Westchester

Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Farms and Festivals in the Hudson Valley

If apple picking is the perfect fall activity, then strawberry picking is surely the early-summer equivalent. Not only are you able to stock up on the sweet stuff, but you’re able to visit and support local farms and, of course, spend time as a family.

Best of all, there are plenty of places throughout the Hudson Valley where kids of all ages can try their hand at picking their own strawberries. The season usually starts around the beginning of June, but be sure to call ahead first. Not into picking them yourself? Westchester and the Hudson Valley have a few strawberry festivals you can check out, instead.  

Share your picking photos with us on Facebook

The Grove Resort and Water Park Is a Worthy Disney Alternative

When planning a family vacation to Orlando, Florida, you and the kids might have just one destination on the brain: Disney. But actually, as we’ve pointed out before, there’s more to Orlando than theme parks, including plenty of family resorts from which to choose.

If you’re looking off-park for a hotel, consider The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando. The 106-acre resort is just a few miles down the road from the entrance to Walt Disney World, but sits on a pretty tract of land set back from the major highways in a natural marsh and wooded landscape. It has all the favorite perks of a great family resort, including suites for housing extended family, pools, on-site restaurants, a spa, activities for kids, and even a water park.

We just returned from a long weekend at the resort and are happy to share our review.

Best Jersey Shore Beaches for Families: Sandy Hook to Cape May

Make your New Jersey kid a beach baby and go "down the shore." New Jersey boasts 130 miles of shoreline and some of the prettiest beaches anywhere. Whether your family is looking for a busy boardwalk with children's rides, a beachside water park or sprinkler playground, towering lighthouses, toddler attractions, or something a bit quieter, the Jersey Shore has it. 

We've rounded up 10 of our favorite Jersey beaches, from a national park on the northern shore down to the busier southern beaches of Cape May and Atlantic City. So pack the car (and the kids) for a beach day trip or a long weekend—the summer possibilities are endless. And for more beach fun, check out our Jersey Shore Family Guide, including a roundup of our favorite boardwalks.

Weekend Fun: UFO Fair, Family Arts Bash, Cupcake Festival

Be forewarned: there are so many fun, family-friendly events happening this weekend that the task of picking and choosing may be difficult! Dominating the lineup are spring festivals in Westchester and the Hudson Valley, with celebrations of many cultures—even the extraterrestrial.

Returning this year is Celebrate Pinkster, a festival honoring a historic African-American spring celebration, featuring drumming, dancing, cuisine, and more. Carnival season kicks off with the St. Patrick’s Annual Carnival's rides, games, and cotton candy. For out-of-this-world fun, resistance is futile at the annual UFO Fair (and, for that matter, at the tantalizing Gardiner Cupcake Festival). And, for a robust agenda of hands-on art fun using assorted media, don’t miss the annual Family Arts Bash.

Read on for our top weekend picks, and visit each listing for complete details. Consult our May GoList and our Event Calendar to plan ahead, and stay in the know by signing up for our newsletters!

Memorial Day Parades and Fairs in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

Memorial Day is more than just the unofficial start to summer. While many families may be beach-bound, bringing kids to a parade or memorial service is a good way to express gratitude for our fallen heroes and to demonstrate ways to show respect for those who've served in the military. Below is a guide to some of the many Memorial Day parades and services happening in Westchester and the Hudson Valley this year.

Looking for other ways to spend the long weekend? Consult our Event Calendar and sign up for our newsletters.

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.

30 Things To Do in Milwaukee with Kids

John Steinbeck once wrote that Wisconsin is full of surprises, and the state's largest city, Milwaukee, is no exception. With a cosmopolitan feel and midwestern charm, and just an hour and a half drive north of Chicago (plus one of the easiest airports you'll ever travel through), families looking for a new vacation spot should put Milwaukee high on their consideration list the next time they're planning a trip.

Check out our list of 30 fun and interesting things to do with kids in Milwaukee (plus five bonus spots if you're willing to drive a little outside the city). Whether you're looking for the arts or the sciences, a great day outside, soaking up the sun on the shores of Lake Michigan or a fun day in, sampling some of the country's best frozen custard, you'll find something for everyone in the family in Milwaukee.

July 4th Fireworks Cruises in NYC: See Macy's Show on a Boat

The promise of NYC summer fun is right around the corner. One of our favorite annual events, the Macy's Fourth of July fireworks display, is ready to light up the city skyline. The display illuminates the East River annually, and nothing quite compares with watching the celebration up close from the water. Plus, you don't have to battle the insane crowds with the kids.

Of course, these special cruises don't come cheaply and many are only open to ages 21 and older. We set out to find the lowest-cost July 4th fireworks cruises in NYC that also welcome children. If you're interested, book quickly. Some already have sold out and the remaining tickets will be gone before you know it.

Mother's Day Weekend in Westchester: Tulips, Carnival, Science Barge

This weekend is all about you, Westchester and Hudson Valley moms! We know how hard you work, how many balls you juggle, how many diapers you’ve changed, and we want to help you savor the moment when your family puts on their best manners and honors the lady who holds it all together. The tried-and-true Mother’s Day brunch is a popular way to celebrate, but we've also rounded up 35 ways to spend Mother’s Day that don’t involve a restaurant reservation. 

For live entertainment, kick up your heels with Laurie Berkner, or wag your tail with The Stunt Dog Experience. Looking for free events? More performances await at the 10th Anniversary of the Science Barge, where there will also be games, kites, giant puppets, robotics, and more; the White Plains Comic Fest will offer workshops, crafting, special appearances, and other comic-y attractions; and the Albany Tulip Festival will showcase more than just loads of beautiful blooms, but also Dutch traditions and festival-type fun. There are also carnival rides at the Hudson Valley Fair and at the season-opener of Rye Playland!

Looking for more ideas? Read on for all our top picks, head to our Event Calendar for additional options, and plan the rest of the month with our May GoList. For more seasonal activities, be sure to check out our Spring Activity Guide. Then, after polishing off your breakfast in bed, get out and enjoy all the fun ways you can spend this special weekend with your family.

From all the parents at Mommy Poppins: Have a very happy Mother’s Day—we know you deserve it!

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