Something Awesome To Do with Kids Every Day this Summer!
By Christina Vercelletto

Something Awesome To Do with Kids Every Day this Summer!

Summer Activities  

Keep the kids entertained during summer vacation without breaking the bank! There are 95 days of summer, and we've got ideas for every day and every budget. Make each summer day count with our list of 95 fun things to do with your family in the New York City area, from must-do family trips to cool craft projects and beyond.

95 days of summer


51 FREEBIES

Fun things to do that don't cost a dime

 

1. Have a water pistol battle.


2. Camp out in the backyard or your local park.

Set up your yard just like you would a park campsite (this can be a great trial run to get everyone acclimated to camping). Head to nwf.org/campout for an activity finder, recipes, and tips for first-timers, and to take the Great American Campout pledge—for every camper who does, $1 will be donated to protect the great outdoors, through the National Wildlife Federation.


3. Savor story time.

Your library is always a good bet, but Barnes & Noble and most independent book shops host story hours for kids, too, for a change of scenery. Check our calendar for upcoming story times.


4. Stomp on bubble wrap!


5. Dangle your feet off a dock.


6. Bowl a strike.

bowling shoes

Hundreds of alleys across the country participate in the summer-long Kids Bowl Free program, which allows children to play two games a day on the house. To register for a pass, roll on over to kidsbowlfree.com. Then see this list of bowling alleys near you.


7.  Clean up (and out) with a yard sale.

Boost your kid’s math and money smarts by having him set prices, calculate a 20-percent discount on everything after 3pm, and give change.


8. Squeeze play.

Give each of your kids two buckets—one filled with water and one empty—and a sponge. Instruct them to transfer the water from one bucket to the other using only the sponge. Race to see who does it quicker. Solo kids can also play by racing against the clock. (It’s like “52-pick-up” without cards!)


9. Organize a neighborhood bike parade—it’s extra fun on July 4!


10. Curate your kids’ artwork.

By the time your child gets into kindergarten, you probably already have drawers full of glittery, glued construction paper. Buy a thick, colorful binder from an office supply store, fill it with clear plastic sleeves, and insert each precious creation. Or make a joint design project with your computer-savvy kids by taking digital snaps of the artwork and making a bound book to treasure with Blurb. Bonus: You can then stash only a select few favorites back in that drawer and discard the rest guilt-free!


11. Wash the dog outside.

kids washing dog outside

12. Play boccie.


13. Set up a lemonade stand.

If you want to get all 21st-century about it, post notices on social media, not in the local laundromat.


14. Make jam with your summer berry bounty.

Crush 2 pounds of berries in batches until you have 4 cups of mashed berry. In a heavy saucepan, mix together the berries, 4 cups of sugar, and ¼ cup of lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 220 degrees F. Transfer to jars. Check out our guide to find out where to pick your own berries in preparation!


15. Take an imaginary vacation.

boy at airport

Bring your tots to the closest airport where you don’t have to go through security to watch jet planes take off, and make up fanciful stories about where they’re going and who’s on board. Discuss all the places you want to travel to someday.


16. Start a pet-care business.

Help your kid fire up those entrepreneurial instincts by offering services in the neighborhood as a dog walker, cat caretaker, or fish feeder while everyone is away on vacation (with your help, of course).


17. Rethink lunch.

In the mad rush of September, it’ll be all too easy to fall back on the usual bologna on white. Spend an afternoon thinking up new ideas for fun, healthy lunches—test them out now and decide which make the school lunch cut for later. Then make up a shopping list and a calendar so you’re ready to roll ’em out when school starts. Even just slotting one day a week as “homemade healthy lunch day” is a step in the right direction. For info on food education for kids and great lunch recipe ideas, go to butterbeanskitchen.com.


18. Climb a tree.

boy climbing tree


19. Play hopscotch.

It’s even more fun than you remember. Draw pictures on the sidewalk with the leftover chalk.


20. Craft a shell necklace.

You’ll need smallish shells and colorful dental floss. Look for shells that have a tiny hole at one end so that you won’t have to drill holes in them. Let kids string the shells onto a length of floss, tying a knot through the hole on each one to secure it in place. Tie the ends together.


21. Run through the sprinkler.


22. Orchestrate color wars.

Have the kids share their camp experiences with you, and together recreate a similar Olympics-like competition with neighborhood friends.


