"Living History" at Palisades Park
Move over, Pacific Palisades; hello, New Jersey Palisades
There's no million-dollar mansions eating up the land, nor is there an interstate running through it -- the Palisades Interstate Park in New Jersey stands in its natural state, overlooking the Hudson River with more than 100,000 acres of historic lands and parks only about four hours from D.C.
There, you'll find 30+ miles of cross-country skiing and hiking trails, plus boat launches, picnic areas and a nature sanctuary.
If you decide to just drive it, the Palisades Parkway runs 42 miles long through both New York and New Jersey -- or try the Henry Hudson drive that begins at Edgewater Park and follows the Hudson River for seven miles. You might want to plan that route for the fall.
The park also offers up a place for kids to have their own little getaway during the weeklong Camp Palisades (PDF), Aug. 19-23 ($150 per child). Kids will learn outdoor survival tips, enjoy field days with campfires, and take plenty of day hikes.
Another nearby park might also warrant a stop: Fort Lee Historic Park is a 33-acre cliff-top park with numerous overlooks and many interesting "history hikes," special events and a battle demo during retreat weekend.