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

Pick Your Own Blueberries, Raspberries, and More Fruit Near NYC

The strawberry season is short and sweet near NYC. If, like me, you can't squeeze a trip to a strawberry patch into your family's schedule, plan instead an outing for juicy blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry picking when school is out. These berries are usually in season July through the end of August and some farms even have a second crop of raspberries that ripen later in the summer. Then, of course, there will be peach picking come August. So there is plenty of time for your family to get a fruit picking session in.  

Read on for the lowdown on 13 spots in the tristate area, all less than 2 hours from NYC—including one accessible by mass transit—and perfect for a family berry-picking outing, plus our helpful been-there-done-that tips. A word of caution: approximate driving times below do not include traffic. You'll probably run into some, especially on summer weekends near the entrances to popular farms. 

Check out our comprehensive guide to all the nearby pick-your-own farms for everything from peaches to flowers and veggies.

Best July Fairs and Festivals for New Jersey Families

Fairs and festivals and feasts, oh my! It’s non-stop action in NJ this month—read on for our recommendations and choose your favorites. With everything from state and county fairs to music and food festivals—and of course, awesome July 4th celebrations—there’s something happening almost every day in July. Mark your calendar now, and have a blast all month long.

Berry lovers: be sure to check out our roundup of NJ's awesome blueberry festivals, many of which take place in July. And for more warm-weather action, visit our Summer Fun Guide.

10 Reasons It's Great to be a North End Mom

This is the third post in our series about why it's great to be a mom in different towns around the Hub. Got pride in your 'hood? Let us know at boston@mommypoppins.com, and your town could be featured in a future post.

Whether they're stopping by for history, culture, or the food, most tourists put the North End on their list of places to visit in Boston. But you don't have to wander far from the hustle of Hanover Street to realize there is a lot more to the neighborhood than pasta and cannoli. The North End is a mix of residents whose families who have lived in the borough for generations, professionals of all ages who like the proximity to the financial district and downtown, and young families. On the surface, the small apartments, high rents, and limited parking options might not seem like the ideal place to raise kids, but ask just about mom and she'll tell you she wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I've lived in the neighborhood for four years and fell in love with it long before I welcomed my first child in January. But now that I'm a mom, I love the neighborhood even more. Here are a few reasons why...

"Light the Way" Lighthouse Art Exhibit Street Stroll

My kids love art (and walking) so what could be better than a stroll this summer down Main Street in Stratford to check out the 20 lighthouse sculptures in the "Stratford Light the Way" art exhibit? This is Stratford's second street art exhibit, following on its popular "Share a Chair" art benches in 2015. This summer, Main Street in Stratford is dotted with six foot tall fiberglass lighthouses, designed and painted by local artists. Those who love art, lighthouses, and strolling down Main Street will be pleased!

10 Kid-Friendly Restaurants with Room to Play in Houston

Relaxing on the patio with good food and drinks is something that, prior to kids, we used to love to do... and then we had kids and going out to eat became nothing short of a nightmare that quickly got nixed from our weekend plans. Where we once sat back and talked uninterrupted about our respective weeks, we now went through constant rounds of "don't touch that!" and, "honey, leave those nice people alone." All seemed lost, and we resigned ourselves to spending our evenings out at Chick-fil-A... until we found restaurants with play spaces for kids (and the skies parted and the sun shone through!).

Talk about a game changer - it's like these restaurants knew that us parents needed a space to unwind a bit with the kids in tow, and they delivered with patios that opened up to enclosed playgrounds, sand pits (ok, this one is a catch-22 because of sand everywhere) and toys. So when you find yourself wanting to let someone else do the cooking and need a venue that caters to your kids without being solely for them, look no further than here. (However, if you are looking for something outdoors to do with the kids one evening, be sure to check out these free movies under the stars!)

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