The 9 Best New England Getaways for Families in 2020

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The Rundown

Best Overall: Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

"During your stay, you can enjoy complimentary amenities like two heated outdoor pools, tennis courts, and a seasonal children’s program."

Best Runner-Up: Mystic, Connecticut

"Make your base at The Whaler’s Inn, a collection of five historic buildings on the Mystic River waterfront."

Best for Outdoor Adventures: Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

"In addition to access to New Hampshire’s largest ski area, the resort boasts nine high-octane zip lines, tennis courts, and plenty of trails."

Best Urban: Boston, Massachusetts

"Take your toddlers to the Boston Children’s Museum, or teach your school-age kids about the American Revolution on the Freedom Trail."

Best for Culture: Portland, Maine

"Head to Portland Museum of Art for interactive games and activities at kids’ exhibit The Workshop, or spend the day role-playing at the Children’s Museum."

Best Historic: Plymouth, Massachusetts

"Discover the story of the Pilgrims with a visit to Plymouth Rock, or experience what life might have been like for Native Americans."

Best Beaches: Cape Cod, Massachusetts

"Embark on a whale-watching expedition to see the humpbacks of Stellwagen Bank, or meet real pirates at Whydah Pirate Museum."

Best for Winter Fun: Smugglers' Notch, Vermont

"In addition to world-class skiing and snowboarding, the resort offers winter activities like snowshoeing and tubing."

Best Festive: Jackson, New Hampshire

"Think roaring fireplaces, horse-drawn sleigh rides, festive drink tastings, and storytelling events."

01 of 09

Best Overall: Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

Winnetu Oceanside Resort

  Winnetu Oceanside Resort

Blessed with beautiful beaches and meandering bike trails, Martha’s Vineyard is the ultimate destination for parents who want to recreate the idyllic beach vacations of their own childhood.

Enroll your little ones in nature programs at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, or take them to meet the alpacas at Island Alpaca Company. Join in the Fourth of July Parade, or fight for first place at the Annual Edgartown Sand Sculpture Contest. However you choose to spend your time, Winnetu Oceanside Resort has been introducing families to laid-back, island living for more than 100 years. 

Summer traditions range from water taxi cruises to clambakes held on the resort’s sprawling lawns. And, during your stay, you can enjoy complimentary amenities like two heated outdoor pools, tennis courts, and a seasonal children’s program with supervised beach adventures and field trips.

When it's time to dine, Mom and Dad can enjoy the exquisite cuisine and ocean views of The Dunes restaurant, while the children are kept entertained in the Kids Corner. Choose a suite with up to four bedrooms, or a private cottage with full kitchen facilities. 

02 of 09

Best Runner-Up: Mystic, Connecticut

The Whaler’s Inn

The Whaler’s Inn

If you’re traveling from New York City, shave hours off your journey by opting for a trip to Mystic, Connecticut. Located on the shores of Block Island Sound, this charming village was once an important port.

Families can explore its nautical history at Mystic Seaport, the largest maritime museum in the country. Here, kids learn to tie knots, walk the decks of the world’s last wooden whaling ship, and dress in vintage sailors’ costumes. With its beluga whales and African penguins, nearby Mystic Aquarium is another must-visit. 

Make your base at The Whaler’s Inn, a collection of five historic buildings on the Mystic River waterfront. The hotel offers complimentary evening turndowns and discounted tickets to area attractions, but is best loved by children for the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies always available in the lobby.

Junior Suites offer added privacy for families with a separate children’s sleeping area, complete with cozy bunk beds and their own Roku TV. Best of all, you’re a five-minute stroll from legendary, local eatery Mystic Pizza. 

03 of 09

Best for Outdoor Adventures: Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

Omni Mt. Washington hotel New Hampshire

Omni Hotels & Resorts

Surrounded by the vast wilderness of New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest, Bretton Woods is the ideal destination for adventurous families. Stay at Omni Mount Washington Resort (a member of Historic Hotels of America and one of the most romantic resorts in the U.S.) for an immersive experience.

In addition to being accessible to New Hampshire’s largest ski area, the resort boasts nine, high-octane zip lines, tennis courts, trails for hiking and mountain biking, and riding stables. The indoor pool is open year-round, while kids' programs range from daily arts and crafts to games and storytelling. 

If you want some grown-up time on the Donald Ross-designed golf course or in the full-service spa, ask about the resort’s babysitting program. The spa also offers packages for children, too, so you can be pampered together.

At night, swap tales of the day’s adventures over dinner in the family-friendly Main Dining Room. You can expect classic New England cuisine and live music, along with a dedicated kids' menu. The hotel offers several family rooms and suites, including the three-bedroom Luxury Family Suite.

04 of 09

Best Urban: Boston, Massachusetts

Marriott Vacation Club Pulse

Marriott Vacation Club Pulse

For families who prefer the excitement and energy of urban life, where better for your next vacation than New England’s biggest city?

Take your toddlers to the Boston Children’s Museum, teach your school-age kids about the American Revolution with a stroll along the Freedom Trail, or treat your teens to a Celtics game at TD Garden. Marriott Vacation Club Pulse at Custom House is situated at the heart of the action, within easy walking distance of Faneuil Hall and the New England Aquarium. 

Start your day with a visit to the 26th-floor Observation Deck, with its beautiful Boston Harbor views. The game room is stocked with books and a pool table for rainy days, while the on-site theater is made for family movie nights. 

All-suite accommodations feel like a home away from home in the city. The separate living room has a large TV, a dining table, and a full-size sofa bed, while the kitchenette provides everything you need to fix breakfast.

