New England Family Vacation Ideas

Plan a Fun Family Escape in New England

Whether your children are tots or teens, a New England family vacation will be an experience you'll all remember. There's so much to do within this historic and diverse region. You can get your thrills at an amusement park or chill out by the shore, tour a living history museum or catch your own lobsters, camp beside a lake or stay at an upscale family resort, play in the snow or get lost in a corn maze. Your kids may even learn something... but it's probably a good idea if you don't let on.

Find More Family Fun State-by-State: CT | ME | MA | NH | NY | RI | VT

  • 01 of 19
    Yawgoo Valley Skiing in Rhode Island
    ••• Yawgoo Valley is Rhode Island's cheapest--and only--ski area. Media photo courtesy of Yawgoo Valley Ski Area

    A family ski vacation in New England can be costly? So what are budget-conscious parents with kids who all love to snowboard to do? I've done the homework for you and found the cheapest places to ski in all six New England states.

  • 02 of 19
    Acadia National Park Otter Cliffs
    ••• © 2011 Kim Knox Beckius

    National parks are American treasures, and their rich opportunities for learning and outdoor adventure make them ideal family vacation destinations. Here's your guide to the 10 most-visited national parks in New England. Allow your children to weigh in on which park you should visit this year.

  • 03 of 19
    Canopy Tour
    ••• © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    Looking for an exhilarating opportunity to bond with your teens? The Bretton Woods Canopy Tour at the Omni Mount Washington Resort is a breathtaking adventure available year-round. Parents will appreciate the safety of the course's redundant dual-cable construction, and well-trained Canopy Tour guides can even help a reluctant middle-aged mom feel proud of tackling this sky high course. To zip line, you must be 12 years old and weigh between 90 and 250 pounds.

  • 04 of 19

    The Family That Flies Together...

    Bond with Your Family at SkyVenture in New Hampshire
    ••• Photo courtesy of SkyVenture.

    If you've ever dreamed of floating and tumbling in midair but don't relish the sensation of falling or the risk inherent in jumping from a plane, then head to SkyVenture, a state-of-the-art vertical wind tunnel in Nashua, New Hampshire. This indoor skydiving simulator allows visitors to experience body flight without a parachute: It's even safe for kids ages 3 and up. My six-year-old daughter, pictured in flight at left, absolutely loved our SkyVenture experience. I'll take you inside the vertical wind tunnel in this video.

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  • 05 of 19
    Canoeing at Migis Lodge Maine
    ••• © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius
    At Maine's Migis Lodge, families don't have to sacrifice luxury to enjoy the simplicity of an old-fashioned family getaway. Book one of the resort's lakeside cabins, then relax and enjoy all of the recreational possibilities at this 125-acre property on Sebago Lake, from tennis and waterskiing to Bingo and turtle chasing.
  • 06 of 19
    Teddy Bear Pancakes at Wildflower Inn
    ••• Kids of all ages love the teddy bear pancakes at The Wildflower Inn. © 2004 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Wildflower Inn, located in Lyndonville in the Northeast Kingdom region of Vermont, is charming, cozy and family-friendly in every way. If my two-year-old could have designed a B&B, she would have conjured up just such a place, where sheep "baa" hello, cows "moo" goodnight, a toy- and book-filled playroom boasts spectacular mountain views and Mommy and Daddy feel so relaxed that they don't fret when you only eat the chocolate chips on your teddy bear pancakes.

  • 07 of 19
    Reindeer Picture - Santa's Reindeer at Santa's Village in New Hampshire
    ••• Even reindeer deserve a summer vacation. At Santa's Village, reindeer like the one in this picture rest up before their big night of flying around the globe. (c) 2006 Kim Knox Beckius

    If you think it's a shame that Christmas only comes once a year, plan a family trip to Santa's Village. This enchanting amusement park, located high in the White Mountains in Jefferson, New Hampshire, puts families in the holiday spirit from Memorial Day weekend through early fall, and it reopens the Friday after Thanksgiving for special weekends of magical (if chilly!) fun leading up to Christmas Eve.

  • 08 of 19
    Llama trekking family adventure
    ••• Hike with llamas on a family vacation in Massachusetts. © 2001 Kim Knox Beckius

    Most children share Dr. Dolittle's dream of talking to the animals, and while you may not be able to teach them to converse with critters, you can treat them to the next best thing... a walk with the animals. Not every animal makes an ideal hiking buddy... but one New England farm is home to four-legged trekking companions who are bright, agile, low-key and as eager to hit the trail as you are. Better yet, they'll carry all of your stuff.

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  • 09 of 19
    Six Flags New England
    ••• Fearless? You'll love the roller coasters at Six Flags New England Amusement Park in Agawam, Massachusetts. © 2009 Kim Knox Beckius

    Six Flags New England is the region's largest theme park and a great choice for family fun from spring through fall. Located in Agawam, Massachusetts, Six Flags New England delivers all of the thrill rides, tamer rides, children's rides and amusements and shows and events that visitors to the theme park company's 18 North American locations have flocked to year after year.

