From beautiful beaches and parks to historic sites and popular landmarks, Massachusetts has loads to offer as a family vacation destination.
With school vacation getting closer and closer, we’ve picked out 10 places in Massachusetts that are great for parents and children – during April or any time of year!
Let’s dive in!
Photo: The Boston Children’s Museum via MOTT
For an exciting approach to sightseeing, take a Boston Duck Tour and learn about some of the most popular sights, or walk along the Freedom Trail, which marks 16 historical sites from the American Revolution.
If it’s a nice day, relax at the Boston Common and ride the swan boats or the Frog Pond Carousel (opening in late April). The Boston harbor and waterfront is also worth exploring – with the New England Aquarium, Faneuil Hall, the North End and Christopher Columbus Park, you could spend an entire day there. For lodging, The Westin Copley Place, conveniently located in Back Bay, allows you to explore much of the city by foot. No matter how you spend your time in Boston, there’s so much to do and see that you’re bound to have an unforgettable time.
Photo: Boston Common via MOTT
Just outside Boston, Cambridge is a lively area to bring the family. If weather permits, kayak or canoe on the Charles River and take in the views of both Cambridge and Boston. Stroll through Harvard Square for some of the region’s best restaurants and shops. And from April 19-27, the Cambridge Science Festival at the MIT Museum is bringing science to the public in a fun and interactive way that’s open to all ages. For a lodging option that reflects the scientific nature of Cambridge, check out Hotel Marlowe, which has a discovery/space theme in its large rooms and lots of freebies for kids.
Photo: Green Harbor Resort via Facebook
One of the Cape Cod’s true highlights is the beach, and Hyannis is no exception. Keyes Beach and Sandy Neck Beach are both public and family-friendly. A visit to the Cape Cod Maritime Museum in the heart of Hyannis lets you explore the Cape’s maritime history and culture, and from April 21 – 25, the museum will host a Children & Family Class every morning. Afterwards, visit the restaurants and shops on nearby Main Street. The Green Harbor Resort, with its own private beach, Kids’ Club and guest rooms with full kitchens, is a great place to stay while you’re in the area.
4. Nantucket Island
With over 80 miles of pristine public beaches, Nantucket is the quintessential spot for a vacation by the water. Many of the beaches are kid-friendly, like Children’s Beach and Jetties Beach, which have full playgrounds. Rent kayaks, try surf lessons, or enjoy the scenery by renting a bike and exploring the trails. The Nantucket Hotel and Resort is within walking distance of Nantucket Town, close to Children’s and Jetties Beach, and even has family-friendly activities like the complimentary Children’s Day Program.
Photo: Brant Point Light on Nantucket by Michael Galvin
5. Martha’s Vineyard
The options are endless when it comes to things to do with your family on Martha’s Vineyard and April is a delightful time to visit, falling before peak season arrives. From beaches like Joseph Sylvia State Beach to delicious local ice cream shacks to various kids’ activities at the island’s libraries, you never have to look far for a good time. One of the most popular places for families to stay on the Vineyard is Winnetu Oceanside Resort. The resort reopens on April 17th and has many activities planned for that weekend, which you can view in full detail here, including crafts, face painting and an Easter Egg Hunt.
Photo: The Winnetu Oceanside Resort via Facebook
Home of the infamous witch trails of 1692, Salem is a city with lots of history and lots to do. The Salem Witch Museum teaches about the trials and, if you mention the Mass Vacation deal, you’ll save on admission from April 18 – 27. For a more traditional type of museum, visit the Peabody Essex Museum, and make sure to check out upcoming events for kids here. Outside of museums, there are also great food tours and outdoor spots. The Clipper Ship Inn has family rates and deals, and is located close to many of Salem’s prime attractions.
Much of Western Mass boasts beautiful scenery and outdoor recreation, but Charlemont is something special. If you’re looking for an exciting and authentic adventure, try thrilling activities like zip lining through the forest canopy, white water rafting, kayaking or canoeing.
Photo: Ziplining at Zoar Outdoor via MOTT
The Mohawk Trail State Forest also has seasonal campsites, miles of rivers for fishing and swimming, picnic areas, and sections available for hiking. For nearby lodging, the Hawk Mountain Lodge is perfect for families and has exceptional views of the Deerfield River Valley.
A mix of the past and the present, Plymouth is a seaside destination that’s perfect for families. Feel transported to the past at Plimoth Plantation and the Mayflower II while learning about the nation’s history or swing by the Petting Zoo & Horticultural Center for some fun with the kids; for a scenic view of the area, try hiking along one of the many tracks, like the Crawley Woodlands Preserve trail. If you’re looking for a place to stay, The John Carver Inn & Spa will please both children and adults, with its indoor theme pool and Beach Plum Spa.
Photo: Plymouth Harbor by Davies
Moving from south to north, the city of Gloucester is another charming coastal destination, located about 45 minutes’ drive north of the Boston. Among the many family-friendly beaches there, Wingaersheek Beach is a must-see. At low tide, a long sandbar is exposed, and the calm, quiet water makes it a relaxing atmosphere for parents to unwind and let their kids explore and play. The nearby Cape Ann Museum has many youth and family programs, including a free day at the Activity Center on the second Saturday of each month. Another fun family activity in the area is the Cape Ann Whale Watch, with frequent whale sightings about 12 miles off the coast. The Blue Shutters Beachside Inn is a lovely place to stay while experiencing Gloucester, and happens to be a just a stone’s throw from Good Harbor Beach and the downtown area.
Photo: Wool demonstration at Old Sturbridge Village via MOTT
Another region replete with history, Sturbridge invites your family to travel back in time. One of the main attractions is Old Sturbridge Village, a living history museum that shows what life was like back in the 19th century. The Village has a ton planned for April vacation and Patriots’ Day, so check the list of events here. Next to the museum are the Old Sturbridge Inn and Reeder Family Lodges, including the historic Oliver Wight House, which are convenient and exceptional places to stay after your time in the Village.
As much as there is to find in these towns and cities, there’s even more across the rest of the Commonwealth! If you’re planning an upcoming trip and looking for a little inspiration on where to play and stay, you can find plenty of it here and here.
What do you think? Have you been to any of these spots? Let us know in the comments below!