How many nights do we need in Boston with kids in tow?

Make way for duckling in Boston with kids
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Forgive me if I never realized that Boston was a family travel destination. On a flight in August this summer I almost thought we had mistakenly boarded a flight to Disneyland instead of Logan international as the flight was packed with families headed to the East Coast.  Why were so many people traveling to Boston with kids?

Cool Fountain in Boston with kids

Boston with kids?

It’s not like there isn’t a lot to do in Boston for families-there is so much to see it’s actually a perfect place for a family vacation.  But because we were inspired to travel there for a conference and not because we had picked it as a place we wanted to go, I was so curious about why everyone was going to Boston with kids on our plane and what they were going to do in the city. As a rule of respect-we don’t typically engage with other travelling families in the process of flying as we all just need to get it done-I made a note of all the families on the airplane and put on my headphones and watched my movie. (Thankfully this is what you get to do on an airplane now that the kids are 9 years old.)

If you’ve been to Boston with kids from the west coast-why did you pick it as a destination? And can you tell me why the plane was packed like it was Disney bound?!!

Boston with kids- finding pocket playgrounds
Why don’t we travel to more US destinations?

Paul Revere Home - Family Travel Boston

“Having” to go to Boston vs “picking” Boston for a trip made me realize there is a lot of the USA we haven’t seen. Why is it that when we vacation we tend to choose places outside Canada and the USA? Do we take our own home lands for granted? Does it need to be another country in order to be travel? I realized I needed to study a lot more North American history after we took this trip.

Arriving in Boston made me confront history straight on. Boston Logan airport is so convenient to the city that we were only about a ten minute Uber ride from everywhere meaning that every historical plaque or monument in the city was a hop, skip and jump away. For our 8 night trip I had originally planned to spend our time in three different quadrants of Boston too so we could cover the most ground. But on the first night I realized that what I thought was a one bedroom suite was actually a really small, trendy, not-ideal for family space and we would have to shuffle our plans anyways. This turned into a blessing in disguise.

New England Clam Chowder - Family Travel Boston
How much city can your family handle?

I think this depends on each family.  If you follow our trips, we like to combine city, nature and adventure.  We are a family with two active boys, a husband who dies in shopping malls and me who needs to see and eat EVERYTHING so 8 days in a city for our family means we get a little claustrophobic and exhausted from all the activities I can try to jam pack in a day. We booked a car and proceeded to figure out how to add a little more relaxation into this trip. We found this in a lovely hotel on a beach in Cape Cod that thankfully had last-minute accommodation.  We ended up taking three nights of our seven booked in the city and headed to the coast and this made our trip absolutely magical.  On the coast we could still see historical sites but we could also lounge on the beach, play mini-golf (there was SO much mini golf in this area!), go on hikes and go back to the beach and lounge some more.

Beach near Ocean Club on Smuggler’s Beach Beach traveling to Boston with kids
How did we ever travel without smart phones?

Plymouth Plantation on a trip to Boston with kids

Having access to internet with our devices meant that I could plan our trip on the fly. As we drove from Boston to Cape Cod I could research stops along the way and I could save ideas on Google Maps so that we knew if sites I wanted to see were nearby our rote. We never would have seen Plymouth or Plymouth plantation if we had stayed in the city for our whole trip and we wouldn’t have found all the ice cream stops or cool restaurants we went to.  When we got back to Boston of course we bought a map at the visitors center and walked the Freedom Trail. We used our City Pass. We rode the swan boats.  We ate one of the best pasta meals we’ve ever had.  And we left Boston happy knowing that we had seen enough for this trip but would still like to come back one day.  So that’s our perfect kind of family travel!

Harvard Museum of Natural History

Have you been to Boston and maybe its neighboring areas too?  Would you agree that it’s a great place for families to visit?  And do you have any favorite parts of Boston you would recommend?

Eating pasta in Boston with kidsThe beach is so great for kids and not too far away - Boston Family Travel

(PS. If you’re wondering about where we stayed on our itinerary: our first night was in a Boston hotel I mistakenly assumed was a one bedroom; three nights at the Ocean Club on Smuggler’s Beach; one night at the Liberty hotel (it used to be a jail!!!); and three nights at the Marriott Residence Inn Seaport which ended up being one of my favorite hotels we’ve stayed in with our family in a big city.  We rented a car to drive to Cape Code but we returned it once we got to the Liberty hotel and used Uber and public transit and our feet to get around the city after that.)


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