These last few weeks of summer, between camp ending and school beginning, can be challenging for families. The long, unstructured days sometimes seem endless, and not always in a good way. Although there are plenty of summertime things to do in and around Boston, day trips can often be the perfect diversion. When you need a change of scenery, venture out to explore new territory and return home in time to sleep in the comfort of your own bed.
Hikers from all over the world flock to Mount Monadnock for a relatively easy climb that’s rewarded by breathtaking views and bragging rights. But you don’t have to be a mountain climber to enjoy the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire. Tucked in the southwestern corner of the state, the area offers activities for every age and interest—toddlers to great-grandparents, nature lovers to shopaholics—making it the perfect place for a multigenerational family getaway.
Even if trekking mountains is what draws your adventurous family to the Monadnock Region, you’ll want to take a break to explore the quaint towns that dot the magnificent landscape. Stroll the idyllic New England main streets of Peterborough and Keene, stop in a restaurant with a view for a bite to eat, and explore the arts, culture, and unique shops. Then you’ll be ready to scale another of the region's mountains.
Taking the subway, a.k.a. the T, is a great way to navigate Boston with kids. Each subway line—Green, Red, Orange and Blue—has its own unique vibe, and they all transport riders to some of the coolest places in Boston. (One might even argue that if you can’t get to it on the T, it isn’t worth doing.) Whether you’re visiting the city or raising your kids here, it’s always handy to know which T stops have wonderful family attractions nearby.
The Green Line, Boston’s oldest and most iconic subway line, stops at many of Beantown's most legendary destinations. My top ten picks for Green Line-accessible outings should be on every family’s list of things to do with kids in Boston at least once; of course, if your family is like mine, you’ll visit them too many times to count, but still find something new to love each time.
Cohasset may be small, but it sure does pack a punch when it comes to kid-friendly activities. Nestled on the South Shore, Cohasset is a quaint and friendly community full of active, happy families. I've heard it described as like living in a Norman Rockwell painting. With its beautiful scenery, adorable town, and no divided highway to speak of, it's also a wonderful place to visit with kids. These are my top 25 picks for things to do with kids in this lovely town by the sea. (Be careful—you may never want to leave!)
The Freedom Trail is an excellent way to introduce kids to the rich history of our city, as well as a fun family outing. Though it was blustery the day we hit the Freedom Trail, my seven-year-old twins were as excited as I was about the things we were about to see. We'd recently read a book about Paul Revere, and had gone out to Concord to see one of the Patriots' Day reenactments, so they were definitely primed for some juicy history.
Keep in mind that while the Freedom Trail encompasses 2.5 miles of 16-plus historical sites, many of them can be viewed from the sidewalk or entered briefly for a quick look around. You'll only want to plan extra time for the types of sites that fill children with questions and curiosity. The following must-see stops made me proud of my aspiring history buffs:
The Lakes Region of New Hampshire is well known for its wintertime skiing and snow sports, but it morphs into a lush paradise for nature lovers and thrill seekers during the other three seasons. Breathtaking views greet you at every turn, and the whole region becomes one big adventure playground for kids and adults alike.
Charming waterfront towns on Lake Winnipesaukee and its eight neighboring lakes comprise the Lakes Region, and each has something special to offer visiting families. Outdoor fun abounds, from hiking to zip-lining, animal encounters to drive-in movies. When the weather sends you running for cover, there are lots of great restaurants, unique shops, game-filled arcades, and even a "castle" with a secret room.
Here are some of the top things to do during your Lakes Region family getaway, with options for every age and interest—but don't try to do it all in one go. There's so much to experience at each stop, and once you've discovered the magical pull of New Hampshire's lakes, your family will likely want to return again and again.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire is one of my favorite destinations for a quick family getaway. Although we've visited the charming New England seacoast city several times, on this occasion we went specifically to experience its history. With a kid-friendly living history museum and numerous historic destinations around town, early American life comes alive in ways that are fun for kids and the whole family. We spent a day of walking, playing and sailing through old times, with a side of foodie goodness—a perfect family day in Portsmouth.
We’re always up for an adventure and crave time outdoors (yes, even in the winter), so when the State of New Hampshire invited us to experience Mount Washington’s outdoor winter offerings, we bundled up and trekked two hours north of Boston to Lincoln, New Hampshire: Home of Loon Mountain and loads of snowy fun.
Here are suggestions for your White Mountains outdoor adventure itinerary, including recommendations for where to eat and stay:
We're glad you're here at Mommy Poppins Boston, your free online resource for everything for families and kids in the greater Boston area. We'd love to hear from you with any questions or suggestions! — Tara