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05 of 09

Best for Culture: Portland, Maine

Hilton Garden Inn Portland Downtown Waterfront

Hilton Garden Inn Portland Downtown Waterfront

If your kids are budding foodies and art lovers, Portland is a worthy cultural destination on the shores of Casco Bay. Its cobbled streets are lined with maritime warehouses, now converted into theatres, museums, and gourmet restaurants.

Many of Portland’s best attractions are located in the historic Old Port district, and that’s also where you’ll find Hilton Garden Inn Portland Downtown Waterfront. This family-friendly hotel stands out for its indoor pool, and for its comfortable rooms and suites that accommodate kids with two Queen beds. Some spaces also have spacious living and dining areas, and all offer free Wi-Fi.

Exploring Portland’s culinary scene is part of the experience, but on days when you don’t feel like venturing off-property, Port65 Kitchen & Bar serves tasty breakfasts and dinners. 

But if you feel like exploring the city, head to the Portland Museum of Art for interactive games and activities at kids’ exhibit The Workshop, or spend the day role-playing at the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine. The Public Market House, with its stalls selling local produce and artisan global eats, is a popular pick for lunch. 

06 of 09

Best Historic: Plymouth, Massachusetts

Best Western Plus Cold Spring

Best Western Plus Cold Spring

In a region famous for its history, Plymouth stands out as the place where the Pilgrims came ashore after their arduous voyage on the Mayflower. Discover the story of these long-ago settlers with a visit to Plymouth Rock, or experience what life might have been like for the Pilgrims and the native Wampanoag people at Plimoth Plantation historic village. You can even step aboard a life-size replica of the Mayflower. Ghost tours and pirate cruises round out Plymouth’s family-friendly attractions.

Best Western Plus Cold Spring is located one block from the town’s historic waterfront, amid five acres of landscaped grounds that provide plenty of space for the kids to burn off excess energy.

Rates include a complimentary full breakfast, with make-your-own waffles being a particular highlight. Enjoy hours of family fun in the heated, seasonal outdoor pool, or enjoy a moment of peace during a fitness center workout. All rooms and suites have free high-speed Wi-Fi, cable TV, a mini-fridge, and a microwave. Cribs are available upon request. 

07 of 09

Best Beaches: Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Green Harbor Resort

Green Harbor Resort

With idyllic stretches of sand made for swimming and sunbathing in summer, Cape Cod is synonymous with family beach vacations.

Green Harbor Resort offers a tranquil base where you can explore all that Cape Cod has to offer. Located in West Yarmouth, its lush lawns run down to a private beach, where you can safely swim in the warm waters of Lewis Bay.

It’s impossible to be bored at this family-oriented resort. Spend hours splashing about in the oceanfront swimming pool, or challenge each other on the miniature golf course. Lawn games, rental canoes, and bikes increase the potential for summer fun, while the Kids Club offers supervised sandcastle contests, fishing derbies, and more for children ages five to 12.

If you're up for leaving the resort, embark on a whale-watching expedition to see the humpbacks of Stellwagen Bank, meet real pirates at Whydah Pirate Museum, or fuel up on local seafood at beachfront clam shacks.

Accommodation consists of 50 suites and cottages. Some have full kitchens, others have oceanfront decks and outdoor grills. The largest sleeps 12 people in four, separate bedrooms. 

08 of 09

Best for Winter Fun: Smugglers' Notch, Vermont

Smugglers' Notch Resort

Smugglers' Notch Resort

Smugglers' Notch Resort is considered one of the best ski resorts in America, renowned for its family ski packages and lessons that cater to everyone from beginners to Olympians.

In addition to world-class skiing and snowboarding, the resort offers a full range of winter activities including snowshoe adventures, snowmobile tours, and tube sliding. Make family memories with hot chocolate and bonfire evenings, or at the weekly Winter Carnival with live music, food, and games. 

When you don’t feel like venturing outside, let the kids run wild at the inflatable indoor FunZone, or treat your slope-weary muscles to a soak in the indoor hot tubs. There’s even a spa for après-ski massages.

The resort’s dining options are seemingly endless, with top family choices including the Village Pizzeria and Morse Mountain Grille (with its special kids’ menu). Condo homes are grouped into five distinct communities and come with full kitchens, spacious living areas, and cable TV. The largest space boasts no fewer than five bedrooms. 

Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09

Best Festive: Jackson, New Hampshire

Christmas Farm Inn & Spa

Christmas Farm Inn & Spa

Nestled amid New Hampshire’s White Mountains, Jackson is a whimsical destination for parents wishing to give their kids a truly magical Christmas.

Covered by deep snows in winter, the town is famous for its giant Christmas tree and festive lights. Nowhere is the holiday spirit more enthusiastically embraced than at Christmas Farm Inn & Spa. Think roaring fireplaces, horse-drawn sleigh rides, festive drink tastings, and storytelling events, and you’ll have an idea of what awaits at this rustic B&B. 

Sign up for the Journey to the North Pole package to experience an unforgettable train ride through the mountains to visit Santa and his elves. Your little ones can even attend readings with Mrs. Claus. At the same time, the whole family can enjoy a heated indoor pool and nightly family movies at the B&B.

The inn offers fantastic amenities for adults, too, including a hot tub and full-service Aveda spa. In the evening, head to the restaurant for gourmet New England cuisine and a special kids’ menu, then retire to your multi-bedroom Family Barn Studio for some much-needed rest. 

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