Taking a Boston family vacation? These fun places to visit with kids of all ages provide a full day of play, learning, and family activities in Boston.
Having grown up in New England, Boston has been a destination I’ve visited many times. I just love it! The city is steeped in rich history, has delicious food and is home to numerous sports teams and events. I like to describe Boston as a smaller, nicer and cleaner version of New York City. Having family in the area, it’s a destination we’ve taken the kids to many times. With so many family friendly activities, it’s the perfect city to take kids of all ages.
Getting to Boston
By Plane: Boston’s Logan Airport is 3 miles from the city’s Downtown. Logan is served by all the major U.S. airlines and several international carriers.
By Train: Boston has three transportation centers. The biggest, South Station, at 700 Atlantic Ave., is a center of Amtrak trains, MBTA commuter trains, bus lines, and stops on the subway’s Red and Silver Lines. The two other centers are North Station, at 135 Causeway St. on the first floor of the TD Garden stadium, and Back Bay Station, at 145 Dartmouth St. Amtrak (tel. 800/USA-RAIL) has stops at all three stations, each of which is also an MBTA subway stop.
By Car: Three major highways converge in Boston. I-90, also known as the Massachusetts Turnpike or “Mass Pike,” is an east-west toll road. I-93/U.S. 1 goes north. I-93/Route 3, the Southeast Expressway, heads south and toward Cape Cod.
I-95 (Massachusetts Rte. 128) becomes a beltway that circles Boston about 11 miles from downtown, connecting the city to highways in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York to the south, and New Hampshire and Maine to the north.
Weather in Boston
Boston experiences all 4 seasons of weather. Here’s what the weather is like in each season so you can be prepared.
- Summers can be very warm and sometimes rainy. Have an umbrella on hand for any pop up thunderstorms. Nights can also be cool enough for a light sweater.
- Winters are cold and wet often bringing snow. There’s a chance of snow from December to March. Heavy coats are a must as the temperatures can dip as low as the 20s or teens.
- Fall has crisp, cool temperatures, but beautiful colors. It’s wise to dress in layers as the temperatures can range from the 60s to the 30s.
- Springtime is mild to cool. Temperatures are similar to fall’s and the weather can also be rainy.
Getting Around Boston
They don’t call Boston the walking city for nothing. Many of the family-friendly attractions are within walking distance of each other. The city is easy for little feet and stroller riders to navigate. Should they need a rest, you could always take a Trolley tour or get to your destination via the T (Boston’s public transportation system).
Fun Things to Do in Boston With Kids
If you’re visiting Boston with the family, you’re going to want to put these destinations on your to-do list. These fun places to go and things to do with kids in Boston will keep everyone in the family happy.
Family Fun at Boston Children’s Museum
The Boston Children’s Museum is three levels of hands-on learning and fun for kids of all ages, located at 308 Congress Street in Boston. Parents may find the admission pricey, but it really does provide plenty of exhibits and attractions to keep families busy all day.
Infants and toddlers 0-3 years old can role play and imagine in the soft play area (with just one exit, for mom and dad’s peace of mind.) Older kids ages 5-10 can explore the three-story climbing structure for hours, but since it is large with many different exits, parents and their kids should establish a meeting place should they get separated.
A water play area is also a popular kid destination at the Boston Children’s Museum. Even though waterproof aprons are available, parents should still bring a change of clothes for toddlers just in case.
Fun Places to Go in Boston – U.S.S. Constitution and Boston Ferry Ride
A free tour of the U.S.S. Constitution in the Charlestown Navy Yard (with the promise of a ferry boat ride afterward for good behavior) is a fun way to squeeze in a little history with young kids. The U.S.S. Constitution is the last stop on the Freedom Trail. Older kids may be able to walk the entire thing, but parents with younger children will probably find more success going directly to the ship.
Next door, a ferry ride departs every 15 minutes according to the MBTA schedule. The seven-minute one-way trip is just long enough for most kids. The ferry brings riders to Long Wharf, which has a large plaza with a covered shelter and is within walking distance of the New England Aquarium.
Boston Things to Do with Kids – New England Aquarium
Though not the biggest children’s aquarium in the U.S., the New England Aquarium is a well-loved favorite tourist attraction in Boston. A walkway spirals up and around a 200,000 gallon cylindrical tank full of fish, sting rays, and sharks. Additional educational and hands-on exhibits line the outside of the walkway. There are also penguins near the entrance, a jellyfish experience in the basement, and a touch pool for kids inside the aquarium.
Families can expect to spend 1-2 hours inside the aquarium, at which point they can visit next door for a 3-D IMAX movie featuring marine life on a giant 65′ by 85′ screen.
Boston Family Vacation – Swan Boats at the Public Gardens
No family vacation to Boston would be complete without a trip to the Boston Public Garden and a ride on the swan boats made famous in Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings. The park itself is clean, grassy, interspersed with statues and monuments, and has lots of room for picnicking or watching dogs and pigeons.
The inexpensive swan boat rides are short enough to keep even young children’s attention spans. The boat circles the giant pond in the center of the public gardens, going around the Make Way for Ducklings island in the middle. Make sure to read the book at least once with kids before going!
More Fun Things to Do in Boston
- Take in a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. Tours of the stadium are also available daily, year round.
- Rose Kennedy Greenway is next to the Aquarium. It is a public park home to markets, food trucks, water fountains and a carousel.
- Walk to Faneuil Hall Marketplace for some shopping. Then stop by Quincy Market for food. The area is also the location of Cheers pub.
- The Museum of Science is a great place for kids. They can explore a butterfly garden, Hall of Human life and see a giant T-Rex.
The next time Boston area parents or those visiting the Boston area need ideas of things to do with kids, try some of these kid-friendly area activities and attractions. There are lots of family activities in Boston that will entertain both parents and kids for days at a time.