I want to take my 16 y.o. daughter on a coaster trip next week and we're thinking of heading to S.F. Great Adventure and possibly hit S.F. New England and S.F. America while we're out there.
However, I'm having a difficult time finding a decent, safe hotel at a good price. I've been reading reviews of the hotels in and around the Trenton area and they're either very expensive, in un-safe areas, run-down dumps, or a mix of these. Can anyone give me some good hotels in that area to stay at? Or maybe I should re-think this trip and do Hershey and Dorney instead. We had decided on S.F. parks because we have seasons passes.
Try checking South of the park there are some hotels along the NJ turnpike at exits 3-5 that might be a little cheaper/nicer. You would have a 30-45 minute drive to the park from there. Towns you might check include Mt. Holly, Mt Laurel, Bellmawr and Runnemede. *** Edited 8/8/2008 3:28:31 PM UTC by dragonoffrost***
The unfortunate part of Great Adventure's remote location in the middle of the state is that it's not all that close to anything. You're bound to find some hotels near the southern exists on the Turnpike, but you might also want to check between exits 99 and 120-ish on the Garden State Parkway. There are bound to be some hotels that are far enough away from the shore to be reasonable, and still within a 45-minute (or so) drive of the park.
Does anyone remember the SFGAdv on-site hotel dealio? Worst decision EVER was to scrap that hotel...SF could have been printing their own money, with Snyder on the 100 and Shapiro on the 50.
I've run across the hotel problem more than a couple times, now I mostly just make the drive to the shore and stay with relatives. For ME to want to stay with MY relatives....that tells you something... ;)
When we went to SFGA we had to stay in a hotel about 30 minutes away. There does not seem to be any good hotels close by. You will find a lot of them 30-45 minutes away. Exits 3-5 does ring a bell but can't remember where we stayed. Good luck finding something closer. SFGA is an awesome park with a lot of high thrill rides so I would not skip it. I want to go there again some day. You might want to skip SFAM, very very bad park that I consider unsafe and will never visit again!! If you have never been to Hershey go there you will not be disappointed. It is one of my favorite parks. Dorney is a nice little park with some very good quality rides. I have never been to SFNE. Have a fun safe trip!:)
^^ Even if Six Flags doesn't want to get into the hotel business, why don't they create a situation for hotels to be built on site by independent operators? Surely the park would benefit from the business that the hotels would create, not to mention rent/fees they'd be able to charge the business owners. Seems to me that Six Flags is really missing out on some obvious money, regardless of how they ultimately decide to go about it.
I'm in no position to tell you to change your plans (if you want to get to the Six Flags parks, that's what you should do) but I don't think you'd be unhappy if you stayed in the area of Hershey and made a side trip to Great Adventure. Why not go to Knoebels as well? It's not that far from Hershey (an hour to the north, IIRC) and definitely worth a trip.
Rob: Great suggestion (Knoebels) and I will definitely look into it should we end up in the Hershey area. My issue would be time. I only have Monday thru Friday for this trip. So, with Monday and Friday being driving days, that only leaves Tuesday thru Thursday for park visits.
If you stay at a hotel near Dorney Park, you will be right by Dorney, about 1.25 hours from Hersheypark, and about the same for Great Adventure. You could easily get up a little early and drive to them on respective days. Plus, if you're crazy, which I am, multiple parks are definitely possible on three days. Hershey and Great Adventure both will probably need the full day, but if you need to spend a full day at Dorney, it's either crowded like it has not been all summer or you've got a serious Talon/Steel Force/Hydra/Voodoo addiction. LOL Typically during the week, you can ride all the Dorney coasters with some repeat rides within three hours. I have ridden all the coasters except Lazer and then re-ridden Voodoo, Hydra, and Talon within TWO hours.
