My family and I were recently invited by Chevrolet to take a trip to Riverhead. Since we are always looking for fun trips that don’t require air travel, we jumped at the idea to explore a local town. Riverhead is located in Suffolk County on the North Shore of Long Island. It’s about a 2-hour drive from Manhattan, but once you’re there you feel like you’ve actually gone much farther.
We got to borrow a Chevy Traverse for the weekend, which was the perfect car for our family. With two young kids any sort of travel can be challenging, but a roomy SUV with built-in Wi-Fi made our time in the car not only manageable, but also fun. One of the highlights of the Chevy Traverse was its surround-vision camera—that means it not only shows you the rear view when you’re in reverse but your front and side views as well. This is an amazing feature for city dwellers who have to park on the street. Another feature we loved was that the rear-view mirror also turns into a camera, which is great for when your trunk space is filled with packages, or in our case a double stroller. Cruising around Riverhead in the Traverse was a breeze and we really got to focus on family time and seeing the sights. There was plenty to see, but my family really loved five things in particular….
The Long Island Aquarium makes Riverhead a great place to visit any time of year. It is located in downtown Riverhead along the Peconic River. Our favorite exhibit was the Lost City Shark Exhibit. The sharks swam super close to the glass, which was so fun and scary. We also tired out the Submarine Simulator Ride. We were able to bring our 2-year-old on, which made it his first amusement ride. There are also some great interactive exhibits as well. We had fun exploring starfish, hermit crabs, and clams. The aquarium is also home to one of the largest insect exhibits in North America. Overall, this was a great way to spend the day.
While not all the vineyards are suitable for children, we found a few that were great for our young kids. At Palmer Vineyards our boys got to run and play outside while we sipped and tried different wines. It was relaxing and scenic and I got a ton of great pictures. We also stopped at Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyards, which also serves as a home for rescued horses. Families can tour the vineyard to learn more about the horses and kids can also enjoy pony rides. Some other great vineyards for kids include Harbes Family Farm and Vineyards and Martha Clara Vineyards, both of which have farm animals.
The Shopping in Riverhead
While shopping might not be a favorite activity for everyone in the family, the Tanger Outlets in Riverhead had a lot of stores to explore. We went there twice in two days. The kids loved the Disney Store and the food court, and I got to shop around and actually feel like I was on vacation. Even if you don’t want to spend money, the window-shopping alone is worth the trip.
The Food in Riverhead
The local restaurants are really great. Our favorite was Jerry and the Mermaid, which is located right next to the aquarium. While the menu is mostly seafood, there were options like chicken wings and burgers that our kids loved. Farm Country Kitchen was a great option for lunch, it offers a wide selection of sandwiches and salads and even a boxed lunch option if you plan on touring the vineyards. Other great restaurants for families include Bistro 72, Buoy One, and Cliff’s Elbow Room.
The Big Duck
The Big Duck is a museum and historic landmark that—you guessed it—is shaped like an enormous duck. Inside you’ll find a gift shop that sells T-shirts, stickers, magnets, and a bunch of other duck-themed items. It makes for the cutest photo-op and our kids loved it. It really is a quintessential road trip destination. It also is a great place to plan a rest stop, as there is a large bathroom nearby.
Chevrolet recently teamed up with Harris Interactive to conduct a survery on the great American Road Trip. Here are some of the highlights:
- Eighty-one percent of New Yorkers let their kids weigh in on road trip planning versus 67 percent of parents nationally.
- Seventy-seven percent of New York parents who have a dog agree that they like to bring their dog on family road trips.
- Surprisingly, kids are not the most stressful part of the family road trip. Keeping the kids entertained and hearing the ever-present “Are we there yet?” ranked lower than traffic, packing, and cost when it comes to the top stressors on family road trips.
- Parents in New York are more than twice as likely as U.S. parents overall to say 5 hours is the perfect road trip length.
- Families today bring an average of 6.6 devices on family road trips—New Yorkers bring an average of 7.1 devices.
Chevy provided me with a car for this trip. However, all opinions are my own.
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Main image: One of my sons exploring an interactive exhibit at The Long Island Aquarium.