Located in Massachusetts, Boston is a big metropolitan city with quite a history. After all, this is the site of the famous Boston Tea Party.
But the American Revolutionary War isn’t the only famous thing about this city. Boston is also the site of the first phone call, subway system, public beach, and more. In short, the city has a lot of firsts. Their basketball team also comes first even when they’re not. And that’s on holding the most championship titles in the NBA.
All in all, you need to visit Boston at least once. You deserve to see the city’s epic art, and cool culture and learn more about its deep history. Of course, it’s a big city, so deciding on places to visit can feel overwhelming. But that’s where we come in. Our Boston family travel guide will help you plan the perfect vacation in the Athens of America.
- 4 Reasons Why Boston is the Perfect Family Vacation Destination
- When’s the Best Time to Visit Boston With Kids?
- What’s the Weather in Boston Across the Year?
- What’s the Perfect Length of Time to Spend in Boston?
- The Best Things to do with Kids in Boston
- The Best Family Hotels & Resorts in Boston
- The Best Places to Eat with Kids in Boston
- The Best Day Trips from Boston That the Whole Family Will Love
- How to Get Around Boston During Your Vacation
- The Best Ways to Get to Boston for Your Vacation
- Top Tips for Staying Safe in Boston When Visiting with Kids
4 Reasons Why Boston is the Perfect Family Vacation Destination
Still, wondering if Boston’s the right place for a holiday? Here are some reasons why Boston is the perfect family vacation destination.
Boston played a significant role during the American Revolutionary War. It was the site of the bold actions which fueled the fire for freedom. That’s why it’s filled with monuments and historic places to signify the important events that happened within the city. Here, you can teach the kids about the struggle for freedom and the people behind the revolution.
Boston might not be famous for its beaches, but it has a fantastic coastline. When the days get hot, it’s a great time to head to the beach. You can go to Carson Beach in South Boston or Constitution Beach in East Boston. Other beaches include Wollaston Beach and beaches in the Greater Boston area.
Boston has fifty-eight museums. You can find a museum in almost any field. Plus, most of them have kid-friendly areas. You can’t miss the Boston Children’s Museum, Harvard Museum of Natural History, Museum of science, and other options.
The Green Spaces
Boston is home to the first public park and botanic gardens, i.e., Boston Commons and Public Garden. Of course, there are other parks too. These include The Esplanade, Rose Kennedy Fitzgerald Greenway, Mount Auburn Cemetary, and Arnold Arboretum.
When’s the Best Time to Visit Boston With Kids?
If you have kids, summer vacations would be a good time to visit. This is when you’ll be able to see the most attractions. Plus, there’s plenty of sunshine, so you can explore the area without worry. However, spring and fall are the better choices if the summer heat is unbearable.
What’s the Weather in Boston Across the Year?
Boston experiences all four seasons, some more prominently than others. Things get very hot in summer (June to August) when the temperature stays between the seventies and nineties. There are nine to ten hours of sunshine on average.
Fall starts in September when the temperatures are still around the seventies. However, things start cooling down quickly, and the temperature drops to the fifties by the end of the season in October.
Winters are harsh, and there’s plenty of snow. Temperatures start in the lower forties and dip to the thirties by the end of the season. February gets the most snow. Spring is mild but may start out a bit cool. The temperatures stay between the forties and sixties.
What’s the Perfect Length of Time to Spend in Boston?
Four days is enough to explore the city, but you’ll still have plenty of things to do if you stay longer. Boston isn’t that big, and many places are within walking distance, so it’s easy to see everything.
The Best Things to do with Kids in Boston
Boston has a lot to offer, but you need to choose venues and activities that the entire family can enjoy. I’ve compiled a list of experiences you can’t miss while visiting Boston. These are:
Boston Children’s Museum is a special experience for kids to learn about science, culture, art, and more. This museum is in the Boston Harbor area and has three levels. The first floor has the New Balance Climb, which the kids can use to climb to the top (we mean the three full stories) and back down.
Once the kids are done with that, take them to the Science Playground, where they’ll learn about bubbles and how things work. Other exhibitions on this floor include Kid Power and Kid Stage.
