Great Connecticut Beaches for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Gentle Surf, Tide Pools, Bathrooms, Playgrounds, and More

Parenthood may have put an end to lazy lounging in the sun, but visiting a great Connecticut beach with a curious, playful toddler or preschooler in tow is a whole new kind of fun. What makes a good beach or lake experience with a little one? These tot- and mom-approved spots have features like bathrooms, concessions, gentle (or no) surf, tide pools, or spraygrounds that allow for more independent exploration with fewer meltdowns. Just pack some toys, sunscreen, and your patience, and your bound for a fun beach day.

Best Beaches Near NYC for a Summer Family Staycation

Summertime means beach time, and while there are lots of beaches near and even in NYC, some are more family-friendly than others. After packing up your gear and schlepping the kids by car, train, bus, or ferry, the last thing you want to find out is your chosen beach has no bathroom or bathing suits are optional. Skip the guesswork with our roundup of eight easy-to-reach beaches for NYC families, including detailed info on attractions, food, bathrooms, and hidden costs. Most are within two hours of Manhattan by car and are easily accessible via public transportation as well, so you can plot a great staycation for your family.

Find more beach fun in our Beaches, Pools, and Water Playgrounds Guide, or check out these summer day trip ideas.

Fourth of July Fireworks Shows and Community Events on Long Island

It's almost the Fourth of July: Fireflies are out, grills are on, and the smell of fire pits is in the air. Summer has arrived, and we've rounded up some of the most spectacular Fourth of July fireworks shows on Long Island, from Nassau to Suffolk and the East End; from June and past Independence Day in July. 

So don your red. white, and blue and after your park barbecue or visit to the beach, grab the kids and head out for some Fourth of July pageantry. And for the record, the fun doesn't end on July Fourth on Long Island; fireworks shows continue through mid-July. Check out our Event Calendar for other fireworks spectaculars or use it to plan a summer day trip

Maybe even take in a FREE outdoor community concert or movie. Whatever you choose, have a great Fourth of July. 

Best 4th of July Fireworks for NJ Families from Jersey City to the Shore

We've got the scoop on NJ's best family-friendly fireworks shows on the 4th of July, from small-town celebrations to waterfront extravaganzas. You can cheer on the red, white, and blue in Atlantic City, which hosts one of the country's biggest 4th of July celebrations; spread out a beach blanket and enjoy a display down the shore; take in the fireworks extravaganza at the New Jersey State Fair; or choose from more than a dozen other great fireworks displays happening throughout the state. 

In addition to fireworks, these 4th of July festivities include lots of other fun activities, such as parades, rides, live music, and more. Read on for more than a dozen picks. 

For even more holiday-weekend fun, be sure to check out our Summer Fun Guide.

Great Day Trips for Philly Families

When a day without a music lesson, soccer game, dance class, or scout meeting presents itself, Philly parents must be ready with ways to keep the kids entertained. Thankfully, the Delaware Valley offers an abundance of day trip options for Philly families. From amusement parks to educational museums to outdoor gardens, there is something for everyone. We have rounded up some of our very favorite day trip destinations. Read through our list to find some ideas for your next day trip, and don't forget to share this post with a friend who might need inspiration of their own.

Best 4th of July Fireworks in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

The 4th of July means summer fun, barbecues, and, of course, stunning pyrotechnics. We’ve identified fireworks displays over the course of an entire week (the benefit of Independence Day falling on a Wednesday!) along with lots of added attractions—a carnival, a fair, concerts, sports, bouncy houses, a parade, and other perks.

If you’re feeling adventurous, the famous Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular is best visited strategically, and we have the best spots to watch with your family; there’s also a show-stopping fireworks display that’s less frenetic over the bridge in Jersey City, which also features a full agenda of fun.

Looking for more seasonal spectacles? Check out our guide to summer festivals and fairs in Westchester and the Hudson Valley.

Be sure to keep tabs on our Event Calendar, and sign up for our newsletters to stay on top of our frequent updates and announcements!

10 Heart-Pumping, Thrill-Seeking Activities for NYC Kids

I've got three kids with three decidedly different personalities. Even though my youngest is just a toddler, it's clear she's a daredevil at heart, never content to sit still for long and always looking for a challenge sure to scare me. She's already got me thinking of activities to thrill her spirit—safely of course. If you've got a like-minded child who refuses to keep her feet on the ground and operates at hyper-speed, New York City is filled with activities to satisfy young thrill seekers, from rock climbing to surfing to trapeze and more. Read on for 10 activities that will get kids' hearts (and yours!) pumping.

Free Outdoor Summer Music Concerts and Shows for Kids and Families on Long Island

Not all summer entertainment on Long Island comes with a hefty price tag. In fact, some music shows and outdoor concerts don't come with a price tag at all.

We've rounded up a host of FREE summer outdoor community concerts ideal for kids and families: All parents need is to grab a lawn chair or picnic blanket and get ready to shimmy, shake, smile, and sing with the little ones.

Outdoor concerts are a Long Island summer tradition. And for more seasonal fun, check out our ideas for outdoor summer games and our picks for the best beaches for Long Island families. Our summer fun guide offers more ideas for getting the best out of the warm-weather months. Enjoy. ​

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50+ Free Things to Do With Kids in Chicago This Summer

Given the high cost of raising kids these days, you might be surprised at just how much family-friendly summer fun in Chicago is totally FREE. Of course, the city's playgrounds and splash pads are always free, and there are free days at most museums and even a few restaurants. But in summertime, the no-cost fun ramps up all over Chicagoland. 

As you can see from the bursting-at-the-seams list below, there's literally something free and fun to do every single day of the summer—so there's no excuse for anybody to be bored. Outdoor movies, summer festivals and street fairs, concerts and performances, public art, cultural celebrations, picnics, and of course, fireworks await, and you can leave your wallet at home. (In theory, at least. There's always ice cream to buy.)

Looking for more? Our list of 100 Things to Do With Chicago Kids Before They Grow Up might do the trick, and of course you can always find more daily activities in our Chicago Event Calendar.

Nature Programs for NYC Toddlers and Preschoolers

When your city kid has exhausted every museumshow, and playground option in town, it’s nice to be able to get a dose of nature thanks to NYC’s array of zoos, gardens, and parks. And for nature-loving, dirt-loving, mud-loving, bug-loving city kids, the good news is there's no shortage of programming for toddlers and preschoolers in each borough. 

We've rounded up our top places in New York City where your toddler or preschooler can marvel at, learn about, and connect with nature. See our guides for even more camps and classes aimed at toddlers and preschoolers.

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