21 Family Vacations in New England for Every Season (2024)

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Planning your next New England adventure with the fam? There are so many fantastic destinations around the region, but for family vacations in New England, these kid-friendly travel spots take the cake.

Whether you’re looking for family trips in New England that are historical and educational like Boston MA or Portland, Maine, or you just want kid-friendly New England vacations on the beach like Martha’s Vineyard or Cape Cod that are a little more laid back, there are options for just about every kind of trip.

And if you’re not sold on just one destination, you can always road trip New England together!

The list of New England family vacations below has been compiled from contributions from other New England writers as well as my own personal favorite family vacations.

A family sits on a lawn in Chatham, Massachusetts on an early summer day
My little fam during a summer Cape Cod family vacation!

Family Vacations in New England for every Season

One awesome thing about New England family vacations is that you can find summer beach vacations, snowy mountain winter vacations, beautiful fall foliage destinations, and everything in between, so there’s something to see in every season.

I’ve included some of my favorite vacation spots in New England for every season, including contributions from other New England travelers on this list, too. Whatever season you’re visiting in, you’ll find something on this list that checks all the boxes for your next New England family vacation!

PS: check out this list of great things to do in New England with kids, too!

Vermont Family Vacations

1. Stowe, Vermont

A colorful Welcome to Stowe mural on the side of a blue building
Mural in Stowe, Vermont

Stowe, in north-central Vermont 35 miles east of Burlington boasts a fabulous Green Mountains valley location with lots of great options for where to stay.

With its lush surroundings and countless outdoor activities, it is a family-friendly New England 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. There’s also fantastic hiking all around the Stowe area.

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 lifelong 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

PS here are some of the best kid friendly hotels in Stowe, Vermont!

Editor’s Note: Stowe is one of my favorite family vacation spots in New England, too!

A man, woman, and toddler smile in front of scenic mountains in Stowe, Vermont
My fam in Stowe, Vermont!

I have visited many times, but being able to take my son along for his first ever family vacation to Stowe was so incredibly special.

A large Austrian inspired lodge in Stowe, Vermont, called the Trapp Family Lodge
Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, Vermont

We stayed at Trapp Family Lodge and I highly recommend it. It was built and ran by the actual Trapp family that the Sound of Music is based on, and it’s a gorgeous property.

The view from a balcony of Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont with green grass and mountains in the distance
How about this view of Stowe, Vermont? I took this off the balcony of Trapp Family Lodge.

It’s a bit of a bucket list experience, especially for those of us with a love of musical theatre!

🎵 The hills are definitely alive with the Sound of Music in Stowe! 🎵

2. Burlington, Vermont

A wide shot of Church Street Marketplace in Burlington, Vermont with the church at the far end and streets wet with rain
Church Street Marketplace, Burlington VT

I lived in Burlington for several years as a young adult, and have had the pleasure of returning on family vacations with my son. It’s absolutely one of those New England vacation destinations that works for the whole family!

Church Street Marketplace is always the place to go, with cool shops, dining options, and buskers and other live entertainment.

A statue on Church Street Marketplace in Burlington Vermont with the church beyond and a blue sky above

Burlington has a very eclectic, hip energy about it, and there are two things that you will find great quality in great abundance: coffee and beer!

There are a ton of great coffee shops in Burlington and I can’t think of one that you would be disappointed by, but Brio Coffeeworks and Vivid Coffee are both fantastic options.

The interior of Vivid Coffee in Burlington, Vermont with a chandelier and fireplace in the seating area
Vivid Coffee, Burlington
Two cups of coffee with latte art and a baby bottle sit on a counter at Brio Coffeeworks in Burlington, Vermont
Brio Coffeeworks in Burlington, bottle sold separately

Burlington is also known for its great craft breweries, and most are kid friendly so you can enjoy a nice lunch and a delicious flight together.

We had a fantastic lunch at Burlington Beer Co not too long ago, definitely recommend!

