Summer Activities

15 Best Campgrounds for Tent Camping with Kids Near LA

Marshmallows. Check. Bug spray. Check. Air mattress. Check. Camping season is upon us. Hurrah! And thankfully in this multi-terrain region of ours, you don't need to go far to enjoy a night or two under the stars. A weekend without electronics, breathing fresh air, and enjoying meals over the campfire: all this can be yours without driving more than an hour or two—in some cases even less! Read on to find an easy destination for you and your happy campers. (And if the one you want is full this weekend, check out a few last minute camping spots.)

Best Long Island Camping and RV Sites for Families and Kids

Families have for generations bonded over camping. On Long Island, where campgrounds offer oceanside views, hiking trails, historic landmarks, and lighthouses, experienced camping families or first-timers can enjoy roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, making shadow animals on tent walls, chasing after fireflies, and otherwise celebrating nature.

We've compiled a list of the best camping destinations in Nassau and Suffolk counties just waiting to host you and your family. Some are located in state or county parks, where residency restrictions might apply. Others are private or corporately run and open to all. Regardless, camping is especially popular on Long Island from May to October, so call ahead for availability and other essential information.

For tips on other LI outdoor activities, see our guide to Long Island playgrounds and parks. For exciting day trip possibilities and other nature-related activities, see our Long Island getaway guide.

Top New Amusement Parks and Rides Opening This Summer

The summer family vacation season is right around the corner, so it's never too early to start dreaming of your escape. Amusement parks, of course, are always top of mind for the kids come summer, so we've trekked up and down the eastern seaboard (virtually, anyway) to find the coolest new theme park attractions set to open this spring and summer.

There's a brand-new thrill ride at Six Flags New England, a pint-sized coaster at Sesame Place, a whole new Toy Story Land in Orlando, and Thomas Town opens near Pittsburgh with plenty of locomotive fun. Read on for more than a dozen new top attractions we're looking forward to checking out at amusement parks spanning from Massachusetts to Florida this summer.

9 Summer Art Camps for Boston Kids

Sure, kids dabble in paint and clay once a week or so throughout the school year. But if you have a child who really loves to create, a week-long (or longer) summer art camp might be just the thing to ignite a passion. These nine visual art camps, happening throughout the summer around Boston, span ages and art mediums, so you're sure to find one that gets your creative kid excited. And be sure to check out our complete camp guide for other art-based programs, including theater camps and more.

Register for Free Swimming Lessons for NYC Kids

The New York City Parks Department offers FREE aquatic programs for children under 18 all year round, as well as adults, but you have to apply through an online lottery for each session. Spring swimming lessons are on the horizon, and the lottery for registration opens Monday, March 12, 2018 at noon through Monday, March 19, 2018 at 11:59pm.

The spring swim lessons will take place Monday, March 26, 2018 through Thursday, June 7, 2018.

Read on for the details on where to swim for free, or check our directory of paid kid swim classes, and mommy-and-me swim lessons for babies and toddlers, including those specifically in Brooklyn and in Queens.

Big Bounce America Brings Inflatable Fun for Kids This Summer

Kids, grab your best pair of socks and your most breathable T-shirts, because you've got some bouncing to do. The Big Bounce America, billed as "50 percent activity, 50 percent dance party," is coming to a location near you this summer. 

Featuring 20,000-square-feet of inflatable fun, what's billed as the world's largest bounce house and its colorful surrounding village, offer something memorable and enticing for every age group. Besides the bouncing, there's even a water slide and a massive ball pit. It will hit a number of Mommy Poppins cities in the next few months, including Boston, the NYC suburbs, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Houston, Texas, and even one of our favorite family vacation spots—Orlando.

We've got the scoop on what to expect, ticket info, and must-know info about this new family attraction.

New Water Playground Coming to Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Good news for Queens families and anyone who visits the borough's biggest greenspace: Flushing Meadows Corona Park is getting a seriously face-lift that includes new water play areas for kids to cool down on a hot summer day. 

As part of a master plan developed by the Parks Department, the three fountains built for the 1939 and 1964 World's Fair are getting a major update, including spray jets and a mist garden. The revamp plans also include fresh landscaping and more places to relax around the park.

12 Family Camping Spots Near NYC in State Parks and More

Camping trips are great for kids, especially NYC kids. They get to spend time outside in green spaces that may seem, to city kids, to go on forever. Plus they can learn esteem-building skills, including how to canoe, fish, chop wood, cook over a fire, pitch a tent, and more. Although there are a number of campgrounds offering fancy perks these days, from wi-fi to heated swimming pools, many camping trips are low-tech, so they allow families time to unplug and reconnect with one another. Plus, pitching a tent is generally an affordable alternative to a hotel.

Camping can be dirty and difficult, though, and require plenty of equipment, including a car. That alone can make an overnight trip to the great outdoors a challenge for many NYC families. But it doesn't have to be that way. There are several campgrounds in the tristate area that are perfect for first-timers and families. For example, we recently tried Tentrr, an online site that rents campsites in the New York area, such as the popular Hudson Valley, that are fully equipped with tents, cots, and other equipment. Just reserve your favorite site and show up!

Read on for more top campgrounds within a few hours of the city that are packed with things to keep kids busy, and two of which are within city limits. A number of these prime destinations are accessible via mass transit, and one campground even provides nearly everything you need. Remember, some of these favorites book up early!

There's no excuse not to hit the woods for a family vacation this year.  


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