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Family Weekend Getaways in New England

Think of parenthood as the ultimate career change. Sleep schedules, morning routines, and alone time are forever altered by that first visit from the stork. One thing never budges, though: the human capacity for fun. Leading family adventures can be one of the most rewarding parts of parenting, and it's a job you're well-qualified for. After all, every parent was a kid once. Go ahead, add Family Fun Supervisor to your email signature and start drawing up plans for your next sand castle. If you're stuck on that first big executive decision, here are some inspirational ideas for family weekend getaways in New England. They're especially easy if your home office is near New York or Boston, but they're completely worth a longer trip, too.

Easy Family Weekend Getaways Near New York City and Boston

Person holding hand up to a dolphin
Lisa Jacobs Flickr (cc by 2.0)

Family Getaways on the Connecticut Coast

The Connecticut side of the Long Island Sound makes a great port for the whole crew. You'll find family-friendly nooks and crannies all along Connecticut’s coast, with one sweet spot bounded by the towns of Old Saybrook and Mystic. Just 130 miles from New York City and 100 miles from Boston, this area features great beaches, colorful maritime culture, scrumptious seafood, and a slew of family-friendly Connecticut resorts. The kids are guaranteed to love Mystic Aquarium, known as New England’s hands-on aquarium for its interactive opportunities, and Mystic Seaport - The Museum of America and the Sea.

credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

New England Family Trips to the Berkshires, Massachusetts

The Berkshires in Massachusetts are genuinely magnificent in all four seasons, and the region is within easy driving range for a weekend trip. Coming from either the south or the east, you’ll find quaint downtowns with excellent dining and shopping, museums and attractions for the kids, and pastoral bliss in the region's forests, streams, and mountains. Clip into a zip line and soar through the treetops with Berkshire Canopy Tours or get down in the mud at Ioka Valley Farm, whose owners balance real agricultural output with plenty of fun activities for visitors. The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge houses more of the classic American painter's works than anywhere else in the world. If you're energetic, you can swing more than one major Berkshire activity in a day, but you'll need a home base come nightfall. The towns of Stockbridge, Lenox, and Pittsfield each offer a unique atmosphere, with an array of family-friendly Berkshires lodging options available.

Brenton Point, RIFamily-Friendly Activities in Newport, Rhode Island

Just 70 miles south of Boston awaits the maritime getaway destination of Newport, RI. This Gilded Age playland for the rich and famous is much more family-friendly these days, with gorgeous coastal strolls, a pedestrian-friendly downtown, and wonderful music and dining options for the whole family. The Newport Fudgery is a big hit with sweet teeth ages three to 103, and the International Tennis Hall of Fame includes hands-on activities for the ace and the novice alike. The shoreline is prime for pedaling with older kids, and bicycles are available for rent. A simple public transportation system makes it easy to leave the car behind, and the kids will be tickled by buses disguised as trolleys. Museum buffs can head up to Providence for a look at the renowned Rhode Island School of Design Museum. Newport, RI, accommodations range from majestic seaside resorts to historic bed and breakfasts.

Harvey Barrison Flickr (CC by 2.0)
Harvey Barrison Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Portsmouth, New Hampshire Family Vacations

A weekend getaway to Portsmouth NH is just an hour's drive from Beantown, and once you're there, the town's narrow cobblestone streets and cozy atmosphere will make you feel right at home. The quaint downtown area is dotted with upbeat eateries, and the craft brewing craze has deep roots here. The Portsmouth Brewery serves from a fully family-friendly dinner menu, with tasteful, small-batch beers to sample by the pint or the flight. Friendly Toast offers big portions and a solid kids menu, too. Walking tours are equally charming in the daylight, dusk, or the evening, and the trolley puts even more hotspots in easy reach. The Strawbery Banke Museum puts families face to face with professional colonial re-enactors who give craft demonstrations and exhibits and tours of over 40 colonial structures spread out along 10 acres of pastoral splendor. For activities specifically tailored to the little ones, head to The New Hampshire Children’s Museum just up the road in Dover. When it's time to hit the hay, you can find a Portsmouth area hotel close to the action in town or a in more secluded setting along the coast. These accessible, dynamic destinations for family weekend getaways in New England should help get the ball rolling on your next big fun-improvement project, and opportunities for growth abound. Whether you're just settling into the family business or you're a seasoned manager of homework, Little League games, and babysitters, the kids will appreciate your planning — even if they don't know it yet.

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