Introducing guest blogger Keri from Bon Voyage with Kids
One of the best cities in the Northeast of the United States to visit with kids is Boston, Massachusetts, one of the oldest cities in America. A very walkable, vibrant international hub for education, medicine, and biotech, it is as beautiful as it is unique. Boston is also historically significant, as it is where important events that led up to the American Revolution took place. This is what led to the formation of the United States.
Our family has lived in the Boston area on and off for more than twenty years. But, its rich culture and location to the ocean and mountains is what has led us to settle in this area to raise our family.
There is so much to do in this city, whether you visit for a day or longer. And, its central location to many regional activities makes it ideal for a family vacation.
This post is part of our Explore My City series – come and visit cities around the world through the eyes of local parents
Boston is located in the Northeast section of the United States, part of the New England states. Its city location, right on the ocean makes it ideal for summer day trips to beaches. Only about an hour drive to Cape Cod, you can be in the city in the morning and relaxing on the beach by early afternoon. Our family loves to also take the ferries for a day or weekend trip to the islands Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket – some of the best beaches on the east coast.
We also love to take day or weekend trips to neighboring New Hampshire and Vermont, which offers the glorious fall foliage or summer mountain experience. In the winter, Boston’s location to these states means you are within a 2-3 hour drive of some of New England’s renowned ski resorts.
A three-hour train ride from New York City, Boston really lends itself to being an ideal spot for a versatile family vacation. Boston alone has much to offer families, but you could easily extend your trip to any of these neighboring locations for a fantastic family trip.
Favorite Family Activities In Boston
Boston’s history is one of the things that makes is a signature place to visit, especially for school-aged children. If your visit to Boston is limited, the number one thing you should do is take The Freedom Trail Foundation’s Walk Into History Tour. On this experience, you will learn about Boston and see signature landmarks in the heart of the city.
The Freedom Trail
Led by guides in historic clothing who takes on the role of a historical figure, this tour is a lot of fun for kids and adults alike. He or she will walk you through important events that led to the American Revolution through fascinating storytelling and taking you to important sites. It is a great way to learn about America’s fascinating start in an interactive way and see Boston at the same time.
If you have more time, here are some other great things to do in Boston.
Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum
Another of my kids’ favorite activities is the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum. Kids climb aboard an actual ship, again with guides in costume and learn about the Boston Tea Party, another important event in the steps to the American Revolution.
Boston’s history is one of the things that makes is a signature place to visit, especially for school aged children.
Faneuil Hall, Charles Street, Boston Common
Boston is well known for its walkability. Whether you are in Boston for a day or longer, you can easily see a lot of the city just by walking around.
During the Freedom Trail walking tour, you will get to see Faneuil Hall and the Boston Common. But, if you want to explore these areas a bit more, there is quite a bit to see. Inside Faneuil Hall, you will see a bit more historical displays, such as the first printing press. Right next door in Quincy Market, a lively food hall and shopping area, which often hosts street performers to entertain the family. My kids love spending an afternoon in this area.
Right off the Boston Common is the historic and picturesque Beacon Hill, one of the most iconic neighborhoods of Boston. A stroll on the lovely Charles Street is a nice way to spend an afternoon and find a café for an afternoon snack.
Across from the Boston Common is the Public Garden, in the heart of the city, where my kids love to see the famous Make Way For the Ducklings statue, based off the children’s picture book, or to take a ride on the Swan Boats. Both are located in the Public Garden in the heart of the city. This area is a lovely spot for enjoying a quiet afternoon or enjoy your snack from Charles Street. And, you are right next to the famed Newbury Street for some additional shopping.
If you have a bit more time and are visiting in the summer, our kids love to see a Red Sox game in Fenway Park. One of America’s most beloved baseball teams, few things capture Americana in the way that this old-fashioned stadium of Fenway park does.
Because of Boston’s location on the harbor, you can easily take a family whale watching tour in the summer and early fall months. Our kids loved the experience and it is a great add on to any trip to Boston. Our city is also well known for lobster, oysters and seafood. One of the best restaurants to enjoy this after a whale watching trip is Legal Seafoods (one is located right where the boats dock.)
Outside of Boston
If you have a few more days to visit, Boston’s north and south shores have so much to offer families. One of the best places to stop on the way north is Salem, Massachusetts. Known for the historic Salem Witch Trials and popular especially around Halloween, this quaint oceanside town has a fascinating Salem Witch Museum my kids truly enjoyed.
About 45 minutes south of Boston in another quintessential New England seaside town of Plymouth. It is home to Plimoth Plantation, one of best kid-friendly activities in the area. You step into history as you learn about the Pilgrims who landed in America, as you explore a historic English village with guides in character. It is the site where one of America’s most beloved holidays was born – Thanksgiving.
You can also meet descendants of the Wampanoag people, who can discuss their ancestor’s way of life from a modern perspective. It is a fantastic family activity on your trip to Boston.
No visit to Boston is complete without a meal in the North End. The historic Italian district of the city, it is full of incredible Italian restaurants and a very lively place to visit. Our family’s favorite restaurant is Mi Famiglia Giorgio on Salem Street.
Then, head on over to Mike’s Pastry for an after-dinner cannoli. Don’t be alarmed by the crowd. This bakery is used to it and is well-staffed and organized to help the line move quickly. But trust me, it is so worth it! Our kids love the chocolate covered cannoli the best (be advised, it is a cash-only bakery.)
Getting Around Boston With Kids
Boston is a very walkable city, but it is also old. Driving in Boston can be a real challenge. Pedestrians and drivers in Boston have their own…shall we say nuances….and parking is difficult and expensive. My recommendation is that getting around with kids in Boston is best done by foot, public transportation, or ridesharing.
Best Family Friendly Places To Stay in Boston
For a unique hotel right in the city, the Liberty Hotel is one to explore. A former prison turned hotel, it is thematic but tasteful, and right in the heart of the city.
The Marriott Residence Inn in Charlestown is also a great choice for families. It is also walkable to the North End. Charlestown is another historically significant part of the city, and there are several things to see if you stay in this area, such as the Bunker Hill Monument and Old Ironsides.
If you want to be right in the city, the Park Plaza, Fairmont Copley, Marriott Copley and Sheraton are all in the Back Bay. Though centrally located, these hotels will be very expensive.
You can also look at Cambridge, MA, which is an extension of Boston and easy to get into and out of the city with public transportation. There are a number of family-friendly hotels in Cambridge right along the Charles River.
Boston, Massachusetts in one of the most family-friendly cities to visit in the Northeast of the United States. Not only is it a fascinating hub of history, but its walkability, picturesque neighborhoods, and a variety of family activities also makes it a top vacation location with kids.
About the Blogger
Keri is a wife, mom of three and a family travel blogger at Bon Voyage With Kids. She has lived abroad three times, is a former Disney Cast Member, worked for an educational travel company and traveled regularly before kids and with her kids. She loves to inspire families to enjoy the journey of traveling with kids and to experience destinations, not just visit them. She also loves finding ways to inspire learning about other cultures and countries when not traveling.
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With thanks to Keri for her contribution to our guest series. You may also like to read about great day trips you can take from Boston, or how about more on Manhattan with Kids?
You can also read Keri’s previous guest contribution flying Honolulu, Hawaii to Boston with Hawaiian Airlines
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