Spring break is fast-approaching and while the lure of warmer climates can be strong, a trip somewhere far away may not be in the cards. That doesn’t mean you can’t get away at all, though. Whether you travel near or far, there are many places right here in New England to have a memorable spring break as a family. We’ve rounded up three somewhat local spring break destinations that pack in the fun without breaking the bank. If you can’t get away overnight, check out our guide to great day trip destinations.
Distance from Boston: About 1 hour and 45 minutes
What to do on the way: Take a detour off of I-95 on your way from Boston to Mystic to visit Providence, a city with a lot to offer kids. Highlights include the Providence Children’s Museum and Roger Williams Park.
Where to eat: If your hotel doesn’t have breakfast, head to Kitchen Little for spectacular views with a side of toast. Grab a slice at the famous Mystic Pizza and head to Lis Bake Shop after for a homemade sweet treat.
Why it’s good for kids: Beyond being a classically charming New England seaside town, Mystic has a lot going for it that makes it a great destination for a getaway with kids. Don’t miss the beluga whales, shark feeding and sea lion shows at the Mystic Aquarium. The nearby Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center has 10 miles of trails to explore plus a hawk and owl sanctuary and butterfly house. At Mystic Seaport, kids can tour the last wooden whale ship, build their own toy boats, play on kid-size boats and visit the children’s museum. The Seaport also offers several ways for the whole family to get out on the water.
Image courtesy of Vermont Institute of Natural Science by Linda Conrad
Distance from Boston: About 2 hours and 15 minutes
What to do on the way: Take a detour off of I-93 on your way from Boston to Woodstock to visit Manchester, N.H. The SEE Science Center is a low-cost, fun way to break up the drive. Or get some fresh air on Manchester’s Heritage Trail on the Merrimack River.
Where to eat: Pop into the Mountain Creamery for a big, satisfying breakfast or a slice of the mile-high apple pie. Grab a sandwich, salad or soup to go from Mon Vert Cafe and eat it outside for an easy picnic (gluten-free options available). For dinner, enjoy a slice at the popular Pi Brick Oven Trattoria, which both kids and parents will love.
Why it’s good for kids: Beyond just strolling around the quintessentially New England town of Woodstock, the area has a lot to offer families in the way of fun. The well-known Billings Farm doesn't open until the end of April, but you can bring the kids to lesser-known, but just as special Sugarbush Farm. You'll be able to sample cheese produced at the farm, learn how maple syrup is made and meet farm animals during your visit. Vermont is a paradise for lovers of the outdoors, so it’s easy to a take a hike that’s fun for the whole family. Hiking trails of varying ability levels abound near Woodstock. Visit the Vermont Institute of Natural Science to take in live raptor shows and to catch feedings of various animals, from small frogs to eagles. Either on your way into or out of town, stop by Quechee Gorge for a stunning peek at one of Vermont’s most beautiful sights.
Image courtesy of the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden
Distance from Boston: About 1 hour and 30 minutes
What to do on the way: Take a detour off of I-90 on your way from Boston to Springfield to pop into Old Sturbridge Village, where you’ll be transported back in time.
Where to eat: Grab a slice at the casual but very popular Red Rose Pizzeria, which is still run by the same family that opened it in 1963. For breakfast, tuck into the giant pancakes or hearty omelets served at Eat, which also has a popular lunch.
Why it’s good for kids: Dr. Seuss books have been beloved for generations, so there’s a chance you once loved them as much as your kids do now. The man behind the whimsical stories was born in Springfield and his work is commemorated there in the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden (stay tuned for a soon-to-be-opened Dr. Seuss Museum). While you’re at the garden, visit the Springfield Museums for a science adventure, puppet performance, vintage motorcycles and more Dr. Seuss. Hop in the car for a quick 30-minute drive north to Deerfield for a visit to the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory. The 8,000 square foot facility houses nearly 4,000 butterflies from New England and around the world. Pop into the on-site Monarchs Restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you’ve got older kids in your family, no trip to Springfield would be complete without a visit to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Six Flags is also in nearby Agawam and opens for the season in early April.
Top image by Ryan Donnell/courtesy of Mystic Aquarium