Why You Should Take Your Next Family Vacation in Boston

From sandcastles to science experiments, this New England city serves up fun for all ages

Spy sailboats as well as the city skyline while your family strolls along Boston’s Charles River Esplanade.


You’ll find plenty of fun for the whole family year-round in Boston. The city’s famously walkable, close-knit neighborhoods make it easy to spend a leisurely afternoon or enjoy a few activities in one day. Here are seven family attractions in Boston that will make you want to hop in the car and head to Beantown.

Find your wild side

Lions, zebras and giraffes, oh my! Explore the 72 acres of the Franklin Park Zoo and be sure to leave plenty of time for the new children’s zoo. There you can get a view of the acreage from the Eagle’s Nest, explore a prairie dog neighborhood, climb bamboo poles as you learn more about the plant, and discover which animals live in the Grass Maze. Be sure to check the zoo’s daily schedule: You may be able to catch a gorilla feeding or a zookeeper chat. Make sure not to miss the tented Butterfly Landing.

Enjoy a day of play

Share a hands-on experience with your kids at Boston Children’s Museum, the second-oldest children’s museum in the world. Photo Credit: Boston Children’s Museum

Let the kids explore through hands-on activities at the Boston Children’s Museum. Parents can cheer from the sidelines as kids navigate the New Balance Foundation Climb—a three-story vertical climbing sculpture that challenges them to find a way up and through a maze. Younger children will love PlaySpace, an exhibition designed specifically for children under three years old. Admission is only $1 on Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m.—the perfect opportunity for older children to experience the museum, including the Construction Zone, where you can ride a real Bobcat or help build a kid-size world.

Head to the coast

Every July, Revere Beach turns into an artist’s canvas with sculptors gathering to compete for best sand artwork in the Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival. The largest event of its kind on the East Coast, it’s a great way for families to enjoy sun and surf, see the sculptures and talk to the artists. For even more fun, check out the amusement rides and the Kid’s Zone and Learning Center, or come late and stay for the fireworks. Revere Beach is a short train ride from Boston’s center and the perfect way to spend a warm summer day.

Stop and smell the lilacs

Join in on a family tradition running since 1908 with Lilac Sunday at Arnold Arboretum in May. Take tours of the stunning lilac collection (there are more than 360 plants!) on the edge of Bussey Hill Road. Kids can play a lilac memory card game, make origami, design a Mother’s Day card and model temporary lilac tattoos. Pack a picnic and enjoy the view (and scent!) of the lilacs while eating lunch.

Take in harbor views

Fife and drum performances are just one of the many sights to take in at Boston Harborfest, the country’s largest Fourth of July festival. Photo Credit: BostonUSA.com

Celebrate our nation’s independence in the city where it all started at the annual Boston Harborfest. Every Fourth of July weekend, the family-friendly festival takes place on Boston Harbor and offers plenty of activities—past events have included an 18th century chocolate demonstration and a red, white and blue themed scavenger hunt. Partake in the opening festivities at Faneuil Hall and spend the remainder of your time enjoying activities such as a clambake, a chowder contest, boat rides, tours of the Freedom Trail, and fife and drum performances.

Hit it out of the park

No trip to Boston is complete without at least a glimpse of Fenway Park. Do more than that, though, and take the whole family to a game at one of America’s oldest ballparks. Buy game tickets for you and your kids, and your group can access Wally’s Clubhouse in the Champions Club on the Kids Concourse for face painting, caricature and balloon artists, magicians, a toddler play area and other games and activities.

Get scientific

Put your scientist hats on at the Museum of Science, where you can watch lightning bolts created by a Van de Graaff generator and get hands-on with experiments featuring all five senses. Nature-loving kids will want to see A Bird’s World, with specimens of every New England species, and stop by the Butterfly Garden, where different types of butterflies from across the globe float overhead. Triceratops Cliff, the museum’s 65-million-year-old fossilized dino, discovered in the Dakota Badlands in 2004, is a can’t-miss stop as well. Pro tip: After you finish at the museum, go for a walk on the Charles River Esplanade.

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