Do you know that one of the area's most beautiful and peaceful parks is inside city limits—and absolutely free to visit? The second largest "link" in the Emerald Necklace of green space that encircles Boston, the Arnold Arboretum is 281 rolling acres of four-seasons fun, operated by Harvard University and located in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood. The Arboretum is most well-known for its springtime blooms, especially lilacs, but families also flock here for summer hikes, fall foliage, and wintertime sledding. Here are 10 ideas to while away a day in nature, just a short drive or subway ride from downtown.
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If there's a season when Bostonians are itching to get out and explore, it's spring: After a long, cold New England winter, it's liberating to pile the family in the car and discover someplace new, preferably one that showcases flora and fauna in kid-friendly ways. We're blessed to be in driving distance of many beautiful places fit for a weekend escape, but sometimes, you don't have multiple days to spare. All of these places offer unique ways to celebrate the season, and clocking in at around or under two hours from city limits, make for a fine springtime day trip.
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.
There are few things more satisfying than pulling a fast one on your own kid, but elaborate prep work is sure to sap the fun out of any good April Fools' Day joke. In the past, we've shared ideas for old-school gags and fun tricks to play on children, but more recently, we've found that the very best pranks are also the simplest.
Here, we run down 15 easy ways to show kids that we still have the upper hand—at least when it comes to April Fools' Day!
Going to sleepaway camp is a rite of passage for many kids in Boston, Connecticut, and the rest of New England. But the idea of being away from home for more than a few weeks can be a dealbreaker for many kids, especially if they're on the younger side or tend to have separation anxiety. Luckily, many overnight camps offer one- or two-week (or even shorter) sessions that are specially designed to introduce children to the independence and kid bonding of sleepaway without forcing them to "stick it out" for longer than they may be ready to handle.
Established on shorelines and lakefronts across six states, we've rounded up popular overnight summer camps with first-timer-focused starter sessions for children 6 to 12 years old. The only catch may be if you're not sure you can part with your kiddo for more than a night. (Trust me—you can!)
Surely you've heard (or seen the giant billboard on the Pike) about the newest Museum of Science exhibit, Nature's Superheroes: Life at the Limits. Or, if you have an animal-crazed nature nut like my seven-year-old son, you haven't stopped hearing about it since learning the traveling exhibit was Boston-bound in 2019. My son and I checked it out the day after it opened, and weren't disappointed: From a micro-animal that could survive temperatures on Pluto to lizards that squirt blood out of their eyes, the fascinating, strange, and downright gross creatures we learned about are excellent kid-conversation fodder. Here's a preview if you decide to make a February staycation outing or winter day trip out of it.
With three boys who are outgrowing indoor play spaces, I'm always on the hunt for spots where they can get their energy out in cold or wet weather. Indoor obstacle courses, bowling alleys, go-karts, and laser tag often fit the bill, but recently, I kept hearing other moms talk about a new place in Marlborough that combines these activities and more under one (ginormous) roof. The other week, we made the trek to Apex Entertainment Center, and after lifting jaws that had dropped to the ground at the place's sheer size—80,000 square feet!—my kids smiled and whooped their way through three hours of sporty and techie fun. Here's what to expect at the place that bills itself as New England's biggest family entertainment center.
Letting a restaurant take care of family dinner is the dream—until the kids find "nothing good" on the menu, everyone is antsy before drinks are even served, and a fat check arrives anyway. Luckily, Boston and the surrounding 'burbs are home to some fantastic, family-oriented restaurants. Some feature play areas where children can get their energy out while you linger over your meal. Others, listed here, allow kids to eat for free. At these local eateries, children dine gratis on certain days or times, allowing you to enjoy family time without stressing about the bill. We know what you'll be making for dinner tonight: reservations.