23. Set up a bike wash to raise money for a local charity.


24. Make your own hard-to-pop bubbles

Mix 1 cup of distilled water, 2 tablespoons of Dawn dish soap, and 1 tablespoon of glycerin.


25. Make a mixtape.

Okay, a playlist. Ask your child to make one for you, and you make one for her, then dance or chill and share the stories behind your song picks.


26. Get your double Dutch on.

Grab two jump ropes and show your kids that the simplest toys are still the best.


27. Take your dinner outside and eat it. Must include corn on the cob.


28. Collect sea shells—but not sand!

Now your kids can gather up their treasures—and leave the mess where it belongs. Make the shabby-chic collecting bag pictured (courtesy of Project Kid by Amanda Kingloff; Artisan Books © 2014):

shell collector
Alexandra Grablewski

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 mesh produce bag
  • 1 5-inch embroidery hoop
  • Tacky glue
  • 24 inches of strap or ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Fishing line
  • ¼-inch to 3/8-inch beads

Directions:

  1. Cut any labels off the bag and knot one end.
  2. Fold approximately 1 inch of the open end of the bag around the inner ring of the embroidery hoop. Secure with glue if desired.
  3. Cut a 12-inch piece of strap and glue the ends to opposite sides of the outside edge of the inner ring of the embroidery hoop to create the handle. Tighten the outer ring over the inner ring.
  4. Cut a 16-inch piece of strap and glue it around the outer ring of the embroidery hoop.
  5. For a decorative touch, cut 5-inch pieces of fishing line and thread eight or so beads on each, then tie the beaded strands onto the mesh bag. Trim the ends of the fishing line, if needed.


29. Set up a “Mission Impossible” challenge.

Thread yarn in between and around furniture, lamps, railings (anything sturdy and safe in the same room). Challenge bored kids to move from one end of the room to the other without getting “zapped” by the “laser beams.”


30. Thank local heroes.

What better time to tour your local firehouse or police station? Call ahead to ask if this is allowed (it usually is, if you pick a time in advance). Bring handmade cards or other crafty tributes.


31. Go vroom in your living room.

Rainy day? Put colored tape on your carpet to mimic roads for your kids’ car.


32. Grow your food scraps.

Do you have an onion that has started to sprout a small green shoot and is no longer suitable for cooking? Plant it in soil; tend to it with water, sunshine, and care; and then watch the onion continue to grow! Sprouting a seed, such as the pit of an avocado, and watching it grow into an avocado tree is another great way to both reduce food waste and encourage your children to grow various skills in patience. Low-maintenance and quick growing seeds are alfalfa, sunflower seeds, mung beans, and lentils. Find more great garden-inspired ideas including how to compost (even if you live in a small apartment) at nymetroparents.com/butterbeans.


33. Bake cookies for ice-cream sandwiches.


34. Organize a neighborhood scavenger hunt.

Participating neighbors hide predetermined little treasures around their property, then open up their yards to the excitement.


35. Explore a tidal pool.

Just after high tide—when the water recedes and pools up at the ocean’s edge—is the best time for this educational observation. Look for small sea life such as starfish, snails, and other mollusks. Ask your child what she sees. You may want to read a library book about this before you go, or order Let’s Look on the Seashore: A Spot & Learn, Stick & Play Book (ages 4-8; Fine Feather Press; $7).


36. Practice cartwheels and somersaults on the lawn.


37. Go fishing.


38. Have an unbake sale.
strawberry aliens
Give brownies the boot for the summer. Go to theunbakesale.com for easy instructions to make strawberry aliens, apple turtles, celery snails, and more too-cute edibles. You’ll also find a Bolthouse Farms Unbake Sale Initiative Toolkit for getting started with your sale.

39. Host a vegetarian barbecue.

Pass the grilled artichokes, please! You can create a crowd-pleasing, vegan or vegetarian-friendly BBQ feast. After all, come August, it starts to feel like there are only so many burgers you can eat.


40. Fly a kite.


41. See a live show.

Central Park’s free outdoor live performing arts festival, SummerStage, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this summer, adding more than 20 free shows in Central Park and 14 neighborhood parks across the city. With dance performances, storytelling, spoken word, and music, a day at SummerStage (located on Rumsey Playfield) is fun for the whole family, and worth a ride into Manhattan from just about anywhere.


42. Make sun tea.

Everyone has a favorite recipe, but the basic one is 5 tea bags of any type + 4 cups distilled water in a glass container, covered, for 2-4 hours in direct sunlight. Let the kids drizzle some honey in theirs.


