Winter Day Trips from Boston with Kids
When the temperature drops and Boston's winter doldrums set in, winter day trips with the kids can be just the thing to raise everyone's spirits. Whether inside or outside, a winter morning or afternoon escape to these parks, museums, and farms can provide a little excitement during winter and are a welcome respite from the routines of snow season.
For more cold-weather outings, see our roundup of the best winter activities near Boston and our guide to winter hikes and walks to take with kids.
Note: Many locations throughout Massachusetts are requiring masks be worn indoors and proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test. Check locations for specific details.
Winter Day Trips Near Boston
Kids can learn to ski so close to Boston. Photo courtesy of the Blue Hills Ski Area, Facebook
The spot where so many local kids learn how to ski is adjacent to a exciting, kid-friendly hiking trails (think fun rock scrambles) and a quaint Trailside Museum that has year-round outdoor exhibits of animals, including otters and owls.
A welcome reward for a winter walk: meeting some friendly barn animals on a winter day trip. Photo courtesy of Appleton Farms
Appleton Farms—Hamilton and Ipswich
One of the country's oldest continually operating farms offers is a great destination for a winter day trip with guided tours, miles of hiking trails (including stroller-friendly farm roads), snowshoe rentals, and more. Kids can join in on the environmentally-focused Afternoon Adventures or Homeschool Scientists programming, with opportunities to learn and explore nature, trails, crops, and more. On winter weekends, there are fresh-baked treats for sale, and fire pits going for a cozy, afternoon.
Great Brook Farm—Carlisle
This gorgeous, flat property features groomed cross country skiing trails, Native American historic sites, and free tours of a working dairy farm, and barn.
The property around the Gore mansion has become a favorite for local snowshoeing. Photo by Eric Workman/TMP Images courtesy of Gore Place
The expansive property around the Gore mansion has become a favorite for local snowshoeing and a popular winter day trip spot. There is also a nature playscape for kids to frolic around and a story trail featuring a book a month. Take-A-Walk backpack rentals are back this season, where kids can rent a bag filled with all sorts of tools to help identify trees, make a map, and explore nature treasures. Be sure to check the website to see what events are coming up, including concerts, tours, and festivals.
The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum is the largest park of its kind in New England. Sculpture by Jim Dine; photo courtesy of the park
Drumlin Farm and deCordova Sculpture Park—Lincoln
Lincoln is a special place to be in winter with kids. At Drumlin Farm, kids can explore the farmyard filled with animals like pigs, sheep goats, chickens, and cows, and the deCordova Sculpture Park grounds (always free for children under 12) offer an expansive place to run around and see art in the fresh air. Inside the museum, kids will be in awe of the sculpture exhibitions and interpretive programs.
Tower Hill Botanic Garden—Boylston
Families can enjoy holiday light displays, hot cocoa, and other festivities through the garden’s 15 acres until December 30, 2021. The children’s Winter Discoveries program also runs through the end of December, and then again in February. With a pre-purchased ticket, children can explore a different topic each day through games, interactive investigations, trail explorations, and more. The indoor gardens are open, too, with social distancing and mask policies still in place. Check the website for changes due to weather.
Boston Children's Museum—Boston
This beloved museum is known for its engaging, interactive activities and programs for kids of all ages. Some favorite exhibits include New Balance Climb, which includes a fun, curvy 3-story climbing structure, and PlaySpace, where the imagination takes a ride with various creative experiences. Note that the museum is operating at a reduced capacity, and everyone over age 2 must wear a mask. Reservations are required.
This museum captures the artwork of so many kids' favorite author. Photo courtesy of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
This museum offers a life-size exploration of artwork by a favorite children's author. The environment is particularly well-suited to bringing out kids' own creativity, with an interactive studio filled with art materials and plenty of oversized renderings of Eric Carle's most beloved characters. Masks are required for ages 5 and up. Note that the museum is closed from January 1–14, 2022.
First published December 2017; updated December 2018, 2020, 2021