The Best Family Vacations in New England: 8 Exciting Destinations

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Planning your next New England family trip? Each of the region’s six states offers so many wonderful places to visit, especially for families. But for the top family vacations in New England, these 8 destinations take the cake. How many of these have you been to?

Stowe, Vermont

Stowe, in north-central Vermont 35 miles east of Burlington boasts a fabulous Green Mountains valley location. With its lush surroundings and countless outdoor activities, it is a family-friendly resort town offering far more than just its famed winter skiing. 

Visit Stowe during the warmer late spring and summer months and you’ll find a haven of inspiration and adventure. Kids of all ages can connect to nature during a treetop adventure course or exhilarating mountain zipline tour.

How about one of the summer adventure camps for children between 3 and 14 years of age? What better way to create lasting memories and instill a life long passion for the great outdoors?

At the end of such an invigorating day relax at one of Stowe’s many outdoor concerts or marvel at special annual events such as the 4th of July Parade or Hot Air Balloon Festival. With all this energy consumed a visit to the nearby Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory will be a must!

-Contributed by Paul, The Two That Do

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Photo Credit: Shobha George
Martha’s Vineyard is a great family destination that we know well. We have been coming to this island for more than a dozen years. In fact, we have visited The Vineyard before we had kids and always said we would bring our kids to the Vineyard for the summer.
Martha’s Vineyard is not as crowded as Cape Cod because it is harder to access. We really love the beaches and laid back island lifestyle. There are no strip malls or big chain stores. In fact, there’s no traffic lights on the entire island. Many people cycle around the island and there are plenty of wholesome outdoor activities to do. The Vineyard tends to have lots of multi-generational families visiting because there is something for everyone to do
There’s so much to do on the island on both the land and in the water, such as cycling, hiking, sailing and kayaking. Sports include fishing, golf, and tennis. There are also great restaurants and shopping. You can get excellent seafood as well as a lot of other American food. My kids love doing their bicycle run into town to get ice cream.
On rainy days, families can go bowling in the bowling alley in Oak Bluffs. My kids also like the Arcade in Oak Bluffs which they love and, in my opinion, is a money suck. There are also lots of organized summer activities on the island such as sailing camp, pony camp and tennis camp. 
There’s very little crime on the island because it’s so hard to get on and off the island. We really like letting the kids have some freedom to cycle to the beach or into town for a movie without worrying about traffic or other things. 
-Contributed by Shobha, Martha’s Vineyard Tourist
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The White Mountains, New Hampshire

Nothing better than getting the whole family out into the mountains! White Mountain National Forest is an amazing place for a family trip as there are loads of great kid-friendly trails to discover. Your kids can also become ‘’junior rangers’’. They will learn everything about the animals in the forest, the plants and of course how to respect and care for the environment.

In winter you and your family can take sleigh rides through the forest and visit Ice Castles. Ice castles are beautiful ice sculptures completely made by hand. There is even a Frozen attraction. In spring and summer, I can recommend visiting the cog railway. This little steam engine takes you all the way to the summit of Mt Washington and is a great activity for small kids.

If it is warm and you want to cool down, you and the kids can head to Whale Tales Waterpark after your hike.

-Contributed by Lieze, Glitter Rebel

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Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic Seaport, is an outdoor recreated 19th century village and educational maritime museum. Visitors will find a lighthouse replica of Brant Point Light.

The beautiful town of Mystic, Connecticut might have been famous by its brush with Hollywood, but there’s so much more to Mystic than just pizza!

Kids will love exploring the Mystic Seaport Museum, which is one of the most beautiful museums in the world since its actually a living museum comprised of village houses, buildings along the seaport, and even a historic ship!

You can also have them visit the Mystic Seaport Light, one of the most beautiful lighthouses on the East Coast. This one dates to the 1960s, and its design is based on the earlier Brant Point Light in Nantucket. 

Curious little minds will also love a visit to the Mystic Aquarium. Older children might enjoy walking through the town’s historic cemetery. 

Adults who can find a bit of downtime or travel with their own childcare can take a break and spend some time on the Connecticut Wine Trail for a romantic evening away from the kids. 

-Contributed by Stephanie, History Fan Girl

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Boston, Massachusetts

Boston’s famous swan boats

As the largest city in New England, beautiful, lively Boston is easily one of the best places to head on a family vacation in the region.

Kids will love family-friendly activities like watching the penguins being fed at the award-winning New England aquarium, spotting whales on a whale-watching cruise, taking a Duck tour, and exploring family-friendly Boston museums  like the Tea Party Ships & Museum and the Museum of Science.

Once the kids have enough of museums and being inside, head to the Boston Public Garden to check out the Make Way for Ducklings Statue and the Swan boats. Right next door, you’ll find Boston Common and the kid-friendly Frog Pond Spray Pool to cool off in during the summer (if you’re visiting Boston in the winter, the pool becomes an ice-skating rink).

While you’re in the area, point out nearby Park Street Church, and the Massachusetts State House for a quick history lesson–both spots, along with the Boston Common itself, are stops on the Freedom trail.

-Contributed by Kate, Our Escape Clause

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Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park is a great place to go with kids.  There are plenty of fun hikes to do, many ending in stunning views of the surrounding islands.  The most popular hike is probably the Beehive, which can be quite challenging, but a family-friendly version along the Bowl Trail takes the back – and safer and easier – route to the same summit.  You can swim at the chilly but beautiful Sand Beach or the warmer – perfect in summer – Echo Lake.

There are dozens of old carriage trails through the hills, and renting a bike and riding the through the woods is a great way to experience them.  You can also take a ferry to the nearby Cranberry Islands, and explore the small islands, pebbly beaches and lobster huts.  Nothing beats relaxing at Jordan Pond and having popovers for afternoon tea.  There is also kayaking and even sailing on a small yacht for adventure-loving families. 

-Contributed by James Ian, Travel Collecting

Lincoln, New Hampshire

New Hampshire is the perfect spot for a family vacation because it offers things to do for all ages. Lincoln, New Hampshire is a ski town nestled in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. It is the home to the ski resort at Loon Mountain but has something to offer in all four seasons. Its foliage is world-class and you can even find covered bridges. There is ample hiking for any level. You can even find waterfalls, gorges, and caves to explore.

For the adventurous, there is ziplining. There are a few amusement parks nearby- Santa’s Village, Clarke’s Trading Post, and Storyland, as well as a few waterparks. It is a spot you will want to return to year after year.

-Contributed by Jamie, The Daily Adventures of Me

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Nantucket, Massachusetts

The windswept island of Nantucket seems designed for family holidays. At once at one with the salty breeze and sand dunes that smile back at Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket is smaller and with very, very few cars.

Here, people tend to walk or cycle, toasting ‘smores at twilight and making the most of the beaches by day. But there’s history and culture here, by the bucketful.

Nantucket’s architecture serves as a snapshot from another age. A time when whaling brought gold to this port and seamen risked their lives for bounty. When whaling depleted its own stock and ships grew too big to dock in Nantucket, all that business disappeared and the industrial revolution passed it by.

The result? Nantucket harbor looks much as it did in the 1700s: low roofs, gray shale, white lighthouses. But with all the creature comforts for a vacation in the 2020s.

When it comes to things to do in Nantucket, beyond the beach activities, hiking, cycling and staring at the stars, there is more. Top restaurants, the whaling museum, a coastal conservation area and local brewery, all on the one small island with a central cluster of boutique shops.

-Contributed by Abi, Inside the Travel Lab

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