43. Plant a garden.

If you’re a city-dwelling family, plant a shade-tolerant crop such as kale, arugula, broccoli, cilantro, lettuces, and pea shoots in the windowsill or explore options for raised beds on the rooftop. If you have more space, start with a small kitchen garden and involve the whole family in the fun of choosing the seeds you’ll grow. Depending on the amount of sunlight your kitchen gets, you might choose herbs, scallions, peppers, radishes, or tomatoes. Ready for a project? Find complete how-to in our gardening round-up.


44. Be a true fan.

yankees hat

Don your Yankees or Mets gear and head to the baseball stadium, slip on your Sambas for a premier soccer match, or take in any other live sporting event—there are plenty in our area


45. Paint with ice.

Fill ice cube trays with washable tempera paint, freeze, and head outside with paper (or another fun painting surface—shells, tree bark, fabric) to get messy.


46. Catch a flick in air-conditioned comfort.

Select Regal theaters offer a Free Family Film Festival each summer, screening PG and G-rated movies at 10am every Tuesday and Wednesday. Go to regmovies.com for a schedule.


47. Bring your kids’ books to life.

Make puppets of your kids’ favorite storybook characters and act out a show with them. Then pack the puppets into your mom bag and head out to kid-lit landmarks around New York City: Stop at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza with a copy of Knuffle Bunny, grab an ice cream cone in midtown with The Cricket in Times Square in tow, then head to the Central Park Zoo in search of Lyle, Lyle Crocodile, and don’t forget shopping at FAO followed by tea at the Plaza and a selfie with Eloise!


48. Go furniture shopping.

Yep. It’s the perfect idea for a late-day-thunderstorms forecast if you go to IKEA (locations on Long Island and in Brooklyn, New Jersey, and Connecticut). The home retail giant’s supervised playspace, Småland, offers up to 90 minutes of parent-free fun for little ones who are out of diapers and between 37-54 inches tall. They have mean meatballs and lingonberries, too.


49. Excavate in ice!

Running out of ideas on how to keep your wee ones busy on a sweltering day? Freeze a few small, inexpensive toys in a bucket of water, take it outside, and see who can dig one out first.


50. Nap in a hammock.

All together as a family, or one at a time (picture it: the kiddos sleeping peacefully while you read in the shade; you dozing comfortably while the kids are at camp).


51. Build a home fit for a (fairy) queen.

fairy housingRuth Mitchener

The truth is that fairies, just like everyone else, need somewhere to live. If you’re finding your garden to be devoid of fairy inhabitants, it could be that you have not built them anywhere to live—yet. Encourage enchantment, wonder, and make-believe. Fairies are only unreal if you believe they are.

You Will Need:

  • Twigs
  • Leaves
  • Soil
  • Shells
  • Flowers
  • Imagination


Scope out the best real estate in your garden or patio. Keep in mind elements such as sunshine, shelter, views, and access. In a pinch, fairies have been known to happily settle on a sunny window ledge or cozy fireplace mantle, and plenty of urban fairies are quite at home tucked away in an attractive potted plant.

With your children, gather the materials you will need and construct your enchanted real estate. Take your time and get creative with your construction. Play should be all about the process rather than the outcome.

You could use leaves for doors, twigs for fencing, or walnut shells for outdoor seating. As long as it is fairy-sized, it is bound to appeal to any miniature-winged friend looking for a new abode. If your outdoor space is not equipped with sufficient housing materials, then a collection trip to your local park could be in order (just make sure it’s okay to take things from it first), or you could construct a more modern abode with ice-block sticks, toothpicks and cardboard. As long as it is biodegradable, it is okay by the fairies.

Recipe from Recipes for Play: Creative Activities for Small Hands and Big Imaginations, copyright © Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment.

 

31 THINGS TO DO ON A BUDGET

These treats are tough to beat for a bargain good time!

 

52. Explore the coast.

Young Octonauts fans and older kids interested in the wonders of our waters will scramble to get aboard the floating classroom at the Long Island Aquarium’s Atlantis Explorer in Riverhead, open from May through October. During the 90-minute interactive boat tour, kids in second to 12th grades are welcome to explore the ecological wonders of Long Island’s waterways, and even stroll along the shore of a remote region along Flanders Bay.


