Mystic, Connecticut (about 2 hours, 15 minutes from NYC)Welcome aboard … as you explore the Charles W. Morgan, billed by the folks at Mystic Seaport as “the last wooden whale ship in the world.” The area’s shipbuilding prowess dates back to the 1600s, when majestic ships sailed the Mystic River and shipyards populated its banks. Here, you can stroll through a re-created 19th century village, swab the deck in the Children’s Museum, marvel at the maritime skills of historical interpreters and listen as chanteymen perform the music of the sea. Don’t miss the beluga whales and other aquatic creatures at nearby Mystic Aquarium. Plan ahead and your kids can get even closer to African penguins through hands-on Penguin Encounter. If your timing is right, stop by Treworgy Planetarium to learn how mariners use the sun and stars to navigate.

WHERE TO STAY: The Inn at Mystic was recently renovated, rendering this iconic property atop a hill quite the bargain.