When you’ve worn out your Boston Children’s Museum membership, the Lawn on D at the Seaport is getting old, and you don’t want to join the crowds on the freedom trail, it’s time for a family weekend getaway from Boston! The Northeast has plenty of family-friendly fun, whether you’ve got a kid who loves outdoor activities or one who loves water slides. It’s not hard to find options to have the perfect family vacation.
Quick Answer: Family & Kid-Friendly Getaways From Boston
Kid-Friendly Day Trips From Boston
- Best for kids with different interests - The Berkshires, Massachusetts
- Best for a day at the beach - Newport, Rhode Island
- Best for your goth teenager - Salem, Massachusetts
Family Weekend Getaways From Boston
- Best for traditional New England family summer getaway - Cape Cod, Massachusetts
- Best for outdoor fun in all seasons - Vermont
- Best for history buffs - Plymouth, Massachusetts
Best Getaways From Boston for Families
- Best for kids that are interested in maritime history - Portland, Maine
- Best for younger kids who enjoy learning about the ocean - Mystic, Connecticut
- Best for your daredevil, risk taking kid - New Hampshire
Kid-Friendly Day Trips From Boston
It takes less than two hours in the car to reach each of these family weekend getaways from Boston — so you won’t hear “Are we there yet?” multiple times!
1. The Berkshires, Massachusetts
- Perfect for: Kids with different interests
- Highlights of the Berkshires:
- Gilded Age mansions
- Outdoor ice skating
- Music and dance events
Things to Do in the Berkshires
Families with more than one kid know how hard it can be to make them all happy on a family vacation. Your eldest loves history, your middle child wants to wander in the woods, and your youngest kid would be happiest jamming to a concert at Fenway. If you need a family getaway destination that fits many interests, try the Berkshires.
The Berkshires became a popular vacation spot during the Gilded Age when East Coast elites built elaborate mansions for their summer stays. Your history lover will enjoy touring Ventfort Hall and the Gilded Age Museum. Book tickets for a tour or enjoy summer tea.
If one of your kids loves music, grab tickets for an outdoor concert at Tanglewood. While it’s the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, you can also catch popular acts like Train or James Taylor. Have a budding ballerina twirling around your living room? Jacob’s Pillow features world-renowned dance companies, student performances, and many free events.
While your outdoor lover may tolerate an outdoor concert, if they’re itching for more outdoor activities, hike to one of the over 20 waterfalls in the region. The Berkshires features several beautiful state parks, including Bash Bish Falls State Forest with the highest single drop waterfall in Massachusetts.
How to Get to the Berkshires
The Berkshires is a quick road trip from Boston — roughly two hours in the car on 1-90.
Where to Stay in the Berkshires
Located in Lanesboro, Massachusetts, the Lake House Guest Cottages of the Berkshires are perfect for a family stay. Book your own cottage, complete with kitchen and gas fireplace. Their largest cottage sleeps up to 10 people, other cottages fit up to six guests. Located right on Pontoosuc Lake, they also provide kayaks, canoes, fishing poles, and paddleboards.
Looking for a truly fun, unique stay? Book this treehouse in Great Barrington, the Berkshires’ largest town. Built around a thick tree trunk, with winding stairs and a loft bedroom, the AirBnB sleeps a smaller family of four.
2. Newport, Rhode Island
- Perfect for: A day at the beach
- Highlights of Newport:
- Easton Bay’s sandy white beach
- Historic carousel
- Free summer concerts and children’s nights
Things to Do in Newport
Want to enjoy the type of beach vacation you enjoyed as a kid? Check out Newport, Rhode Island. Remember boardwalks and arcades? You and your kids can compete for the highest score at one of the many games at Ryan Family Amusements.
Enjoy a day at Easton Beach swimming or riding the carousel. If you want to mix some education in with your vacation, duck into the Exploration Center and Aquarium to learn about efforts to save Narragansett Bay. The beach features free summer concerts and children’s nights, and if you want to spring for a bath house they’re available to rent (with or without a parking space).
How to Get to Newport
It’s a little under an hour and a half drive on 1-93S.
Where to Stay in Newport
Eating out for every meal on a family day trip can get expensive, but if you stay at this condo in Newport, you’ll have a full kitchen and plenty of room for a larger family. The condo has three bedrooms, with two queen beds and two singles, and free off street parking, too.
At the Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina you’ll be right on the water. Amenities include downtown parking, a community fire pit, WiFi throughout the property, and indoor pool. The on-site restaurant can pack a picnic lunch to take on a biking trip, or head out on a kayak or paddleboard.
3. Salem, Massachusetts
- Perfect for: Your goth teenager
- Highlights of Salem:
- House of Seven Gables and the waterfront
- Ghost tours
- Peabody Essex Museum
Things to Do in Salem
Do you despair of ever seeing your goth teen excited or happy about a family activity again? (The despair might please them…). Plan a day trip to Salem.
Book a ghost tour around the city made famous by the Salem Witch Trials. Truly adventurous teens might be brave enough for the candlelight walking tour. While wandering up and down Essex Street, stop into the Peabody Essex Museum to learn about the city’s maritime history.