53. Dig it!

Diggerland USA is the only construction-themed amusement park in North America where kids can operate real machinery, navigate obstacle courses, and watch live action stunt shows. On June 13, it’s time to celebrate Digger and Daisy’s 1st birthday at Diggerland USA.


54. Chill out.

Many ice rinks stay open all summer, and it’s always a thrill to actually feel cold—not just cool—when the weather outside is anything but. Search our guide for indoor rinks in your area.


55. Ride the rails.

All aboard the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat, a sightseeing adventure through the Connecticut River Valley. This 2½-hour locomotive journey takes visitors on a ride through the charming New England countryside—complete with meadows, ponds, waterfalls, and preserves—before escorting them onto the Becky Thatcher riverboat for a 75-minute cruise along the Connecticut River. On July 17-18 and 25-26, board an authentic circus train for a ride to the Big Top Show. Find details plus other railroad outing ideas at nymetroparents.com/trains.


56. Inspire your tween.

Invite her to write and illustrate her own novel and have it published into an actual hardcover book using IlluStory ($29.99).


57. Enter America’s oldest schoolhouse.

Celebrate the history of American colonial life at Historic Richmond Town in Staten Island. Enter the world of an original town and farm museum complex from the mid-17th century. Learn a colonial craft from one of the museum’s costumed interpreters, sample baked goods from the old world, or take a guided tour of the 50-acre complex, including America’s oldest schoolhouse.


58. Make like Tarzan.

long island adventure park

Head for an adventure in the trees at The Adventure Park at the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport, CT, where you’ll find 5 acres of forestland packed with 11 aerial trails, ziplines galore, and 150 elevated bridges and challenge elements. Kids as young as 5 (with an adult) can get in on the action on the easier trails, while those looking for a challenge can choose to tackle the more difficult aerial paths that require more balance, agility, focus, and arm strength. All climbers must use strategy and problem-solving skills to proceed from platform to platform.

-or-

Head for an adventure in the trees at Long Island Adventure Park! With 6 acres of woodland, an all-new aerial ropes course, ziplines, and 10 different trails to choose from, kids ages 7 and older and parents may choose easier trails through the trees or climb to new heights and challenge themselves throughout the day. Reservations are not typically needed, and harnesses are available to guests on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests are also free to roam the grounds free of charge if not climbing, so younger children can accompany the family as long as they are supervised, and you can check out the park in advance to get an idea of what a day entails.


59. Do the dinosaur thing.

At Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, CT, you can see real tracks from the Jurassic period—that’s 200 million years ago!—under a geodesic dome. You might want to time your visit with the Dinosaur Park Day Celebration on Aug. 15, when there will be music, games, crafts and live animal presentations. Pack a lunch, as there are more than 2 miles of nature trails as well as an arboretum at this natural landmark, too. And check out these other dino-inspired ideas.


60. Pow-wow.

Queens County Farm Museum encompasses a 47-acre parcel of farmland including historic farm buildings, a greenhouse complex, livestock, planting fields, an orchard, and herb garden. In July, the museum is hosting the 37th annual Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Pow Wow. Featuring three days of Native American tribal dance competitions, the event will host more than 40 Indian Nations on its grounds.


61. Let them build.

Legoland Discovery Center in Yonkers is an indoor amusement park—the first of its kind in the New York City area—featuring more than 3 million Lego bricks, plus Lego-themed rides and games. Explore New York’s top landmarks made out of Lego bricks, experience the all-new Lego Legends of Chima Movie at the 4-D cinema, or help Professor Brick-a-Brack in the Lego factory. The experience is geared toward children ages 3-10.


62. Buy some (fuzzy) tech insurance.

pillow pets tablet cover

Summer road trips and electronics go together like…well, like kids and electronics go together. The FabTablet plush iPad cover keeps that expensive screen cushioned with the Pillow Pet style she’s come to love ($29.99).


63. Low-tech distractions work, too.

animal planet 3-d flash cards

Some non-electronic portables do wonders at keeping kids occupied on road trips, too. We love the real 3-D photo images on Animal Planet’s 3-D Flash Cards, which bring exotic creatures to life without glasses. They stay together thanks to the handy ring, and wipe clean ($9.99-$11.99).


64. Conquer a unicycle.

First-timers and seasoned one-wheelers alike will enjoy four days of nonstop action on Governors Island at the Unicycle Festival. All abilities and ages are welcome to the festival, featuring long-distance rides, public shows, a learn-to-ride area, and fun workshops from Sept. 3-6.