A burger, fries, salad, and beer as seen from above at Burlington Beer Co in Burlington, Vermont
Burlington Beer Co, Burlington, Vermont

The waterfront is another must visit spot in Burlington. Lake Champlain is gorgeous, and there are boat tours you can take to get out on the water, or just enjoy the scenery from the shore.

A purple and orange sunset over Lake Champlain at the Burlington waterfront

The ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain is on the waterfront as well, and this is a very popular thing to do with kids in Burlington!

A children's science center, ECHO LEAHY Center for Lake Champlain in Burlington Vermont on a sunny day.
ECHO Leahy Science Center in Burlington, Vermont

We opted to stay at the Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain during our last visit, and it was great. The sunset pic I took above was actually taken out the window!

A father and toddler hang out in a hotel room in Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, Vermont family vacations are perfect for all ages, really, whether you’ve got a toddler in tow like we do or you’re traveling with teens.

I mean, this World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet in Burlington is very insta-tastic for a teen selfie, yes?

The World's Tallest Filing Cabinet statue in Burlington, Vermont on a cloudy day

We really enjoyed staying at the Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain, it was very accommodating for our family vacation.

Click Here to Check Prices & Book!

3. Woodstock, Vermont

A covered bridge with the title Middle Bridge is seen with fall foliage beginning around it in Woodstock, Vermont
Middle Bridge in Woodstock, Vermont

I (and many, many others!) believe Woodstock to be Vermont’s cutest town, and let me tell you, it’s got plenty of competition!

F.H. Gillingham & Sons brick building in downtown Woodstock, Vermont on a sunny day with blue skies overhead
The oldest general store in Vermont, this is a definite must see while in Woodstock!

Woodstock is one of the best family vacations Vermont has to offer, and it’s one of my personal favorites.

The very epitome of small town Vermont, there is picturesque scenery, a quaint walkable downtown, lots of lovely outdoor things to do, and tons of great farm to table dining options.

A sign board with a mural painted on it is labeled the Woodstock Town Smiler in Woodstock, Vermont
Woodstock, Vermont being adorable – see what I mean?

During one of our recent family vacations to Woodstock, Vermont, we explored the Vermont Institute of Natural Science in the neighboring village of Quechee.

It was a BLAST, we definitely recommend it for your next family trip to Woodstock. It was especially pretty with the spring flowers blooming.

A scenic outdoor space with white spring flowers on a tree and vibrant green grass below in Woodstock, Vermont
VINS during our May visit.

There’s also Billings Farm & Museum, because who doesn’t love pastoral beauty and fuzzy farm animals?

A grassy field with a sheep grazing and a wooden fence and rolling hills beyond it at Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock, Vermont
Billings Farm & Museum, Woodstock VT

One of my favorite places we’ve stayed in Woodstock is 506 on the River Inn, and it’s location on the river was so perfect for my little family.

A family of three sits smiling at the camera on the lawn by the river at 506 on the River Inn in Woodstock, Vermont
We enjoyed just hanging by the river!

Plus, they’ve got this great kids room inside and a little playground outside.

A child plays in a brightly decorated kids play area at the Woodstock, Vermont hotel, 506 on the River Inn
This kids room was so lovely!

You can read more about our experience staying at 506 on the River Inn here!

There are a ton of great options for where to eat in Woodstock, as well, but some of our favorites are Mon Vert Cafe in Woodstock and Simon Pearce Restaurant in Quechee.

These are the falls you get to gaze at while dining at Simon Pearce!

The Ottauquechee River waterfall outside Simon Pearce in Quechee, Vermont in May as the trees are coming back to life along its banks

We’ve stayed at a few places in Woodstock, but one of our definite favorites to date has been 506 on the River Inn. Hard to beat that view!

A sweeping view of the Ottauquechee River as it runs behind a popular hotel in Woodstock, Vermont in the spring
The river view that we enjoyed so much at 506 on the River Inn!

