Best Things To Do with NYC Kids: July GoList

Welcome to the first full month of summer! Our monthly GoList of the absolute best things to do with kids throughout July includes some of our favorite FREE annual events—happenings my family and I mark on our calendar every year. Enjoy the always FREE Fourth of July fireworks spectacle and the no-cost boat rides as part of City of Water Day on Governors Island.

There are also some new-this-summer events that we can't wait to check out like Let's Dance, a new interactive exhibit with daily dance lessons at the Children's Museum of Manhattan, and and an Eloise sing-along, kicking off the new exhibit at the New-York Historical Society. Plus, there are some family-friendly culture-musts opening this month: the death-defying moves of Compagnie XY’s Il N’est Pas Encore Minuit aerial show, the fast feet of the double dutch kids at Lincoln Center Out of Doors Family Weekend, and Theatreworks USA's FREE summer musical, Pete the Cat.

Now get your calendars ready! Here are the top 16 things to do with kids in New York City this July—most of which are 100% FREE.

Free Admission for Active Duty Military Families with Blue Star Museums

Free museum admission is not just for kids in the summer months. More than 2000 museums across the country have joined the Blue Star initiative, offering free admission to active military personnel and their families* all summer long, from Memorial Day (Monday May 29 through Labor Day (Monday September 4). Spread the word; if you don't have active military in your own family, let your friends know that from the Automobile Driving Museum to the Santa Monica Aquarium and a whole slew in between, the men and women who protect all of our families can treat their families this summer.

Kayak, Canoe, and Paddle Board Rentals for Families in the Hamptons and North Fork

Scenic, protected waterways are abundant on eastern Long Island. It’s one of the reasons we love living or visiting there, especially in the summer.

If your family enjoys kayaking, canoeing, surfing, or paddle boarding, why not head to the East End, where there are plenty of bucolic spots to enjoy your favorite water sport. From Westhampton to Montauk and all over the North Fork, local shops rent gear and offer instruction. Always call ahead for availability and to make reservations.

For other suggestions on how to enjoy the East End this summer, check out our guide to the Hamptons and North Fork. Visit our Summer Fun Guide for more ways to celebrate the season, and if you're feeling especially ambitious take on a few of our 100 Things to Do With Kids on Long Island.

Awesome Houston Area Swimming Pools for Birthday Parties

Pool parties reign supreme in Houston because, let's face it, we have pool weather all year long. While there are some great pools around Houston for indoor pool parties, nothing beats a morning or afternoon in the sun with your best friends, a bottle of sunscreen, and a picnic basket. All of these options have fees associated with them, but we also have recommendations for some of the city's best FREE swimming pools where you can call the city of Houston for reservation details. And for more ideas on where and how to throw the best birthday party in and around Houston, check out our Houston party guide.

Where to Pick Blueberries with Kids in the Boston Area

Strawberries? Raspberries? Blueberries? Our family debate over which is the best berry may never be resolved, but this time of year, the blueberry is everyone's favorite pick. This tart little superfood just may be the easiest fruit to pick, prepare, and serve: There's no peeling, pitting, coring, or cutting. Plus, they attract fewer natural pests other than birds, so much of the fruit is grown pesticide-free. 

The pick-your-own blueberry season begins early July and continues through late August or early September. We’ve rounded up some farms in the Boston area which are beginning to open up for blueberry picking, plus we've included a few helpful tips. At the end of the post, you'll find a recipe for our favorite blueberry treat: the classic blueberry buckle.

Family-Friendly Campsites (with Extras for Kids!) Near NYC

I’m not going to lie. My favorite part of camping is the s’mores, but my daughter loves the entire experience, no matter how muddy or muggy or cold it gets.

If your kids are more like me— itching to get out of the city, but are perhaps not fully prepared to truly rough it— we’ve got some great campsites for you. We've told you about great New York area campgrounds in the past, including where to pitch your tent within New York City. But now we've put together a list of campgrounds that come with some sort of extra entertainment options for kids— whether it’s a Family Movie Night, a petting zoo, or just tubing down a river. You can even learn to milk a cow!

Kid-Friendly Outdoor Dining in Philly

One of my favorite indulgences as a parent is finding a spot to enjoy a night out that pleases the whole family- and as a bonus, I don't have to cook or clean up! When the weather is nice, outdoor dining is pretty much the only way to go. The kids can be as loud as they want (or nearly so), and I am more likely to enjoy the entire meal without having to take a break to explain about inside voices and not running around the table. A definite go-to, especially in the summer, are beer gardens and pop-up dining destinations that not only have kid-friendly menus, but often family activities and attractions. However, there are many go-to spots that don't quite fit the beer garden genre. Here is a roundup of the most family-friendly ones in the city that have enclosed, or nearly enclosed outdoor seating.

If you're in the mood for a beer garden dining experience, we've got a round-up for that, too. You can also check out our pop-up garden round-up for more outdoor fun.

July 4th Weekend Fun for NJ Kids: Fireworks, Freedom Festival, Dino Dig

Kick off the July 4th holiday early this weekend with classic carnival rides, Jersey-fresh berries, or a FREE art show. The NJ State Fair Meadowlands is in full swing with daily live music, a petting zoo, thrill rides, and food; ripe summer berries will be served with breakfast at Alstede Farms; and Bank of America is sponsoring free family museum days in NJ. 

If your weekend stretches into Monday, check out our picks for weekday activities, plan a family picnic, or head out on a day trip to a favorite amusement park, water park, or spray ground. Then stake out your family's spot for fireworks at one of New Jersey's best July 4th celebrations. For even more ideas, check out our guides to Summer Fun and the Jersey Shore


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