Whether you are traveling with tots or teens, the Northeast offers a wealth of weekend getaways where you can spend two or three days and enjoy a variety of indoor or outdoor pursuits. So gas up the car, put some travel tunes on your iPod and hit the road.
In Boston, Massachusetts, introduce your kids to freshly filled cannolis in the North End and chowder at Legal Sea Foods. If you get into Boston on a Friday afternoon, go to the Boston Children’s Museum >for $1 admission 5-9pm. A new three story climbing structure and walk through maze draw kids in. Kid Power lets children literally climb the walls or run and dance on a light up floor.
My NY-entric kids were surprised to discover another Hayden Planetarium, this one at The Museum of Science. The just renovated planetarium is even more advanced than the one at the AMNH in New York. The Discovery Center, for babies through eight year olds, is all hands-on.
Take a four hour whale watch or two hour Boston Harbor tour from the New England Aquarium. In April, the aquarium opens a giant shark and ray touch tank.
For a fun scavenger hunt with kids in Boston, click here.
Springfield, Massachusetts celebrates native son Dr. Seuss, with an outdoor sculpture garden featuring Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat with Dr. Seuss, and the Lorax. No climbing on, but touching is allowed. The sculpture garden is surrounded by a science museum, an art museum and a history museum, with exhibits related to Dr. Seuss.
At the Basketball Hall of Fame find memorabilia and artifacts, many with interactive stations, from men and women’s professional, collegiate, scholastic, Olympic, international and wheelchair basketball. There are special Kid’s Courts where you can shoot baskets.
Six Flags New England, has thrill rides, kiddies and family rides, and a water park. Bizarro, the newest roller coaster, takes riders upside down and twisting through 17 hairpin turns. There is also a hand-carved 1909 wooden Carousel.
For the grossest things to do on a family vacation in Springfield, click here
Stowe, Vermont, is the land of outdoor adventures. You can find alpine hiking, or stick to the flat Stowe Recreation Path, where you can also bicycle. Smugglers’ Notch Resort. has 8 pools, water slides and tube rides, plus sprays and fountains for little kids. Take the Zipline Canopy Tour, play mini golf or go geocaching. At Stowe Mountain Resort, ride the gondola or the alpine slide, climb a rock wall, run through an inflatable obstacle course or jump on a bungee trampoline. Rent a canoe or kayak or take a guided tour.
If you work up an appetite, head to the Ben & Jerry Factory Tour where you can watch ice cream being made, sample the goods and see the cows. Then relax at a concert; Stowe Performing Arts offers Sunday evening performances or free concerts on select summer Tuesdays at the gazebo in town.
For more to do on a family vacation in Stowe (even if you’re not a skier), click here.
Virginia Woolf would be proud of families who head to the lighthouse, specifically, to the Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse, where families with kids 55 inches and taller can explore the caisson-style lighthouse
I talked up taking the family to Portland, Maine, so we could stop at the flagship L.L. Beanstore in Freeport. The store hosts outdoor family adventures like half day biking trips, kayaking and canoeing tours or lessons and $20 ‘walk-on adventures’ like fly-fishing, archery and kayaking, for families with kids ages 8 and up.
The Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine has a lobster boat, fire truck and diner where kids can make ‘shakes’ and ‘fries.’ You know Portland is a foodie paradise when the museum’s market is sponsored by Whole Foods. On First Fridays, admission is $1 from 5 – 8pm; this is also when streets come alive with First Fridays Artwalk. Take a ride on an antique train at Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co & Museum.