Click Here to Check Prices & Book!

Family Vacations in Massachusetts

4. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Two children standing on the edge of the ocean holding nets in a popular New England family vacation spot. Boats float on the water in the distance.
Photo Credit: Shobha George; this popular New England family vacation spot is perfect for a summer trip.

Martha’s Vineyard is a great family destination in New England 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 the Vineyard tends to have lots of multi-generational families visiting because there is something for everyone to do both on 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 that are perfect for kids 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

Click here for family friendly Martha’s Vineyard places to stay!

5. Boston, Massachusetts

A shot of a busy sidewalk on a historic street in Boston lined with historic buildings

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 find plenty of New England 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 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).

The exterior of Quincy Market in Boston, Massachusetts at night

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

Click here to check out all the best Boston family friendly hotels!

Editor’s Note: Boston is an ideal vacation spot for family adventures of all kinds but especially excellent for those looking for a way to bring history to life for their kids!

A statue of Paul Revere on a horse sits in front of Old North Church on the Boston Freedom Trail
This was such a lovely area to see on the Boston Freedom Trail!

Family trips to Boston are a blast. We’ve always loved walking the Freedom Trail, exploring the historic North End, making our way through the many, many museums, and of course, enjoying the plethora of dining options!

A cream filled pastry with chocolate chips at either end is held in a hand near Boston's North End neighborhood
Cannoli from Mike’s Pastry? Yes, please!

We recently had a Christmas Boston family vacation and let me tell you, it was simply divine. I highly recommend it!

People ice skating outdoors in Boston, Massachusetts during the holidays
I’m telling ya, outdoor ice skating during the holiday season is amazing!
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, MA, decorated for Christmas
I loved seeing how they doll up the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for the holidays!
A toddler in the corner of a bookstore in Boston at Christmas time
My son enjoying this cute Boston bookstore
Festively decorated store windows in Beacon Hill, the perfect feeling of Christmas in Boston MA

6. Nantucket, Massachusetts

Red wooden walkway leads to the door of a black and white lighthouse on a beach. The background has a white boat floating on a body of water under a blue sky in one of the best New England family vacation spots.
Nantucket is a classic New England family vacation destination.

The windswept island of Nantucket seems designed for New England 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 New England family 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

PS Nantucket Hotel & Resort is a fantastic four-season, kid-friendly New England hotel!

7. The Berkshires, Massachusetts

A tall stone clock tower near a church in the Berkshires of Massachusetts

If your family loves exploring the great outdoors on vacation, head to the Berkshires in Massachusetts! This New England family vacation destination is perfect for all kinds of outdoor fun like hiking, snow sports, splashing around at a lake, and so much more.

With beautiful hiking trails all around this gorgeous area of New England, there are hiking routes for every skill level; Stevens Glen is a fun kid-friendly one mile hike in West Stockbridge that’s great for little legs, and if you’d like a waterfall hike, check out Bash Bish Falls.

If you’re a family that loves to play in the snow, head to Jiminy Peak where you can go skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and even ride their 3600 foot Mountain Coaster!

Of course, there are plenty of other great Berkshires attractions, too, like the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Hancock Shaker Village, Tanglewood, and MASS MoCA.

There are so many cute shops and dining options to explore. Here are some cool Stockbridge MA places to check out:

A close up of a storefront of a Country Store in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in the Berkshires
A painted white storefront for Stockbridge General Store in the Berkshires of Massachusetts
A close up of a sign for the Red Lion Inn, a historic inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, decorated for fall

Add in all the great restaurants and places to stay – including cool Berkshires cabins and historic hotels like Red Lion Inn, The Berkshires is a fantastic family getaway destination in New England!

PS the Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriot is conveniently located in Great Barrington and offers free breakfast and an indoor pool!

8. Chatham, MA

A sandy beach in Chatham, Massachusetts
Beautiful Lighthouse Beach in Chatham MA

One of our first family vacations with my son was to Chatham, located on the “elbow” of the Cape and one of the best coastal New England family vacation spots!