The second floor has exhibits like Johnny’s Workbench, Arthur and Friends, and The Common. The third floor has the Construction Zone, Boston Black, and Explore-a-Saurus, where they’ll learn about construction, Boston city, and dinosaurs.
Boston Common may have been the first public park, but Boston Public Garden is the one with all the fancy features. Operating since 1837, the Boston Public Garden has been serving tourists for decades.
You’ll start the visit by getting on the iconic Swan Boats on the lagoon. Subsequently, you can go to the seating near the lagoon to watch the ducks play around. Alternatively, you can take a walk to see the Make Way for Ducklings statue.
You can also view the Goody Memorial, the George Washington statue, and the fountains. Depending on the time, you might meet a couple of street performers to entertain you. If you’re not too tired after, you can pay a visit to the Boston Common.
New England Aquarium is in the Downtown Boston area, near Long Wharf. The aquarium is home to numerous marine animals and has three floors. Start at the Marine Mammals to see Atlantic Harbor Seals in their outdoor tank.
Once inside, you’ll see more seals like fur seals and Californian sea lions in the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center. You can also watch the penguins as you walk along the Giant Ocean Tank.
Other exhibits include Science of Sharks, Amazon Rainforest, Indo-Pacific Coral Reef, and more. Kids can pet sea animals in the Edge of the Sea Touch Tank and Shark and Ray Touch Tank. Admission is free for kids under three. You can also catch a movie at the Simmons Theater or go whale watching.
Boston Duck Tours feature amphibious vehicles. On this vehicle, you have a water (Charles River) and land tour. The duck tours are an easy way to explore the city. You’ll see the Quincy Market, Post Office Square, Long Wharf, The Boston Public Library, Trinity Church, Longfellow Bridge, and more.
Your bus will have a driver and a Conductor. These Conductors will give you a history lesson about everything you’ll see, and they’ll put a witty spin on all the info. Departure points include the Prudential Center, Museum of Science, and New England Aquarium. You can reserve tickets in advance. The tour lasts an hour and twenty minutes.
The Boston Red Sox consider Fenway Park their home ground. The place has been around since 1912 and is worth a visit, even if you’re not an avid baseball fan.
You can book a tour of the park. The experienced tour guides will tell you about the stadium and everything it has seen. Your exploration starts from the older sections of the stadium and ends at Fenway Farms. After this tour, you can watch a game or grab a bite to eat. You can choose from different tour packages to see what suits you.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum isn’t a kid’s location, but you can have fun if you get them interested in the art pieces. The museum is a Venetian palace full of art pieces. The fun part is that these pieces aren’t labeled. Isabella wanted you to look at the paintings and figure out the meanings yourself.
We recommend talking to your kids beforehand to get them more interested. The event this museum is most famous for is The Theft. March 18, 1998, was the night of the greatest heist in Art History. A bunch of thieves dressed as law enforcement entered the museum and stole 13 pieces. The paintings are still missing. You can still see all thirteen empty frames in the museum.
The Freedom Trail is the best way to introduce the kids to the Revolutionary War and the fight for freedom. The trail includes sixteen historical sites. You don’t need to enter every one of them.
The trail starts with Boston Common, and afterward, you see the Massachusetts State House. The building was constructed in 1798 and still functions as the seat for the Massachusetts government. Other locations include Park Street Church, Granary Burying Ground, King’s Chapel & King’s Chapel Burying Ground, Boston Latin School, and more.
Visit Old South Meeting House and enter the place where the Boston Tea Party meetings were held. The Old State House is the oldest building in the city. You’ll also see the Boston Massacre Site, Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House, USS Constitution, and Bunker Hill Monument.
Transport yourself back to that fateful night in the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum in the South Boston area. See how everything happened as actual actors reenact the night and the debate leading up to it. The roleplay allows crowd participation so you can take on speaking roles.
Once the deed has been decided, you’ll get a feather to disguise yourself as a mohawk. After the disguise is complete, you’ll enter the ships (replicas) and throw out the “tea.” Once the roleplay is done, you can head down to the museum.
