Planning an educational summer vacation to Boston? Follow along as we reveal the best spots for visiting Boston with kids! From amphibious duck tours on the Charles River to sampling the most delicious ice cream cones, educational Boston family fun is always in high supply.
Spend days wandering the Freedom Trail, or feed your inner baseball fanatic with a tour of the infamous Fenway Park. The Cradle of Liberty serves an intriguing mix of history, landmarks, and thrilling fresh-air fun.
Read on to discover the best ways to conquer Boston this summer vacation!
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Outdoor Excitement and Sights
Boston Swan Boats
Breathe in that fresh Beantown air and experience one of the most iconic Boston activities when you spend the day peddling a swan boat. For over 150 years, the Paget family has afforded visitors the pleasure of boating in the Public Garden lagoon.
Today, the giant Boston Swan Boats provide guests with a unique and engaging way to soak in the beauty of Boston. These wooden pontoon boats feature a massive regal white swan and carry 25 passengers.
A designated Boston landmark, each Swan Boat ride lasts approximately 12-15 minutes and tours the Public Garden lagoon.
Boston Duck Tour
Ready to cruise around in quaking style? Settle in for an incredible amphibious ride when you reserve your spot on a Boston Duck Tour. Discover the real history of Boston when you tour her most renowned landmarks both at sea and on land. Boston Duck Tours provides professionally narrated guided tours of Beantown through a 'DUCK,' or WWII-style amphibious landing vehicle.
Gaze in awe at the magnificent golden beauty of the domed State House, swing by Quincy Market, or soak in the splendor of the Esplanade. Little kids will be LOLing all day as their fantastic conDUCKtor cracks them up with hilarious jokes and fascinating historical facts.
Once you've had your fill of earth-bound attractions, your dynamic duck will transform into a water-bound vessel for a splash-worthy sojourn into the Charles River. Have your camera ready as you'll be dying to document the scenic vistas of both Boston and the Cambridge skylines.
Boston isn't called the 'Cradle of Liberty' for nothing. First, dive into America's origin story when you hit the illustrious Freedom Trail. Then, bring the history, hardship, and humanity of the American Revolution to life when you experience over two miles of 16 nationally significant sights.
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An educational attraction in Boston like no other, the Freedom Trail represents more than 250 years of history through its unique collection of museums, churches, meeting houses, burying grounds, parks, and more. Marvel at the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the U.S., or pay a visit to the Paul Revere House built in 1680.
Learn about the significance of the Boston Massacre Site, or snap a selfie at the Benjamin Franklin statue. Of course, you can always book a guided tour for an even more thorough Freedom Trail adventure.
Middlesex Fells Reservation
Craving the serenity of mother nature? For a quick day trip, escape the bustle of Boston for the tranquillity of the Middlesex Fells Reservation. An oasis of ponds, meadows, and over 100 miles of mixed-use trails, this popular reservation is a mere 20-minute drive from downtown Boston.
Lace up your hiking boots, grab a mountain bike and traverse the rugged scenic terrain. Water lovers should hit the Spot Pond Boathouse for a canoe or kayak rental. Then, paddle through the quiet waters and make your way to the three Spot Pond islands, where you can spot a wide variety of avian and animal life.
Traveling with Fido? Let your favorite mutt run wild at Sheepfold Meadow, a designated off-leash recreation area. Lastly, stock up on breadcrumbs or hot dogs to feed the fluffy ducks that pepper this reserve.
Boston Old Town Trolley Tours
Want to cruise around the City on the Hill in the most convenient and fun way possible? Climb aboard a Boston Old Town Trolley Tour for an unbeatable sightseeing expedition of the birthplace of American independence.
Stroll through the Boston Common, snap a selfie in front of the Cheers bar, or marvel at the stately Faneuil Hall Marketplace. This fully guided tour boasts live narration and knowledgeable guides who will illustrate the fortitude of the New World's settlers' rebellion against the British Crown.
Enjoy the city at your own pace as you Hop-On and Off at will and take advantage of unlimited re-boarding all day. Little ones will love adventure-filled stops at the New England Aquarium, while history buffs will be in heaven over visits to the USS Constitution.
