Best Chicago Beaches for Families

Who says you need an ocean to go to the beach? Chicago families can get their swimming fix at a good old-fashioned beach by taking advantage of the “Midwest Coast” of Lake Michigan, or the many smaller lakes and even repurposed former quarries dotted throughout the suburbs.

The best beaches for families include easy parking, bathrooms with changing facilities, concession stands for little snackers, and maybe a playground or other attraction for when kids get tired of the water. Many of the Chicago Park District beaches are accessible by bus for families who prefer public transit.

Here are some of our favorite family-friendly beaches in Chicago and the suburbs.

Hot-Air Balloons in NJ: Guide to the QuickChek Balloon Festival

The QuickChek Balloon Festival, one of New Jersey’s most highly anticipated family events of the summer, will take place Friday, July 26 – Sunday, July 28, 2019 at Solberg Airport in Whitehouse Station.

This summer festival fave has everything: beautiful hot-air balloon ascensions, top-notch performers, rides, freebies, great food, and a central New Jersey location. Here's what you need to know before you go.

Kid-Approved Rockaway Beach Restaurants

Headed to the family-friendly beaches of the Rockaways this weekend? Be sure to pack an appetite along with your bathing suits. Queens' Rockaway dishes up plenty of options. You'll find typical beach fare of course, with hot dogs and burgers aplenty, but the area has also earned a reputation with foodies for its more adventurous eats. Whether you're looking for the best eats on the boardwalk or a delicious dinner to cap off a day of splashing in the waves, here are the best places to eat in the Rockaways with kids. 

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Celebrations, Birding 101, July 20-21

The weather is hot, hot, hot these days and being outside can be nothing short of brutal. Pools, splash pads, and water parks are the obvious solutions, but we wanted to take the fun level up a notch for you, which led to this amazing round up of 25 Water Games for Kids To Play All Summer Long. Plus, there's an awesome free printable you can download to check them off as you try them! 

This weekend also marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, and Houston is celebrating it big by hosting events all around the city. From Space Center Houston and Discovery Green to the 1907 Depot Museum in Tomball and Dow Park in Deer Park, one thing is certain: there's definitely a moon landing celebration happening in your neck of the woods. You can even head to Pleasure Pier and the Children's Museum of Houston to get in on the festivities!

For even more summer fun, we highly recommend checking out our Summer Fun Guide and 50 FREE Things to Do with Kids This Summer lists, as well as our July GoList and event calendar. And don't forget to enter our Mommy Poppins Great Big Summer Giveaway for your chance to win some awesome prize packages. 

Now let's check out what all this weekend has in store so we can make it another great one!

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Apollo 11, Delicious Go Little Tokyo, Comic Con

It's one small step for Mom... one giant leap for the whole family as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of man's first steps on the moon. We look to the skies. We look to the skies some more. We look to the simulated skies. We look to the skies the way they did in the olden times... on a TV screen.

The commemoration reminds us of the boundless possibilities of all we can accomplish. We can get free lollipops and ice cream, and play for half the price. We can watch in awe (and no small degree of jealousy) as the population of Los Angeles decreases by half and San Diego's simultaneously increases by the same measure. (Must be magic.) Despite adversity, we can boldly go where no one has gone before.

Look at the stars. The great kings of the past look down on us from those stars. So whenever you feel alone, just remember: those kings will always be there to guide you and so will Mommy Poppins.

Take one small step... to keep reading for our most stellar picks for this weekend's fun.

Weekend Fun: Space, Science, and a River Fest; Jul 20-21

“That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” It's hard to believe that it's been fifty years since Neil Armstrong uttered those words as he walked on the moon, and Boston is ready to commemorate this monumental achievement. Lunar celebrations are taking place at the Museum of Science and JFK Library, as well as in Cambridge and Worcester.  

Over the moon? How about some science under the sun instead? Also not-to-be-missed: A super cool river fest, a visit with some new zoo babies, and perhaps the coolest Boston theater performance this year (as far as many local 'tweens are concerned): Percy Jackson's The Lightning Thief.

Weekend Fun: Sunflowers, Space, and Sunken Gardens ; July 20-21

Believe it or not, we are just about half-way through summer vacation. But, don’t let those “back-to-school” displays get you down; there is still so much to do this summer! There’s still plenty of time to enjoy day trips, outdoor movies, and a little fun at the beach! This weekend, kids can soak up music in Thompson and Hartford, take a giant leap in Bridgeport, or welcome the sunflowers back to Griswold

We update our Events Calendar frequently so be sure to check back for even more great suggestions. To keep up with the latest family-friendly events and activities, sign up for our newsletters, and follow us on Facebook, and Instagram. Have a fantastic weekend!

Weekend Fun for DC Kids: Outer Space, Shark Week July 20-21, 2019

From the nation’s capital to the ‘burbs, this weekend promises loads of fun no matter what your family is looking for. 

Stargazers will be interested in the the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, which is being celebrated with special film showings and activities. Foodies can enjoy ice cream or pizza making, and music lovers can kick back , tap their feet, and enjoy a summer concert

With so much variety to choose from, the question isn’t “what are we going to do?” but “how are we going to pick?” Read on below for some help in figuring out the family calendar or check out our events calendar for more ideas. 

Weekend Fun:Sprinkler Day, Moon Landing, Open Gardens, Sharks

It's mid-July, which means the time is ripe to race through some sprinklers. This weekend marks the return of one of NYC's water fun highlights: the (FREE!) salute to shower power, Sprinkler Day at Asphalt Green (there's another one in August, if this weekend doesn't work for you). Midsummer also produces a bounty of, well, produce—so what better time to hold the annual Open Gardens Day? Saturday's your chance to explore a few of the city's gorgeous green community gardens.

PLUS: It's the 50th anniversary of America's trip to the moon, so the American Museum of Natural History is hosting a day packed with performances, hands-on activities, and presentations dedicated to the wonders of space. Kids can also make moon models and more with Science Teacher Sarah—for free! Or head out to Staten Island to make exploding moon rocks and eat moon pies!

Is that all, you ask? Well, no, of course not. There's a whole parade of family-friendly events trooping through town: The Paley Center is unveiling its Shark Week exhibit, the Rubin Museum hosts its annual Block Party, Dumbo hosts the annual Come Out and Play Family Day, and the (air-conditioned) American Gargoyles story time and workshop at the Skyscraper Museum invites kids to take another look at familiar buildings (author Neil Cohen visits Long Island City on Sunday, too).

Our ever-expanding summer fun calendar has lots more in store, including free outdoor movies in every borough. Keep an eye on our July GoList. And if the heat is getting to you, don't miss our list of 50 fun things to do to cool off in NYC.

Weekend Events: Music Fest, Apollo Tributes, Kids and Nature

Sing, swing, and sway by the sea to family-friendly tunes at the Great South Bay Music Festival all weekend long. Kids will love the Kidzone.

Join the Cradle of Aviation Museum as it celebrates the superheroes of the Apollo program on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing— with special guests the New York Avengers cosplay group. Or enjoy Apollopalooza at the Long Island Children's Museum. These are just some of the exciting activities going on across Long Island this weekend.  

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