If you’ve been cooped up for a little bit too long, we’ve got you covered. It’s time to plan your next family road trip (safely, of course) and we have all the best spots for families within four hours of Boston. Whether you are looking for seaside or mountain towns, active or relaxing, we’ve got it all below. Get your bags packed, we’ve done the planning for you!

photo: Connecticut Office of Tourism/Coppola Photography

Connecticut

There's a reason that this neighboring state is at the top of the list for Boston families. The Mystic Seaport and Mystic Aquarium are definite family favorites. You can learn about history when you visit Revolutionary War spots like Fort Griswold and the Nathan Hale Homestead. Or, awaken your taste buds with all the maple sugaring activities that the area offers in late February and March. Tubing, skiing, ice climbing and more winter activities are plentiful in CT. Outdoor wonders like Sleeping Giant State Park and the kid-favorite Dinosaur State Park are destinations on their own. Adventure junkies will want to spend some time at Connecticut's first aerial adventure park, the Adventure Park at the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport. The Mystic Aquarium is a family favorite any time of year.   More info

photo: iStock

Nantucket

We love Nantucket any time of year but especially when the sun is out and the swimsuits are on. Kids will love a visit there because it involves everyone's favorite, a ferry ride! Once you get there, you can spend the day at Children's Beach, catch some dinner on a critter cruise, catch fiddler crabs at Masquetuck Reservation and dine on lobster at the Lobster Trap. More Info

New Hampshire's White Mountains

When the woods are calling, Boston families head to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Just short of 3 hours away, there are loads of outdoor adventures to be had. Ride to the top of Mount Washington on the World’s first mountain-climbing cog railway, the Mount Washington Cog Railway. Little ones will enjoy a visit to Story Land, the children’s theme park where fairy tales come to life. Adventure seekers will love zooming down the Mountain Coaster or flying on the Soaring Eagle Zip Ride at Cranmore Mountain Resort. More info

Kennebunkport, ME

Beaches and lobsters, what more could you want? Kennebunkport has that and more with the cutest downtown you've seen and history around every corner. Visit the Bush family exhibit at Walker's Point and then check out the Seashore Trolley Museum, the first and largest electric trolley museum in the world. Don't miss the opportunity to head out on the water by renting a power boat or even a house boat. Or, try your luck as a lobsterman on a lobster boat tour. More Info

Narragansett, RI

This quaint beach town is a perfect family destination when you're looking for ocean breezes and relaxing in the sun. Head to Narragansett Town Beach or one of the nearby state beaches to stake out your spot in the sun. Check out the Point Judith lighthouse that was erected in 1816. Be sure to plan some time to hop on the ferry to explore nearby Block Island where you can go birdwatching and hike the Mohegan Bluffs. More info 

The Berkshires

There's something for every kind of family in western Massachusetts. If you're looking for a family-friendly ski getaway, Butternut in Great Barrington is a great, affordable, spot for little ones learning to ski, and it also offers snow tubing. 

The Norman Rockwell Museum is located in nearby Stockbridge. In addition to showcasing much of the artist's iconic work, the museum mounts exhibitions dedicated to illustration and new perspectives on Rockwell's work. Additionally, you can visit the small workshop where he did much of his painting. 

If you like your art with more edge, head to Mass MOCA in North Adams, the largest contemporary art center in the country. (It is huge, with lots of wide open spaces, making it a place where it's easy to social distance.) Kids can really roam free here, too. The center houses several works by light artist James Turrell, and its three floors of Sol Lewitt galleries are impressive. Mass MoCA also has a Kidspace with rotating exhibits and programming, allowing kids to get in on the art-making action.

More info: berkshires.org

Burlington & Lake Champlain, VT

Burlington, Vermont is located on Lake Champlain so you can check out both destinations in one trip. Kiddos will know that this is where the Vermont Teddy Bears come from so be sure to add that and the World's Tallest Filing Cabinet to your must-see list. ECHO should also be on that list as it's a totally-rad kids' museum with STEM exhibits, live animals and loads of other things to explore.

When you're ready for some outside time, Lake Champlain offers lots of opportunities for kayaking, swimming, boating and lazy lake days. 

More info: burlingtonvt.gov

photo: iStock

Albany, NY

Not only is Albany the state capital of New York, but it's a pretty fun place to bring kids who are interested in history. Visit the USS Slater, a WWII war ship that offers one-hour tours and then head to the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, home to Philip J. Schuyler, the renowned Revolutionary War general, US Senator, and business entrepreneur. Step back in time and head to Huck Finn's Playland. This amusement part has an awesome retro feel and is especially fun for the little ones. 

—Kate Loweth

 

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