New York City

St. Augustine, Florida: 25 Best Things to Do with Kids

Florida has its “Emerald Coast,” its "Space Coast," its “Treasure Coast,” and even its “Forgotten Coast.” But unless you spend time in its northernmost section, you might be unaware of its “Historic Coast,” home of the haven of St. Augustine.

About an hour south of Jacksonville, whose sizable airport services most major carriers, sits America’s oldest city. St. Augustine, founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, is one of but a handful of American cities to have the flags of five nations fly above its buildings at one time or another. (Bonus points if you can name the countries: Answer below.)

To visit the city’s charming cobblestone streets and seemingly ancient architecture is to be reminded of Florida’s multicultural history. Of course, these days visitors are better welcomed than the 17th-century pirates who sailed in for plunder; these days, St. Augustine opens its doors to all types of boaters, pilots, campers, cyclists, and even the occasional camping and RV vacationers.

12 Best Apple Picking Orchards and Farms Near NYC

Starting just before Labor Day weekend and continuing through the fall, orchards around the tri-state area offer families the chance to pick their own apples. Many apple picking orchards also host cool kids' attractions, including hayrides, petting zoos with barnyard animals, bouncy houses, and corn mazes. Some even sell home-baked treats like apple cider donuts.

While there was a time when apple trees thrived in NYC (ever wonder how Orchard Street got its name?), city families today need to head out of town to pick their own fruit. There are plenty of wonderful apple orchards in the Hudson ValleyNew Jersey, Long Island, and Connecticut, although many are quite a long drive, and we know nothing derails a fun family outing like a stressful commute. So we've rounded up a dozen places to pick your own apples that are an hour or less from midtown Manhattan by car. A few are even accessible by train.

For other fun farm outings, check out our Pick-Your-Own Guide.

6 Ways to Ease the Preschool Transition for Kids — and Parents

The start of a new school year gets everyone's nerves jumping—including when it's time to make the transition to preschool.

Every child is, of course, different. Some love to dive into new adventures without so much as a look back. Others are more cautious, preferring to watch and get the lay of the land. But children and parents are bound to be apprehensive about a child's first day (or week, or month) in a new environment, surrounded by new people and new routines.

We asked veteran preschool teachers in the NYC metropolitan area for their no-fail tips to help make this transition a positive experience for all and came away with six top suggestions.

If you're still searching for the right preschool, check out our directory of NYC schools, as well as those in the surrounding suburbs, such as New JerseyWestchester, and Long Island.

Best Free Annual Parades in New York City for Kids

As the saying goes, everyone loves a parade. And in NYC, we have plenty of processions to choose from. During the warmer months, there are parades practically every week celebrating a wide variety of cultures and causes, and all of them are FREE.

While it's always cool to watch the colorful costumes, floats, and performers pass by, there are certain annual parades that are particularly great for families. These processions are either exceptionally vibrant like Chinatown's Lunar New Year Parade or the Three Kings Day Parade, or invite costumed kids to get in on the action like the small Halloween Parades that are much less intense than the big one in Greenwich Village.

Included in our list are parades we've attended—some many times—or others that come highly recommended. So, get our your calendar and save these dates to see if you can catch them all!

Things to Do This Weekend: US Open, Jazz, Battle of Brooklyn, Soapbox Derby, High Line

Tennis anyone? The annual Arthur Ashe Kids' Day is back, bringing tennis stars and music superstars to NYC in advance of next weekend's US Open. Can't get to Queens? Check out the US Open Experience down in the Financial District for kids' clinics, big-screen tennis viewing, and the chance to score a free racket!

For old-fashioned summer fun, soapboxes will roll through Park Slope at Saturday's South Slope Derby, or families can create art En Plein Air on the High Line. History buffs can celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn, fought in 1776 on land that is now part of Green-Wood Cemetery, at the Battle of Brooklyn Commemoration on Sunday. Or visit George Washington's Encampment on the Upper West Side to check out what revolutionary soldiers had to eat.

