Budget-friendly staycations and local getaways are a great way to spend the holidays. They provide even the most cash-strapped individuals a chance to break away from their routine without the stress or haul required to take a more traditional vacation to a far-off place. Whether you are looking for a little history, the chill of an outdoor winter activity, or the culture and arts of a tight knit community, there is no better place to head than Hudson County, NJ.
Photo Credit: Jersey City UpFront
Jersey City Getaway
If the hustle and bustle of big city life is getting to you this season, consider heading to Jersey City, NJ. It’s definitely not rural, with a population in excess of 250,000, but whether your goal is escaping Newark or NYC, this little city is sure to provide a small-town feel by comparison. It has all of the conveniences you’ve grown to appreciate from city life and all of the culture you expect during a getaway. This diverse community sees representation from a wealth of cultures and has over 75 different languages spoken in the city, so it is certain to feel like an exotic vacation. Check out the Office of Cultural Affairs for information on events and activities available during the holidays.
If seeing the sights is more your style, Jersey City provides one of only two ferry routes to Ellis Island, they have some interesting behind the scenes tours that fill up almost immediately. Catch the New Jersey ferry in Liberty State Park, but not before stopping to see the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, where millions of new Americans embarked on a journey to their new home. You will also find Empty Sky, a beautiful 9/11 memorial designed in the site line of where the twin towers stood. You can also plan a fancy lunch or dinner at the two restaurants in the park, Maritime Parc and Liberty House, or in the summer grab some friends and have a picnic.
Photo Credit: Sohani Mayekar
If you like outdoor adventures, head to the Hudson River Loop for 10 miles of fun that covers New York and the New Jersey cost of the Hudson River. While balmy summer weather might be in the rear view mirror during the holidays and you might be questioning that whole Garden State moniker, winter weather can provide its own opportunities for unique views of the local landscape. Below are some local sights you can visit anytime of year, along with the breathtaking beauty of the Hudson River and the New York City skyline (something you can only see from outside of the city).
Jersey City: Riverview Fisk Park, Historic Jersey City and Harsimus Cemetery, and the Loew's Theater
Hoboken: Lackawanna Train Station, Stevens Institute of Technology's amazing views and architecture, Pilsener Haus, and the Hoboken Museum's House Tours
Secaucus: Richard W. DeKorte Park
North Bergen: James J. Braddock North Hudson County Park
Holiday Travel Precautions
Before heading off to (or staying in) Hudson Country for your holiday getaway, make sure your home is prepared. Any disruption to your routine can provide a green light for thieves to burglarize your home, and negate your efforts to destress. Consider investing in a home security system if you don’t already have one. At the very least, ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on things. You should also make sure you fully disconnect power from any holiday lights or other decorations to eliminate the risk of fire, even if you are just taking a day trip. It’s also important to make sure your decorations are not located near a heat source, which can potentially cause them to catch fire. Since local travel usually means driving, make sure your vehicle is prepared for any weather conditions you may encounter while you are away. Packing your ice scraper, lock de-icer, gloves, and other essentials in a tote will make carrying them into your hotel much more convenient. Don’t forget a spare jug of windshield washer fluid to ensure your drive is as safe as possible.
Whether you decide to stay over or just make it a day trip, staying local means you minimize the stress of travel. A trip to Hudson County is the perfect solution. Offering outdoor excursion, important historical and cultural sights, and an abundance of other attractions, it's an opportunity for you to get away without blowing your holiday budget. Just remember to take the same precautions you would if you were traveling abroad.
What are your favorite local attractions?
Henry is the co-creator of FitWellTraveler. The site blends two of his favorite subjects (travel and health) to provide readers with information about how to get the most out of both. He believes travel can change you, and good health preserves you. He combines both in his work on FitWellTraveler.