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With 18 expertly crafted stops featuring over 100 points of interest, your trolley trek is dynamically designed to maximize your time in Beantown. Depending on which Trolley pass you opt for, you can even receive a 90 minute Boston Harbor Historic Cruise!
Food, Fun, and Fenway
Tantalize the taste buds and minds of tiny travelers when you introduce them to the flavors and history of Boston at Quincy Market. For almost two centuries, this stately edifice, more commonly known as Faneuil Hall, has served as a beacon for the culinary inclined.
Housed within this granite Greek Revival structure lies an abundance of retail, meat, produce, dairy, and wholesale eateries. Quincy Market comprises three buildings, Quincy Market, South Market, and the North Market. Today the marketplace is a busy center of eateries, pushcarts, and street performers.
Fuel up on Boston favorites like award-winning clam chowder at Boston Chowda Co, or indulge your sweet tooth with a hearty slice of Boston Cream Pie or a melt-in-your-mouth cookie from The Chipyard.
Stock up on kitschy souvenirs or sports memorabilia from one of the many pushcarts, or hang tight for a street-bound musical act or magician performance.
Is it even summer vacation if you aren't savoring a creamy, dreamy ice cream cone? So put an end to the endless cries for 'we all scream for ice cream' when you direct your dairy-hungry kiddos to J.P. Licks.
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This iconic creamery has been serving up scoops, sundaes, and more for over 40 years, with locations all over Boston. So fulfill your ice cream or frozen yogurt fantasies when you sample their dynamite Mint Cookies' n' Cream. Or their perfectly nutty Peanut Butter Cup Sundae. It features vanilla ice cream with our Homemade Hot Fudge, Peanut Butter Sauce, and fresh whipped cream, topped with a Reese's® Cup.
Tired parents will appreciate the perk up when they order a Nitro Cold Brew or espresso, all made from their in-house fresh micro-roasted beans.
Tour of Historic Fenway Park, America's Most Beloved Ballpark
Calling all sluggers! Celebrate the history, legacy, and pure sportsmanship of one of baseball's most renowned stadiums when you head to Fenway Park. Your one-hour educational Tour of Historic Fenway Park is the perfect introduction to the home of the Boston Red Sox.
Learn all about the illustrious careers of baseball greats like Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, and Carl Yastrzemski. Relive the magic of the Sox's many World Series titles, and tour famous stadium hot spots such as Pesky's Pole and the Fenway Park Living Museum. For over a century, this stadium has captured the hearts and minds of MLB fans worldwide.
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Conclude your epic tour of the oldest major league ballpark still in use by a professional team, with a fridge-worthy photo at the infamous Green Monster. This verdant 'monster' refers to the nearly 40-foot-high left-field wall in Fenway Park. Seats here don't come cheap, but they afford awe-inspiring game views and an electrifying history.
Boston Underground Donut Tour
Inject some sugar into your summer plans when you surprise your sweeties with a Boston Underground Donut Tour. Take a break from the museums and monuments when you spend two hours sampling the most delectable deep-fried treats. Beantown is famous for its donuts, and this fully inclusive tour allows you to taste the best varieties, from classic apple cider to minty Mojito.
Head to places most tourists don't cover as you hit up sweet locales everywhere from the North End to Oliver Street. Sink your teeth into a yeasted Honey Dip at Kane's or moan in pleasure after a Boston Cream at Bova's Bakery. Conclude your day of sweets and sprinkles with a creative concoction from Union Square Donuts.
These yummy creations offer a delicious departure from your standard donut tastings with unique flavors such as tiramisu and Affogato.
Educational Boston Museums, Memorials, and History
Boston's Children's Museum
Ancient Americana artifacts, an authentic Japanese house from Kyoto, and plenty of dino-themed exhibits make the Boston's Children's Museum a certified hit for any curious kiddo. This impressive epicenter of immersive learning is the second oldest children's museum globally.
Since 1913 the Boston's Children's Museum has championed engaging exhibits and education to progress the teachings of science, technology, and math. Expertly crafted to elicit the focus and engagement of little ones, this museum caters to families with its extensive collection of child-centered displays.
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Pint-size Picasso's can make masterpieces in the Art Lab, while future engineers can try to program a robot or design a glow bug in the STEAM lab.
