A weekend trip from Boston may be just what you need if a big week-long vacation doesn’t fit into your budget or your calendar anytime soon. It seems like most people in my area are stuck in a weekend rut. If you are located South of Boston you getaway “down the Cape.” North of the city you may head to the Maine coast or NH lakes but there are so many other places that are great locations for a family weekend just a short drive away.
This is one of my personal weekend destinations. Most kids in the area make one pilgrimage (pun intended) to Plimouth Plantation at least once in their school career but this city has so much more than Mayflower history! This seaside town has the perennial New England favorites like whale watching, salt water taffy shops and plenty of lobster. Miles Standish state forest has more outdoor fun with hiking trails, kayaking, biking, and fishing. Walking downtown on the weekends is a lot of fun with plenty of live music streaming out of the pubs. And let’s not discount the history – it is the birthplace of America afterall!
Where to Stay: Hotel 1620 Plymouth Harbor
Most people know Salem, MA as the home to the Salem Witch trials and while I wouldn’t recommend bringing young children to the ‘witchy’ city during the month of October there is much more to experience with kids than you would expect. If you are looking to expose your children to more colonial history consider the Salem Heritage Trail. It is Salem’s version of the Freedom Trail with a red line marking the way on the city sidewalks with fantastic guide maps describing the significance of sites and statues. The Peabody Essex Museum is an art museum downtown that has hands on exhibits where kids can create their own art. Many enjoy the nature art in the Art and Nature center. Maritime history museums and boat tours are also interesting. If you need a little break from history and culture Salem Willows arcade allows kids to let out some steam.
Where to Stay: Salem Waterfront Hotel
Portsmouth is right over the Massachusetts border in New Hampshire. This seaside town features shops, restaurants, museums, and so much more. While most of the downtown attractions are accessible by foot kids will love getting from place to place on the old fashioned trolley. History comes alive at the Strawberry Banke Museum a living history park with costumed characters and craft demos. If you have a fan of science marine life the tidal pools and other marine habitats at Ordion State Park are a must. They also have the most darling little children’s museum that is a lot easier to consume and enjoy than its counterpart in Boston. Looking to let out a little more energy and cool down in the summer months Water Country, a water park that has a variety of different slides for kids is nearby.
Where to Stay: Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel
This state capital is often overshadowed by its larger neighbor to the North but its small size is what makes Providence such a gem. The Coming to Rhode Island exhibit at the Providence Children’s museum is worth the trip alone. Kids can learn about the lives of real people who immigrated to the state and pretend to live the way these people did—milking cows or loading a ship. Animal lovers can spend hours exploring the Roger Williams Zoo or Biomes Marine Biology Center in nearby North Kingston which lives up to its claim as the most “hands on aquarium” in the area. The Carousel at Crescent Park, Gondola rides on the Woonasquatucket River, and catching a PawSox game are also great ways to spend your weekend in the city.
Where to Stay: Courtyard Providence Downtown
Portland is currently booming with tourism due to its thriving culinary scene rich with farm to table dining and incredible breweries. While I would be happy to just go and eat there is so much to do with boat trips, shopping and museums. For families interested in STEM check out the Portland Science Center which boasts traveling science exhibits for all ages. It is located right on the wharf so after you can jump on a whale watch or pirate cruise. You can’t take a trip to Maine without a visit to a light house and Portland Head doesn’t disappoint, they even have a dedicated children’s garden. The Portland Museum of Art encourages families to experience art together by allowing everyone under 21 to enter for free and engaging children with exhibits and activities just for them. Don’t leave Portland without trying Holy Donuts – artisanal donuts made from potato instead of flour.
Where to Stay: Courtyard by Marriott Portland
If you want something a little different than the typical downtown city stay consider the Sebasco Harbor Resort set on the rocky midcoast of Maine about an hour’s drive from Portland. The resort manages to exude that stuck-in-yesteryear feel while offering an array of simple pleasures, from lobster bakes and canoeing to golf and spa treatments. If you have ever wanted to stay at Kellerman’s (where are my fellow Dirty Dancing fans?) you will love this place.
Mystic is a great destination for families. There are lots of things to do with including Olde Mistick Village and Mystic Seaport. This living history museum highlights what life was like for sailors and fisherman. This museum is a huge maritime complex spread across 17 waterfront acres and set up as a 19th century village with 30 period-buildings from around New England. You can walk through or take a fun horse and carriage ride stopping in the various stores, workshops, and other buildings. There are hundreds of ships on display, including ancient whaling and fishing ships. Kids will love to a get out on the water on a coal-burning steam boat or rented row boat. There’s also the Mystic Aquarium, which sets itself apart with fun and interactive beluga whales.
Where to Stay: Howard Johnson by Wyndham Mystic
While it is not the most unique destination when it is the dead of winter and you just need to get the kids out of the house head to the Great Wolf Lodge Fitchburg.
If you are ready to have the family vacation you’ve been dreaming of, without spending time researching, planning and making it happen, schedule a call today. I’m here to help busy working Moms plan, organise and book the perfect family vacation. With me, all you have to worry about is enjoying your well-earned time away with your family. If you are ready to stop trying to do everything on your own and see how I can help you schedule a complimentary trip planning session now.
Showcase the World is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Showcase the World also participates in other affiliate programs and may earn a commission for purchases made through links on this site.