Cape Cod is a beautiful place for a summer New England family vacation, and the scenery in this part of the Cape is to die for. The vibe is quintessential Cape Cod, and what’s not to love about that?

A blue beach comber style bike is seen on a lush green lawn in Chatham, Massachusetts on Cape Cod

My family loved exploring Lighthouse Beach and the Chatham Light. Lighthouses are always an essential sight in any New England beach town.

Chatham Lighthouse with well mowed grass surrounding it.

We enjoyed grabbing a bite to eat at Mac’s Fish n Lobster and a sweet treat from Short n Sweet Ice Cream.

The interior of a seafood restaurant in Chatham, Massachusetts with people working behind the counter as sunlight pours in through the windows
Mac’s Fish n Lobster in Chatham, MA
A hand holding up ice cream in front of an ice cream place in Cape Cod
Ice cream + New England Beach Town = Perfection

As for where to stay, I highly recommend Captain’s House Inn. It was a perfect Cape Cod place to stay, and they were wonderfully accommodating for my little family with our infant in tow.

A guest room at the Captain's House Inn in Chatham, Massachusetts in Cape Cod
White adirondack chairs and a gazebo are seen in a lush green lawn in Chatham, Massachusetts on Cape Cod

You can read more about our experience staying at the Captain’s House Inn in Chatham here!

Click Here to Check Prices & Book!

9. Salem, Massachusetts

A quiet historic street in Salem, Massachusetts with fall foliage in the trees

Okay, so I LOVE Salem. Like, absolutely adore this little MA town, and I’ve visited many times over the years.

It was especially fun to take my son for his first Salem experience. We’ve since visited a couple of times with him, and it’s just a blast to vacation as a family there.

Salem is one of those towns with a ton of history, which most of us know as the infamous variety, the Salem Witch Trials at the forefront.

Of course, they play this up a lot and their month long Haunted Happenings event in October each year is a definite must do for anyone who enjoys paranormal and witchy fun.

A Salem Haunted Happenings flag is attached to a street light in a historic MA town

In addition to learning about Salem’s witchy history, there’s also lots of interesting nautical history and a ton of amazing shopping and dining places, too.

A historic ship docked in Salem, Massachusetts on a sunny day

We’ve stayed at some very cool places in Salem, including The Salem Inn. It’s conveniently located and is historic in all the right ways… in fact, there’s even murmurings of hauntings in one of the buildings!

A large brick historic inn in Salem, Massachusetts with green trees in front and blue skies overhead
The Salem Inn

We didn’t experience any paranormal activity during our stay, but it is considered one of the most haunted places in Salem.

If you’re a Hocus Pocus fan, you’re going to definitely want to check out some of the filming sites around town!

A woman stands in front of a Hocus Pocus filming site in Salem, Massachusetts

There are plenty of great places to eat around Salem. I loved eating at the Hotel Salem’s rooftop restaurant and bar, and Turner’s Seafood is another can’t miss spot while in the area.

A hand holds out a drink while looking out over buildings on a rooftop in Salem MA
Enjoying the rooftop bar at the Hotel Salem!
A historic Salem MA restaurant with exposed brick walls and antique flooring and people in booths
Turner’s Seafood, Salem MA

For us, Salem is always a good spot for New England family vacations. It’s one of our favorites!

Check here for kid friendly hotels in Salem, MA!

New Hampshire Family Vacations

10. The White Mountains, New Hampshire

A sweeping view of vivid fall colors of the White Mountains at Artists Bluff hike in New Hampshire

Nothing better than getting the whole family out into the mountains!

White Mountain National Forest is an amazing place for a New England family trip as there are loads of great kid-friendly trails to discover. Your kids can also become “junior rangers” and learn about the animals, the plants and 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 and it is a very unique New England family vacation thing to do.

