Are you planning a trip to New England with the fam? Then you are in luck because there are so many fun things to do with kids in New England, you just need to know where to look!
Organized by state, this list will point you in the right direction for the top things to do in New England with kids. Whether you’re looking to visit in summer, spring, fall, or winter, we’ve got you covered to make your travel planning all the easier!
Table of Contents
Things to Do in New England with Kids – Maine
Head to Acadia National Park
With plenty of hiking options, beaches for exploring, cute campgrounds, and great cabin, vacation rental, and hotel options at and near Acadia, Acadia National Park makes a perfect thing to do in New England with kids. No matter where you stay, there’s plenty to do at Acadia and Bar Harbor to keep everyone in the family happy!
Play at Old Orchard Beach
Affectionately referred to as OOB and home to Palace Playland, the last beachfront amusement park in New England, you’ll find rides, attractions, and a 20,000 sq ft+ arcade with vintage and modern arcade games that will appeal to everyone in the family. The 7 miles of soft, sandy beach to play on isn’t bad either!
Look for Puffins
Check out this Puffins cruise guide to pick the one that’s right for your family! Be sure to dress in layers because it’s going to be colder out on the water; that summer sun in Maine will still burn fragile skin easily, so be sure to slather up the kiddos with sunscreen before you go looking for these adorable sea creatures!
Head to Moosehead Lake
Clocking in at 74,890 acres, Moosehead Lake is the largest lake in Maine, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy it! Go canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming or fishing on the lake, and on land, hike, or take an ATV tour. There’s something for everyone at Moosehead Lake!
Say Hi to Paul Bunyan in Bangor
The birthplace of legendary folk hero Paul Bunyan, whose birth certificate is hung on display in City Hall, you’ll find the largest statue of him known in the world, standing 31 feet high and weighing a whopping 3,700 pounds! Bangor has plenty of fun for the whole family; peek in at Stephen King’s estate while in his neck of the woods!
Go on a Moose Tour
You are most likely to see moose in Maine from May through July, but there are sightings all year long and caution is always urged while driving in moose-heavy territory as these beasts will win in a fight against your car every single time. Check out this guide for more tips on where and when to see moose in Maine!
Have Fall Fun
Maine is a fantastic fall foliage destination and a kid paradise for fall fun! Kids love going to pick their own apples at an apple orchard, visiting a pumpkin patch to find their perfect jack-o-lantern, and getting lost in a corn maze together for an hour or 3! When it comes to old-fashioned fall family fun, Maine has it in spades!
Go on a History Tour
Maine has a lot of neat historical attractions throughout the state, like the Shaker Village near Gloucester, the Wadsworth-Longfellow House in Portland, and the Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Brunswick. Plan to stay in Portland for a while for the fun things to do, great restaurants, and beaches and lighthouses to see!
Visit the Boot
This must-visit tourist attraction is located at L.L. Bean’s flagship store and is on every self-respecting Maine bucket list. Everyone will want plenty of photos of them standing beside this giant 16-foot tall boot! There’s plenty more to do and see in Freeport, too, especially if you visit during the Christmas season!
Visit Scarborough Beach State Park
All around the state, Maine has some pretty cool state parks that your kiddos will love! Check out Scarborough Beach State Park, a very family-friendly beach state park with convenient amenities like restrooms, changing rooms, and seasonal lifeguards. The water here is pretty warm by Maine standards, too, with temps that typically stay in the high 60s throughout July and August!
Things to Do in New England with Kids – Massachusetts
Explore the Boston Children’s Museum
The Boston Children’s Museum is just one of many awesome things to with kids in Boston! Boston is home to so many great museums and walking tours; older children especially love walking the Boston Freedom Trail, where they get to see Revolutionary history come alive. With so many fantastic restaurants and places to stay, Boston is an excellent New England vacation spot!