In the museum, you’ll see a 3D holographic reenactment of the debate discussing the consequences of this extraordinary party. Discover the only original tea box that survived the Boston Party. Enter the MinuteMan Theater to see a documentary on the beginning of the American Revolution heralded by Paul Revere’s “Midnight Ride”. Finish the experience by having tea at Abigail’s Tea Room & Terrace.
The Museum of Natural History is a fun place for adults and children. You can start with the Earth & Planetary Sciences exhibition and see the collection of rare gemstones, including a sixteen-hundred-pound amethyst geode.
You’ll also see Glass Flowers, Evolution, Arthropods, and Sea Creatures in Glass. The Asia, Africa, South America, and New England Forests exhibitions feature animals from these regions.
The kids will love the Cenozoic Mammals, Vertebrate Paleontology, and the Great Mammal Hall. These exhibitions feature fossils and models of multiple animals. The Harvard Museum of Natural History is free for kids under three.
We’ll end the list with the Franklin Park Zoo. This seventy-five-acre zoo has more than a thousand animals from over two hundred species. Start your visit with Nature’s Neighbourhoods Children’s Zoo. The kids can climb to the top of the Eagle’s Nest to look at the zoo.
Afterward, you can visit Franklin Farm, Tropical Forest, Butterfly Hollow, Giraffe Savannah, and more. The kids will love the lions and tigers in the Kalahari Kingdom and Tiger Tales Exhibit.
You can book the Behind-the-Scenes Tours to see the Red Pandas up close. The tour is only available for kids aged six and up. The zoo also features a kid’s playground and a corner where you can rent strollers.
The Best Family Hotels & Resorts in Boston
You can’t have the perfect Boston vacation without finding the best hotel. You need something your kids will love but close to all the major attractions. Here are a few suggestions:
Located in Back Bay, Westin is a Mariott hotel on Westin Copley Place. Hotel guests have easy access to Fenway Park, Boston Commons and Public Gardens, and more. They also gain complimentary access to WestinWORKOUT® Fitness Studio.
The hotel suites have views of the city, River Charles, Boston Harbor, and Cambridge. You can request cribs or rollaway beds for the kids. The hotel also offers five on-site dining options. They include Bar 10, Fogo de Chao, Ingredients, and Huntington Private Dining Room. You can also grab some Starbucks here.
The hotel offers family packages. Your kids can participate in fun activities through Westin Family Kids Clubs. They also offer turn-down and dry cleaning services.
Four Seasons Hotel provides a luxury experience within the comfort of Back Bay. The hotel is near major attractions like the Freedom Trail.
This establishment offers various services like an on-site fitness center, heated indoor pool, whirlpool spa, massage service, laundry, and ironing service. Other hotel amenities include refreshments, evening receptions, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Since the hotel is child-friendly, there are plenty of child-centric services. These include babysitting services, children’s movies, and welcome amenities (candies).
You can grab a bite at The Sanctuary, Aujourd’hui Restaurant & Lounge, and Sottovento Coffee Bar. You can also request in-room or poolside dining. The coffee bar provides hot chocolate for kids.
Hotel Marlowe is in Cambridge, so you’re a bit isolated from all the crowds but still have easy access to the attractions. Downtown Boston is just a few minutes away, and so is Charles River. The hotel offers bike rentals, yoga mats, and an on-site fitness center.
Take advantage of the hosted wine receptions and complimentary lobby coffee service. You can also use the concierge service. The hotel offers other amenities like food and beverage credit, upgraded Wi-Fi, nightly movies, a camera, Little Book Club Library books, luggage storage, and seasonal enhancements for a fee.
The family-friendly hotel offers special suites for families. You can book the ‘Game Night’ package for Monopoly (Cambridge edition), popcorn, candy, free car parking, and a special guest room.
Omni Parker House has been providing luxury services to its guests since 1855. The hotel is in the Downtown area, close to the Freedom Trail, the New England Aquarium, the Museum of Fine Arts, and more.
