Family-friendly Activities in New England: 15 Fun Things to Do with Kids!

This area was where the renowned Puritan pilgrims who came to America in the 1600s founded their colony.

Because of this, the New England states have a unique culture that was shaped by the waves of Europeans who moved there around the time they were founded.

People from New England have their history, accents, dialects, food, architecture, politics, and even the names of their towns and counties.

The area is beautiful because of the mountains covered in forests, the Atlantic coast, and the colorful leaves on the trees in the fall.

If this beautiful and historically important part of the United States sounds like the perfect place for your next family vacation, you’ll be even happier to hear that it’s also full of kid-friendly things to do and see.

Here are some family-friendly things to do in New England to aid in the planning of your itinerary.

  1. Boston’s Freedom Trail

There are more than 16 historical sites along the 2.5-mile-long Freedom Trail.

Why We Advocate This Exercise

By seeing the locations of the American Revolution with your kids, you can help them develop a sense of national pride.

America’s oldest public park (which includes a playground and a carousel), an antique corner store, museum activities, a historical ship, and many more sights are all located along the Freedom Trail.

Family-friendly activities abound here.

Examining them all might require a full day.

Many of the free, family-friendly activities in New England can be found here because the Freedom Trail is the property of the American people.

Suitable Ages

Every stop along the Freedom Trail has attractions for people of all ages.

  1. Ellsworth’s Downeast Scenic Railroad

The Main Shore Line Railroad was initially constructed in 1884 and has undergone continual repair owing to hundreds of volunteers and supporters. It is this railroad that the restored trains of the Downeast Scenic Railroad operate on.

Why We Advocate This Exercise

Have you or your children ever wished to board a real, vintage train?

While you enjoy the beautiful views of Maine, Downeast Scenic Line’s vintage trains will take you for an hour and a half along a railroad built in 1884.

Although the rail cars offer refreshments, you are welcome to pack your lunch if you’d like.

Do not forget to stop by their train-themed gift shop to purchase something to take home.

Suitable Ages

The Downeast Scenic Railroad offers train rides for families with infants, young children, and teenagers.

  1. Factory tour of Ben & Jerry’s in Waterbury, Vermont

In 1978, Ben & Jerry’s Factory opened at a gas station in Burlington.

This place in Waterbury was built in 1985, and it is still one of the best places for families in all of New England.

Why We Advocate This Exercise

How is ice cream made, you ask?

Visit this ice cream factory with the kids to learn more.

After the tour is over, you can also try a free taste of this delicious dessert.

The cows that made it feasible for the desert to exist can also be tamed.

The menu at Ben & Jerry’s features ice cream cakes, pints, frozen yogurt, cookie dough chunks, and flavors from outer space.

If you’re fortunate enough to be traveling during their anniversary celebration, you can take advantage of their free cone day event.

Suitable Ages

Children of all ages can enjoy the tour, the ice cream, and the other activities at Ben & Jerry’s.

  1. Story Land — Bartlett

Story Land was built in the 1960s to look like a children’s storybook. Since then, it has changed into an amusement park with new features and rides.

Why We Advocate This Exercise

If you’re hoping to experience anything similar to Disneyland in New England, Story Land is one such amusement park with entertaining kid-friendly attractions.

The little ones will be entertained with thrill rides, a water play area, a nursery rhyme play area, animals, shows, games, and a variety of other enjoyable activities.

Children can connect with Cinderella at events like Cinderella’s Royal Lunch Party, where they can sing, dance, play, color, and, of course, have lunch with her. Story Land also hosts other special occasions.

Suitable Ages

Some of Story Land’s kid-focused attractions are suitable for kids as young as one year old.

  1. Rocky Hill’s Dinosaur State Park

One of the largest dinosaur track sites in North America can be found in Connecticut’s Dinosaur State Park.

Following the discovery of 2,000 dinosaur trails nearby, it opened in 1968.

Why We Advocate This Exercise

In addition to playgrounds and fairy tales, most kids are very interested in dinosaurs.

At the Dinosaur State Park, kids can get up close and personal with fossils, bones, and dinosaur prints that have been kept in their display center.

Over two kilometers of plant species from the time of the dinosaurs can be found outside the show center.