  • 10 of 19
    Sticky Marshmallow Face - Beach Bonfire
    ••• At our beach bonfire, my toddler got her first taste of roasted marshmallow. © 2004 Kim Knox Beckius

    Ocean Edge Resort on Cape Cod is one of New England's largest resorts, a 400-acre property with a 700-foot private beach on Cape Cod Bay that provides luxury, country club-style family getaways. The resort is both immense and diverse, providing an amazing array of accommodations options and activities to suit all ages and interests. I'd take my family back to Ocean Edge in a heartbeat: Our stay was one of our most memorable family trips, and as you might imagine, we travel a ton.

  • 11 of 19
    Huddle with Tom Brady at the Hall at Patriot Place - Photo
    ••• Once you've suited up, jump right in the huddle with your Patriots team members and listen to instructions from Quarterback Tom Brady, who's surely destined for Hall of Fame honors. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    Where can you huddle with Tom Brady, go under the hood to review a close call frame by frame, try on a Super Bowl ring, test your football IQ, attempt a 45-yard field goal in the snow and see three Vince Lombardi trophies? The Hall at Patriot Place: the New England Patriots Hall of Fame at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. This family-friendly, interactive, state-of-the-art attraction celebrates America's most popular professional sport.

  • 12 of 19
    Hampton Beach Classic Family Beach Vacation
    ••• Many families choose Hampton Beach because the waves are tame enough so as not to intimidate young children, yet they roll in with enough "oomph" to keep teens and adults happy. © 2002 Kim Knox Beckius

    "The family that plays together stays together," and Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, is the perfect place for families to play in the sun and to create enduring summer vacation memories they'll share for a lifetime.

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  • 13 of 19
    Water Buffalo Picture - Action Wildlife Water Buffalo
    ••• The taxidermy water buffalo we saw inside the museum gave us a sense of this hulking creature's size. Viewing this live water buffalo on the grounds of Action Wildlife gave us a sense of this big bovine's sloppy eating habits!. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius
    Want to share a memorable and educational animal adventure with your kids? Action Wildlife, a 116-acre zoo and museum in Northwest Connecticut, is an affordable family day trip destination.
  • 14 of 19
    Captain Jack Lobster Boat Adventure Photo Tour Rockland Maine - A Crab in a Lobster Trap
    ••• What's this? Lobster traps are intricate contraptions, but other sea creatures do manage to find their way in. Crabs like this one usually find a way out on their own. There's no market for Maine crabs, so Hale tosses them back or eats them for dinner. © 2006 Kim Knox Beckius

    Ever wondered what a lobsterman's day is like? Want to learn all about Maine's delicious and mysterious crustaceans? Then book your family's spot aboard the Captain Jack Lobster Boat Adventure out of Rockland, Maine.

  • 15 of 19

    Cruise New England and Canada on Carnival

    Carnival Towel Animal
    ••• Each night aboard Carnival Glory, there were two new towel animals to delight my little girl. When we returned home, she immediately made mommy and baby towel ducks for a baby shower!. © 2012 Kim Knox Beckius
    My nine-year-old daughter was charmed by the towel animals aboard our Carnival cruise from Boston to Atlantic Canada, and we were amazed at how many "Baby's Firsts" she accumulated during our five-night Carnival Glory voyage. I'll help you do the math and see that a New England cruise can be as affordable as it is memorable.
  • 16 of 19

    Memorable New England Travel Experiences for Preschoolers

    Children's Program at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort North Conway New Hampshire
    ••• My daughter had a terrific first children's program experience at the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort in North Conway, New Hampshire. The program is available on summer evenings for kids ages 4 to 12. © 2006 Kim Knox Beckius

    Preschoolers approach the world with such wonder and energy that they allow us to see even places we know well with a fresh set of eyes. If you're planning a New England vacation with preschool-aged children or grandchildren, these accounts of some of my baby's most memorable early travel experiences will help you discover wonderful destinations and attractions that enchant little travelers.

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  • 17 of 19

    The Family That Camps Together

    Point Sebago Family Resort
    ••• The Pirates of Sebago Family Weekend takes place each June and is one of Point Sebago Resort's most popular theme weekends. © 2000 Kim Knox Beckius

    When you send the kids off to summer camp, after that initial burst of elation, don't you feel, well... just a bit... jealous?! You're never too old to long for days filled with ping pong tournaments, sailing lessons, rainy day Bingo games, hayrides, lip synching and bonfires. At Point Sebago Resort, a 775-acre family playground in Casco, Maine, adults can not only participate in summer camp activities usually relegated to the younger set, they can also enjoy adult-oriented recreational facilities including an 18-hole golf course, a driving range, a marina, tennis courts and a nightclub.

  • 18 of 19

    A Vacation With and From the Kids

    Red Jacket Beach Resort ocean view room
    ••• At Cape Cod's Red Jacket Beach Resort, the ocean is literally steps away from your room. © 2002 Kim Knox Beckius

    What will you do while the kids are involved with free, supervised activities all day? That may be the toughest question you'll have to answer once you make the easy decision to choose the Red Jacket Beach Resort for your Cape Cod family vacation.

  • 19 of 19
    Family Fun at a Corn Maze
    ••• © 2001 Kim Knox Beckius

    When you visit New England in the fall, you'll be surrounded by gorgeous autumn colors. You'll also be surrounded by... fellow leaf peepers! You can "lose yourself" for a little bit, though, even amid the throngs of fall foliage groupies--at a corn maze! In fact, you may just find yourselves begging strangers to give you clues as to how to find your way back out!