Portsmouth is in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, just an hour out of Boston and is one of those iconic coastal towns that draws tourists from all parts of the US. An outing here is beautiful – you have the gorgeous beach and ocean, a river, magnificent views and then a fabulous town packed with restaurants, galleries, boutiques and craft stalls. Portsmouth is close to the mouth at the Piscataqua River, dividing New Hampshire and Maine and it is incredibly beautiful. It’s an idyllic setting and if you can’t overnight, go for the day. There are so many delicious seafood restaurants to choose from but you can also picnic and buy fabulous artisanal platters from the many delicatessens. There are over a dozen beaches in Portsmouth, a museum including a children’s museum, parks, walks, ice-cream, historic homes, and wineries. You can join an organized walking tour if that’s your preference, or take a river cruise. Portsmouth also has a large water park with a science discovery center and marina, so there is a lot here to keep your kids, and you, busy. Just a short drive from Boston. Don’t miss out.
This is a brilliant day’s outing as this village is a living history museum. You can wander around the village and feel like you’re living in the 1830s. The village is so authentic you will feel like you’re in a different century. Wander the streets and see the tavern, sawmill, old barns and churches, beautiful bookstores, antique stores and of course lots of souvenir shops. The Old Sturbridge Village hold several events where they have re-enactments of the ‘olden days’ and currently there are readings of Big River, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. You will get a real feel for life at this time, especially when you sit for lunch and experience that old-fashioned service! There are many restaurants to choose from, coffee shops and bistros, and of course for the kids, ice-cream stores, waffles, and pancake too. Admission prices are anywhere from $14 to $28. Kids under 2 are free. The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday and there are special deals for school groups.
Phone: (508) 347-0290
Good Harbor Beach is close to the city of Gloucester and on a warm day, the soft white sand and deep blue ocean are impossible to resist. Take your swimming costumes and a towel, maybe a picnic and a surfboard and spend the day on the beach, swimming, surfing and eating ice-cream. When you’ve had enough there are plenty of restaurants that you can walk to, mini markets and concession stands. There is always a festive and holiday atmosphere on the beach, plenty of restrooms and parking spots too. Kids will love it here and you will enjoy it too, walking, dipping, exploring the small town with its lovely galleries and boutiques. Come home with sand between your toes and a souvenir from one of the craft stalls. If you plan your visit right you can walk out to Salt Island at low tide. Good Harbor Beach is not far, just under an hour away, and pretty cool to visit in winter too, for beautiful beach walking. Wrap up warm!
Phone: (978) 281-9785
A day trip to Kennebunkport is fabulous. Kennebunkport is in Maine, New England, and is a gorgeous and historic seaside village. It is also the summer home of former President George W Bush and many a world famous president has spent time here. The town is picturesque and wandering around the shops, galleries, museums, and restaurants are divine. You can walk on the beach and along the promenade, watch the boats at the harbor, choose somewhere delicious for lunch and get stuck into crayfish, shrimp and lobster, and spend time at the local parks. The shopping is divine, you can visit all year round, there is whale watching, a fabulous lighthouse, magnificent beaches where the kids can make sand castles and dip in the water, and also the option of boating, kayaking or cruising. It is just under two hours from Boston, the drive is easy, the roads are good and this is a day outing that you, the kids, the grandparents and everyone will enjoy. Don’t forget to stop off at the blowing cave and spouting rock!
Where: Kennebunkport, Maine, US
If you’re looking for expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean, water that you can dip your toes into and sand to build castles on, plus a whole lot of beautiful walking and some fantastically wild bike trails, this is the place for you. Add delicious restaurants, ice-cream, and shipwrecks, and you have a full day outing. Race Point Beach is along the Cape Cod National Seashore and the beaches are large, wide and unspoiled. Swimming here is a little treacherous so inexperienced swimmers should paddle only. Take your towels, a beach umbrella and a good book, buckets, and spades for the kids, and spend a few hours lounging around. Then you can walk and wander, have a fabulous lunch or tea in one of the many little restaurants or bistros around, shop in the boutiques and at the craft market and maybe pick up an ice-cream and watch the waves. Race Point Beach is just off Route 6 in Provincetown, there are communal change rooms and restrooms, and as we know, the shopping and eating in Cape Cod is divine. The kids will love it, you will love it and you can easily spend the whole day.
Where: Race Point Beach, MA