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

Check out these North Conway family friendly hotels for great places to stay with kids.

Editor’s Note: I was able to take my son on a little White Mountains adventure recently and have to share how cool it was! We booked a Lumen Nature Retreat in North Woodstock and had an absolute blast glamping in the White Mountains.

A tiny glamping building with fall foliage surrounding

We went in early autumn before “peak colors,” but it was still incredibly gorgeous.

A creek in the New Hampshire White Mountains with October fall foliage

There are a variety of different glamping cabin options to choose from, but I don’t think you’d go wrong with any because the actual property is beautiful beyond belief, and there are top notch glamping amenities like saunas and climate controlled luxury bathhouses.

A luxurious bathhouse in a glamping location in the White Mountains of New Hampshire

Seriously, it was perfect!

You can read more about my experience glamping in the White Mountains here.

A smiling toddler stands in front of a window with fall foliage beyond
Wasn’t the view from our glamping cabin lovely?

Otherwise, I’ve enjoyed many visits to the White Mountains over the years, including a spa vacation with my sister in Jackson, New Hampshire and a fantastic visit to the Ice Castles!

The Ice Castles should absolutely be included in any winter family vacation in New Hampshire. It’s just a very cool, unique bucket list type of experience!

A woman stands looking up in awe at the New Hampshire ice castle

The White Mountains should definitely be at the top of your list of places to go for family vacations in New England!

11. Portsmouth, New Hampshire

A woman walks in front of a historic New England house decorated for Christmas in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

We all know that the NH mountains are a fun family vacation destination, but don’t forget about its quaint Seacoast! Portsmouth, New Hampshire vacations are a personal favorite.

In fact, we recently enjoyed a Christmas family trip to Portsmouth and it was so lovely. Strawbery Banke Museum is an outdoor living history museum that is a blast to visit anytime, but it is especially magic at Christmas time!

A historic Portsmouth building at Strawbery Banke Museum decorated wtih

Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth is a beautiful blend of historic holiday traditions with modern fun, and I think it should be on everyone’s New England bucket list.

Carolers dressed in historical costume at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire at Christmas

Ice skating on Puddle Dock Pond, anyone?

The ice skating pond at Puddle Dock Pond in Portsmouth, New Hampshire at night  with a firepit seating area in the middle
Puddle Dock Pond, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Portsmouth is full of tasty places to eat, but don’t forget they have a Friendly Toast! It’s always one of our favorite kid friendly places to eat on New England family vacations.

Check here for kid friendly hotels in Portsmouth, NH!

12. Lincoln, New Hampshire

The Lincoln Woods Trailhead White Mountain National Forest Sign with fall foliage around it

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.

Foliage in the White Mountains 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. It’s a fantastic spot for family trips in New England!

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 one of those New England family vacation spots you will want to return to year after year.

-Contributed by Jamie, The Daily Adventures of Me

Check here for family friendly hotels in Lincoln!

Editor’s Note: I had a little biking adventure with my hubby in the White Mountains National Forest a few years back and it was a phenomenal way to get out in the woods and enjoy the NH fall foliage.

A man and woman on bikes in White Mountains New Hampshire with fall foliage around them on the trail

I think it would make an excellent New England family vacation idea for a family with older kids or teens!

New England Family Vacations in Maine

13. Portland, Maine

One of my most favorite Maine family vacations that I’ve taken with my toddler, Portland was an absolute blast!

A toddler holds a sign that says Portland on it

This cool coastal city is one of those places that has something for everyone – there’s maritime history, vibrant culture, a varied dining scene, and other cool attractions like the Portland Observatory and the Portland Head Light.

A woman and toddler pose in front of the Portland Head Light in Portland, Maine

My toddler especially loved our trip to the Children’s Museum of Maine!

The exterior of the Children's Museum of Maine in Portland, Maine

It was such a blast to explore all their great exhibits together. It’s perfect for the younger crowd, so if you’re on a Portland family vacation with little ones, it’s a definite must visit.

