New York City

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

Beach Clubs In or Near New York City with Kid-Friendly Vibes

One sure way to add more family-friendly fun to your summer staycation with the kids: Join a beach club. Beach clubs in and around New York all offer members similar amenities: massive swimming pools; organized kids' activities like sports and arts and crafts (and sometimes even a day camp); spas, restaurants, and lounges; and, of course, access to pristine private beaches, so you have plenty of space to spread out.

Beach clubs sell seasonal memberships from Memorial Day to Labor Day, which give you access to their facilities. Most also offer optional rental accommodations like bath cabins or cabanas. Many are on Long Island’s South Shore and easily accessible by car, but we also managed to find one in Brooklyn that NYC families can reach by subway.

Macy's July 4th Fireworks 2018: Where to See Them in NYC

Every year, Macy's annual July 4th fireworks show in New York City is an unforgettable highlight of the summer. On Wednesday, July 4, 2018, fireworks will light up the sky over the East River near Midtown, and this year's show promises to be bigger than ever as it celebrates its 42nd anniversary. In fact, the 2018 show marks the largest display since the Millennial Celebration in 2000.

Spectators should be able to see the fireworks from many neighborhoods in Midtown Manhattan as well as parts of Brooklyn and Queens, but if you're hoping to watch Macy's 4th of July Fireworks live, it's never too early to start planning your viewing strategy. Tickets for paid viewing options like Fourth of July Fireworks cruises are already on sale and going fast.

Of course, you don't need to spend a penny to see the sparklers, but there are some important things to know before you go. We've got the scoop on how to find the best places to watch, when to go, and what to bring.

And don't forget, there are frequent fireworks shows in NYC during the summer, from Coney Island to Central Park. Read our roundup of where else to see cool displays this summer.

9 Must-See Dinosaur Theme Parks and Attractions for Kids

If your kid is fascinated by dinosaurs, chances are everything in your home revolves around the prehistoric creatures, including your family vacations. Your nearby natural history or kids' science museum is a great bet for a quick trip to study major fossil displays. For an even bigger thrill, families might want to check out one of the many outdoor dinosaur parks, from full amusement parks to nature walks and mini fossil digs.

We've rounded up a list of 10 great places for dinosaur lovers across the country. These dinosaur-themed attractions offer up-close encounters with lifelike creatures, thrilling rides, impressive fossils, and more fun things to do and see for kids, including dino-theater.

For more family vacation ideas—that may, or may not, involve dinosaurs—check out our United States Family Travel Guide.

Best Toddler Playgrounds in Lower Manhattan

Thanks to the residential boom in Lower Manhattan, the borough's southernmost point is more family-friendly than ever. Streets that once were the domain of Financial District workers running for their offices are now just as likely to be full of strollers and newly-walking tots. The many new playgrounds that have been constructed or renovated in this area make downtown Manhattan a part of the city you don't want to miss for family fun.

The playgrounds on this list offer fun things to do for all ages but are especially great for toddlers—because as all parents of toddlers know, finding a playground where your little one won't get run over by bigger kids is no small feat. Fun equipment, appropriate climbing structures, infant swings, thoughtful layouts, and a bevy of sandboxes await you at these downtown playgrounds, all located south of Washington Square Park. Time to get swinging!

Brooklyn Children's Museum Opens ColorLab, a Family Art Studio

Rainy, steamy, and sticky summer days in New York City have met their match. If you’re in desperate need of indoor activities that will engage and inspire the whole family (in the air conditioning!), check out ColorLab, a new family art studio at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) in Crown Heights.

The just-opened studio space within this top NYC kid museum encourages kids and adults to create collages, sculptures, drawings, and other artworks, through independent exploration, hands-on collaboration, and experimentation—and you get to take your creations home.

Domino Park and Playground Get Ready to Open in Williamsburg

The NYC summer just got a little sweeter with the news that Domino Park on Williamsburg’s waterfront will be open to the public on Sunday, June 10.

With a sugar-factory-inspired playground, kid-friendly water feature, open lawn, urban beach, taqueria from Danny Meyer, and so much more, we suspect this new Brooklyn park is about to become one of the top fun things to do with kids this season.

Register for Free Summer Swim Lessons for NYC Kids

The New York City Parks Department offers FREE aquatic programs for children under 18 all year round, as well as adults, but you have to apply through an online lottery for each session. The FREE summer swimming lessons are on the horizon, and the lottery for registration for all three sessions opens Monday, June 11, 2018, at 7am.

Read on for the details on where to swim for free, or check our directory of paid kid swim classes, and mommy-and-me swim lessons for babies and toddlers, including those in Brooklyn and in Queens.

Weekend Fun: Block Parties, Brooklyn Pride, RiverFest, Concerts

Looking for a party? June's second weekend is packed with kid-friendly celebrations across all five boroughs. On Sunday, the Brooklyn Children's Museum celebrates the finale of its Block Party exhibit with an outdoor party, including face-painting and a DJ, while the Riverdale RiverFest offers boat rides, mini golf, a bounce house, and more in the Bronx. And in Manhattan, the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party churns out finger-licking delectables all weekend.

June is Pride Month, and the second weekend in June kicks off Pride celebrations around town (although Pride Week in New York City "officially" runs from June 16-24). On Saturday, the Brooklyn's Pride Celebration lights up Park Slope with a street fair and parade. On Sunday, the Children's Museum of the Arts hosts its own Pride Cultural Festival, complete with a mini-Vogue Ball and a drag queen storytime. 

Of course, June brings tons of FREE concerts and outdoor movies around town. The FREE Celebrate Brooklyn Family Concert in Prospect Park promises plenty of family grooving with Los Lobos as the headliner. Saturday's movies under the stars include Wonder Woman in Manhattan, Field of Dreams on Staten Island, and Mulan 2 in Brooklyn.

Randall's Island hosts its annual Treasure Hunt on Saturday, where kids can learn and practice orienteering skills and catch a musical puppet performance. Intrepid families might even make a day of it and stick around for a free outdoor screening of Ferris Bueller's Day Off as the sun goes down.

For more ideas, see our Summer Fun Guide, and keep an eye on our endlessly expanding calendar! Plan ahead for Father's Day with our handy guide to the top things to do in the city with your favorite dad.

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