New York City

Best Beaches Near NYC for a Summer Family Staycation

Summertime means beach time, and while there are lots of beaches near and even in NYC, some are more family-friendly than others. After packing up your gear and schlepping the kids by car, train, bus, or ferry, the last thing you want to find out is your chosen beach has no bathroom or bathing suits are optional. Skip the guesswork with our roundup of eight easy-to-reach beaches for NYC families, including detailed info on attractions, food, bathrooms, and hidden costs. Most are within two hours of Manhattan by car and are easily accessible via public transportation as well, so you can plot a great staycation for your family.

Find more beach fun in our Beaches, Pools, and Water Playgrounds Guide, or check out these summer day trip ideas.

10 Heart-Pumping, Thrill-Seeking Activities for NYC Kids

I've got three kids with three decidedly different personalities. Even though my youngest is just a toddler, it's clear she's a daredevil at heart, never content to sit still for long and always looking for a challenge sure to scare me. She's already got me thinking of activities to thrill her spirit—safely of course. If you've got a like-minded child who refuses to keep her feet on the ground and operates at hyper-speed, New York City is filled with activities to satisfy young thrill seekers, from rock climbing to surfing to trapeze and more. Read on for 10 activities that will get kids' hearts (and yours!) pumping.

Nature Programs for NYC Toddlers and Preschoolers

When your city kid has exhausted every museumshow, and playground option in town, it’s nice to be able to get a dose of nature thanks to NYC’s array of zoos, gardens, and parks. And for nature-loving, dirt-loving, mud-loving, bug-loving city kids, the good news is there's no shortage of programming for toddlers and preschoolers in each borough. 

We've rounded up our top places in New York City where your toddler or preschooler can marvel at, learn about, and connect with nature. See our guides for even more camps and classes aimed at toddlers and preschoolers.

24 Summer Camp Snacks for Kids That Aren't Boring

Packing for summer camp means gathering up the towels, swimsuits, water bottles—labeling everything!—and finally, ensuring your kid has a healthy snack to power them through an action-packed day.

After a year of making school lunches for kids, it might feel overwhelming to come up with creative summer camp snacks, especially if you have a picky eater who turns up their nose at the likes of a cheese stick or tube of yogurt. So we came up with two dozen camp snack foods to woo both kids and parents with cooling, energizing, and (mostly) healthy snacks.

We separated the list into four handy sections: high-protein snacks, fruit snacks, no-refrigeration required, and allergy-aware and nut-free snacks for kids. Some might be more suited to a post-camp nosh but most can be packed up and sent out the door to summer camp with your kid.

Mommy and Me Swim Classes in New York City for Babies and Tots

Mommy and me swim classes (or daddy and me) are a wonderful way to spend time with your baby or toddler. Ideally, these lessons should be enjoyable, stress-free, educational, and a good source of exercise for kids and parents.

During the summer, swim lessons offer overheated families the chance to cool off while young kids become comfortable in the water, a skill they'll certainly use a lot in the coming years, what with all the great swimming pools and beaches in NYC. Parent-child swim classes are also offered around the city throughout the fall, winter, and spring, both on weekends and after school.

Most classes for wee ones and their caretakers take place in indoor pools. Except for the free swim lessons offered via lottery by the New York City Parks Department, mommy and me classes invariably cost something. We've rounded up the top parent-child swim programs across the city (and for more options, see our roundups of swimming classes for all ages in Brooklyn and Queens).

Weekend Fun: Summer Solstice, Mermaid Parade, Drums Along the Hudson

This weekend Coney Island hosts a little something called the Mermaid Parade, Drums Along the Hudson pounds a steady beat in Inwood, Randall's Island hosts a splashy Waterfront Festival, and you can stomp on the porches on Governors Island.

Summer solstice, celebrating the longest day of the year, spills over into Saturday revelries with family fun at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx and free workshops at Cooper Hewitt. Two terrific Shakespeare productions—in addition to the big Delacourt Theatre offering—are up and running this weekend: Hamlet, at Castle Clinton, and Romeo and Juliet on the Smith Street Stage in Carroll Gardens. Plus, superheroes can commune with like-minded do-gooders at the NYSoM SuperHero SciFi Fest.

Our encyclopedic Free Outdoor Movie guide keeps growing. This weekend, Mary Poppins Returns to Greenwich Village, Ralph Breaks the Internet in Brooklyn on Saturday in Harry Maze Park and Sunday in Kolbert Park as well as in Queens' Astoria Park, and families can brush up on Captain America's origin story on Staten Island.

Heat getting to you? Check out our parent-tested list of great water parks for toddlers or best water playgrounds and sprinklers. And, as always, scroll through our calendar to find all the best things happening near you and around NYC.

Where to Take Fitness Classes With Your Big Kids in NYC

Baby and me exercise classes for everything from swimming to yoga are practically a rite of passage for NYC families. And as your baby grows up, there are tons of popular drop-off and drop-in classes for busy toddlers and preschoolers—introducing little kids to dance, gymnastics, and beyond. But what about when your kids age out of baby-and-me classes and play gyms?

The good news is, there are lots of fitness classes you can take with your older kids in NYC. And what better way to bond with your child than to take a class together, and get healthier at the same time? It's a win-win. Check out these destinations that allow you to get active and let your kid tow along for the fun and exercise.

Best Off-Broadway Shows for Kids: Affordable Children's Theater in NYC

Taking kids to a Broadway show is an exciting and memorable experience. It's also a pricey one. That's why it's worth looking beyond Broadway, where you'll find some long-running, kid-friendly shows that are less expensive, more offbeat, but just as special.

From a surefire toddler hit to a Harry Potter parody for tweens to those world-famous blue dudes, there are options for all ages and interests. We've even shared ways you can snag deeply discounted tickets. All of these Off-Broadway productions make great birthday party activities, too.

Chelsea With Kids: 50 Fun Things to Do in This NYC Neighborhood

Chelsea attracts locals and tourists alike with its rows of charming historic townhouses, great restaurants, and top NYC attractions like The High Line, Chelsea Market, and the Whitney Museum.

The neighborhood has changed a lot over the past few decades. Back in the '80s, its streets were rundown and desolate, but in the '90s an influx of artists and gay professionals helped kick-start the area's transformation. Today, parents know it as a high-end neighborhood with fantastic amenities. You'll find megastores on the avenues and high-end children's (and pet) boutiques on the side streets; eclectic art galleries, massive athletics complex Chelsea Piers, and popular indoor and outdoor romping spots like apple seeds, Chelsea Waterside Park, Seal Park, and more.

Although Chelsea's boundaries are difficult to define, we'll cover the area from 14th to 30th Streets, between Fifth Avenue and the Hudson River. With those boundaries set, here are our top 50 things to do with kids in the neighborhood. Find more Manhattan neighborhoods to explore, or see our Visitors Guide for the best of NYC for families.

The Best Boat Rides for Families in NYC

Going out on the water in New York lets you see the city from a whole new perspective. Whether you're sailing down one of the rivers, taking a FREE kayak out for a spin, or cruising on the ocean looking for whales, it's relaxing, refreshing, and a great way to stay cool on a summer day with the kids.

While there are all kinds of boat tours on offer around NYC, from the Circle Line to the citywide ferry service, the question for parents is, which ones are truly family-friendly? After all, once you're on the water you're committed to the ride regardless of tantrums, seasickness, or boredom.

To help you figure out which NYC boat rides will work best for your family, we've highlighted some personal favorites, and broken down the best options by type, including the best boat rides for wildlife watching, best for would-be pirates, best for your budget, and more. Discover even more family-friendly things to do this summer in our Summer Fun Guide

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