Boston weekend getaway? Yes please! We’ve partnered with Keryn Means of Walking On Travels to give us a few tips and ideas for what to do when you’ve only got 48 hours to spend in this New England city … while keeping the kids entertained, too!
Colonial history is one of the cornerstones of every American kid’s elementary and high school educations. Why not incorporate some fun, learning and adventure into your next weekend trip by heading to Boston, where parks, museums and walking tours bring history and learning alive? You’ll have so much fun recapturing the lessons of your youth, and if you’re bringing your kids along they won’t even complain that you snuck some school work into their vacation! Boston can seem overwhelming, but you will be surprised by how much you can cram into just two days.
Step into History
You really can’t (and shouldn’t) go to Boston without getting a taste of the city’s colonial history. Downtown Boston has five sites that are part of the Boston National Historic Park, including Old North Church, the Paul Revere House, Old South Meeting House, Old State House and Faneuli Hall. The Freedom Trail Foundation offers public tours (for a fee), led by guides from the Freedom Trail Players dressed in 18th century costumes. Take a Freedom Trail History & Architecture Walking Tour to get to know one of the oldest cities in the U.S., or check out the Pirates and Patriots tour for a look at the legal, and not so legal, activities during the American Revolution.
For those looking for a self-guided tour, you can easily walk the sites on your own. There are several maps and apps available to help you hit the highlights and get the history behind each stop. This is a great option for families with younger children who might not be able to keep up with a guided tour.
There is nothing like getting hands on when it comes to learning! And when you are in Boston with kids, or just feel like a kid at heart yourself, this is one lesson you don’t want to skip. As the epicenter of some of the top universities in the country, is it any wonder that the Boston Museum of Science is one of the best museums in the nation? Beautifully designed, hands-on learning comes in all shapes and styles in this multi-story building. Young engineers can build bridges with a view of the Charles River, learn about pulleys in an indoor playground, trace the steps of archeologists and listen to scientists explain why Jurassic Park might actually be within our reach.
Still ready to indulge your budding scientist? The New England Aquarium brings young marine biologists deep underwater off the New England coast and around the globe to explore aquatic friends, including a few dozen bathing penguins who take center stage when you walk in the door. Wind your way up through the building, looking at the outer exhibits. Don’t forget to get your hands wet in the touch pools. Look down into the massive shark tank at the top before you spiral your way back down to the bottom taking in the interior exhibits, and end your visit learning about the resident harbor seals.
When locals want to get outside, but can’t go far, they head to Boston Common (note the lack of an “s” at the end when you pronounce it). This park is Boston’s answer to New York’s Central Park and one of the best spots in the city to picnic, take wedding photos or simply feed the ducks. After all, this is where the “Make Way for Ducklings” statue can be found— a favorite photo opp for parents and kids, as well as a few 20-somethings looking to have fun on Instagram. Take a ride in a swan boat or cut through the park to get to Newbury Street, one of Boston’s premiere shopping areas.
Rest a While
When you are short on time in one of America’s most historic cities, you don’t want to have to drive in and out of town to see the sites. You need a centrally-located hotel that will welcome you and your family with open arms. Sometimes you aren’t sure which is the best location, which is why Travelocity offers their Customer First Guarantee to give you support before, during and after your trip.
For families, we love three hotels scattered around the downtown area. The Wyndham Boston Beacon Hill is located on the north side of Boston Common, within walking distance to the Charles River and the Museum of Science, and it has an indoor pool. The Loews Boston Hotel is just southwest of Boston Common and close to Newbury Street shops and restaurants, as well as Trinity Church. Just at the top of Boston Common you will find the Boston Omni Parker House in the middle of it all. You can walk to the New England Aquarium, Quincy Market, and a number of spots on the Freedom Trail.
At the end of the weekend, your entire family will be exhausted (hooray!). You all will have learned more than you would have thought possible, in more entertaining ways than you could in a classroom. Boston is where history and science come alive for kids and their parents. One weekend might not be enough, but don’t worry. You can always come back for another visit.
Keryn Means is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. For more information on the Travelocity Gnomads, visit travelocitygnomads.com.
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