On the other hand, there are interactive games and activities available for kids to play in the Discovery Room.

Additionally, there are stations for exploration where you and the kids can look at crystal structures.

Suitable Ages

The best visitors to Dinosaur State Park are young babies, older kids, teenagers, and adults.

  1. Shining Sea Bikeway from Falmouth to Woods Hole

The New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad Company had a railroad line along this 10.7-mile stretch of Cape Cod until the 1960s.

Why We Advocate This Exercise

Try bicycling even just a 3-mile section of the 10.7-mile Shining Sea Bikeway between Falmouth and Woods Hole if you’re a family of cyclists.

The bikeway journey already features animals, a bird sanctuary, salt marshes, pink cranberry bogs, and coastal views.

Begin by renting a bike at Corner Cycles, which is two blocks from the bikeway. They have bikes for kids, youths, and adults.

If you’re planning to begin your journey there, Art’s Bike Shop is located in North Falmouth.

Visit any scenery you believe deserves extra time to be appreciated.

Along the route, there are ice cream, coffee, and lemonade kiosks for any children who get hungry or thirsty.

Public access to the Shining Sea Bikeway ensures low-cost family entertainment.

Suitable Ages

Children of school age, teenagers, and family adults are the greatest candidates for this exercise.

  1. Washington’s Institute for American Studies Museum

In this museum, you’ll discover that the word “quinnetukut,” which means “long tidal river” or “upon the long river” in Algonkian, is where Connecticut got its name.

Before the British Puritans stepped foot on their territories and colonized them, the locals were Algonkian tribes.

Why We Advocate This Exercise

At this museum, you can play games, look at displays, and learn about the history of Connecticut’s native people.

A guided tour of this museum would use stories to explain the different parts since Native American culture uses oral stories to teach and entertain.

You and the family would enjoy visiting the recreation of an Algonkian village that is located outside.

Children will especially appreciate the Sachem’s House Classroom and the Children’s Discovery Room, where they are invited to put on native attire, handle furs, practice grinding stones, carry a baby doll, or investigate animal trails and different bones.

You’ll arrive just in time for their fun family events if you go in March, August, or November.

Additionally, your family can sign up for workshops.

Suitable Ages

The Institute for American Studies Museum and Research Center is ideally suited for families, adults, older kids, and curious teens.

  1. Central Vermont’s Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks

Pure maple syrup is Vermont’s most renowned export.

Native Americans in New England were the first people to make pure maple syrup and sugar. This was long before Europeans came to the area.

In the early days of European settlement, these native people showed the settlers how to do it.

Why We Advocate This Exercise

Visits to Vermont maple farms are the best way to learn about the state’s maple syrup culture.

Free sugarhouse tours and tastings are available at Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks, which also has a nature path, a country store, an outdoor farm museum, and a woodshed theater.

One of the first European families to settle in Central Vermont was the Morse family, who learned how to make maple syrup and sugar from Native Americans.

Take a sample while you watch them manufacture maple-based candies, cream, and butter right there on their farm.

Suitable Ages

Visitors of all ages are invited to the farm to take the tour and look around.

  1. Fall River’s Battleship Cove

At Battleship Cove, there are five official veteran memorials and five national historic landmarks, all of which have been kept intact since 1965.

Why We Advocate This Exercise

Now let’s go on to World War II.

The battleship USS Massachusetts, the destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., the submarine USS Lionfish, the PT Boats 617 and 796, and the German missile corvette Hiddensee all call Battleship Cove home.

Your family can go to Battleship Cove for day trips, overnight stays, and special events to learn about the history and honor the soldiers who died while serving on these ships and planes.

Spend the night in the battleship where the sailors stayed during World War One if you want the experience to be much more immersive.

Suitable Ages

All ages are welcome at Battleship Cove, but school-age kids and teens will enjoy the displays the most.

  1. Bar Harbor, Acadia

Acadia National Park, which spans 49,000 acres, is home to mountains, woods, lakes, ponds, coastlines, and wildlife.

Why We Advocate This Exercise

The best family activities in New England are found in Acadia National Park if your family enjoys the great outdoors.