See Witchy History in Salem
Geared more towards older kids, Salem has a ton of spooky, Halloween-type stuff happening in October like ghost tours and visiting the most haunted places in town, but checking out the sites where Hocus Pocus was filmed is fun any time of year! Salem has great hotel and vacation rental options, too.
Enjoy Fall Festivities
Leaf peepers come from far and wide to visit the spots with the most fantastic fall foliage, but the real fall family fun is found at pumpkin patches with hayrides and petting zoos, corn mazes with scavenger hunts, and beautiful pick your own apple orchards where you can find New England fall staples like apple cider donuts… yum!
Go for a Whale Watching Cruise
April to mid-autumn is when Minke, Humpback, Pilot, Right, and Finback whales can be found off of Massachusetts’ coast. Use this guide to the top-rated whale watching tours in Massachusetts to plan your trip! Bring plenty of sunscreen for the kiddos and prepare for the temperature out on the boat to be significantly cooler than it was on land, so bring a jacket!
Go Back in Time at The Hancock Shaker Village
The Hancock Shaker Village is a 750-acre immersive experience that shows what this Shaker Village was like in 19th century Massachusetts. There’s the Hancock Shaker Village Museum, nature trails, and The Discovery Barn, where kids can participate in hands-on Shaker activities, like weaving on a child-size loom, spinning wool, building furniture, and even milking a cow!
Take to the Cape
Cape Cod isn’t just an ideal vacation destination for adults, it’s also full of fun things to do with kids! There are amazing beaches to visit, beautiful nature preserves and hiking trails, a fantastic restaurant scene, and great spots for a sweet treat, too! Take the family on a whale-watching tour and then settle into one of these lovely vacation rentals or hotels found on the Cape for a good nights sleep!
Tour Halibut Point State Park
Massachusetts has some great state parks just waiting for you and the kids to explore! There’s Halibut Point State Park, with fantastic hiking and spectacular coastal scenery. Plus, it’s in beautiful Rockport, a must-visit MA destination; be sure to sample fresh-caught seafood at Rockport restaurants before you leave!
Watch History Come Alive in Plymouth
Plymouth has must-see historical sites like the National Monument to the Forefathers, the still-functioning Plimoth Grist Mill, and of course, Plymouth Rock. You can also tour the Mayflower II, the actual scale replica of the ship that carried the Pilgrims across the sea in 1620! Don’t skip the living history museum Plimoth Plantation; the Wampanoag Homesite is staffed by Native People from Wampanoag and other Native Nations that dress and model the Native experience of that period of time.
Play in the Berkshires
For outdoorsy New England kids’ activities, the Berkshires has fantastic hiking options, zip-lining, family float rafting trips, skiing, snowshoeing, snow tubing, and more, so there’s outdoor fun all year round! With cute little towns like Stockbridge, Lenox, Great Barrington, Pittsfield, North Adams, and more, there’s always plenty of family fun to be had.
Go Wild at the Zoo
With several aquariums, zoos, and wildlife centers around the state, there are plenty of choices! There’s Animal Adventures Family Zoo and Rescue Center in Bolton, Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford, Franklin Park Zoo and The New England Aquarium in Boston, Stone Zoo in Stoneham, Southwick Zoo in Mendon, the Maria Mitchell Aquarium in Nantucket, and more!
Things to Do in New England with Kids – Connecticut
Go on a Lighthouse Tour
Coastal Connecticut has so many lovely lighthouses to see, make it a point to tour as many as you can! Kids will absolutely love visiting some of Connecticut’s best beaches along the way, then head out on a lighthouse boat tour to see the view from the water!
Visit Mark Twain House and Museum
Best suited for older kids, a visit to the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford is a must for all literary lovers in the family! Samuel Clemens wrote under the pen name Mark Twain while living on these grounds from 1874 to 1891. Guided tours are available!