Walk down a cobblestone sidewalk to the waterfront and you can tour the House of the Seven Gables, from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, appropriately painted a dark black. End your day exploring the rest of the Derby Waterfront District and your teenager might return home with an increased appreciation for a city that contributed far more to Massachusetts’ history than its infamous witch trials.
How to Get to Salem
Salem is less than an hour drive from Boston if you don’t hit any traffic. Take MA-1AN or MA-144, depending on where you live in the city. Or, you can take the commuter rail from North Station.
Where to Stay in Salem
Stick with the witchy theme by staying at the Daniels House Bed and Breakfast, which was built in 1667, roughly 30 years before the witch trials. While it’s like stepping back in time — the dining room features open hearths and exposed beams — you’ll still have air conditioning and WiFi.
This charming AirBnB, located in the Derby St area, has bright pink shutters that pop against its navy siding. Six people can comfortably stay in its three bedrooms, and you’re within walking distance of most attractions.
Family Weekend Getaways From Boston
These kid-friendly getaways from Boston are a bit further afield so plan on spending up to 5 hours in a car to reach them, depending on traffic and which part of the state you’re visiting. But if you want outdoor activities, some of the best beaches in New England, or sightseeing at picturesque lighthouses, plan a family trip to one of these spots.
4. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
- Perfect for: a traditional New England family summer getaway
- Highlights of Cape Cod:
- Whale watching
- Beautiful beaches
- Paddleboard, kayak, and canoe rentals
Things to Do in Cape Cod
Summer is the season to visit Cape Cod. You’ll find plenty of family activities. Spend a day sunbathing and building sandcastles on one of its more than 180 public beaches. Take advantage of paddleboard, kayak, or canoe rentals to get further out into the ocean.
Older kids might enjoy playing a competitive round on a golf course (or mini golf!). The whole family will delight in a whale watching trip out of Provincetown, Hyannis, or Barnstable. At the end of the day, eat at one of the many family-friendly seafood restaurants or enjoy an ice cream by the beach.
Cape Cod is one of the most popular weekend getaways from Boston for families so we suggest booking your stay early.
How to Get to Cape Cod
Head down Route 3 if you feel up to fighting weekend traffic from the city. If you want a faster — and more fun! — way to get there, book a ferry from Boston. Getting there by boat will be part of your kid’s weekend fun!
Where to Stay in Cape Cod
If you want to book family travels to Cape Cod during the summer, book early!
Close to the beach, this kid-friendly AirBnB in Dennis welcomes you with bright and airy coastal decor. Its two queen beds sleep four and the hosts provide everything you need for a fun day at the beach!
Your kids will exclaim “ooh, la, la!” when you pull up to the Mansion at Ocean’s Edge. While you can stay in the historic Nickerson Mansion, larger families can also rent a villa or townhome.
- Perfect for: outdoor fun in all seasons
- Highlights of Vermont:
- Six ski resorts
- Indoor and outdoor water parks
- 55 state parks
Things to Do in Vermont
It’s no secret to New Englanders that Vermont is great for a weekend getaway. In the winter, enjoy speeding down the slopes at one of the state’s six ski resorts. Outdoor ice skating adventures abound in Vermont, try Skatium in Waitsfield or the North Barre Rink in Barre.
In the summer, take a kayak out on Lake St. Catherine or plan a hike at one of Vermont’s many state parks. No matter where you stay, you’ll find one close by. If your family loves amusement parks, try a water park resort. Whale’s Tale Water Park caters to families with kids of all ages with outdoor slides, splash pads for younger kids, and inner tube rides. Worried about rain? Head to the indoor water park at Jay Peak.
If you’re looking for a kid-friendly getaway from Boston the many outdoor activities available in Vermont will keep them busy with family fun (and tire them out by bedtime!).
How to Get to Vermont
From the city, take I-93N.
Where to Stay in Vermont
The Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe calls back family vacations of a bygone area. You’ll feel like you’re in the European mountains when you stay at the sprawling, Austrian themed chalet. Enjoy hiking, biking, and horse-drawn carriage rides during the spring and summer.
Stay right on Lake Memphremagog at this family-friendly cabin, which sleeps up to eight people. You’ll have a lake view, beach access, and be close to hiking trails.
6. Plymouth, Massachusetts
- Perfect for: History buffs
- Highlights of Plymouth:
- Plimoth Plantation
- Mayflower II
- Mashpee Wampanoag Museum
Things to Do in Plymouth
America’s history is fraught and complicated, but if educating your children about our past matters to your family, visit Plymouth. Plimoth Plantation guides visitors through early settler life. Costumed guides in the 17th-century English Village answer all your kid’s questions. While part of the museum, you have to drive down the road to Plymouth Harbor to tour the Mayflower II, a floating classroom and working vessel.
Part of the plantation, the Wampanoag Homesite addresses how the settlers impacted the indigenous community in the 1600s and how the tribe currently lives. To learn more and directly support the tribe, drive a short distance south to the Masphee Wampanoag Museum.
