Summertime means beach time, but while there are lots of shores near and even in NYC, some are more family-friendly than others. After packing up your gear and schlepping the kids by car, train, bus or ferry, the last thing you want to find out is that your chosen beach has no bathroom or that bathing suits are optional. Skip the guesswork with our roundup of these seven beaches for NYC families, including detailed info on attractions, food, bathrooms and hidden costs. Most are within two hours of Manhattan by car but are easily accessible via public transportation as well.
Founding Editor & Publisher
I was born in Park Slope, spent my early years in the West Village and by the time I graduated high school, had lived in 4 of the 5 boroughs. Growing up in NYC in the '70s meant the streets were my playgrounds, museums and avant garde music venues were the kid-friendly activities and living downtown taught me the importance of creating community for families in NYC.
Now, raising my own two children in Lower Manhattan, I try to create the same sense of magic and community that I grew up with, despite today's more commercialized version of kid-friendly New York.
I started writing Mommy Poppins in 2007 to share my vision for a more artsy, educational, non-commercialized and community-oriented way to raise kids in New York City. Today, Mommy Poppins is relied on by more than 500,000 parents each month to curate the best things to do with kids in New York City, New Jersey, Long Island, Connecticut, Westchester, Boston and Los Angeles, plus a Family Travel site. I'm happy that we are successfully helping families do more than just find a way to spend an afternoon with kids by sharing activities that are enriching and create amazing family memories.Follow her on google+.
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We're all ears. Whether you love everything about Mommy Poppins or you think we need improving, we want to hear your opinions. We made some big changes to the site recently, and your feedback will help us keep making it better. To show our appreciation, we're giving away a four-day trip to Club Med Punta Cana for two adults and two children! All you have to do is finish our survey and provide your honest feedback, and you'll be entered to win this amazing vacation.
Club Med invented the all-inclusive resort, so it’s no surprise that it offers some of the most popular family-friendly resort destinations in the Caribbean, as well as around the world. The all-inclusive resort has become so preferred by families, and the competition so fierce, that resorts keep upping the ante to make their experiences more and more enticing. That’s a big win for families, who get to enjoy the ever-increasing amenities of these resorts. Club Med is meeting the challenge with the relaunch of its all-inclusive family resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic with cool activities from Creactive by Cirque du Soleil experiences and boutique-hotel styling. I was invited to check it out and was wowed by the new offerings.
And, guess what? We're giving away a free trip to Club Med Punta Cana! Just respond to our reader survey and enter to win this amazing dream vacation for your family. See all contest rules and details here.
For parents and kids who love video games, there's a new must-do. The Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, Long Island, is now home to a retro video game exhibit where, for a flat fee, you get a 90-minute window to play as much Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Mortal Kombat II as you can.
The Arcade Age exhibit consists of over 50 authentic video game machines from the 1980s. Atari, Midway and Sega are in heavy rotation here. You'll find popular throwbacks like Dig Dug, Pole Position, Missile Command and Breakout that will defintiely take you back. It's also fun discovering some of the more eclectic games you may have missed and your children certainly have never heard of before now. Read on for more on our recent visit.
Do automatic-flush toilets scare your preschooler? Do you always forget to put a spare onesie in the diaper bag? Do you go crazy trying to get the crumbs out of your car’s cup holders? These are the types of real problems parents face every day. Who would know the solutions better than other parents? The just released book Parent Hacks: 134 Genius Shortcuts for Life with Kids written by Asha Dornfest, founder of the Parent Hacks website, and her community of parent hackers has the answer to these issues and, well, 131 more.
Parent Hacks is a decade of the cumulative knowledge of sleep-deprived parents. What I love about it is its down-to-earth take on everyday frustrations and issues. Because the advice comes from real parents, many of the solutions rely on clever tricks using everyday things you find around the house, rather than pricey products. It's frugal, real advice—and often hilarious, including the fun illustrations by Craighton Berman. There are a lot of hacks dealing with poop and other gross situations parents find themselves in, making it a great choice for those with babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
We love this book so much that Mommy Poppins is helping to throw it a party. Read on to find out more about probably the most useful new parenting book around and how you can join us for a fun celebration if you are in NYC.
There's something wonderfully nostalgic about kids getting a thrill from a ride on a carousel. There are more than a dozen merry-go-rounds in our city and all offer a unique spin on this traditional kiddie ride. With spring in full swing, it's a great time to take your first carousel ride of the season. There are merry-go-rounds in all five boroughs, which means there's probably one near you.
There are few more delightful ways to celebrate the arrival of spring than by viewing the beautiful cherry blossoms flowering all over New York City. Everyone seems to know about the Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, but there are other places to enjoy gorgeous cherry blossoms without the crowds.
In Japan, cherry blossom viewing is taken to almost religious heights. Blooming flowers are carefully watched, enjoyed and celebrated, and traditional Sakura Hanami parties feature eating, drinking and music.
Here are the best places to see cherry blossoms in New York City this spring.
All-inclusive resorts are popular with family travelers because they make life so easy. But, all those options can also take a big environmental toll. An all-inclusive resort may create tons of food waste on a daily basis, not to mention loads of electricity for air conditioning and water for washing pool and bath towels. Nobody wants to feel guilty while trying to enjoy a relaxing getaway so a resort that meets the needs of families and the environment too seems like a real dream vacation.
Velas Vallarta, a family friendly all-inclusive resort with 10 acres of oceanfront in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, has an impressive green initiative that goes beyond the typical superficial hat-tip to eco-friendliness. Plus, the all-suite resort, with kitchens in every room and a free bottomless mini-bar, offers an affordably luxurious all-inclusive experience.