Ask a family what their favorite trick-or-treating spot is, and it's likely to be their own neighborhood. It's always fun to see familiar houses lit up with spooky decorations or the sweet old lady from down the street answer the door with a witch's hat and cackle. But sometimes, kids—and adventurous parents—are looking for an exciting alternative to their usual route. In that case, you might consider bringing your loot bags and Unicef boxes to one of the following Boston-area neighborhoods, where residents really take Halloween festivities to the next level. (If you're looking for more spooky fun before the big day, check out these haunted attractions—if you dare!)
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If your kids are Halloween-obsessed like mine, you know how lucky you are to live close to what may be the country's Halloween capital: Salem. Despite what you might have heard about "Witch City," it’s not all scary stuff. Many of the events happening in Salem over the next month are tailor-made for families, replacing most of the tricks with treats. There's a Wednesday program just for kids, and some old favorites have slowly become more fun than frightening over the years. If you've never done fall in Salem, it's time!
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 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."
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.
What's so special about Nantucket? This charming Massachusetts island 30 miles off of Cape Cod is more than just a prepster paradise: It's just about as family-friendly as can be. In fact, there are so many things for kids to do in Nantucket, the trick is packing it all into a single family vacation. Perhaps that's why we always come back! Luckily, with just 48 square miles to cover, it is possible to fit in a number of Nantucket highlights, including a surf lesson, aquarium trip, critter cruise, and lobster dinner.
So catch the Nantucket ferry over to the island (or fly in), and try these kid-friendly activities. We're sure you'll have a family getaway that's one for the photo books.
Being a parent to a little one doesn't mean you need to hang up your hiking boots. Boston boasts plenty of tree-lined walking paths that accommodate strollers, and even more short, easy hiking trails to suit kids who've become a little more sure-footed. Along with the many short, winding routes that snake through Blue Hills, just outside city limits, these 10 hikes are well-maintained, close to Boston, and offer just the right amount of challenge for preschool-age trailblazers.
Like many kids, my boys started begging to go to Disney around the time they could walk. Once they were swimming, however, the object of their spring break fantasies became Atlantis—the Bahamas mega-resort known for its gigantic water park, marine life encounters, and luxe casino. For years, unsure whether a place nicknamed "Vegas by the Sea" was the best choice for a family vacation, my husband and I brushed aside their pleas. But after another harsh Boston winter, we broke down and booked a trip, figuring our boys were at the ideal ages—12, 10, and 7— to appreciate all the 'tweeny bopper fun that Atlantis offers (and for which it charges big).
We had a fun-packed five-day stay, and along the way, accumulated plenty of advice for other families who are considering an Atlantis trip, including whether or not it is a kid-friendly destination. Here are the main things moms and dads should know to make sure their vacation in Paradise (Island) lives up to the hype.
Find more top places to stay on vacation in our Hotels & Resorts Guide for Families.