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Make the Most of a Family Road Trip: Take the Bridgeport – Port Jefferson Ferry.
Even routine family road trips can become an adventure with a little planning. We took the Bridgeport – Port Jefferson Ferry across the Long Island Sound on a recent weekend visit to see family on Long Island and got a break from our usual humdrum road trip with kids.
Family Road Trips
Summer road trips are a time of letting yourself go, windows down, scenic byways flashing by, as thoughts of your destination numb the senses with anticipation. Then you realize that you’re driving with two kids under the age of five and the incessant crying from the last road trip (the whining non-stop from Philadelphia to Albany that you’re trying to repress) remind you that you may need to modify those expectations a bit… or not.
Crayons, Barbies and maybe a video are all the Bean (4 ½) needs – she’s our dream traveler. The Dude (1 ½) however, can’t stand to be awake in a car seat for more than 30 minutes. All parenting ideals sort of slip (or are non-existent) when in the car in this situation. Yup – on road trips lots of screen time (even for the little one) and gummies are all acceptable. I know the Dude will outgrow his hatred for road trips but we’re not going to sit at home until he does.
We’re learning to make the “getting there” as adventurous as the destination it self – wherever it may be.
Getting to Long Island
Our regular monthly trip to see family on Long Island via the Throgs Neck Bridge (the highlight of the drive) is starting to lose its “umph” with the Bean. This is usually a four hour drive but from Memorial Day to Labor Day can easily take five hours as we shuffle along with the Hamptons traffic.
So we decided to make the most of the warm weather and take the Bridgeport – Port Jefferson Ferry across the Long Island Sound. This cut our drive down to about 2 ½ hours, allowing us to spend a little over an hour hanging out on the upper deck of the ferry.
Bridgeport – Port Jefferson Ferry
When I was growing up we frequently took the ferry from Port Jefferson on Long Island over to Bridgeport, Connecticut for trips to New England. I would stretch my neck over the edge to watch the jelly fish float by. It always felt like an adventure.
The Ferry is a car and passenger ferry and equipped with a snack bar, lounge, indoor seating with plenty of tables and great upper deck seating. The crew of the Ferry are experts at tightly squeezing on more cars than you can imagine. The Bridgeport – Port Jefferson Ferry Company also runs a number of fun excursions that all start with a ferry ride from one of the two ports. The Ferry runs year round and reservations are recommended.
We pumped the kids up for the boat trip. The best part – once the ride was over we would be just minutes from grandma and grandpa’s! Although the sun didn’t start shining until close to the end of our trip, the kids loved the novelty of taking the ferry and this will likely become a more frequent way for us to travel “home”.
Traveling with young kids can really be exciting if you think a little outside the box to make the family road trip more interesting. When you get to Port Jefferson, set aside a little time for family-friendly dining and Long Island seafood – think Champagne and Lobster! – at restaurants on the water. Getting there is half the fun on the Bridgeport – Port Jefferson Ferry, so you will arrive ready to enjoy all that Long Island has to offer.