We are so lucky to live in Massachusetts, because there are so many fantastic vacation destinations located just a short car ride away. We can drive one direction to see some of the best beaches in the United States, and we can drive in a different direction to see beautiful mountains. This past winter break, we spent our break visiting Boston, Portland, and New Haven – all just a quick drive away. Whether you live in New England, or are planning to visit a few different locations during your family vacation, here are some places to go in New England with kids.
Note: We experienced some of these destinations during media trips or hosted stays/media rates. Affiliate links are included – if you click/purchase through an affiliate link, we may make a small commission.
Places to Go in New England With Kids
We don’t seem to go to Maine nearly enough, and it’s really just a quick drive from the Massachusetts border. Every time I visit, I just love it. Kittery, Maine, just over the New Hampshire border, offers lots of great outlets as well as delicious seafood restaurants. It’s also right near Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which is another great destination.
For a summer vacation, visit the all-inclusive Migis Lodge, located on Sebago Lake. It’s a luxury family vacation spot that is rustic and fun. Of course, you can’t miss the original LL Bean store in Freeport, Maine. For a visit any time of year, visit Portland, Maine with kids, where you’ll enjoy delicious food, beautiful views, and fun attractions. Although you may think of it as a summer vacation spot, we usually visit during the winter, and still love it.
Even if you aren’t a skier, there are so many family-friendly vacation destinations within Vermont. We absolutely love visiting Smugglers’ Notch Resort in the summer. The kids really enjoy the day camp, and my husband and I spend the afternoons exploring the area (including the Boyden Valley Winery). It’s also a fantastic spot to visit in the winter – with lots of skiing for the whole family.
Down the road from Smugglers’ Notch is Stowe, Vermont, where we can recommend two family-friendly resorts – Stoweflake and Stowe Mountain Lodge. In Waterbury, on the way into Stow, you can stop at the Ben & Jerry’s Factory, as well as the Cold Hollow Cider Mill. We also really enjoyed our visit to the Montshire Museum of Science, located over the NH border in Norwich, Vermont.
I’ve enjoyed family vacations in New Hampshire since I was a child, visiting with my parents. My family recently enjoyed our stay at the Mountain Club at Loon in Lincoln, NH. While on that side of the famous Kancamagus Highway, be sure to stop at Clark’s Trading Post – home to a fun, unique bear show. On the other side of the highway, you’ll find North Conway, NH, home to lots of premium outlets (and NO sales tax). We’ve stayed at several hotels in North Conway, and enjoyed our stays at the Red Jacket Mountain View and the Residence Inn. If you have little kids, be sure to visit Story Land in Glen, NH and/or Santa’s Village in Jefferson, NH. Also spend a morning or afternoon at Attitash, where you can enjoy a mountain coaster, alpine slide, and other outdoor activities. In the winter, Attitash is a great family ski resort.
Find hotels in New Hampshire on TripAdvisor.
My home state of Rhode Island may be small, but it has a lot to offer. The capital city, Providence, is just an hour from Boston and has quite a few family-friendly attractions. On weekend nights in the summer, you can enjoy WaterFire, a performance work of art. Our top vacation choice in Rhode Island is Newport, which is just a quick ride from Providence. We recommend a stay at the Hotel Viking, which is located within walking distance of many Newport restaurants and shops. Don’t miss the kids’ tour at the Breakers mansion, located along the famed Cliff Walk.
I’ve lived in Massachusetts for over 20 years now, and still find fun places to explore. Of course, the capital city of Boston is a must visit, especially in the warmer months. There’s so much to do, including the Boston Museum of Science and the New England Aquarium. In the summer, don’t miss a trip to the Boston Harbor Islands, a quick ferry ride away from the Boston waterfront.
See more to do in Boston with kids here.
Cape Cod and the Islands is another fabulous vacation spot. There are several hotels we recommend – the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in Falmouth, Ocean Edge in Brewster, and the Harbor Hotel in Provincetown. Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are also absolutely beautiful in the summer. On your way down to the Cape, you can also stop in Plymouth, MA to check out Plimoth Plantation.
North of Boston is Cape May, where you’ll find many family-friendly spots, such as Rockport and Gloucester. Also on the North shore is Newburyport, MA. All three are a great place to shop, eat, and explore the waterfront.
If you want to take a trip to the American Girl Store, you’ll want to drive a little west of Boston to the suburb of Natick, MA. The American Girl Store is located in the Natick Mall, which is the largest mall in New England.
Last winter, we visited Mystic, Connecticut, which offers several great things to do with kids, including the Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Seaport. Stay overnight so you can spend much of the day at both attractions. During our trip, we stayed at the Hilton Mystic, which is right across the street from the aquarium.
This winter, we spent two nights in New Haven, which is about midway between Boston and NYC. We stayed at the Study at Yale, and enjoyed visiting the Yale Museum of Art and the Peabody Museum of Natural History. It’s a surprising city with loads of culture and delicious restaurants.
What are your favorite places to go in New England?
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