Explore fun things to do on a family vacation in New England

New England is one of the most iconic family vacation destinations in the country with plenty of fun activities to enjoy. The American Northeast is packed full of fascinating destinations and activities alongside breathtaking natural features that draw in travelers from all over the world. You'll find beaches, amusement parks, farms, and so much more, so you'll have no problem creating the ultimate itinerary for an unforgettable vacation experience that will keep the whole family happy. Couple that with a stunning resort stay and you can enjoy something beyond the comforts of home.

New Hampshire family vacation in New England

1. Mt. Washington Auto Road

Mt. Washington Auto Road is your key to reaching the highest peak in the American Northeast. You can always drive yourself, but you don't need a car of your own as car rentals are available nearby. You can take a 2- or 3-hour-long guided tour. Once you reach the top, you and your family can take in the breathtaking panoramic view that shows off not only New Hampshire but also parts of Maine, Vermont, and even Canada. Plus, your little ones can learn all about the mountain itself thanks to the Extreme Mount Washington interactive museum located at the peak.

2. Mount Washington Cog Railway

Kids who love trains will certainly want to check out the Mount Washington Cog Railway. This train runs from late April through November and takes passengers to the summit of Mount Washington. It takes about 3 hours to complete the trip thanks to this engineering marvel that has been climbing this mountain since the 19th century. The trip up the mountain will have passengers traveling through several different climate zones, while the summit itself is home to a weather observatory. At the bottom of the mountain, you can grab a bite to eat at the Base Station Restaurant.

3. America's Stonehenge

Stonehenge is one of the most iconic sites in the entire world, and America has its own little version your family can visit in Salem. At America's Stonehenge, you'll find odd rock structures that are reminiscent of the ancient monoliths in Britain. Your family can make guesses about who built these fascinating structures. Was it early European migrants? Native Americans? Is it all a hoax built in the 20th century by the guy who owned the land? The answer isn't clear, but it is clear that America's Stonehenge is sure to delight your family along with the accompanying walking trail.

4. Great Waters

If your family loves music, you won't want to miss out on Great Waters. This fun venue hosts a wide variety of concerts in the Lakes Region from various genres like jazz, rock, folk, blues, and more. You'll even find comedic and dramatic performances held here. All you need to do is look at their calendar to see what's going to be on when you visit the area. Additionally, you'll find a pond nearby populated with ducks that kids enjoy feeding if you're looking to spend some extra time here between performances.

5. Chuckster's Family Fun Park

Chuckster's Family Fun Park is an entertainment facility where you and the whole family can find seemingly endless fun. The main attraction here is the mini-golf, but that's just the beginning. You'll also find go-karts and bumper boats along with opportunities for zip lining. You'll even find a climbing wall along with a sandbox play area, the latter of which is especially suited for younger children. The TimberTrek course here is popular as well, as visitors will be able to tackle an obstacle course situated among the treetops. This fun park also offers food and snacks, and their ice cream is especially good.

6. Story Land

Story Land is a fun amusement park specifically designed for kids. You'll find 30 attractions here, all suitable for little ones with fun themes like a winter wonderland or Cinderella's Castle. Many of the attractions here are based on nursery rhymes and fairy tales, so your kids are likely to recognize most of them. Additionally, you'll find food and shows here to keep your little ones satisfied even if they manage to go through all the rides. This park even features a free kennel if you're traveling with your pup, so you won't have to leave any member of your family behind when you visit.

7. Lost River Gorge

At Lost River Gorge, you and your family can embark on an incredible outdoor adventure through the White Mountains wonderland with wilderness and geological features that were carved over millions of years by glaciers and rushing waters. The walking trails here will take you past cliffs, waterfalls, and a river that seemingly vanishes only to be revealed to weave around large rocks. Additionally, you'll find the Boulder Caves here that you can explore if you're feeling particularly adventurous. Just make sure you have sturdy footwear that can handle the journey. Keep in mind that the caves are closed during the winter months.

