Rich with history and natural beauty, the New England area is a popular vacation destination for families. No matter what time of year you visit, you can take advantage of the area’s rugged coastline, fascinating historic sites, and world-class cultural institutions. Book a stay at one of many incredible New England vacation rentals today. Here are several child-friendly attractions to check out when you’re vacationing in the New England area.
1. Get Outdoors in Acadia National Park in Maine
Experience Maine’s stunning wilderness with a visit to Acadia National Park. Start with one of the park’s kid-friendly hikes. Take the Bar Island Trail, and spend a couple of hours spotting sea creatures in the tide pools. On the Jordan Pond Nature Path, you can stroll through the woods on an easy 1-mile loop. If you prefer to get out on the water, book a kayak tour of the park with one of the outfitters in Bar Harbor.
2. Walk the Freedom Trail in Boston, Massachusetts
Walk through early American history on the Freedom Trail, which takes you past 16 of the city’s most important historic sites. Start at the beautiful Boston Common Park, and follow the brick path to the Paul Revere House, the USS Constitution, and the Bunker Hill Monument. At the Granary Burying Ground, kids can search for the tombs of John Hancock and Paul Revere. Don’t forget to visit Faneuil Hall, which is widely known as the home of free speech in the United States.
3. Visit Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts
Get a close-up view of American warships at Battleship Cove. Explore the USS massive Massachusetts BB59 battleship, and tour the USS Lionfish SS298 submarine. The onsite National PT Boats Veterans Museum displays some of the only remaining advance base operations boats from World War II. Check out the museum’s schedule of family-friendly educational sessions, or stay overnight on a battleship as part of the Nautical Nights program.
4. Go Skiing in Vermont
Experience New England’s best skiing and snowboarding at one of Vermont’s many ski resorts. At Killington, enjoy a few gentle rides down the beginner trails before riding the K-1 Express Gondola to the intermediate runs that start at the summit. If your kids are advanced skiers, visit Stratton for its world-class terrain parks and challenging territory. At Stowe Mountain Resort, 116 runs provide something for everyone in the family. Each mountain offers lessons and equipment rental.
5. Check out Fort Adams State Park in Rhode Island
If your New England vacation takes you to Rhode Island, visit Fort Adams State Park in Newport. Hit the beach for a day of swimming, explore the historic fort, or pack your tackle and try saltwater fishing. For the full experience, head to Sail Newport in the park to take a sailing tour, or rent a sailboat. In the summer, join the crowds, as the park hosts the Newport Jazz Festival and the Newport Folk Festival.
6. Learn About Space Science at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, New Hampshire
Expose your kids to the world of space travel and astronomy at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. The center features more than 15 different exhibits, each designed for hands-on interaction. Check out a real satellite in the CATSAT exhibit, or see what you look like in infrared light using a special software center. In the Rocket Plaza, marvel at the full-sized Mercury-Redstone rocket replica. Other exciting exhibits include a space shuttle replica and a full-sized model of the Mercury capsule that transported Alan Shepard into space in 1961.
7. Experience a 19th Century Village in Mystic, Connecticut
Head to the Mystic Seaport to check out Seaport Village, a recreated 19th-century seafaring community. Here, you can stroll through actual New England buildings from the 1800s, which were transported to the area from around the coast. See where sailors shopped in the Geo. H. Stone General Store, and check out the unusual potions in the drugstore. A walk through the Buckingham-Hall House demonstrates how people lived in the early 1800s. Don’t miss the many ship-building businesses, including the Rigging Loft and the George W. Smith Mast Hoop Manufacturer site.
8. Take a Thrill Ride at Six Flags New England in Agawam, Massachusetts
Spend a day riding roller coasters at Six Flags New England. Adults and teenagers can hop on the park’s scariest rides, including the heart-pounding Goliath and the human Slingshot. If your kids are small, check out the Krazy Kups, Ship’s Ahoy, Zinger Swings, and more. The park also features a variety of family rides for kids and adults. In the summer, head for the Hurricane Harbor Water Park area, which features a lazy river, wave pool, and a wide selection of waterslides.
9. Learn About Early America at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Bring your kids’ history lessons to life at the Plimoth Plantation. This fascinating living history site educates visitors about colonial English settlers and the native Wampanoag people, all in a fun, engaging setting. Step aboard the Mayflower II, a full-scale replica of the ship that carried the Pilgrims to the United States in the early 1600s. The Wampanoag Homesite shows a traditional village, staffed by actual Wampanoag and Native Nations people. Watch Pilgrims at work in the 17th-Century English Village, and be sure to stop for a chat with the many historical re-enactors that populate the site.
10. Spend an Afternoon at the Boston Children’s Museum in Massachusetts
Escape the heat or cold with a trip to the Boston Children’s Museum, which is popular with kids of all ages. Watch a child-friendly show in the KidStage theater, check out animatronic dinosaurs in the Explore-a-Saurus area, and create electricity through action in the Kid Power exhibit. Be sure to check the museum calendar for daily activities in art, science, wildlife, music, and more.
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