Great Family Weekend Getaways in New England, many of which are great in different seasons depending on your family’s preferences.
If you live in New England, you are lucky to have a variety of different vacation options available just a short distance away. Sometimes, with family, it’s hard to get away for a week, so a long weekend (or even a regular weekend) is a much easier option. Not only are there so many great weekend getaways in New England for families, there are also fabulous New England family resorts to stay at. Planning a family weekend getaway in New England? Here are the best weekend getaways in New England – perfect for family travel.
Disclosure: We’ve stayed at some of these locations and hotels at no cost for review. We also have ridden the Amtrak Downeaster at no cost. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. A purchase/click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us.
Family Weekend Getaways in New England
We traveled to Portland, Maine on numerous occasions, and have always enjoyed our stays. There is so much to do, including boat trips, shopping, and museums. There are also a number of fantastic restaurants to check out.
You’ll probably want to stay in the Old Port section of Portland, which is filled with stops and restaurants. You won’t even need your car for most destinations. If you are traveling from Boston (or North of Boston), you can take the Amtrak Downeaster train, which goes right into Portland.
Here are some other things to do in Portland, Maine:
- Portland Science Center
- Portland Head Lighthouse
- Portland Museum of Art
- Scenic boat tours
See hotels in Portland Maine here.
Freeport, Maine is most known for being the world-wide headquarters of LL Bean. The flagship store is definitely worth a visit, especially with kids. You can easily spend several hours there, and there are a number of things that appeal to kids, especially during the Christmas holiday season.
There are also lots of outlet stores and restaurants to enjoy in that area of Freeport. You can just park your car, and walk around to the various outlets. If you are already planning to visit Portland, Maine, it’s easy to drive up to Freeport. The Amtrak Downeaster train also travels up to Freeport, so that’s an option if you don’t want to drive.
While you are there, you may also want to visit Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park and Wolfe’s Neck Farm. During our fall visit to Freeport Maine a few years ago, we attended a fabulous harvest festival at Wolfe’s Neck. Definitely take a look at their website to see if there is an event that coincides with your visit.
We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, which was an affordable place to stay with family.
Even if you aren’t a skier, Stowe, Vermont is a great place to visit with kids. We typically visit in the summer, when my kids can enjoy the outdoor activities at the Stowe Mountain Lodge. There are also several fantastic spas (we enjoy the spa at Stoweflake).
When visiting Stowe, I definitely recommend driving through Waterbury, Vermont. There, you’ll find the Cold Hollow Cider Mill, where you can see cider being made. Don’t miss the apple cider donuts. You’ll also want to stop and tour the Ben and Jerry’s Factory, of course grabbing a cone at the attached Ben and Jerry’s Cone Shop.
Just past Stowe is Smugglers’ Notch, where you’ll find the famous Smugglers’ Notch resort. It’s a four-season resort that is perfect for families, and offers so many great activities for families.
See hotels in Stowe here.
Like Stowe, the White Mountains of New Hampshire is a great vacation destination both in the winter and the summer (as well as the fall, when you can enjoy the gorgeous fall foliage).
You’ll have the option of staying in a few different locations in the White Mountains. We like to stay in Lincoln, NH, near Clark’s Trading Post, as well as North Conway, NH, near Story Land. You can also stay in one of these spots and drive to the other – they are just an hour apart. There are a number of hotels and vacation homes that you can stay in, including the Red Jacket Mountain View and the Mountain Club at Loon. There are even a few family-friendly bed and breakfasts.
Activities in the White Mountains include:
- Loon Mountain
- Cranmore Mountain
- Attitash Mountain
- Story Land
- Santa’s Village
- Whale’s Tale Water Park
See hotels in the White Mountains here.
Mystic is a great destination for families. I’d recommend staying at the Hilton, which is right in the middle of the action. There are lots of things to do with families in Mystic, including Olde Mistick Village and Mystic Seaport. There’s also the Mystic Aquarium, which is my favorite aquarium in the area. While you are there, you’ll definitely want to check out the fun and interactive beluga whales.
Mystic is a short drive from Boston, but is also on the Amtrak train route from NYC to Boston. If you stay at the Hilton, you can walk to Olde Mistick Village and the Mystic Aquarium, but you would need to drive to Mystic Seaport.
See hotels in Mystic CT here.
Most people think of New Haven as the home of both delicious pizza and Yale University, but it’s also a great destination with families. We really enjoy the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History as well as the (free!) Yale Art Museum.
While you are there, you’ll definitely want to eat your way through New Haven. There are so many fabulous restaurants in the area, including many delicious pizza restaurants. If your family loves food, I’d definitely recommend that you take a food tour so you can see all of the hot spots.