Vermont activities for a family vacation in New England

8. Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks

At Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks, you and your family can enjoy seemingly endless outdoor adventure along with opportunities to learn about the fascinating sugar-making process. There's even an educational video among the displays shown in the Woodshed Theater that's funnier than you might expect. You can explore a nature trail, of course, but you'll also find an outdoor farm life museum. Visit during the right time of year, and you can participate in the annual maple tastings. This typically happens around March, so be sure to check their calendar to see what's on.

9. Vermont Teddy Bear Factory and Bear Shop

At the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory and Bear Shop, you and your little ones will not only be able to tour a fascinating factory, but they also can create their very own teddy bear. During the factory tour, your kids can learn exactly how these bears are made, but there's also a mysterious bear message throughout that they can decipher. When it comes to creating their own bears, you'll find plenty of customization options available letting them truly express themselves within their teddy bear designs. Additionally, you'll find a café on-site along with outdoor picnic tables and some open green spaces.

10. Scott Farm

Scott Farm is an incredible destination for families who are looking for wholesome fun that all ages can enjoy. There's nothing quite like a delicious apple, and they tend to be even better when you pick them yourself. At Scott Farm, you'll have 571 acres to explore with apples you can pick and enjoy as you like. There's quite a variety of options available as well with more than 130 different varieties of apples to choose from. Most visitors don't even realize that 130 different varieties of apples exist in the world. Additionally, you'll find a market here offering apple cider and other treats you and the kids can enjoy.

Family vacation in New England with kids in Connecticut

11. It Adventure Ropes Course

In New Haven, you and your family can put their physical prowess to the test with the challenging and fun It Adventure Ropes Course. This indoor facility has more than 100 thrilling challenges including rope ladders, swinging beams, and cargo nets. Quite a few different difficulty levels are available among the challenges, so even your little ones can find something fun here that they can complete. Every participant is secured with a full-body harness and a sling line, so you never have to worry about getting hurt if you fall. For especially young kids, this facility offers the Little It course specifically designed for kids under 48 inches tall.

12. Bruce Museum

The Bruce Museum in Greenwich offers valuable insight into both art and science. In the Science Collection, you and your little ones can explore an expansive array of minerals and fossils offering insight into the natural history of the world. Most of it is focused on creatures native to the area between New York City and New Haven. Additionally, you'll find a massive art collection here that includes various mediums like paintings, drawings, photos, sculptures, and multimedia compositions. Most of the collection focuses on American and European artists of the 19th and 20th centuries.

13. Bishop's Orchards

At Bishop's Orchards, your family can enjoy a fun day outside and help support local farmers. This adventure will have you and your little ones picking fresh produce directly from the farm with options like apples, pears, peaches, pumpkins, blueberries, and raspberries, though it all depends on the season. Fully prepared meals and specialty foods are available here as well, so you don't have to wait to bring the produce back to your rental to cook something to eat. Additionally, this destination is home to several animals you and your kids can meet like goats, llamas, and alpacas.

14. Blackhawk Sport Fishing

Fishing is one of the most classic family pastimes in the country, and Blackhawk Sport Fishing is especially enjoyable for kids. When you book a cruise with them, you can enjoy a relaxing and calm boat ride as talented guides take you out to populated waters. Your kids will get all the help they need to learn how to fish and reel in some great catches. These New England waters hold bluefish, cod, fluke, tuna, stripers, and more. Plus, snacks are offered onboard like sodas and burgers, though you're welcome to bring a cooler of your own as well. If you're not interested in fishing, you can still enjoy trying to spot seals and eagles in the area.

15. Mystic Aquarium

In the town of Mystic, you can visit the Mystic Aquarium. Here, you'll find fun for the whole family that's as exciting as it is educational. Thousands of marine animals call this aquarium home including beluga whales, various fish, alligators, seals, and penguins, the latter of which are a favorite of children. Several hands-on exhibits are set up throughout the aquarium including touch tanks where your kids can interact directly with stingrays, exotic reptiles, and even sharks. Several shows are put on here as well with the most popular showcasing the fascinating and adorable sea lions.