The historic and quaint downtown Plymouth waterfront features many small businesses and great restaurants, and the walk along the waterfront will take you by Plymouth Rock.
How to Get to Plymouth
Drive south from Boston down 1-93S. Watch out for traffic to the Cape!
Where to Stay in Plymouth
Don’t forget that Plymouth is right on the water, and you can appreciate the ocean views from this beach house during your stay. It has free parking (finding a spot during the tourist season can be quite difficult), an outdoor firepit, and beach access.
Blue Spruce Motel is clean and affordable. Rooms have kitchens and living spaces, and double suites can sleep up to five.
Best Getaways From Boston for Families
Not everyone loves road trips — sometimes you just want to hop on a flight and go! These spots are all a short flight from Boston.
7. Portland, Maine
- Perfect for: kids that are interested in maritime history
- Highlights of Portland:
- Portland Observatory Museum
- U.S. Customs House and Old Port
- Maine Maritime Museum
Things to Do in Portland
Portland has a rich history. Visit the Portland Observatory Museum — the only remaining signal tower in America — to take in grand views and lighthouses or take a guided tour and learn about the harbor’s historical importance. The U.S. Customs House, an imposing edifice, offers scheduled tours just steps from the Old Port.
Less than an hour’s drive from Portland, take your kids to the Maine Maritime Museum. Younger kids can run and play on the pirate ship while older kids learn about Victorian shipyard life. Bonus - admission for kids under 18 years old is free.
How to Get to Portland
Take one of the 23 weekly flights out of Logan from Boston to Portland, Maine.
Where to Stay in Portland, Maine
Featuring a stunning open concept floor plan, this AirBnB is close to everything. Parents will love the privacy of the King Suite and private bath, kids will enjoy the back deck and private yard.
Take a brief boat ride from Portland and stay at one of the Inn at Island Cove’s 22 luxury condominiums with fireplaces and private balconies. Housed in what was once Fort McKinleys’ barracks, but fully modernized, you’ll be experiencing a slice of history.
8. Mystic, Connecticut
- Perfect for: younger kids who enjoy learning about the ocean
- Highlights of Mystic:
- Mystic Aquarium
- Mystic Seaport Museum
- Waterford Beach Park or Ocean Beach Park
Things to Do in Mystic
Not all kids love maritime history, but most love the ocean! Mystic, Connecticut is a great family destination for younger kids that love learning about the ocean and its inhabitants. The Mystic Aquarium has the only display of beluga whales in New England, as well as African Penguins and Californian Sea Lions. Book an animal encounter and paint with a seal or pet a penguin.
At the Mystic Seaport Museum kids can explore a recreated 19th-century village and tour the last wooden whaleship in the world, the Charles W. Morgan. Book your visit to coincide with the Sea Glass Festival or other fun events.
How to Get to Mystic
Amtrak runs daily trains from South Station in Boston to Mystic, Connecticut. The trip is roughly an hour and a half. Or, it’s a short and cheap flight from Logan.
Where to Stay in Mystic
Close to Mystic Pizza, this quant, historic cottage sleeps six and is pet-friendly. Enjoy your morning coffee on the front porch and drink in a view of the Mystic River from the front office.
Nautical themed The Whaler’s Inn is right in the heart of downtown Mystic, close to the river. Stay in one of its five buildings from historical eras.
9. New Hampshire
- Perfect for: your daredevil, risk taking kid
- Highlights of New Hampshire:
- Mountain biking in the White Mountains
- 55 state parks
- Zip lines and aerial adventures
Things to Do in New Hampshire
While there’s plenty of outdoor activities throughout the Northeast, daredevil, adventurous kids will think that New Hampshire is the perfect vacation destination.
Check out the zip lines, ATV, and off road adventures at Alpine Adventures. Ski resort Loon Mountain switches to ziplining and aerial adventures in the summer, along with a downhill mountain biking park, and outdoor Ninja course. Or, you can load up the bike rack and head into the White Mountains to explore scenic bike paths and trails. Still haven’t had enough thrills? Try whitewater rafting with one of New Hampshire’s several outfitters. All you have to bring is your spirit of adventure!
How to Get to New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a little under a two hour drive up 1-93N. You can also take a flight from Logan.
Where to Stay in New Hampshire
This stunning cabin in Sugar Hill has exposed wood walls, a fresh, clean decor, deck, and outdoor firepit. It can sleep up to nine guests and you’ll have easy access to Franconia and the White Mountains.
There are plenty of family-friendly hotels in New Hampshire’s Lake District, but for a more budget-friendly option Fireside Inn and Suites, in Gilford is only five minutes from Lake Winnipesaukee. Kids can swim in the outdoor pool while you relax on lawn chairs. The hotel has both rooms and larger suites for bigger families.
As much as Boston has to offer families, it’s nice to book a getaway. Whether your kids are daredevils or historians, New England has a spot for family friendly getaways from Boston that you and your family will love.