A child plays with kid binoculars at the Children's Museum in Maine of Portland

We stayed at The Francis, and while boutique hotels may not be the first thing we think of when we think of kid friendly places to stay, the Francis was excellent for us!

The exterior of The Francis hotel in Portland, Maine
Two cards with information about family friendly dining and activities in Portland, Maine
This was such a helpful guide for Portland family activities!

There are a ton of fantastic options for where to eat in Portland, but a few of our favorites are Hot Suppa, The Friendly Toast, Becky’s Diner, and The Great Lost Bear.

Check here for kid friendly hotels in Portland, Maine!

14. Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park is a great New England 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 very challenging Beehive, but a family-friendly version along the Bowl Trail takes the back – and safer and easier – route to the same summit.

An expansive view of fall colors in Acadia National Park, Maine, with the ocean in the background
Fall colors beginning in Acadia National Park

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 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. Acadia also has great campgrounds, and cabins, and Bar Harbor is full of great restaurants and places to stay during your New England family trip.

-Contributed by James Ian, Travel Collecting

Check here for kid friendly hotels near Bar Harbor & Acadia!

Editor’s Note: Bar Harbor/Acadia is one of our favorite New England vacation spots, too!

A street in Bar Harbor Maine with shops and cars parked alongside
We love Bar Harbor!

Bar Harbor is a blast, and there’s a ton to do there. There are whale watching tours, cute shops, excellent restaurants, and of course, Acadia National Park!

We did some hiking in Acadia and absolutely loved the views. Beehive Loop trail was a great hike but it’s definitely not for anyone with a fear of heights as there’s a portion where you’re just hiking up the face of the rock with metal rungs.

A man hiking up a metal ladder in Beehive Loop trail in Acadia National Park
My husband making his way up Beehive Loop trail in Acadia!
A man and a woman kiss at the top of a hike in Acadia National Park
Just smoochin in Acadia, NBD

Bass Harbor Lighthouse is another must see in Acadia, and it’s just such a beautiful sight!

A woman's shoes at the bottom of the frame of the Bass Harbor Lighthouse in Acadia National Park

Bar Harbor and Acadia are fantastic options for anyone looking for a coastal Maine family vacation.

15. Kennebunkport, Maine

A sign reads "Welcome to Kennebunkport" above the water
A girl stands in front of a store with flowers surrounding her with a blue and white awning.
Isn’t Kennebunkport darling??

Maine family vacations to places like Kennebunkport are absolutely perfect for scratching that coastal New England itch!

A sandy New England beach town with pink flowers framing it
Kennebunkport is one of my personal faves when it comes to New England beach towns to visit!

Not only is the scenery of this beautiful seaside town lovely, but there are options galore for things to do and see.

A couple hug on one of the beaches in Kennebunkport, Maine
Just having a blast in Kennebunkport!
A man and toddler walk towards the ocean's edge
My husband and little brother getting some Vitamin Sea 😉

We love shopping at Dock Square, hanging at Goose Rocks Beach, and recently, we even had a Christmas trip to Kennebunkport that involved a ride on their Christmas trolley!

A man, woman, and child pose on the Christmas trolley in Kennebunkport, Maine

Kennebunkport at Christmas was lovely, I definitely recommend it as an excellent family vacation for the holidays!

A nautical themed Christmas tree in Dock Square Kennebunkport Maine

Check here for family friendly hotels in Kennebunkport!

Connecticut Family Vacations

16. Mystic, Connecticut

A long walking pier beside the Mystic River in Mystic Connecticut

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!

The exterior of a building that houses iconic Mystic Pizza in Mystic CT

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

PS you can find some great family friendly Mystic hotels here!

Editor’s Note: Okay, Mystic is one of my favorite standby New England vacation spots! Coastal Connecticut is GORGEOUS and if you’re looking for seaside fun, Mystic is a fantastic choice.

