Connecticut

14 Outdoor Water Parks With Water Slides and Spraygrounds for New England Kids and Families

Splash pads and swimming pools are fun ways to cool off near home, but in three hours or less by car, families in Massachusetts or Connecticut can get to most of the following outdoor water parks for a wet and wild adventure with kids. Although there's no shortage of big slides at these amusement parks, you don't have to be a daredevil (or of a certain height) to enjoy yourself. There are wave pools, family raft rides, and lazy rivers for preschoolers (and those of us who don't need to plummet a down a very tall slide to have fun). Some of the parks are dedicated to water attractions, and others are part of a larger theme park, but they all offer plenty of chances to get completely soaked. 

Best Amusement Parks for Preschoolers in and Near NYC

For young children, a ride on a carousel’s painted pony, a spin with dad around the bumper car track, and a dripping swirl of frozen custard are the stuff summer memories are made of. No need to seek out the latest scary high-tech roller coasters (which means you can cross Luna Park's most scary rides off your list).

Rides that look mild (or frankly, downright boring) to big people usually provide just the right amount of thrills for toddlers and preschoolers. Happily, there are a number of amusement and water parks in or near the New York City metro area that offer these kinds of tame attractions. Here's our roundup of theme parks perfect for the pint-sized.

Find more seasonal rides in our Theme and Water Parks Guide for families.

8 Great Theme Parks For Families in New England

For a memorable family outing jam-packed with exhilarating rides, indulgent snacks, and giggle-inducing character interactions, head to a theme park. We have some great choices here in New England and rounded up our eight favorites for families with kids ranging from toddlers to teens. Some are close enough for a daycation while others are better suited for a weekend getaway; regardless, they all make for a quick escape from the every day blahs. For even more local thrills, explore our theme and water park guides for Boston and Connecticut, and if you have a few extra days for fun and relaxation, check out our Best Amusement Parks Near NYC

100 Things to Do in New England with Kids Before They Grow Up

No matter where you live, exploring New England with kids ought to be on your short list of family vacation goals. Steeped in history and natural beauty, the Northeast offers families a chance to learn about the earliest Americans, frolic on snow or sand, and enjoy all sorts of old-fashioned fun, from farm-fresh ice cream to vintage carousels.

Drawing from our carefully curated lists of the best things to do with children in Boston and Connecticut as well as the inside scoop from parents in Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, we've come up with 100 things to see, do, and eat with kids in New England. It includes our favorite beaches, children's museums and amusement parks, charming New England towns with kid-friendly activities, ski and holiday trips, and top seasonal events and carnivals. One thing is for certain: You'll be wicked glad you visited Yankeeland.

Family-Friendly Farm Stays: Meet the Animals and Work the Farm

Farm stays provide guests of all ages with a taste of farm life. Whether by milking cows and collecting eggs, or gathering fresh fruit from a pineapple plant for breakfast, families who choose to stay at a farm hotel, which might be cabin, house, or even a tent, will likely have more fun than Old MacDonald led you to believe is possible.

Time your farm stay with the kids for spring, summer, or even fall. Check out which seasonal activities might be going on before picking the dates of your farm vacation, as well as the location. We've rounded up 10 of our favorite farm "hotels" around the country, from Maine to Texas to California.

I've found that farmer-hosts have a strong desire to educate little farmers on how to live a more sustainable and balanced life. Unplug, relax, and enjoy the fruits of a hard day’s work around a campfire. Lessons learned on these farms will stay with you long after you return home. 

Find more vacation ideas and weekend getaways in our Family Travel Guide, or check out your local Farm Fun Guide for local petting zoos, harvest festivals, and pick-your-own fun.

11 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 weekend trip to fully immerse the family in fall fun.

We’ve rounded up 11 options, from a luxury retreat in Connecticut to glamping in New Hampshire to an Adirondack wilderness retreat where you can really unplug. 

5 Fall Foliage Trips with Extra Fun for Families in New England

Other regions around the country might be a bit superior for, say, soaking up the rays or skiing through powder. But when it comes to leaf peeping, I don't think it's biased to say that New England might be tops. With rolling hills, a high density of deciduous, mature trees, and, probably most importantly, relatively crisp late September and early October temps, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine, as well as Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, kick off the fall foliage season with early, vibrant, and lasting color.

Sure, kids might not thrill to the wonders of changing foliage quite the way grown-ups do. But most enjoy trips to pretty destinations, with fun stops to hike, eat, and play along the way. While choices are plentiful in these parts, we're highlighting a few especially lovely fall locales that combine great fall color with fun family activities. Now all you have to do is convince the kids to put down their devices and appreciate the scenery. For more autumn hotspots around the country, check out our complete fall leaves and foliage guide.

Digging up Dinos at The Dinosaur State Park

Few things excite the imagination of youngsters the way dinosaurs do. When I was in second grade, I would devour every ounce of information I could find about dinosaurs. Let me tell you, Pre-Google, this was no easy task! Once upon a time, Dinosaurs roamed the land that we now call Hartford County. Fortunately for us, a little piece of this pre-history has been preserved in The Dinosaur State Park. Now that my daughter has her own questions about dinosaurs, I decided to step away from the screens, and head out to the park where we could get up close and personal to this  pre-historic slice of our past.

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