10 of Our Favorite Picnic Spots With Built-in Entertainment

As soon as the days are warm and mild enough to eat outdoors (whether or not summer has officially kicked off), dining al fresco is hard to beat. If your kids can't sit still for a restaurant meal even in a kid-friendly backyard, consider packing a picnic or picking up some portable eats and striking out for your nearest greenspace. Here are our 10 favorite parks to picnic, with bonus points for entertainment during or after your meal.

Houston-Area Water Parks: Cool Off at These Hot Spots

As we all painfully know, summer in Texas is HOT. Playing in the water isn't only a fun activity for the kids, it's almost a necessity. When it comes to water fun, nothing is more exciting for kids than visiting a water park! There are several water parks around Houston that will make for an easy day trip and even more that are just a few hours away. If you are looking for something closer and quicker, then check out our list of the many great splash pads at local parks. There are also many free pools throughout the city where kids and parents can keep cool.

For more ideas on kid-friendly activities this summer, like fun summer day trips or parks with the most shade, visit our Summer Fun Guide for Houston families.

Best Camp Clothing Labels and Name Tags for Kids' Gear

It's just one of those mundane chores that need to be done: labeling every article of clothing, towel, backpack, and other gear that will travel with your child to summer camp—or to school or daycare—in the hopes that when it inevitably gets lost, it will find its way home to you. Nothing's going to make this job of labeling camp clothes, baby bottles, or school supplies fun, but we've rounded up the whole range of different ways you can label your kids' stuff, from swimsuits to water bottles and sippy cups, with beautifully embroidered personalized labels to fun, custom name tags with cute, colorful designs, to ones you can make at home.

Here are a few the best name labels for kids' and baby gear that we've found, and yes, most all offer dishwasher-safe, easy peel-and-stick options!

Still searching for the perfect summer camp for your kid? Check out our local guide to summer camps near you.

Free Spray Parks, Splash Pads, and Fountains for Kids in Hartford County

Just because Hartford County is centrally located doesn't mean that you have to venture very far to enjoy the water. Even though waves and beach sand are not in close proximity, there are still plenty of options to enjoy water play in lakes, pools, water parks, and splash pads. If you’re looking to cool down in the hot summer months, check out one of these fun locations. Best of all, like so many of our Mommy Poppins faves, they're free, so there's no need to bring your wallet (just towels and sunscreen)!

Best Spray Parks and Water Fountains for Preschoolers in Boston

Boston has a lot of big, splashy, exciting spray parks and fountains that can be great fun for families in summer. But I've learned the hard way that not every water playground is suited for preschoolers. 

A few years back, when one of my sons was 4, I took him and his brothers to the Christian Science Plaza fountain along Huntington Avenue. To me as a parent, it was a wise selection: awesome fountain, I didn't have to walk far from the parking spot, and bathrooms were nearby in the Prudential Center. But my 4-year-old kid was horrified by the fountain and how big it was. It took him a half hour to even wander up to the where the water shot out of the ground, and soon after he got soaked and was freezing. It was not the best choice for a young child. 

With that thinking in mind, we've rounded up some gentler, preschooler-friendly local fountains and splash pads. Be sure to check out these outdoor pools with fun slide and spray features for more ways to cool off this summer, or if a climate-controlled environment is more your family's speed, consider a visit to a preschooler-friendly indoor water park. There are plenty of ways to get wet around Boston—without tears!

8 SoCal Campgrounds with Extra Entertainment To Keep Kids Happy

Camping with kids is a smorgasbord of sights and sounds, loaded with opportunities to explore the great outdoors. Hiking and biking, telling stories fireside, and unplugging from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives is good for the soul; but let’s face it, even with the whole of Mother Nature at their fingertips, kids sometimes get bored.

It’s time to up the ante on family camping, and you don’t have to ditch the tent to inject a bit of pep in your sulking teen’s step or enchant your tantrum-prone three-year-old. Southern California is home to several awesome family campgrounds that offer kids exciting alternative activities and entertainment when they tire of forest tag. Zip lining, anyone? Fishing? Rock climbing? Movies? Even ghost tours? All these and more are offered at the Southland campgrounds below. Get ready for the best of both worlds, cause we dare your kids to get bored at one of these campgrounds.

9 Super Fun Water Parks, Slides, and Pools on Long Island

Slip-slidin’ away!  There are few better ways to stay cool on Long Island this summer than by heading down a slippery water slide, splashing around in a refreshing swimming pool, or getting drenched at a water park. That's why we invite you to check out our list of the hottest spots on Long Island where kids and adults can stay cool, even on the most sweltering days. Check websites for rates and hours. Town pools are usually open to nonresidents, but they might have to pay a higher entry fee.

Find more fun in our guide to Long Island theme parks and our guide to the best parks and playgrounds for Long Island families.

Awesome Water Theme Parks Near Philadelphia

The theme of summer is always: keep cool. And what better way to stay cool and have fun than visiting a nearby waterpark. Slides, lazy rivers, surf simulators, whirpools, and even swim-up bars for the adults; we've got a list of great waterparks not too far from the Philly area. So grab your bathing suits and towels, and get ready for an adventure.

Top Playgrounds for Kids in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

Beautiful parks are plentiful throughout Westchester and Lower Hudson Valley—and while picnicking, hiking, and gorgeous views are great, what kids tend to care about most is the playground

It's generally easy enough to find a playground nearby, but sometimes it's worth heading out past your neighborhood park for a playground that packs a little more punch. We've rounded up seven fun spots that are worth the drive. All boast imaginative play structures, shade, and other amenities that add up to a day of fun for the whole family.

15 Awesome Water Parks for New Jersey Kids and Families

New Jersey has several fantastic water parks, some of them right on the beach! From big-name parks and boardwalk favorites to the state's first municipal water park, we've rounded up 15 of New Jersey’s best water parks and an overview of what to expect from each one. We've even included a couple of fantastic indoor water parks to keep kids splashing on rainy days.

If you're looking for water fun on a slightly cheaper scale, check out our Best Water Playgrounds and Splash Pads roundup. For more summer awesomeness, visit our New Jersey Kids Summer Activities Guide and our NJ Theme Parks Guide.

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