Dinosaur State Park
Connecticut has many awesome state parks, but a must-visit for any family with kids of any age is the Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill! With a 200-million-year-old fossil trackway, arboretum, interactive exhibit center, picnic areas, and nature trails, Dinosaur State Park is sure to be a hit with the kiddos and the adults alike!
Ride on the Bushnell Park Carousel
This beautiful vintage 1914 carousel has been delighting kids and adults alike for well over a hundred years now! Hand-carved wooden horses spin riders round and round on the weekends for only $2 a ride, and right behind it is the playground, with features that mimic local landmarks!
Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Head out to one of Connecticut’s zoos, wildlife centers, or aquariums during your New England trip! Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport is a traditional zoo, and Action Wildlife Foundation in Goshen is a petting zoo, museum, and exploration center. The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk and the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic are both well worth a visit, but if you’re in the Greenwich area for Christmas, kids will absolutely adore the Reindeer Festival and the meet and greet with these creatures!
Enjoy Connecticut Fall Fun
Connecticut is beautiful during the fall and has all those quintessential fall family fun activities that make the season so fun! Take your pick from these Connecticut corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and pick your own apple orchards; is there any better way to get the whole family out to see the beautiful fall colors?
Play at Lake Compounce
Lake Compounce at Bristol has been in operation since 1846, and it is still one of Connecticut’s favorite summer playgrounds! In addition to the dozens of rides, it is also New England’s largest water park, so be sure to bring the sunscreen before you let the kiddos loose at this fantastic amusement park!
Head to Stamford Museum and Nature Center
118 acres of fun await you and your kiddos at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center! Visit Heckscher Farm’s animals, barns, and maple sugar house before turning your eyes to the sky at the Planetarium and Stamford Observatory. Don’t forget to swing by the gorgeous Bendel Mansion before you leave!
Visit Gillette Castle
Both a state park and historic site, Gillette Castle is always a hit for kids and adults alike. Built in 1914 as a private estate, it sits tucked into 184-acres of gorgeous Connecticut woodlands, and a tour of this castle-like mansion is sure to thrill everyone in the family!
See B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill
B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill in Mystic is the last steam-powered cider mill still in use in the US today, and you can watch them pressing fresh apples for their ever-popular apple cider goodies. On the weekends they offer hard cider tastings and fresh kettle corn, but no one should leave the cider mill without some cider donuts to go!
Things to Do in New England with Kids – Rhode Island
Explore the Night Sky
Head to the Frosty Drew Observatory and Science Center on a clear Friday night at sunset to get a great glimpse up at the heavens! Best suited for older kiddos, the observatory and science center suggests applying plenty of bug spray, as its somewhat remote, rural location means you and your family might be a sought-after snack for the mosquitoes!
Have Fun at Adventureland Family Fun Park
Adventureland Family Fun Park in Narragansett has been offering Rhode Island families a great place to have fun since 1985! Kids will love riding the Go Karts and Bumper Boats, jumping on the Extreme Big Air Jumper, going ‘round on the Carousel, and more during your fun day out at Adventureland!
Experience the Cliff Walk
Newport’s famous Cliff Walk is not suited for strollers or toddlers, but older kids love it! The 3.5-mile walk offers fantastic views of both the sea and the cliff-side mansions, so there’s always something to see. Most of the walk is fairly straightforward, but some sections involve passing very close to significant drops and a bit of scrambling on rocky shoreline.
Explore Providence’s Waterways
A fun way to explore Rhode Island’s capital city, Providence Kayak provides rentals of single and tandem kayaks for ages 3 and up! Kids 12 and up can ride in their own single kayak, too; especially popular during the heat of the summer, cool off the family in Providence’s waterways!
Head to Yawgoo Valley
Ski and snow tubing area in the winter and water park in the summer, Yawgoo Valley is fun any time of year! Whether your kids are flying down the hills in their snow tube during the winter or swimming, splashing, and sliding through the waterpark in the summer, Yawgoo Valley is always sure to please!
