Boston is not only a family friendly walking city but one filled with delicious restaurants and beautiful parks. It’s the epitome of the perfect family destination.
My love of Boston began as a teenager when I visited the city with camp. I remember many of the things we did but my favorite memory was of the Boston Duck Tours. It was not an accident that this was our first stop (opting for the 9:30am tour to take advantage of their Early Duck Discount)!
These amphibious city tours introduce you to the history and layout of Boston from a witty costumed ConDUCKtor. But the highlight comes when you suddenly find your vehicle driving into the Charles River! The tour continues afloat giving you a completely different perspective of the city. Even cooler – once coasting along evenly, you can take a turn steering the boat! It’s not hard to see why this tour has remained one of Boston’s most popular attractions since 1994. As an added bonus, with each purchased ticket you get some great city wide discounts.
Our next stop was the Boston Tea Party Museum. This single historic event sparked my son’s interest so much that it was the impetus for this trip. Know what? It was awesome. The tour began with a very spirited reenactment of the events that led up to dumping 340 cases of tea into Boston Harbor in 1773. Next, we stormed the British ships and had a chance to throw “tea” overboard ourselves while hollering revolutionary fighting words (a big hit with my kids). The tour concluded with a multi-media presentation about the aftermath. We finished in the gift shop which was correctly described on their website as curated for a history buff.
The crown jewel of the Boston Tea Party Museum was her cafe – Abigail’s Tea Room. Besides serving lunch and the tea blends from 1773 (to drink, not throw) there were period dressed staff chatting with guests and teaching kids how to play old time games. But my favorite part was the terrace and her view of Boston Harbor.
Our next stop was the Boston Children’s Museum – big enough to fill a few hours but not too big that it felt overwhelming. My boys absolutely loved it. For them – the highlight was the very interactive Construction Zone. But for me it was the KidStage Live improv show which were hysterical. We loved the first one so much we went back for the second one! This museum is great for kids eight and below.
With its harbor side location, it’s no surprise that Boston has an award winning aquarium. From the Shark and Ray Touch Tank, to the sprawling penguin exhibit, to the Animal Encounters, to the 200 gallon Giant Ocean Tank, The New England Aquarium is not to be missed. My personal favorite was Myrtle, the GIANT sea turtle.
I love visiting cities because their indoor attractions are usually coupled with an equal amount of fantastic outdoor attractions. Since Boston has the oldest park in the country – Boston Common, I knew we would be pleased.
With so much history in one place, a walking tour of The Freedom Trail must be part of your itinerary. With three young kids, I wanted to find one that would appeal to them and ward off boredom. My research brought me to Boston By Little Feet, a daily tour geared to the 6-11 crowd. It was perfect.
Next up was my daughter’s choice and naturally as an overachieving first child she chose a tour of Harvard. Our fun, fact filled Hahvahd Walking Tour was led by a current student who taught us the history of the school, debunked some popular myths, and led us in the footsteps of some famous alumni. We loved walking around the beautiful campus and popping in to all the little stores in Harvard Yard. There is something so special about a college town. Ah, the memories… Naturally my daughter chose a “future freshman” shirt as her souvenir.
We also visited Martin’s Park at The Smith Family Waterfront located next to the Boston Children’s Museum. Perfectly located near some great dining, my kids burnt off their pre-dinner energy while my husband and I enjoyed a much needed sit. No one even noticed we were waiting for a table (#efficient).
No Boston conversation would be complete without the beautiful Swan Boats and a visit to Boston Public Garden. This was a great relaxing stop that provided a beautiful view and some prime picture taking. Also located here is the famous bench where Robin Williams talks to Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting.
When visiting a city, a centrally located hotel is pivotal to me. The Boxer Hotel was the perfect choice. This boutique hotel was walking distance to everything, had an incredibly helpful staff, a car valet, and one of the most delicious hotel breakfasts I’ve had in recent years. I would return there in a heartbeat. A note about our journey from Long Island to Boston: Since we like water more than traffic, we decided to take the Cross Sound Ferry from Orient Point to Bridgeport, Connecticut. This was a wonderful way to travel. We then stopped at the Edaville Family Theme Park, home of the famous Thomas the Tank Engine amusement park, enroute to Boston. While not the most direct route North, it was a great way to add a few more fun things into our trip and break up the car ride. I highly recommend all of it.
This trip was just fabulous. The weather was beautiful, the kids were engaged, there was plenty of walking, but also plenty of sitting. Delicious food, a nice hotel, and big fat smiles, what else does one need?
Complimentary or discounted admission was given to several of the attractions listed above in exchange for an honest review.