The Nature Explore Outdoor Exhibit has lots of hands on spaces. Photo by the EcoTarium
The Nature Explore Outdoor Exhibit has lots of hands on spaces. Photo by the EcoTarium

25 Spring Family Day Trips That Boston Kids Will Love

If there's a season when Bostonians are itching to get out and explore, it's spring: After a long, cold New England winter, it's liberating to pile the family in the car and discover someplace new, preferably one that showcases flora and fauna in kid-friendly ways. We're blessed to be within driving distance of many beautiful places fit for a weekend escape, but sometimes, you don't have multiple days to spare. All of these places offer unique ways to celebrate the season, and all clocking in at under two hours from city limits, make for a fine springtime day trip.

Editor's Note: Please keep your family and others safe by wearing masks and social distancing. If a location appears too crowded, try using the “nearby” search feature on our event calendar to find something else to do. Due to Covid restrictions, hours and features may change. Check websites prior to travel.

Spring Family Day Trips That Boston Kids Will Love: Bulb River in Sandwich
"Bulb river" is a must-see in Sandwich. Photo courtesy of Heritage Museums & Gardens

1. The Heritage Museum and Gardens

Visit The Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich to check out their famous "bulb river," which is bursting with grape hyacinths in the warm months. Save plenty of time to play in the natural playscape (Hidden Hollow) where kids can happily spend a whole day.

2. Joppa Flats National Wildlife Refuge

Head to Newburyport for a visit to Joppa Flats National Wildlife Refuge, one of the state's best places for bird watching. Make sure to check the website calendar as the refuge frequently offers fun activities and programs for kids.

3. Nantucket

Hop aboard a high-speed ferry and spend the day on Nantucket admiring the island's blooming daffodils and building sandcastles at Children's Beach.

4. Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center

Take a drive to Mystic, CT to visit the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center featuring an onsite natural history museum with live animals!

5. The Oyster Festival at Bowen's Wharf

Head to coastal Newport, RI in May for their annual Oyster Festival at Bowen's Wharf. Double dare your kiddos to give the tasty mollusks a try! The fest is scheduled for the weekend before Memorial Day, and details are forthcoming. But any time you're in town, be sure to visit the Tennis Hall of Fame, and tour some of the historic mansions, as tours resume in the spring.

Spring Family Day Trips That Boston Kids Will Love: Ipswich River Sanctuary
Explore oddities of nature at Ipswich River Sanctuary. Photo by Sean Benham/CC BY 2.0

6.  Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

Explore the 12 miles of trails making up the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. Look for birds and turtles in your journey, and don't miss the Nature Play Area at the visitor's main entrance—kids can build a log cabin, scale a miniature observation tower, balance on log balance beams, and more.

7. Martha's Vineyard

Take a ferry ride to Martha's Vineyard, where more than just the beach awaits families. Visit Island Alpaca to meet baby Alpacas, play frisbee golf, and hike miles of trails at the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary.

8. Plimoth Plantation

Head south of Boston to climb aboard the Mayflower II, a full-scale replica of the real deal. Then tour Plimoth Plantation to see how the pilgrims lived.

9. Ride the Swan Boats

Celebrate the season with a spin around the pond in the Public Garden on a Swan Boat, which reopens for rides on May 8. Then stroll through the park to take in the spring flowers, and complete your outing with a walk down Newbury Street for a scoop of the best ice cream in the world.

Spring Family Day Trips That Boston Kids Will Love: deCordova Sculpture Garden

Explore at the deCordova Sculpture Park. Photo courtesy of The Trustees

10. The deCordova Sculpture Garden and Museum

Spring is also the perfect time to visit the deCordova Sculpture Garden and Museum in Lincoln where, unlike many museums, kids are encouraged to touch and interact with the art. 

11. Davis Farmland

Davis Farmland in Sterling opens in April and this massive farm is worthy of a day trip—yes, you will need the entire day. Hold baby goats, play with kittens, go for a pony ride, bounce on a giant pillow, and so much more.

