mountain Deli and Creperie, you won’t be disappointed.

Ausable Chasm

This “Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks” as they call themselves, was one of our favorite stops on the way back from Lake Placid. The hikes and adventure trails were perfect for the kids, and there was always something to look at. The tube ride down the river was fun for all of us!

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Family Trip to Ausable Chasm


This is a wonderful amusement park for kids, located in Glen, New Hampshire. They have a number of rides for kids of all ages, although I think it’s great for ages 2-8. There are a number of hotels in the area that also include park tickets in their daily fee, which can be a great deal. Also, if you enter the park after 3 pm, you will get a free ticket to go back the next day, which is awesome.

Glen Ellis campground is close to the park and we have heard it is great camping experience! Make sure to take a dip in Echo Lake, a gorgeous lake surrounded by lush mountains. For dinner, check out Margarita Grill or Moat Mountain Brewery, and if you are there for Sunday morning breakfast, hit up Red Fox Bar and Grille for their Sunday Brunch! You can also coordinate this trip with back to school shopping as North Conway Outlets are a 10-minute drive from Glen.

Cirque Du Soleil

This is something we try to do every other year. Montreal is the home base for Cirque Du Soleil, and they release new shows every two years. Although tickets can be fairly expensive, we find these shows to be well worth every penny. Our youngest daughter was 3 when she saw her first show, and she did not take her eyes off the stage the entire time. There are some great hotels you can find online, or check Airbnb.

Jay Peak Waterpark

We have found that there are often deals for a hotel room, paired with the water park during this time of the year, often times found on daily deal sites. This is our favorite way to do the waterpark. We head up late morning to get there at a decent time. We love hiking up to the tram, and taking it back down, it’s a nice reward and incentive for the kids! The guest rooms often have a kitchen, so we bring food to cook, or a premade meal, and wake up the next morning and spend the day at the Pumphouse Waterpark. 

Montshire Museum of Science

The weather during September is beautiful and perfect for the water play area at Montshire, and typically less crowded than during the summer months. We make sure to plan this trip on a nice day so we can enjoy the outdoor space. There are water activities, hikes, and some outdoor instruments that are entertaining and fun for all. Lunch usually consists of a stop at King Arthur Flour. This is a quick and easy trip to do in one day and is good for kids of all ages.

For any day trip, we always pack a cooler full of water, seltzers, cheese sticks, applesauce packs, fresh fruit, and yogurts. We also bring a snack bag with granola bars, pretzels, meat sticks, rice cakes and trail mix. Trips get costly if you buy snacks at all your stops, and we have found this is an easy way to save some money on our trips. While in town, we check the local paper to see if there are any farmers markets or outdoor live shows that we can check out while we are visiting. Our girls always bring activities for the car such as a bag with books, coloring books and pencils, a travel game, and if the drive is over two hours, an electronic device.

Whatever you and your family decide to do, have fun making memories!



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