Explore Providence Children’s Museum
Providence Children’s Museum is an absolute must-visit if you’re in the Providence area with younger kids! On the smaller side, this children’s museum is a perfect pit stop on a rainy day for the kiddos; the water table room is always a hit!
Hang at the Beach
What better way to spend a day in the Ocean State than to hang at the beach? Rhode Island has fantastic beaches, and when it comes to things to do in coastal New England with kids, a beach day is always at the top of the list!
Enjoy Autumn Activities
Rhode Island sees some fantastic fall foliage, and is home to some great family pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and pick your own apple orchards! When it comes to things to do in New England with kids in fall, you have oh so many choices!
Visit Roger Williams Park and Zoo
Providence’s Roger Williams Park is 435 acres of trails, playgrounds, a historic carousel, and even a zoohttps://www.rwpzoo.org/! There’s also the Botanical Center (with a gorgeous rose maze!) and the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, so Roger Williams Park is a must-do if you’re in Providence. Kids absolutely adore riding on the jumbo swan paddleboats, too!
Go on a Seal Tour
Seals love the cold weather so if you’re looking for fun things to do with kids in winter and early spring, take a Seal Trip Cruise with Fish’n Tales Adventures in Wickford; the whole family will love seeing these adorable marine animals. Plus, kids under 3 are free!
Things to Do in New England with Kids – Vermont
Stroll with the Heifers in Brattleboro
If you’re going to be in the Brattleboro area in late spring, you absolutely have to check out this adorable agro-tourism event! Strolling with the garland-adorned heifers is essentially a much cuter, much safer event than Spains running with the bulls, and this family-friendly event is sure to be an activity your kids remember their whole lives!
Tour the Ben & Jerry’s Factory
The original Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Waterbury is a fun place to visit for kids and their adults! Tour the factory and see how the ice cream is made, and don’t forget to visit the Flavor Graveyard to see where the flavors of yesteryear have gone off to!
Hit the Slopes
Vermont is a fantastic spot for a fun family winter vacation! With several amazing Vermont ski resorts to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect spot for you and yours to go and play in the snow! PS, Jay Peak has an indoor water park, ice skating rink, and an adventure center for the kids!
Visit the Trapp Family Lodge
Run by the Van Trapp family of Sound of Music fame, the Trapp Family Lodge brings “A little of Austria” to Vermont family fun things to do! There’s hiking, mountain biking, skiing, snowshoeing, sleigh riding, golf, arts and crafts, guided nature walks, maple sugaring tours, swimming, and more, including fun events like Campfire and S’mores Nights!
Explore ECHO Leahy Science Center
The whole family will enjoy ECHO aquarium and science center and exploring its 100+ interactive exhibits! Say hi to the fish, reptiles, and amphibians that call ECHO home and learn all about how this science center and aquarium is promoting sound stewardship of the natural world for generations to come!
Take a Hike!
Vermont is a gorgeous state, with fantastic hiking options, breathtaking waterfalls, lovely lakes, and some very cozy cabins and vacation rentals. Everyone in the family will love getting out to explore the natural beauty of the Green Mountain State!
Go on a Sugar House Tour
Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks is just one of many across the state that offer tours of their sugar house operations, but in addition to the tours and tastings, Morse Farm also offers informational multimedia displays, a nature trail, a Vermont farm life museum, and a country store to visit, too!
Visit Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home
Hildene is the home and gardens of the only Lincoln son to make it to adulthood and is now a gorgeous historic museum, with several sights to see and trails to walk; kids will especially enjoy visiting Sunbean, the restored 1903 wooden Pullman palace car, and the working farm and all of its animals!
Have Fall Fun
Vermont sees a lot of tourist action in fall, when leaf peepers come from all around the country to enjoy the fantastic fall foliage of Vermont, but there’s more than just the color show happening then, too! Take the kids apple picking, pumpkin patching, and corn mazing, and keep your eyes peeled for all the cute Vermont fall festivals that happen every year!