For a splash of foreign culture, you can't miss the opportunity to say Kon'nichiwa to the Japanese House. A gift to the city of Boston from Kyoto, this house is an authentically rebuilt two-story silk merchant's home. Explore the fully-functioning 100-year-old house, which contains intriguing elements of family life, customs, ceremonies, art, architecture, and seasonal events.
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Arthropods, Africa, Asia, oh my! Hightail it to the Harvard Museum of Natural History for a spellbinding afternoon of higher education. Championing the spirit of curiosity and discovery in visitors of all ages, the Harvard Museum of Natural History represents the public face of three research museums: the Museum of Comparative Zoology, the Harvard University Herbaria, and the Mineralogical & Geological Museum.
The museum is the most visited attraction at Havard and contains everything from a 1,600-pound amethyst geode to a full-size Bison and Narwhal. Explore Darwin's theory of evolution with a model of a 375 million-year-old fossil fish, or linger over the resplendent beauty of the Rockefeller Beetles.
From the Great Mammal Hall to the Romer Hall of Vertebrate Paleontology, there are hours of natural wonder to uncover at the Harvard Museum.
Museum of Science
Animal enthusiasts and science nerds unite at the Boston Museum of Science. The first science museum to also be an accredited zoo, this organization strives to empower and educate the world's youth. Hosting nearly five million visitors a year, the Museum of Science is New England's most attended cultural institution.
Every exhibit, event, or immersive show here seeks to strengthen the bond between science, information, and technology. For example, learn about vaccines and viral transmissions. Then explore life as an Arctic researcher or play with emotions at Pixar's Inside Out.
This temporary exhibit inspired by the hit movie allows museum guests of all ages to understand the vital role emotions, memory, and imagination play in our day-to-day lives.
Catch a 4D flick in the theater. Or suit up for the stars above when you catch a show at the Charles Hayden Planetarium.
Traverse the surface of an exoplanet, then observe Jupiter's atmosphere. Or delight your ears with the irresistible compilation of a Beyonce soundtrack coupled with staggering sensory visuals.
New England Aquarium
Waddling penguins, vibrant-hued tropical fish, and frisky fur seals are all lucky enough to call the New England Aquarium home. This marine marvel of conservation, education, and research is one of Boston's premier family-friendly attractions.
Wander through dozens of water-focused exhibits as you observe sharks, rays, giant octopuses, and more. First, get up close and personal with an Indo-Pacific Coral Reef. Then watch a Cownose Ray glide through the touch tank. Or admire the funky hairdos of the Rockhopper penguins.
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Settle into a screening at the Simons Theatre. Or experience an 'aww' filled animal encounter when you watch the Aquarium's Harbor Seals frolic and get fed in their outdoor exhibit.
Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
Get ready to spill the tea and learn everything about that frigidly fateful night of December 16th, 1773, when you board the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. A fully immersive educational experience includes:
- Throwing tea in the Harbor
- Costumed historical interpreters
- An abundance of centuries-old artifacts
Understand the importance of this defiant activity through reenactments, exhibits, and more.
Then, glimpse the Robinson Tea Chest. The only known surviving tea chest from the Boston Tea Party. Or cozy up with a free cup at Abigail's Tea Room.
Uncover the ins and outs of the brewing process. Then sample the same types of tea as our forefathers. Meanwhile, capture the seaside charm of Griffin's Wharf.
Come summertime, the City on the Hill's spring frost has finally faded. Celebrate sunny days that melt into balmy nights with an educational getaway to Boston. From colonial history to outdoor exploration, the City on the Hill was built for little learners.
Every last cobblestone street, burying ground, or church in Boston is positively brimming with educational Revolutionary War history. Scope out the Paul Revere House, also known as the oldest house in Boston. Or let an open-air trolley lead you through Bunker Hill.
Get to know the Puritan City through your tummy with sinfully delicious stops at Quincy Market. Or make your way to Bova's for Boston Creams.
Enchantment is your guide as you witness ancient minerals, prehistoric fossils, and Cenozoic Mammals at Harvard.
Don't wait. Begin planning your Boston getaway today!
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