Summer Activities

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!

Best Swimming Pools for Westchester and Hudson Valley Families

Nothing says summer like a day at the pool, and there's no shortage of spots in Westchester and the lower Hudson Valley to take a dip. These area pools offer everything from water slides and three-foot waves to a lazy river! Need a break? Many have concession stands and places to picnic, as well as playgrounds, hiking trails, mini-golf, and other activities to truly make it a great day out. 

Here, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites. Some of these—particularly the Westchester pools—require county residency, so take note before you head out. Another note: Yonkers' Sprain Ridge Pool remains closed for repairs, but a 2019 reopening may still be in the cards, so stay tuned! 

Prefer splash pads instead? Check out our list of go-to spots—and look to our Summer Guide for even more warm-weather fun. 

Register for Free Summer Swim Lessons for NYC Kids

The New York City Parks Department offers FREE swim lessons for children and adults all year round, but you have to apply through an online lottery for each session. The FREE summer swimming lessons are on the horizon, and the lottery for registration opens Monday, June 10, 2019, at 7am.

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

How Can I Find Free Summer Meal Programs for Kids?

Many parents rely on the free breakfast and lunch available through the local school system to keep their kids' engines running—but what happens in the summer? Thankfully, there are still free meal programs available when school lets out.

Parents will find free breakfast, lunch, and sometimes afternoon snacks and more meals served up at certain parks, schools, community centers, hospitals, and elsewhere this summer. Many of the summer meal programs are federally funded through the USDA's Summer Food Service Program, but administered by local organizations, cities, or states. Read on for tips on how to find a free kids meal near you.

Historic Carousel and New Ferris Wheel in Forest Park Are Sweet Rides for Preschoolers

Good news for pint-sized thrill seekers in Queens: There's a new ferris wheel just for kids at the preschooler-friendly Forest Park Carousel Amusement Village, now open for the season. This leafy, old-fashioned mini amusement park in Forest Park (located in the park on the bandshell side of Woodhaven Boulevard) has long been a hidden-gem favorite of Queens families, with its historic carousel, rides, and games. The opening of a ferris wheel specifically designed with little ones in mind makes the park the perfect activity for a slow summer's day. Here's what to know before you go.

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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LA's Best Swimming Pools with Play Areas Worth a Drive this Summer

Sure, there are miles of great beaches in SoCal, but sometimes you need a break from the sand, and you want water that's a little less, well, wavy. It can be worth going a little farther to find a swimming pool that’s open to the public for recreational swimming and offers something special: Think slides, water play features, extended shallow areas for the little ones to splash in, or a beautiful, peaceful setting. Here’s our list of cool destination swimming pools worth a drive in LA and OC. Most range in price from $1 to $12 per person, and several of these pools offer discounted season passes (check websites for details).

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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