65. Throw an un-birthday party.

cucpakes with sparklers

Go all the way: Send out invites ahead of time. Then on the day of, make a huge “Happy Unbirthday” sign, blow up balloons, hang streamers, bake an un-birthday cake, and sing. (Since it’s nobody’s birthday, guests can blow out the candles together—better yet, use sparklers left over from the Fourth of July!) Another spin on this idea: A half-birthday party. If your child has a winter birthday, he will probably be over the moon to have an outdoor bash for a change.


66. Scoot and jump.

krusher pro scooter

The Pulse Krusher Pro scooter is designed for doing tricks—but no worries; it’s really solid, with wide handlebars. And kids are resilient—let them teach you ($39.97).


67. Score a hole in one.

Get out on the miniature green this summer! There’s something for everyone, including indoor and outdoor facilities, fun obstacles, and courses for every skill and age level. Up the competition and play not just for bragging rights, but for a free pass from chore duty! Find the best mini-golf courses in the area in our guide.


68. Play hometown tourist.

top of the rock

Take a double-decker tour bus ride in NYC. Go to the Statue of Liberty. Take in the view from the top of the Empire State Building. Look up while walking in Times Square! You get the idea. Find discounts and create an itinerary at cityguideny.com.


69. Flutter over to the zoo.

The Bronx Zoo’s popular butterfly exhibit is open from April-October. Don’t forget another perennial favorite, the farmyard in the children’s zoo.


70. Tie-dye your world.

Or perhaps just a T-shirt or beach towel—though usually, once we get started, we don’t want to stop! Tie-dye is the term for the process of twisting, knotting, and crumpling fabric, binding it with string or elastics, and applying dye to the fabric. Make your own Jimi-inspired tee using food dye.


71. Make your own pops.

If a snack can be adorable, they don’t get any cuter than the whale-shaped treats made with the Zoku Polar Pops Mold ($16.99).


72. Find some slippery relief from the heat.

We love the H2O Go! Water Slide because of its special tough, inflatable launch pad that softens that first belly flop and sets kids off smoothly ($9.99-$24.99).


73. Do nothing.

No screens, no tickets, no outings—just be.


74. Soak up salsa under the stars.

Check out Old Westbury Gardens’ Picnic Pops Summer Concert Series. Stop by on select nights with a picnic and a blanket or chair on the lawn for a dance lesson and concert under the stars. Music styles range from jazz and swing to salsa and funk.


75. Relive your favorite childhood field trip.

The American Museum of Natural History features more than 40 exhibition halls, a state-of-the-art planetarium, a library, and more than 32 million specimens of plants, humans, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, and meteorites. And somehow we take this institution for granted! This summer, AMNH is presenting Water World, a 10-minute Geodome experience which takes visitors on a spectacular ride through the solar system and into the deep oceans to gain a new perspective on our planet’s seas and marine life. The exhibit runs from June 8-11. So get out of the sun and get some culture already. Make sure to read our best tips for visiting the museum with kids before you go!


76. Ditch soda.

curious chef apple slicer

Encourage your child to try water flavored with different ingredients. Include slices of cucumber, lemon, lime, orange, and various berries (raspberry, strawberry, blueberry)—and see which one she likes best. Make the prep work fun with the Fruit and Veggie Prep Kit, which comes with a scrubber, peeler, slicer, and more tools with ergonomic handles and soft touch button grips, including the apple slicer, pictured ($24.99).


77. Have a water balloon fight.

Forget about filling those suckers up one by one—Bunch O Balloons is an idea whose time has come: Prep 100 balloons in just 1 minute, and let the water games begin! ($23.95)


78. See if chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

bellevale farms

Take a day trip up to Bellvale Farm in Warwick, which offers tours of its Orange County dairy farm from April-October. What’s better than taking a selfie with a calf? Maybe tasting the “dangerously addictive” homemade ice cream at Bellvale Creamery on the top of scenic Mount Peter or learning about sustainable agriculture. Maybe make a weekend of it and step onto the Appalachian trail for an invigorating family hike.


79. Revisit the loom.

After last summer’s craze, it seems like the Rainbow Loom has lost some of its appeal. Give it new life by making some cool critters from Loopy Loom Rubber Band Animals by Lucy Hopping (CICO Books; $14.95). Attach this dragonfly to a hair clip for a unique accessory! Go to nymetroparents.com/dragonfly for a complete how-to.


