Free Kayaking, Canoeing, and Rowboat Options in New York City

With all the water surrounding New York City, it's no wonder there are so many sightseeing cruises and fun ferry rides to great kid destinations. If you want to be your own captain, NYC offers many seasonal opportunities for NYC families to get out on the water by themselve—kayaking, rowing, canoeing, and sailing. Much of the fun kicks off Memorial Day weekend or early summer.

We've rounded up 11 great New York City organizations that offer boating sessions on our wonderful waterways—and they're all FREE. Ahoy!

Mother's Day Weekend Fun for Westchester Kids

At last, the weekend we moms have been waiting for! We know how hard you work, how many balls you juggle, how many diapers you’ve changed, and we want to help you savor the moment when your family puts on their best manners and honors the lady who holds it all together. The tried-and-true Mother’s Day brunch is a popular way to celebrate, but we've also rounded up 35 ways to spend Mother’s Day that don’t involve a restaurant reservation. 

The Albany Tulip Festival will showcase Dutch traditions and festival-type fun in addition to loads of beautiful blooms. The season-opener of Rye Playland includes FREE admission for moms on Mother’s Day, and the season-opener of the Science Barge offers FREE STEAM fun for all. Westchester County parks are hosting events with multiple variants on the theme Art in Nature, and wee ones can create abodes for wee woodland creatures at the Fairy House Workshop.

Looking for more ideas? Read on for all our top picks, head to our Event Calendar for additional options, and plan the rest of the month with our May GoList. For more seasonal activities, be sure to check out our Spring Activity Guide.

From all the parents at Mommy Poppins: Have a very happy Mother’s Day!

Family-Friendly Vineyards and Wineries in New Jersey

When planning a family day trip, vineyards and wineries may not be the first destinations that come to mind. Believe it or not, New Jersey is home to relaxing and scenic vineyards that welcome kids, and even pets. These vineyards offer outdoor fun that includes food truck events, music, farm activities, spacious fields, and of course, the Garden State’s homegrown wines.

Not all local vineyards and wineries permit children on the premises, but raise your glass to these seven that do! And be sure to check the policies on children in the tasting areas before you visit.

Summer Festivals Chicago Families Won't Want to Miss

Here it comes: The most fun-packed, jam-packed, outdoor festival-and-fair-packed season of the year in Chicagoland. Seriously, just compiling this list of all the family-friendly street fairs, festivals, and neighborhood celebrations in Chicago this summer—many of them FREE—called for major backup, and a nap.

Why do Chicago families love summer festival season so much? Let's count the ways: concerts in Millennium Park, movies on Navy Pier, and neighborhood festivals honoring the many communities that call our city home, including Lincoln Park Greek Fest, Lincoln Square's German Maifest, Andersonville's Swedish Midsommarfest, Hermosa's Colombian Fest, and the Chinatown Summer Fair. And then, because it's Chicago, there are the food fests: Ribfest, the Chicago Hot Dog Fest, the Pilsen Tacos y Tamales Festival, Roscoe Village Burger Fest, Taste of Polonia, and the big one: Taste of Chicago. Even the biggest party-scene street festivals in Chicago, like Do Division, make room for families with kids' zones and activities. 

So while your local playground may beckon and your backyard grill may look lonely, there's just too much fun happening out there not to sample a street fair or two this summer. Bookmark this list and get your calendar (and some comfy shoes) ready.

NYC's High Line: The Best Sights and Events for Families

Like many native New Yorkers, I sometimes get caught up in my daily routine and forget all that this amazing city has to offer families, from unexplored treasures to mega popular tourist destinations that are always crowded, but for good reason. The High Line, a formerly-abandoned track of elevated railway on Manhattan's west side that's found new life as a public park, is one prime example.

Owned by the city, but maintained by the nonprofit Friends of the High Line in coordination with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, the High Line has developed a bit of a reputation as a tourist zone. But a visit to the High Line is well worth braving the crowds. It's both an amazing public art site and a community hub, with wonderful year-round programs for locals—and it's FREE. Plus, its proximity to both Chelsea Market and Hudson Yards makes the High Line a perfect city adventure (snacks included).

Here are all the must-see spots for children at this unique outdoor park, plus the kid-friendly events you'll want to add to your family's calendar.

Inclusive Playground Opens in Greenlawn in Suffolk County

Parents with active tots know the value of outdoor play. It helps children gain self-confidence, develop muscle coordination, and burn calories. It also serves as a creative and stimulating outlet for their energy.

This would seem to be especially true for children with special needs. With that in mind, Greenlawn has welcomed a new, inclusive playground to Pickle Park. It makes running, playing, and generally having a good time easy and fun for children of all abilities.

Located in the Town of Huntington, it's a worthy addition to Long Island's top inclusive playgrounds and top playgrounds for toddlers.

Mother's Day Weekend Fun for New Jersey Kids

Spend quality time with Mom and Mother Nature on this celebratory second weekend of May. Get up close with New Jersey's natural beauty at National Public Gardens Day, Azalea Festival, and Mother's Day at Mountain Lakes. Plus, enjoy more outdoor time at spring festivals like the Children's Festival in Smithville and the Lake Hopatcong Block Party. Need an indoor break? Productions of Daniel Tiger and Rapunzel take the stage this weekend. 

On Sunday, start your Mother's Day celebrations on a delicious note with brunch in Northern NJ or the shore. Make the day a memorable one, whether you choose to spend it at a theme park like Morey's Piers, a winery, such as Valenzano or Alba, a wine trail at Terhune, or watching races at Monmouth Park

Check out our full listing of Mother's Day events, and find even more weekend options in our Spring Guide, including 10 Destination Playgrounds in NJ. Look to our May GoList and event calendar for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

Destination Playground: J.J. Byrne Playground in Park Slope Is Action-Packed for All Ages

It’s no surprise that one of the city’s most family-friendly neighborhoods is home to a top destination playground. J.J. Byrne Playground, a Park Slope hotspot, underwent a year-long, multi-million dollar renovation in 2012 to bring in challenging climbing structures for older kids and an action-packed play area for younger kids, plus engaging water features that include a stream and spray jets.

Read on for more features that solidify this spot as one of our favorite playgrounds.

Pages

Subscribe to