Jazz fans (and fans-in-the-making) can "count down to the 20s" at Governors Island's Jazz Age Lawn party, where jitter-bugging is on repeat all weekend long and kids under 12 can tag along for free. Or hit the Jazzmobile Block Party in Corona, Queens, at the Louis Armstrong House for serious be-bop cred.

Check a few more things off that "before school starts" summer bucket list—or start planning for fall: Tickets for Smithsonian Museum Day, offering FREE access to museums all around the city on September 21, are available to download now. Get 'em before they're gone! For more end-of-summer fun, check our August GoList and Event Calendar.

Ennis Playground Gives Gowanus a Freshly Updated Playspace

We're suckers for a destination-worthy playground, but we also have big love for NYC's smaller neighborhood playgrounds. In a city like ours, a playground doesn't necessarily need an elaborate theme or deluxe play features to be a huge boon to the neighborhood. The newly renovated Ennis Playground in the heart of fast-changing Gowanus is one such gem. Ennis Playground reopened last month after an 11-month, $2.9 million renovation—here's a look at what's new.

Go Fish: Where to Go Fishing with NYC Kids for Free (Even If You Don't Have Gear)

Fishing is a classic family activity, but it can only be done outside of NYC, right? Wrong. My husband and I have been fishing with our 9-year-old son in the five boroughs since he was a preschooler. It's relaxing and a great way to bond, plus it teaches patience (you definitely need it for this sport).

Not only does NYC offer different kinds of fishing experiences (freshwater, salt water, catch-and-release), there are organizations that even supply the rod, reel, tackle and bait so all you need to bring is a good attitude. Our rivers, lakes, ponds and beaches are truly teeming with fish, and we've got the scoop on where you and your kids can catch them.

Central Park's Top Playgrounds Ranked for NYC Kids and Visitors

When out-of-towners ask me how I have managed to stay sane with three kids in Manhattan, my answer is always easy: Central Park. It's been our family playground for more than a decade. My son's first steps were taken there, and every day of elementary school in our house has started with a trek across the urban oasis. Our afternoons just don't feel quite right without a stop at the East 110th Street Playground, where my daughter finally conquered the monkey bars.

Central Park is our family's collective happy place, thanks in large part to its diverse array of playgrounds, which always keep us coming back for more (sanity-saving) playtime. In the spirit of our posts ranking the playgrounds in Prospect Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park, we present our top playground picks for Central Park.

These Hotel Pools Will Wow the Kids on a Family Vacation

When you have kids, finding a hotel with an awesome swimming pool is usually right at the top of the vacation-planning list. After a long day of activity, you can kick back and watch them splash around at the hotel pool. On a rainy day, hotels with indoor swimming pools will be a saving grace. While most kids will be satisfied with any hole that contains water, impress them with something unique to make that next family vacation one that they won't soon forget.

Here are some of our favorite U.S. hotels with pools sure to satisfy the whole family. We've included both outdoor hotel pools, indoor options, and even those hotels that let you swim in the pool without staying there overnight. The options run from a Las Vegas hotel pool to a Texas-shaped rooftop pool in Houston to a day-pass-friendly NYC hotel pool.

For more vacation ideas on where to stay, check out our Hotels & Resorts Guide.

Roosevelt Island: What to Do with Kids After Taking the Tram

New York is a city of islands. Many of them, like Governors Island, City Island, Randall's Island, and even the infamous Rikers Island, get lots of attention, while low-key Roosevelt Island manages to slip under the radar. It’s time to get cozy with this narrow, 2-mile long sliver of land in the East River nestled between Manhattan and Queens.

The Roosevelt Island Tram is a familiar sight for many New Yorkers, and the aerial ride alone is great fun for kids, but what about when you disembark on the isle? Over 11,000 people call this peaceful community home. The vibe is urban, but there are open spaces perfect for rambling. Self-contained Roosevelt Island has its own school, newspaper, and library. My family and I found plenty of cool things to keep us entertained and we've pulled together our top picks for things to do on the isle. 

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