Acadia has a vast network of hiking routes totaling more than 150 kilometers. Investigate forestry regions, lakeshores, slopes, and mountaintops.

If you want to try camping with your family, there are three well-maintained campgrounds, with Blackwoods Campground being the most popular.

Camping in Acadia at night is an especially lovely experience for stargazers.

The nearby beaches and lakes are great places to go swimming and boating.

Given that the park is home to 331 different species of birds, birdwatching is also very popular in several regions of the park.

There are eateries close by where you can get your fill of croissants, shellfish, pancakes, sandwiches, and ice cream—all created locally—so there is no need to worry about food while visiting Acadia.

Suitable Ages

Toddlers, school-age children, teenagers, and adults make the ideal outdoor explorers in Acadia.

  1. Sturbridge’s Old Sturbridge Village

Old Sturbridge Village is home to the largest open-air living history museum in New England.

Why We Advocate This Exercise

What was rural life-like from the 1790s through the 1840s in New England? With its 59 historic structures, three water-powered mills, a working farm, and costumed historians who play artisans and farmers, Old Sturbridge Village makes this point clear.

This village has almost 40,000 antiques, as well as animals of historic breeds and displays of 19th-century home cooking.

If you happen to be visiting during a month that is jam-packed with events, plan your trip to take in the enjoyable events.

Suitable Ages

One of the top things to do in New England with kids of all ages is to visit Old Sturbridge Village.

  1. Portsmouth’s Water Country

For more than 30 years, families have enjoyed fun-filled summers at Water Country in New Hampshire.

Why We Advocate This Exercise

With its coasters, slides, rivers, pools, and different kiddie attractions, this 26-acre water park provides teens and children with countless hours of entertainment.

The family-specific picnic and cabana spaces will be appreciated by parents.

You can get on their pirate ship, which has slides, places to hide, and a lounge area. You can also go up their octopus slide.

A 300-foot dark tunnel of a fear slide, a head-first slide, a high-intensity inner tube ride, and many other thrills are available.

Suitable Ages

Every age group may enjoy the slides and pools at Water Country.

  1. Castle in the Clouds—Moultonborough 

Located on a 6,300-acre estate built in the early 1900s, Castle in the Clouds offers beautiful views.

For winning the 2019 Best of the Lakes Region, the resort received a silver medal from the people’s choice award for Best Family Attraction.

Why We Advocate This Exercise

This beautiful estate has a 16-room arts and crafts mansion, a stable, a six-car garage, a greenhouse, a tennis court, a golf course, a man-made lake, a pond, nature paths with waterfalls, and many more beautiful sights your family can enjoy.

You can eat at the carriage house, which is now a small café, and bring a picnic to the meadows.

Suitable Ages

The attractions and activities of the Castle in the Clouds are suitable for kids of all ages.

  1. Worcester’s EcoTarium

In 1825, 14 men put together this science museum to make people more interested in the natural world.

Around 200 years later, the museum has attracted nearly 200,000 visitors just in 2018.

The founders should feel honored.

Why We Advocate This Exercise

The EcoTarium’s interior and outdoor exhibits will teach you about science and inspire a passion for it.

Three floors of interactive exhibitions and digital planetarium programs are located indoors.

There are nature paths and uncommon animal habitats outside.

Suitable Ages

Children can play in a variety of outdoor play spaces, including those for sand digging, building, nature art, messy materials, digging in the mud, climbing and crawling, water play, and many others, until they feel weary.

  1. Dover, New Hampshire, Children’s Museum

Previously, Portsmouth was home to New Hampshire’s Children’s Museum.

They relocated to Dover ten years ago to increase exhibit space.

The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation funds it.

Why We Advocate This Exercise

What can families do in New England?

Children are the only audience for this museum.

You can interact with every exhibit on the two floors of their building.

You won’t run out of options if you’re looking for toddler-friendly activities in New England.

Through interactive exhibits that make learning about dinosaurs, a submarine, aerodynamics, brain waves, music, art, and nature fascinating and engaging, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire promotes kids’ interest in science, art, and culture.

Check their calendar because there might be something happening today or this weekend.

Their vibrant seminars and special events are among the best family-friendly things to do in New England.

Suitable Ages

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire permits kids under the age of twelve.

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