Massachusetts family attractions in New England

16. EcoTarium

The EcoTarium in Worcester is one of the top museums of science and nature in all of New England. When you and your family visit, you'll find a wide variety of fascinating attractions including a digital planetarium and the National Geographic Theater. This museum is also home to a hurricane simulator and activities specifically designed for young children such as digging, nature art, climbing, and music in the Nature Explore Outdoor Exhibit. On the museum's middle level, you can explore the science behind cities complete with interactive components and live animals.

17. Seekonk Grand Prix

At Seekonk Grand Prix, the whole family can enjoy a thrilling race with fast straightaways and tight turns. This go-kart track is notably family-friendly in that it comes complete with a Rookie Track, a Kiddy Track, and a Beginner Track. In addition to the racing, you'll also find an arcade here with 60 games in addition to bumper cars and bumper boats. Don't forget to check out the local mini-golf as well if you want to round out your visit with yet another activity perfect for kids and adults alike to enjoy.

18. Crab Apple Whitewater

If your family is looking for something a bit more exciting, you may want to check out Crab Apple Whitewater. Here, you'll find whitewater rafting adventures with options suitable for kids as young as 8 years of age. Quite a few different rapids are available. Younger kids and beginners may want to stick to Class 1 or Class 2 rapids, though older teenagers may want to take on the more aggressive Class 3 and Class 4 rapids. Kids as young as 5 are welcome to ride in guided rafts or inflatable kayaks on the mildest waters.

19. Southwick's Zoo

At Southwick's Zoo, your family can explore 115 different species of animals including exotic creatures from around the world. It's one of the largest zoos in all of New England and features animals like two-toed sloths, prairie dogs, and cheetahs. Chimpanzees and camels are also present here along with intimidating alligators and big cats. Reptile lovers will certainly love the dragons and snakes here, and you can also see an incredible white rhino. The aviary is quite populated as well with various parakeets. Kids can especially enjoy the petting zoo area where they can get up close and personal with friendly animals, most of which are typically found on farms.

20. Old Sturbridge Village

When you and your family visit Old Sturbridge Village, you'll feel as if you've been transported back in time to the early 19th century. This interactive village was designed with historical authenticity in mind, so it offers valuable insight into what life was like back then. Even the staff here are dressed in period-appropriate clothing. Kids can have fun learning the basics of 19th-century farming while being able to interact with adorable baby farm animals. Additionally, you can see horseshoes being made at the local blacksmith and get a peek inside old schools and trade shops.

Top kid-friendly resorts in New England

21. Ocean Edge Resort

The Ocean Edge Resort in Massachusetts offers a relaxing getaway that keeps you rested and rejuvenated between your New England adventures while offering a few fun things to do in its own right. You'll find a golf course here along with several tennis courts, but that's just the beginning. This resort also offers beauty services, and the villa rentals here can boast private beach access making it easier than ever to enjoy some fun in the sun whenever you like. You can enjoy a complimentary beach shuttle no matter where you're staying in the resort complex.

22. Topnotch Resort

Up in Vermont, you can book your stay at Topnotch Resort, which is a mountainside retreat in Stowe. You'll have the option to book one of the rooms at the ski lodge area, or you can opt for one of the 23 rental homes available in the resort area. The ski slopes are easily accessible here, of course, but you'll also find 6 outdoor tennis courts available during the summer. Horseback riding is also available right from the resort, and you can even bring your dog along for the trip because the resort is pet-friendly.

23. Wentworth by the Sea

At Wentworth by the Sea, you can immerse yourself in an atmosphere of old-world luxury. The resort is a 19th-century estate right on the coast of the Atlantic with an iconic red roof and 3 towers offering stunning views of granite outcroppings and the water. The inside of this resort features traditional details and decor along with the intricate woodwork and brass accents that defined luxury accommodations of the time. When you book your stay here, you'll also be able to enjoy a lounge and an on-site restaurant offering delicious treats like Prince Edward Island mussels and lobster rolls.