Something else that all this depends on: How much does your daughter love coasters? If she's a freak for them like you, Great Adventure is a must. If you want more flat rides, then Great Adventure would be a big mistake. It's expensive even for season pass holders because you need to get Flashpass Gold in August (if you don't, you will ride a max of 5 coasters. LOL) Both Hershey and Dorney have more to offer in the flat ride area. Plus, Dorney's selling Lazer, so the last chance to ride this Schwarz...I can't spell it, but this could be your last chance to ride the Lazer at Dorney.
Whatever you do, I hope you have a brilliant vacation!
Take care, Jack *** Edited 8/8/2008 5:17:17 PM UTC by bunky666***
Bunky666 has made a good point a hotel around Dorney would make a lot of sense as that would be centralized between Hershey and Great Adventure 2 great parks. Throw in Dorney and what a great trip! PS Knoebels is also a very nice park, but only 2 coasters and no steel if that matters, but a very fun place however!
Knoebels has only two major coasters but that's no reason to pick it over another park like Dorney. It all matters what the person is looking for. If you want lots of coasters, go to Dorney. If you want an amusement park experience unlike any other, go to Knoebels. Personally, I would pick Knoebels over Dorney if for no other reason than to create a little balance. Great Adventure and Hershey are two large theme parks so I would appreciate a third day at a park that's a lot more laid-back.
:) Glad we could be of some service. If I wasn't working, I'd show you the ropes at Dorney. LOL You're going to have SO much fun, and I think it's wonderful that this is something your daughter is going to do with you. Not too many dads will go to amusement parks with their 16-year-olds, and not too many 16-year-old daughters WANT to go with their dads. Really a nice family event. Good times! I'm jealous. My dad hates rides, and my mom still swears that she would hate roller coasters (she's never been on one and loves flat rides though...go figure!). I've never been able to get them to go with me once I was old enough to go on my own.
Where are you staying? If you don't want to announce it to the site, you can PM me. I live right here in Allentown/Bethlehem area, so there might be somewhere I can point you to that may be cheaper. :)
DEK said: OK. Took the advice and booked a hotel near Allentown. A little more than I wanted to spend but it seems like the norm on the east coast. So, will hit Dorney and Hersey and the longer drive to SFGAdv
Darn!! Wish I would have chimed in earlier, but I thought the Allentown hotel options were WAY over-priced!! But hey, "you're on vacation!", in addition, the drive to GAdv will not be a short one...good thing you'll be with your young daughter and probably taking a leisurely pace.
Why no one mentioned Philly for hotels I have no idea as that's centrally located to HP, Dorney, and GAdv...and other than the Hilton Garden Inn Gonch mentioned, all the various hotels I stayed at in Princeton last year were awesome and cheaply booked through Priceline!
From my house right outside of Allentown, heading towards Quakertown, SFGrAdv is 77 miles. Knoebels is much further away at 140 miles. Hershey is something like 70 miles away as well. You just gotta know the tricks. LOL
What does a hotel in Allentown run? The ones near the airport (I think they're actually considered Bethlehem) are likely more expensive as they are located near something very important for travel, but there's gotta be some cheaper options. I can't imagine that the draw here would be so great that they could afford to charge an arm and a leg. Of course, depending on where you're from, I'm guessing that hotels in your area are cheaper than around here? I dunno.
Any ideas what your plans for the trip now are? In terms of what parks you're going to do now that you know where you are staying?
bunky: I booked a hotel in Bethlehem so if you could give me good directions to SFGAdv I would greatly appreciate it.
We're going to be arriving on Monday, so I figured to do Hershey park on Tuesday. That way it's not such a long drive after driving all day on Monday. Then we're going to do SFGAdv on Wednesday and Dorney on Thursday. I figured it would be pretty late on Wednesday when we get back from SFGAdv so I'd want to do the shortest drive the next day. Then we do the looooonnnnggg drive home on Friday.
My daugher and I do a lot of things together. Being that her mom never wants to do anything (we're divorced) I like to take my daughter to whatever things I can. And actually, this trip was her idea. She wanted to go some parks she's never been to before; so, off we go!
Thanks to everyone for all the help/advice. We're so looking forward to this trip.