Outdoors

Spraygrounds and Splash Pads for Kids in Fairfield County, CT

If your kids are anything like mine, summertime is all about finding the coolest playground splash pad. Seriously, where were these things when we were kids? We had either scorching hot asphalt playgrounds, or plastic kiddie pools and popsicles at home. Now, as parents, we can appreciate how great it is for our kids to be able to swing, slide, and cool off in one convenient, nearby spot. Here's our roundup for spraygrounds, splash pads, and water sprinkler parks in Fairfield County; best of all, most are free.

Check out our Connecticut Beach and Water Fun Guide for more ways to stay cool this summer. 

Free Outdoor Summer Movies for Westchester and Hudson Valley Families

Summertime means loose schedules and later bedtimes, which is perfect for taking advantage of the abundance of FREE outdoor movies offered throughout Westchester and the Hudson Valley.

We’ve rounded up an assortment of outdoor flicks for your family’s enjoyment—films both old and new, and for a range of ages, with the added appeal of a Hudson River view or sand in your shoes. Some offer added amenities like pre-film entertainment (from live bands to magic shows and more), complimentary refreshments, or food for purchase. But all have one thing in common: FREE summer fun! 

For an alternative take on outdoor movies, check out our roundup of drive-in movie theaters. Looking for outdoor concerts? We've got you covered there, too! And don't forget to consult our complete Summer Activity Guide and Event Calendar

Free Outdoor Movies for Long Island Kids This Summer

With the price of movie tickets for the family these days, there’s nothing better than FREE entertainment for the kids. Do you know several Long Island municipalities host outdoor summer movie series, where you can spread a blanket or prop up some lawn chairs and have a picnic while enjoying a family-friendly film?

At these outdoor community events you can enjoy a beloved film for a second time or catch up on a recent blockbuster without having to spend a dime on a movie ticket. Seating is first-come, first-served, so arrive early. Also, be sure to double-check the venue or organization's website or social media feeds for any potential weather-related cancellations.

Outdoor movies are just part of the summer experience on Long Island. You'll find more fun things to do with kids in our Summer Fun Guide, including FREE outdoor summer concerts. It's also a great time to hit a Long Island amusement park, water park, or one of our great family-friendly beaches

Until then, lights, camera, action! 

The Best Lakes for Swimming with Kids in New Jersey

New Jersey is known for its outstanding beaches, but it also has some of the best lakes for swimming in the Northeast. This summer, if you want a break from the pounding waves, dive into the calm waters of one of these beautiful New Jersey lakes.

For more wet (and dry) summer fun, check out our NJ Kids Summer Activities Guide—and sign up for our FREE newsletters to get posts like this delivered to your inbox!

12 Kid-Friendly Texas Hill Country Wineries To Visit

From Houston, you can drive just a few hours outside of the city and find yourself surrounded by the majestic landscape and pristine fields of wildflowers in the Texas Hill Country. This beautiful scenery combined with lakes, rivers, campsites, and historic towns makes a quick getaway completely worth the time and energy. While you're in the hill country, taking some time to visit some of Texas' phenomenal wineries is almost a rite of passage on any weekend getaway... even with kids in tow!

The Texas wine scene has exploded in popularity in recent years and sampling some of the delicious wines made right in our own state is a must. These family-friendly hill country wineries are a fantastic choice for visiting on your next family trip.

Free Outdoor Movies in NYC This Summer

New York City screens hundreds of FREE outdoor movies each summer, many of them just for kids and families. 

A few outdoor movie series, such as RiverFlicks for Kids in the West Village, are aimed specifically at children. But even grown-up series, such as those in Bryant Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park, include some family-friendly screenings in their lineup. The amazing Movies Under the Stars series offers screenings in parks and at playgrounds in all five boroughs every summer, and you can find them as they're scheduled with this super-secret link to our calendar search (OK, not so secret now). We've even filtered it for you by borough: ManhattanBrooklynQueensThe Bronx, and Staten Island.

Movies usually begin when evening falls, between 8 and 8:30pm, but plan to arrive early...the well-known series fill up fast, and many parks offer pre-movie entertainment. Even if your local park is screening a flick you've watched a dozen or so times at home, it's a totally different experience viewing it in the open air alongside several hundred other fans. It's a thrilling, communal event, and a summer rite of passage for New Yorkers of all ages.

So grab your calendars, roll up your picnic blankets, and start plotting your FREE summer of entertainment now. And be sure to check out the other amazing seasonal activities in our Summer Fun Guide.

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Best Places for Family Playtime in NYC

Playing together with your kids is one of the best parts of being a parent. Not only does it get everyone off the couch and moving, but you're also creating memorable family experiences.

Most city families don't have a backyard to play catch in, but there are still plenty of ways to play in NYC that are as engaging for grown-ups as for children, from mini-golf to bumper cars, bowlingbilliards, and beyond. Read on for a few of the best ways you and your kids can disconnect from technology and enjoy a few hours of awesome bonding time.

8 Texas Lakes To Visit for Unforgettable Family Getaways

It's written on every Texan's heart: Summertime is lake time (or river time, pool time, any area of water that will cool down your core body temperature time). While we love a day out at a fun water park, there is just something special about relaxing on the banks of your favorite man-made lakes - if you aren't a native Texan, don't judge us for this; we live in a mostly flat state - or riding the waves on a jet ski or tube. As a native Houstonian, I've spent at least one summer at these spots around the Lone Star State because they are beautiful and full of things for kids and adults to do.

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