New England

Polar Express and Santa Trains Near NYC This Holiday Season

The magic of Chris Van Allsburg’s popular Christmas picture book The Polar Express comes to life again this winter with festive holiday trains within a whistle's blow of the New York City metro area. A huge hit with kids and parents alike, these trains spark the imagination and holiday spirit with seasonal snacks, stories, even gifts—not to mention a visit from Santa himself.

These old-school cabooses (some harking back to the 1920s) offer a classic holiday ambience. There's a Polar Express just an hour south into New Jersey, as well as the one-day-only Tri-State Santa Train about 50 minutes away. You could also consider a day trip to the Catskills, or a weekend getaway to Pennsylvania Dutch Country for the Santa's Paradise Express. No matter which Santa Train experience you choose, your family can combine the annual Santa Claus photo op with lasting memories of a sweet adventure.

Remember: these train rides sell out quickly, often months in advance, so book now if you want to go.

Pumpkin Festivals and Jack-O-Lantern Displays for New England Families

New England is brimming with fall festivals, but kids are particularly enamored with events celebrating the humble pumpkin: the symbol of autumn and Halloween. Whether you stick close to home or make a day or weekend trip out of it, going to a pumpkin festival or visiting a glowing jack-o'-lantern display is a fun, family-friendly way to get into the spirit of the season. Here's a sampling of pumpkin fun in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine over the next month. Get inspired for a trip to the pumpkin patch for a jack-o'-lantern display on your own front porch!

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

When it comes to showing off fall colors, New England clearly does it best. And even though you don't have to travel to glimpse some red and gold, there are certain towns in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island and Connecticut that boast some particularly stunning foliage displays, drawing families for fall day trips or weekend getaways.

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. These fall locales 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 the complete Mommy Poppins fall leaves and foliage guide.

Stowe, Vermont with Kids: 30 Fun Things to Do in Stowe, Vermont

Stowe, Vermont is a haven for kids and families looking for outdoor adventures whether the mountains are blanketed with groomed snow for skiing, summer wildflowers for camping and hiking, or fall foliage. 

The mountainside village—arguably the prettiest in the Green Mountain State—is home to Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak, where much of the activity is centered. From hiking, biking, and zip-lining in the summer and fall to skiing, snowshoeing, and skating in winter and early spring, Stowe, Vermont is a year-round destination. You'll also find Stowe hotels eager to cater to families, such as the Stowe Mountain Resort, the Lodge at Spruce Peak (formerly Stowe Mountain Lodge), and the Trapp Family Lodge (of Sound of Music fame).

Read on for some of our favorite things to do with kids when we're lucky enough to find ourselves in "the Aspen of the East." 

13 Perfect Fall Weekend Getaways Near NYC for Families

Fall in the Northeast is a lovely time of year for a family getaway. The crisp air, fall colors, 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 13 options, from a luxury retreat in Connecticut to glamping in New Hampshire to an Adirondack wilderness retreat where you can really unplug. 

10 Family-Friendly Hotels and Inns in Connecticut

Whether you're weekend tripping around Connecticut or splurging on a staycation, a spacious hotel room designed with kids in mind means a fun evening for children (and peace of mind for parents). These hotels tick the family-friendly boxes, offering amenities like bunk beds, pools, special activities...even bedtime cookies and milk! For a small state, Connecticut has plenty of family-friendly attractions, so whether you want to immerse yourself in art, a nautical experience, or enjoy the solitude of nature, we have you covered with hotel recommendations, from New Haven to Hartford to Mystic.

Family Friendly Vineyards and Wineries in New England that Welcome Kids

When thinking of New England, most people conjure up the tastes of apples, cranberries, and maple syrup, but local vineyards prove we can produce some tasty grapes, too. Stretching from Connecticut’s "wine trail" all the way up to New Hampshire's White Mountains, many of these vineyards aren't just great places to sip wine with your grown-up friends, but also to hang out with kids (yes, you heard that right!). Much like the local beer gardens that keep popping up in Boston and Connecticut, these wineries welcome families with beautiful, spacious grounds, and in some cases, apple picking, live music, wagon rides, and other activities.

Here are our favorite family-friendly vineyards and wineries in New England—from coast to mountaintop!

Best Cape Cod Beaches for Families

Wide, clean, and blanketed with soft sand, the Cape Cod National Seashore boasts miles upon miles of beaches that are great for kids and families. While many Cape Coddians claim their local spot is tops, the following beaches check all the boxes essential for family fun, including plenty of space, fun (but not too intense) waves, and helpful extras like lifeguards, bathrooms, and easy parking that can make a good beach day a great one.

Once you've had your fill of sandcastling and shelling, go explore the region's charming towns for more fun things for kids to do at the Cape. If you want to experience our Massachusetts shoreline with an island vibe, check out our favorite beaches and activities on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, too.

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