Stay at Fat Sheep Farm
Fat Sheep Farm offers a unique vacation experience by letting you stay at their lovely working sheep farm! The kids will love helping collect chicken eggs, petting the sheep, playing on the natural playground, and the whole family will love the experience of slowing down together at a real, working Vermont farm!
Things to Do in New England with Kids – New Hampshire
Ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad
One of the best ways to get a healthy helping of New Hampshire’s spectacular scenery, the Conway Scenic Railroad is a historic railroad line that offers a variety of rides to choose from! For small children, the Conway Valley Train is recommended as the trip is less than an hour. Choo choo!!!
Play at Santa’s Village
Did you know you could find Santa’s Village in Jefferson, NH? You most certainly can, and this Christmas-themed amusement park has all kinds of cute Christmas-themed rides and games for the kiddos, plus just up the road is Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa. Take the kids to Santa’s Village, stay overnight at one of the best places to stay in NH… something for everyone!
Ride the Alpine Slide at Attitash
When Attitash isn’t covered in snow being one of the best ski resorts in NH, it offers the longest alpine slide in North America! Ages 3 and up will have a blast zipping down the hill under the summer sun!
Explore Franconia Notch State Park
One of New Hampshire’s fantastic state parks, a visit to Franconia Notch State Park is sure to be a hit for the whole family! The Flume Gorge boardwalk loop is only 1.5 miles but has a major payoff with the stunning scenery found within the granite gorge.
Step into Story Land
Story Land is home to over 30 fairy-tale-themed, kid-friendly rides and attractions, making it the perfect outing for any family looking for things to do in New England with kids. As an added bonus, you’ll also find Living Shores Aquarium on the grounds, with exhibits, tide pools, and touch tanks!
See Hands-On History in Portsmouth
Portsmouth’s Strawbery Banke Museum is an incredible opportunity to have an awesome, immersive learning experience. In addition to their many annual events (including their can’t-miss Candlelight Stroll at Christmas!), the Jones House at Strawbery Banke Museum houses a Discovery Center, where kids can participate in historic games and much more!
Visit America’s Stonehenge
A unique kids activity in New England, America’s Stonehenge is a fantastic outdoor history museum. They also offer interactive archaeological activities and displays of Native American and early American tools and relics, too; don’t forget to say hi to the alpacas!
Go on a Moose Tour
The best time to go on a moose tour in New Hampshire is between May and July, so if you are looking for fun New England kid activities during those months, consider going on a moose tour! There are several great moose tours in NH to choose from, just remember to drive carefully when you’re in moose country!
Explore the Polar Caves
The ultimate natural playground, the Polar Caves were formed during the last ice age, and kids (and adults!) of all ages love exploring these fantastic caves! Swing by the animal park to say hello to the deer and ducks on your way out, too!
Learn at the Seacoast Science Center
Located in Odiorne Point State Park, the Seacoast Science Center is the perfect New England kids activity for any kiddo who loves all things sea-related! Explore the tide pools, take a guided nature walk, or participate in any of the hands-on learning days that happen throughout the year. There’s always something fun happening at the Seacoast Science Center!
This region is full of fun things to do and see, finding kid’s activities in New England isn’t hard to do at all; whatever kind of New England family vacation you’re planning, you’ll find something on this list of things to do in New England with kids to appeal to you and yours!
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Amy Hartle is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of New England With Love, a comprehensive resource for travel in the New England region. Amy has been exploring New England since 2001. She lived in Vermont for many years and is a graduate of Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. On this site, Amy aims to share her love of New England and help you to have the best possible adventures!
Amy has been writing about travel for over a decade, and is a full time blogger, publishing both Two Drifters and Let’s Adventure Baby. When not traveling the world or creating epic blog content, Amy can be found cuddling with her husband, son, and cats, & drinking a maple latte.