Independent Families: 'How can we take in NYC and upstate New York?'


Q. My husband, two teenage children (14 and 17) and myself are enthusiastic to explore New York City for a few days this summer. From there we want to travel independently around New York State for the remainder of our two-week holiday. Can you advise on the best way to go about this? Packages seem to cover NYC, but is there an option for an upstate NY leg?

Chris Webber, via e-mail

A. New York City is an ideal destination for a family with teenagers, but summer temperatures regularly hit 30C and the city can become sticky and claustrophobic. So, scores of New Yorkers jump into their cars and head off to other parts of New York State, whether it's to kick back in the Catskill Mountains, schmooze in the Hamptons, or fish in the Finger Lakes.

The most practical way to approach such a holiday is to book a fly-drive package. These can provide you with flights, three or four nights' accommodation in New York City, car hire, and hotel accommodation along a pre-set route around the state. It doesn't afford as much flexibility as an independently organised trip. But with such a lot to see, packages cherry-pick the highlights, ensuring you make the most of your time. They also guarantee accommodation in the busiest period. I have selected four different options, focusing on upstate New York and the beaches of Long Island. Most include an average of two to four hours' driving time on the days you are on the move, spending around two nights at each stop.

American Sky (0870 904 0920; www.americansky.co.uk) offers just such a self-guided trip. Its 13-night "New York's Nature" tour incorporates three nights in the city. The itinerary starts in Manhattan at the Edison Hotel, well located for sights like MoMA, Grand Central Station and Times Square.

You then pick up your car and head north up the Hudson Valley to the state capital, Albany, perhaps stopping at Bear Mountain State Park (001 845 786 2701; nysparks. state.ny.us) en route - a popular spot for mountain biking, fishing and swimming.

After a night in historic Albany you'll continue north to Lake Placid in the Adirondack Mountains, where again, there are lots of outdoors pursuits on offer. Then it's on to Alexandria Bay in the Thousand Islands region, the chain of islands in the St Lawrence River trailing along the US and Canadian border (there are about 1,800 of them). Despite being the birthplace of the sickly salad dressing, the area is spectacularly beautiful and best explored by boat.

After two nights there, you'll move to Rochester, where you can visit 18th-century Fort Ontario and go kayaking on the Erie Canal. The penultimate stop is Niagara and its spectacular falls - getting soaked on a boat tour is always a winner with teenagers.

Before heading back to the airport you'll spend a night in Syracuse, a university town sliced in two by the Erie Canal. From there you could explore the stunning Finger Lakes region - 11 thin stretches of water, straddled by the State's best vineyards.

The price of this itinerary, based on a 9 July departure, is £1,069 per person. The price includes return British Airways flights from Heathrow to New York JFK or Newark, three nights in Manhattan and nine upstate as well as car hire, maps and insurance. The hotels are on a room-only basis.

A similar option is Virgin Holidays' (0870 220 2788; www.virginholidays.co.uk) "New York, New York" package, which covers almost the same route but in the opposite direction. The seven-night tour can be added to a short break in the city. After a few nights in Manhattan, you would drive upstate to the Hudson Valley and the old money and mansions of Poughkeepsie. Not far from the town, the resorts of the Southern Catskills used to be popular with New York's Jewish communities - immortalised in Dirty Dancing.

Next stop is Corning - a historic glass-blowing town. Then it's on to Niagara for two nights, then Rochester and Lake Placid. The final stop is Lake George in the Adirondacks. The cost is £1,137 per adult, which includes four nights' room only at Skyline Hotel in NYC, and the seven-day fly-drive package including car hire and hotel accommodation.

Alternatively, a four-night New York City package could be extended by 10 days, costing £3,444 for the four of you, based on an early July departure. The price includes return Virgin Atlantic flights from Heathrow to JFK and four nights' accommodation in Manhattan. You could then make your own arrangements for the next 10 days.

Get information from New York State Tourism (020-7629 6891; www.nylovesu.co.uk).

Tailor-made trips are offered by companies such as Premier holidays (0870 043 5950; www.premierholidays.co.uk) which can plan a trip for you including flights, hotels and car hire. The Hudson Valley Resort is close to the Northern Catskills - a rugged, wooded area a far cry from the paparazzi frenzy of The Hamptons. That's not to say the beach resorts on Long Island aren't good for celebrity gawping. Rates for accommodation range from expensive to extortionate. However, on Long Island's northern shores the Woodbury Inn, is an affordable option.

From there, you could explore the Hamptons or Montauk - a wild expanse of coast. A 12-night trip through Premier would cost from £1,765 each for you and your husband and £745 for each child. The price includes return Heathrow to JFK flights with Virgin Atlantic; four nights' room-only accommodation in a quadruple room in New York City and two nights' room-only in Long Island, Syracuse, Albany and Poughkeepsie; car hire is also included.

Send your family travel queries to The Independent Parent, Travel Desk, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS or e-mail crusoe@independent.co.uk

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Life and Style
Could you tell the difference between this and an organic alternative?
food + drink

Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

News
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday

Actress sees off speculation about her face in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online

Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Sivero in Goodfellas; Simpsons' wise guy Louie

The sound of Goodfellas mafioso Frankie Carbone demanding $250m in “damages” would be chilling enough on film, let alone in real life.

News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
News
i100
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?