An anchor in Mystic, Connecticut

You’ve got the beautiful Mystic River, a drawbridge that’s fun for kids and adults to watch operate, and great shopping, restaurants, and attractions.

A closeup of the Mystic Drawbridge on a summer day

Check out shops like Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream, Alice in the Village, and of course, Mystic Pizza!

An ice cream cafe and other popular Mystic CT shops

My family and I especially love the Mystic Aquarium! Young kids, older kids, adults and all always have a blast making new marine friends.

a smiling toddler in front of an aquarium holding a beluga whale
My son making friends at Mystic Aquarium

Mystic is one of our classic go to family vacation spots in New England, for sure!

17. Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut

If you’re planning a summer family vacation in New England, consider Lake Compounce in Bristol, New England’s largest water park and one of the oldest amusement parks in the region. Not only is there a ton of family fun to be had onsite, but just up the road is Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill.

This popular state park is always a huge hit with kids of all ages, with a 200 million-year-old fossil trackway, nature trails, an interactive exhibit center, and so much more, so be sure to plan at least one day there!

Bristol is also just a quick half hour drive to Hartford, with a ton of awesome things to see and do, like the Mark Twain House and Museum, the Bushnell Park Carousel, and a huge selection of great restaurants and places to stay: The Hilton in Hartford has an indoor pool, onsite restaurant, and is just a short 10 minute walk to Bushnell Park!

Click Here to Check Prices & Book!

18. Milford, Connecticut

A boardwalk on sand at a beach in Milford, Connecticut
One of my favorite beach towns in Connecticut!

Home of the gorgeous Silver Sands State Park, Milford is an excellent option for beachy Connecticut family vacations! The sandy dunes and boardwalk at Silver Sands are perfect all throughout the year for enjoying coastal views.

A wide sandy expanse of beach in Milford, Connecticut

Popular swimming beaches in Milford include Silver Sands and Walnut Beach, but remember, this is Connecticut we are talking about… there are going to be lots of rocks and seashells, so swim shoes are a necessity!

Otherwise, Milford is just a super cute New England town. There are awesome shops, places to eat, and everything is very coastal Connecticut.

If you’re traveling with older kids especially, be sure to check out Firehouse Gallery. It’s a small art gallery, but a very cool space.

A colorful building in Milford, Connecticut as seen through a circle wreath.
You can spot Firehouse Gallery from the coffee shop across the street!

Even if you’re visiting out of standard beach season, grab a cup of your favorite beverage at Walnut Beach Coffee House and then make your way down to the water. It’s a lovely way to explore this pretty stretch of shoreline!

Coffee cup from Walnut Beach Coffee House in a hand in front of Walnut Beach, Connecticut
Don’t forget to swing by Walnut Beach Coffee House before you head out to the beach!

Oh, and do you know Milford has an interesting claim to fame? They say they invented the warm lobster roll, and you should absolutely investigate this claim for yourself by visiting delicious seafood restaurants like The Lazy Lobster while in town.

As for where to stay in Milford goes, Hilton Garden Inn has an indoor pool!

Click Here to Check Prices & Book!

Rhode Island Family Vacations

19. Newport, Rhode Island

Bowen's Wharf sign on a cobblestone street in Newport, Rhode Island
One of the loveliest towns in Rhode Island!

A visit to the Classic Coast is one of the best family vacations New England has to offer, hands down! If you’re looking for a family trip that’s educational, historical, and absolutely gorgeous, Newport is an excellent choice.

Not only do you have the incredibly beautiful Newport mansions to tour to learn about how America’s early elite lived during the so called Gilded Age, you have all that spectacular coastal scenery to go along with it!

An ostentatiously decorated Gilded Age mansion with lots of gold and elaborate decor.

Just crossing over the Claiborne Pell into Newport is a sight like no other. It’s one of the most iconic bridges in coastal New England.

A sweeping view of the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge under a grey sky
Crossing this bridge is my happy place!

