Long Island

Panama City Beach with Kids: Florida Family Vacation on the Gulf

You may have spent a spring break (or two) in Panama Beach City, Florida, or lived vicariously through the revelry broadcast on MTV Spring Break, which drew thousands of college kids to this beach town for a decade. But now that you’ve traded shot glasses for strollers, this classic spring break locale has luckily grown up right with you.

Today, families with young children flock to its sandy shore, and with an international airport just 20 minutes away, it’s easy to get to. We visited this 27-mile stretch of beach along the Gulf of Mexico this summer with a toddler in tow and were impressed with the entertainment options. Read on for 25 things to do with kids in this Florida haven, including where to eat and play on your family’s next vacation.

Pick Your Own Apple Farms for Families on Long Island

With summer winding down, it’s time to plan some fun fall activities you and your kids can do together. How about heading to the East End for a day of apple picking? From small farm stands to orchards with dwarf trees sized just right for little hands to other family-friendly venues, there are plenty of places to choose from, and we've rounded them up for you.

Apple-picking season can begin as early as the end of August and continues through October. Be sure to check out each farm’s website for hours and bounty update. Happy picking this fall!

Find more pick-your-own fun in our Long Island Farm Guide, including where to pick peaches or pumpkins, or feed the goats and sheep at area petting zoos and barnyards.

Farm Stays Near NYC: Enjoy a Farm-Themed Family Vacation

For New York City area families, it only takes a few hours to arrive in the bucolic countryside, where the landscape seems thousands of miles away from the crowded subways and packed playgrounds. Farm stays are an increasingly popular vacation option to enjoy that countryside and a back-to-nature experience. For children who’ve never been around livestock, farm stays provide a firsthand way to learn about the animal world in a casual fashion. It also often comes with a few more amenities when compared to camping.

If you're interested in the source of your food, farm holidays offer a fine way to connect with what you eat and sometimes even pick your own fresh fruit, veggies, and eggs. You're not required to work during your farm stay, but many visitors find farm chores so different from their regular routines that they are eager to participate. Curious kids should relish the opportunity to gather eggs, watch cows be milked, and pick fresh peaches off the tree. 

Consider these eight farm stay options in the Hudson Valley and Catskills, New York, and in Pennsylvania for your next family vacation

Sylvan EDGE STEM Classes (Almost) Too Cool for After-School

We're forever amazed by the things kids are learning to do these days. From coding to building robots, today's kiddos are mastering critical 21st century skills that will help them excel in school and, ultimately, their careers. And the best part of all is that places like Sylvan Learning have figured out how to make engineering, coding, and even math, fun. Sylvan Learning believes that engaging and interactive experiences during this pivotal time help nurture an early love of STEM, which can literally serve kids for a lifetime.

We recently took a bunch of kids to try out a Sylvan EDGE STEM program for an afternoon, and we couldn't believe what they created. Check out the video to see what your little learners could be doing at Sylvan.

Weekend Fun: Scottish Games, Ethnic Festivals, Train Time

Celebrate a bit of multicultural Long Island this weekend. From Scotland to Peru, Greece, and even the ancient kingdom of Persia, entertain your kids with a host of ethnic festivals.

Sample the haggis while enjoying a Highland fling; maybe even toss the caber at the Scottish Festival and Highland Games in Old Westbury. Treat your kids to ceviche and more at the SUMAQ Peruvian Food Festival in Garden City, or souvlaki and traditional dancing at Greekfest 2017 in Port Jefferson. In Port Washington, enjoy Persian pop with singer Sepideh.

Long Island's melting pot continues next weekend with the annual Shinnecock Powwow in Southampton. In the meantime, our Event Calendar is loaded with fun, daily happenings for Long Island kids. And our August GoList offers up more fun, family events for the final weekend of  the month.

Don't forget to check out our new local DEALS page, where you can score discounts on camps, classes, birthday party packages, and more for LI kids. Check back often as we're constantly adding more. Don't see a great event here? Add it to our calendar yourself.

10 Perfect Fall Weekend Getaways Near NYC for Families

Fall in the Northeast is a lovely time of year as the trees explode in a kaleidoscope of red, orange, and gold. The crisp air and outdoor activities are hard to resist for most kids (and grown-ups). New Yorkers can experience that magic right in the city's gorgeous parks, some of which feel almost like a countryside retreat during a foliage walk. But for a weekend away, perhaps over those fall school holidays, consider a trip north to full immerse the family in falltime fun.

We’ve rounded up 10 options, from a luxury retreat in Connecticut to glamping in New Hampshire to an Adirondack wilderness retreat where you can really unplug. 

10 Montessori Preschools for Long Island Kids

The days are long, but the years are short. Before you know it, it’s time for your little one to spread his or her wings and head off to preschool.

There are many preschool options on Long Island and choices can be overwhelming. But if you’ve decided a Montessori preschool is a good fit for your child, we’ve put together a list of 10 options to get you started on a search.

For the uninitiated, Montessori is an educational philosophy developed more than a century ago that encourages kids to be independent and learn at their own pace. Typically students are grouped by ability rather than age, classrooms are outfitted with specific learning materials, and specially trained teachers act as observers and facilitators.  

Take advantage of the tours and open houses these schools offer and bring along your child so he or she can get a feel for the school as well. For more learning opportunities for Long Island kids, check out our classes and enrichment guide.

Weekday Fun: Music, Spider Hunt, and the Eclipse

This week, it’s time to look to the sky. Just be careful.

Monday, for the first time in years, the United States will experience a total solar eclipse. And while we aren't in the path of totality, Long Islanders are lucky enough to be in a path of partial darkness.

There are plenty of hot spots up and down the Island to get a good view of this celestial event, including the Cradle of Aviation Museum and Sagamore Hill. Check out our special eclipse post for details and for precautions in watching the event with small children. Check out our August GoList for other fun ideas to finish up summer with a bang.

On to the week’s other top events!

Kid-Friendly Marinas on Long Island's Waterfront

Whether or not you own a boat, marinas are an attraction for their water views and laid-back atmosphere. Add a restaurant, fishing pier, and an amazing sunset and it becomes quite a destination for family fun. It’s no wonder Long Islanders ienjoy hanging out at the marina on a summer day. Here are our picks for marinas that offer plenty of fun extras.

Looking for more waterfront fun? Check out our list of family-friendly boat rides and the best beaches for Long Island families.

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