The hotel has over five hundred guest rooms. Room amenities include dry cleaning service, housekeeping, Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and on-demand movies. Hotel amenities include a fitness center, safe deposit boxes, concierge services, currency exchange, translation services, and valet parking.
The kids can take advantage of the Omni Kids Crew program. You also can request in-room fitness kits. These kits include mats, weights, and bands.
Don’t feel like eating out? Dine in at Parker’s Restaurant. On-site bars include Parker’s Bar and The Last Hurrah. You can grab coffee at School Street Coffeehouse.
The Lenox Hotel is in Back Bay, just a few minutes away from The Freedom Trail, Charles Street, and more. The hotel features more than two hundred guest rooms. These rooms are spacious, and room amenities include complimentary water, morning coffee, mini–fridges, and laundry service.
The hotel has an on-site fitness center. You can request a spa or massage therapy if you want to relax. The hotel also features a business center. Upon arrival, Lenoxl greets the kids with a welcome gift, usually coloring books or stuffed animals. Plus, you can request crayons or board games.
Guests can dine at Solas or City Table. There’s also an on-site bar, City Bar. If you don’t feel like going down to eat, you can request room service.
What’s the Average Cost of a Hotel in Boston?
The average hotel cost in Boston is $200 to $250 bucks per night. Luxury hotels for families can charge up to $600 per night. Thus, it’s a matter of where you stay. The price will vary according to the time, hotel level, room type, location, and more.
The Best Places to Eat with Kids in Boston
Nothing beats a good meal, especially on vacation. You just need to find a place where your kids will be comfortable so you can have a nice meal. Here are some kid-friendly options.
This family-friendly restaurant is great for seafood. Adults can have lobsters, sandwiches, fresh fish, shellfish, clams, shrimp, and other food. Kids can order off the kid’s menu, which includes shrimp, fried chicken, hot dogs, and burgers. The restaurant also holds theme nights (think Star Wars), so look out for those.
The restaurant chain has nine locations in Boston, including the airport. They use fresh ingredients and make top-notch food. At the Harborside location, you’ll have a view of the water and ships while enjoying your meal. Kids can order off the separate kid’s menu.
Once you’re done exploring the Freedom Trail, you can grab something to eat here. The restaurant has a prepare-your-own-meal concept, so the kids are involved in meal prep. Thus, they’re more likely to eat the final product.
With locations in Beacon Hill and South Boston, The Paramount is a popular restaurant in the city. The menu is quite varied, so you’re sure to find something you like. Kids can order off a separate menu that includes chicken tenders, pasta, grilled cheese on bread, and a cheeseburger.
If you like BBQ and are looking for a place where the kids will let you eat, Sweet Cheeks is for you. You can order BBQs, sandwiches, and more. They have a nice wine selection so that you can have a drink. If the kids start getting squirmish, you can send them to the back to play the chicken game.
The Best Day Trips from Boston That the Whole Family Will Love
Yeah, Boston is huge, and it’ll take ages to explore everything. However, if you get tired of the city, here are nearby options you can explore.
Portsmouth is a city in New Hampshire, an hour away from Boston. You can start your tour with the Water Country. Families tend to enjoy the rides though some have height requirements. Next, you can visit the Strawbery Banke Museum to see what things were like in the past.
Next, you should go on the Portsmouth Fairy House Tour. Other attractions include Prescott Park, the American Independence Museum, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, and Portsmouth Harbor Cruises.
Going on the cruise will let you see the area from afar. Plus, you’ll learn about the history and other significant facts of the area. There are multiple nice restaurants here, so visit them.
Cape Cod is a peninsula located an hour and fifteen minutes from Boston. Boston is great, but when you’re on vacation, you need to go to the beach. You can start the day with Cape Cod Inflatable Park, or you can explore the Heritage Museums and Gardens.
Whydah Pirate Museum is bound to be a hit with the kids. The Museum features artifacts from Whydah itself. Whydah was a pirate ship that sank along with the crew in 1717. You can also go on a cruise to see the nearby landmarks and learn about the area’s history.
If you want to see the beach, Paine’s Creek Beach is a good option. Other attractions in the area include Nickerson State Park, Wellfleet Drive-In Theater, Chatham Shark Center, and Ryan Family Amusement.