Read reviews of New Haven hotels here.
You can definitely spend a weekend in Boston, but you’ll want to return for a much longer visit. There’s enough to do that you could easily stay for a week. I usually recommend visiting in the fall, when the weather is crisp and cool. However, regardless of when you visit, there’s always something great to do.
Our favorite activities in Boston are the Boston Museum of Science, Fenway Park (take a tour if you can’t catch a game), the Boston Children’s Museum (for younger kids), and the Duck Tours. You’ll also want to walk through the Boston Public Garden and the Boston Common.
If you are visiting in the summer, I’d definitely recommend visiting the Boston Harbor Islands. This state and national park is part of the city. Choose which island you want to visit, and you’ll take a ferry there. It’s perfect for an afternoon away.
Read more about where to stay in Boston here.
Cape Cod, MA
Cape Cod is one of the most perfect summer vacation destinations. We love the Sea Crest Beach Hotel, which is right on Old Silver Beach, as well as Ocean Edge Resort. There are also a variety of beach homes available for weekly rentals. On your way down to the Cape, consider stopping in Plymouth for a visit to Plimoth Plantation.
Cape Cod is generally best to visit in the summer. It definitely slows down after Labor Day. However, I usually love visiting the Cape in late summer, because all of the crowds are gone and the weather can still be really nice.
Read Cape Cod hotel reviews here.
I spent my summers working in Newport, RI, and it’s still one of my favorite places. In addition to restaurants and shops, there are also some really fun mansions to visit. My kids especially loved visiting the Breakers, which offers a kids’ tour. We recommend staying at the Hotel Viking.
Here are some things that you’ll enjoy in Newport:
- Newport Mansions
- International Tennis Hall of Fame
- Fort Adams State Park
- The Norman Bird Sanctuary
- Sailing excursion/speedboat
- Newport Gulls baseball game
- Cliff Walk
- Trolley Tour
- Shopping on Thames Street/Brick Marketplace
See hotels in Newport, RI here.
Surprisingly, I hadn’t visited Rockport, MA until just a few years ago. It’s such a fun place, with quaint shops, beautiful scenery, and delicious seafood. Head to Bearskin Neck, the section of town with shops and restaurants. You’ll need to find a parking spot and walk around the area, or choose a hotel/inn right in Bearskin Neck. I especially love getting seafood in Rockport – it’s so fresh and delicious.
For those who enjoy being on the water, you can also rent kayaks and explore. Be sure to get a photo of Motif #1, an old fishing shack that is one of the most recognized buildings in America.
If you want to get in some beachtime, head to nearby Gloucester. There, you’ll find some fabulous beaches, including Good Harbor Beach and Wingaersheek. Both are great for families.
See hotels in Rockport here.
Block Island Rhode Island
Block Island is a small island off the coast of Rhode Island. It’s accessible a number of ways, including ferry from Point Judith RI, Newport RI, Fall River MA, New London CT, and Montauk NY (most of these run seasonally). The island is a nice, quiet escape from the mainland. Activities include biking, shopping, parks, and beaches. The island is home to inns, hotels, bed and breakfasts, and home rentals.
See hotels on Block Island here.
Portsmouth New Hampshire
Portsmouth is right over the Massachusetts border in New Hampshire. This seaside town features shops, restaurants, museums, and so much more. Families will love a trip to Water Country, a water park that has a variety of different slides for kids.
If you enjoy outlet shopping, drive a few minutes over the Maine border to Kittery, Maine. There, you’ll find a whole street lined with various outlet malls, including Under Armor, Crate and Barrel, and lululemon. We usually try to visit at least once per year, because there are so many great deals.
See hotels in Portsmouth, NH here.
Martha’s Vineyard, MA & Nantucket, MA
I love the islands in Massachusetts. They are a short distance away, but almost feel like another country. The pace is so much more relaxed. Both offer great family resorts as well as shops, restaurants, and gorgeous beaches. They are accessible via plane or ferry, but make reservations well in advance. They can be very busy during peak season.
The summer is generally the best time to visit both islands. However, Nantucket is also a wonderful place to visit during the Christmas season. Each year, the island hosts the Nantucket Christmas Stroll weekend, where you can see Mr. and Mrs. Claus arrive on a ship. You’ll also be able to see the Festival of Trees at the Whaling Museum, listen to carolers, and do so much more. We visited once during the stroll and absolutely loved it.
What is your favorite places for the best family weekend getaways in New England?
See more New England vacations here.