There are so many incredible historic things to see and do in Newport, like enjoying dinner at the White Horse Tavern, the oldest operating restaurant in the US and one of the oldest in the world!

There’s strolling around Bowen’s Wharf, walking the lovely Cliff Walk, enjoying delicious seafood dinners, oohing and aahing over the local lighthouses, and of course, enjoying the beach. Easton’s Beach or “First Beach” is a popular spot for beachy fun.

A white lighthouse in Rhode Island sits perched on Goat Island near Newport, Rhode Island
Just look how cute this RI lighthouse is!

Newport is classic coastal New England at its finest. Seafood, lighthouses, beautiful bridges, what is there not to love?

There are several excellent hotels in Newport, but you can check out the best family friendly hotels in Newport RI here.

20. Providence, Rhode Island

Historic buildings as seen on a street in Providence, Rhode Island
Isn’t Providence cool?

Looking for something with a little more hustle and bustle than Newport? You’re going to want to check out Providence!

Rhode Island’s capitol is perfect for anyone looking for a fun filled New England vacation. There are so many cool things to see and do in Providence, like catching a show at the Providence Performing Arts Center, considered the “Jewel of Weybosset Street.”

A lit up Providence Performing Arts Center with neon signs at night

The kids (and rest of the fam!) will absolutely love visiting the animals at the Roger Williams Park Zoo and playing on the onsite Carousel Village. Afterwards, there’s the nearby Museum of Natural History and Planetarium to scope out as well.

Providence is also home to Brown University & RISD, and taking a stroll around the Brown grounds and visiting the art gallery at RISD is an especially fun thing to do if you’ve got teens in your group.

In fact, if you’ve got anyone in the group into science fiction, they’re going to love how much fun H.P. Lovecraft merch & info they find around town! You’ll definitely need to swing by the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Emporium.

The exterior of Lovecraft Arts & Sciences in the Arcade Providence, Rhode Island
Located in the Arcade Providence, a National Historic Landmark.

There’s a unique art event that happens multiple times a year in PVD called Waterfire, and if you can line up your vacation with one of these spectacular river lightings, you’ll have a New England family vacation that everyone will remember for the rest of their lives.

Providence is a great foodie destination too, with lots of great restaurants. You’ll find excellent Italian food options in Federal Hill, and breweries and breakfast places all around Providence that offer something for everyone in the group.

All in all, Providence is the kind of family vacation that could work for just about any age group, but it’s an especially fun trip with older kids and teens.

The exterior of a bookstore in Providence RI with flowers in the foreground

Here are some great family friendly hotel options in Providence.

21. Westerly, Rhode Island

The ocean shore along the Rhode Island beach town of Westerly
Westerly is gorgeous, isn’t it?

If you’re looking for New England vacations with beautiful beaches (although some don’t allow public parking, so watch for signs!) for swimming and relaxing, and a lovely downtown with great places to explore, Westerly could be just the ticket.

In fact, this is home to the village of Watch Hill, where Taylor Swift keeps her summer home! You can see it in the picture above!

There are lots of things to do in Westerly, including visiting the gorgeous Watch Hill Lighthouse, where you can enjoy both the pretty lighthouse and those stellar ocean views.

The Watch Hill Lighthouse in Westerly Rhode Island on a sunny day surrounded by green grass
Watch Hill Lighthouse, Westerly, Rhode Island

Westerly is definitely a prime summer vacation spot, so if you’re visiting during the cold weather months, be prepared for several shops and restaurants to be closed. Evie’s is a good spot to grab a bite and drink year round.

The entire town is absolutely gorgeous, so this is definitely one of those coastal eye candy vacation spots in New England!

Check here for family friendly places to stay in and near Westerly!

Final Thoughts: Family Friendly New England Vacations

Wherever you end up heading for your next New England family vacation, you’re sure to have a great time exploring and enjoying this beautiful region with the fam!

Read these next for more great travel ideas!