Boston Harbor Islands
The Harbor Islands consist of thirty-two islands that are perfect for hiking and recreation. Of course, you can’t cover everything in a day, but it’s still worth the effort. The place is just a fifteen-minute ferry ride from Boston.
You’ll see most landmarks during the ride. Afterward, we recommend sticking to George’s Island or Spectacle Island. You can visit the visitor center on Spectacle Island and learn about the island’s history. Afterward, you can laze around on the beach while the kids have fun (it has lifeguards).
George’s Island is famous for Fort Warren. This fort used to be a prison during the Civil War era. Visit the visitor center beforehand to learn about the history and book a tour if you want. The island’s said to be haunted, so look out for the Woman in Black.
The area known for the infamous witch trials is just half an hour away from Boston. You can start with the Salem Witch Museum to learn all about these trials. Later, you can take the Salem Kids Walking Tour or the Salem Trolley tour to look around the whole place.
Take some pictures at the Witch Pix or visit the House of the Seven Gables. Other attractions in the area include the Peabody Essex Museum, Witch Dungeon Museum, Witch History Museum, Salem Willows Park, and New England Pirate Museum.
Mystic is a town in Connecticut, an hour and a half away from Boston. While you’re here, visit the Mystic Aquarium to see the Stellar lions and Beluga whales. Later, you can see the country’s largest maritime museum, Mystic Seaport Museum.
Explore the downtown area to see all the shops and restaurants. You can also enjoy nature at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, hit the water at William’s Beach, or go on a steamboat or cruise.
How to Get Around Boston During Your Vacation
Boston is a relatively small city, so it’s easy to navigate. Here are a few ways to get around during your vacation.
The Boston public transport system features subways and buses. We recommend getting a pass, i.e., a Charlie Card (they’re free). However, if that’s not an option, you can always buy tickets from vending machines at the stations. If you have the card, load it with enough money to last your trip. If you don’t finish all of it, you can always use it again on your next Boston trip.
Boston is one of America’s most walkable cities. Plus, you’ll see a lot of the scenery this way. Decide your itinerary, book a hotel close to your priority spots, and you might not even need the public transport system.
Boston has many taxis, so you can easily hail one. Use an app if you don’t want to go the traditional route. Uber and Lyft are popular in the city. Just be careful to verify the details before you get in.
The city has tour trolleys. You can use those to get a city tour and then get off whenever you want to enter a place.
Boston has limited parking space. If you manage to find space, it’ll be metered with strict rules. You could always use a parking garage, but fees add up quickly.
The Best Ways to Get to Boston for Your Vacation
You can drive to Boston in your car, but parking’s a hassle. Here are some other ways to get there:
Boston only has one airport. The Logan International Airport is in East Boston. Once you land, you can use a shuttle service or taxi to get to your hotel. However, traffic can be heavy. So, if you want to use public transport, you can do that too. You’ll use the Silver Line, free when traveling from the airport to the city.
Amtrak has three stations in Boston. If you live in an area serviced by Amtrack, you can use the train to get here. You’ll arrive at South Station, Back Bay Station, or North Station. Depending on where you’re from.
You can also use a bus to get to Boston. There’s a bus station on Atlantic Avenue. From there, you can make your way to the hotel.
Top Tips for Staying Safe in Boston When Visiting with Kids
Boston is pretty safe, at least for a city. Of course, you still have to be smart when you’re out with kids. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe:
- Hold hands with the kids, especially on public transportation.
- Make sure they don’t interact with strangers.
- Get on the subway together.
- If you’re walking, keep them away from the road.
- Don’t jaywalk.
- When booking a hotel, ensure its security.
- Memorize the hotel address and leave your valuables in the hotel safe.
Boston is an important city, especially from a historical perspective. If you’re visiting Massachusetts, you can’t leave without exploring this city. There are amazing parks and other attractions in the area. Of course, we can’t forget the museums. Boston has some excellent museums, but if you want something specifically for the kids, go to the Boston Children’s Museum.