After being cooped up at home for the last few months, it’s safe to assume many people are itching to get out and explore, maybe even escape for a few days.
Travel is slowly coming back, giving many the hope for a summer vacation. If you don’t have one planned yet it’s not too late — consider planning a family trip to The Hamptons in New York. For those of you thinking The Hamptons is a place for rich socialites, you’re wrong — there are plenty of family activities.
For animal- and nature-loving families don’t miss out on the Elizabeth Morton National Wildlife Refuge. Although it’s mostly known for hiking and bird watching, you can also see chipmunks, wild turkey and frogs. Head to the 1.2-mile Wild Bird trail to hike through wooded and beach areas. During the summer months make sure to visit on Saturday mornings for family-friendly activities, including arts and crafts.
Another popular place for animal and nature lovers is the South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center where guests can get a close-up view of the native wildlife. Kids are given an eye-level view of the habitats of various local animals, including reptiles, birds, amphibians and marine animals. Pick up a field guide or ask an educator to give you a tour. Explore the various floors and outdoor space while learning and engaging with animals.
If your family isn’t interested in nature, head to the Children’s Museum of the East End, a must-visit for kids of all ages. The guests are encouraged to play, run and touch everything; climb on blocks; go down slides; dress up as a firefighter or pirate; go fishing with magnets; learn about farm animals and veggies; and more. Once you’ve explored inside, adventure outside and follow the rainbow path to the amphitheater, picnic tables, butterfly garden and even an educationally themed mini-golf course.
Main Beach, on Ocean Avenue in East Hampton, is the place to go for days in the sun, sand and surf — make sure to get there on the earlier side to get a prime spot because it fills up fast. Spend the day relaxing on the beach and playing with the kids in the ocean. If you work up an appetite, grab a bite to eat from the cash-only snack bar.
Wearing sunscreen at the beach is a given, especially for little ones running in and out of the water — and anyone who forgets that usually regrets it with a vengeance the next day. One aspect of sunscreen I admittedly didn’t think about until just a few years ago is how detrimental its impact is on marine life and reefs. Oxybenzone is a chemical found in most mainstream sunscreens — it works to prevent sun damage, but is also carcinogenic and harmful to coral. The chemical makes coral more susceptible to bleaching and damages its DNA, interfering with reproduction and killing dependent marine life in the process.
By Hainan Airlines
IMAGINE SETTING SAIL IN AN EXOTIC, far-flung destination, just you and your family or group of friends aboard a private yacht. The sun warms the deck, a soft breeze dances off the water, and an über-attentive crew caters to your every whim while the personal chef whips up the finest of the local cuisine with all of your culinary preferences top of mind. All the while, the captain navigates the yacht into secluded coves; to pristine, seemingly undiscovered beaches; or even to the hottest spots along the coast for a night out on the town.
An interesting and accidental beneficial side effect of recent travel bans is that large swaths of the world affected by over-tourism are beginning to heal themselves. Major cities from Los Angeles to London and Beijing are reporting their best air quality in years with less nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide emitted by cars and industry. The canals in Venice are so clear, schools of fish and even a dolphin were easily spotted by locals — all of this and more taking place before Earth Day’s 50th anniversary in April.
With technology advancing faster than ever, children globally are becoming attached to devices. Adults too. Our Netflix queue and ever-expanding inbox call our names even when we’re on vacation. We carry distractions with us everywhere, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to truly connect with your loved ones.
When you want to get away without getting behind the wheel, Amtrak has news for you — and budget-friendly news, at that. Enjoy the ride this summer to your next destinations from the comfort of a private Roomette room on Amtrak with a two-for-one deal on select one-way routes.