12. Arnold Arboretum

Arnold Arboretum is in full bloom during the spring, making it a must-do trip. The main attraction? The beautiful smelling lilacs that blossom mid to late season.

13. Discovery Museum

While the inside of the Discovery Museum in Acton is a trip in itself, a visit in the warmer weather will definitely have your kids playing outside at the Discovery Woods exhibit, complete with a huge treehouse and nature play areas. 

Spring Family Day Trips That Boston Kids Will Love: Museum of American Bird Art

Meet a new friend. Photo courtesy of Museum of American Bird Art 

14. American Museum of Bird Art

The birds are back and singing at the American Museum of Bird Art in Canton. Explore nature-inspired art, hike the property in search of birds, and play nature bingo. And be on the lookout for the museum's newest addition—The Nest, a nature-themed maker space for kids that is coming soon.

15. Kelleher Rose Garden

Stop and smell the roses at Kelleher Rose Garden in Brookline—they bloom in late spring. Then burn some energy at Minot Rose Garden and Playground inside the garden. 

16. Larz Anderson Park

Larz Anderson Park is bustling in the spring with 64-acres of picnic areas, a dog park, trails for walking, and a playground. Make sure to climb the park’s big hill for spectacular views of Boston.

17. York's Wild Kingdom Zoo and Fun Park

Cross the border into Maine for a visit to York's Wild Kingdom Zoo and Fun Park. Along with zoo exhibits featuring animals like tigers and alligators, there's also the Butterfly Kingdom and a duck pond. Once you're done with the animals hit the amusement park rides. Save this trip for later in the spring, as the zoo opens Memorial Day weekend.

18.  Blue Hills Reservation

Lace up your hiking boots and go for a hike at Blue Hills Reservation just south of the city in Milton. Make sure to check out the Trailside Museum at the base while visiting. 

19. The Dr. Seuss Museum

Another museum that is open year-round, but brings a little something extra when the weather shifts to spring, is the Dr. Seuss Museum. Along with an interactive inside experience, the museum is also home to a sculpture garden featuring over 30 bronze statues ranging from famous characters like the Cat in the Hat to Dr. Seuss himself. 

Spring Family Day Trips That Boston Kids Will Love: Old Sturbridge Village

A cooper at work making a barrel. Photo courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village

20.  Old Sturbridge Village

You don't have to drive too far to travel back in time—just take a drive to Old Sturbridge Village. This outdoor living history museum really starts to come to life after a long cold winter with live animals, gardens, and demonstrations. 

21. Sudden Pond

Grab a reel and some worms and spend a day basking in the spring weather while casting a line at Sudden Pond in North Andover. 

22. EcoTarium

While the EcoTarium (reopening this spring!) in Worcester offers up year-round fun, a visit in the spring brings added adventures. The museum's outside spaces are filled with hiking trails, live animals, a nature playground, and even a train that circles the property.

23. Robbins Farm Park

Feel like you've been there, done that with all the city playgrounds? Hop in the car and take a ride to Arlington to race down dueling slides at Robbins Farm Park

24. Nickerson State Park

Throw your bikes in the car and head to Nickerson State Park in Cape Cod to cruise along the 22-mile long bike trail. Pack a picnic or plan a stop at Colby's, attached to the trail, for lunch or ice cream!

25. Treetop Adventures

Looking for a soaring excursion? Spend the day zipping through the forest in Canton at Treetop Adventures zipline course. Mark your calendar, the zipline course opens April 17.

Places featured in this article:

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

Joppa Flats Education Center

Bowen's Wharf

Battery Steele

deCordova Sculpture Garden

American Museum of Bird Art

Kelleher Rose Garden

Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden

EcoTarium: An Indoor-Outdoor Museum of Science and Nature

Nickerson State Park
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