80. Have a 'Hello Party.'

Cut first day of school jitters by hosting new classmates. Let your kids guide the plans and help prepare snacks for the day, but keep the party low-key so kids can get to know one another.


81. Drop in for sports at Chelsea Piers.

The Stamford, CT, facility offers drop-in programs for kids seven days a week, including basketball, volleyball, soccer, hockey, and lacrosse. Hit the Adventure Center for a Jump & Climb Open Session, when kids ages 5-13 split time between the trampoline court and rock-climbing wall. If you’ve got a little gymnast on your hands, bring her by for It’s the Pits when an instructor sets the kids (ages 5-12) loose in the foam pits and on the gymnastics equipment (including an Olympic-sized trampoline). Want to cool down? Splash into the Aquatics Center and hit the splash pool and three water slides (ages 6 months and older; reservations required).

-or-

The Hudson River facility offers drop-in programs for kids at the Field House throughout summer, such as soccer, basketball, and batting cages. On weekends, register your 12- to 16-year-old for Teen Parkour, during which they’ll run, jump, climb, and use acrobatic movements to navigate fun challenges that use the spring floors and foam pits. Or sign up your child (5-16) for Rock-n-Rolls—one session includes 45 minutes each of rock climbing and gymnastics. If you want to make it a family affair, go for indoor ice-skating or bowling.


82. Take in an outdoor concert by the sea at Jones Beach Theatre.

5 Seconds of Summer, anyone? They hit the Nassau County summer stage Sept. 1 and 2. Other popular tickets that may tempt: Bli Summer Jam headlined by Nick Jonas (June 13); Frozen’s Idina Menzel (July 17); and Jimmy Buffet (Aug. 18).

 

13 EXCURSIONS WORTH THE MONEY

...and they pay off in lifelong memories!

 

83. Go: Corning Museum of Glass

corning museum of glass

Kids in a glass factory? Isn’t that like bulls in a china shop? Not at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning—it’s made for family fun. In the summer, the museum hosts Little Gather events, morning programs for little ones featuring storytelling and performances exploring the craft of glass blowing. Every parent we know who’s gone here has said it is well worth the trip, and a better time for the kids than you may think.


84. Go: Great Wolf Lodge

Had enough of wrestling sunscreen onto squirmy kids and drippy sunshirts? It might just be time to head indoors at the Great Wolf Lodge. A short ride across the Pennsylvania border in the Poconos brings you to acres of dome-enclosed fun, with waterslides, a lazy river, a wild wave pool, little kids play area, and wet obstacle courses. You can get breakfast on-site, but consider driving down the road 5 minutes to a Pig in a Pan. The old-fashioned breakfast spot serves everything in a cute cast-iron pan. The prices are great, too.


85. Go: Howe Caverns

Go underground! Howe Caverns is a family destination in Schoharie County that is seriously unique. Explore the crevices and paths of this underground marvel, complete with winding limestone corridors, mysterious grottos, massive rock formations, and an ancient subterranean riverbed. Take the new Signature Rock Discovery tour, which takes visitors behind mysterious dam doors that have been closed to the public for more than 100 years.


86. Go: Block Island

Sail away to Block Island. The Rhode Island getaway features 17 miles of beaches, bike rentals, fishing in the Old Harbor, and tons of programs for kids, including scavenger hunts and “muck rucks” perfect for families looking for some outdoor fun. Daily ferry service is available through August from New London, CT.


87. Go: Surfing!

Catch a wave! New York City may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think about surfing, but there are great spots around the city that cater to beginners. From summer-long surf camps on Rockaway beach to individual lessons on Long Island, find out where to take your kids to hang ten.


88. Go: Crayola Experience

Color them happy. Visit the birthplace of the Crayola crayon in Easton, PA. Re-imagined in 2013, the Crayola Experience features 21 attractions that immerse kids in art and technology while encouraging creativity. Don’t forget to let them make their own personal crayon color.


89. Go: Cape May

Light up your summer at Cape May. The seaside resort village on the south tip of New Jersey offers a rich history, pristine beaches, a lovely promenade, and countless other amenities for families. This July, the Cape May lighthouse will host family fun days. Every Wednesday, enjoy kids’ performers, activities, entertainment & crafts at the 19th century lighthouse.


90. Go: Clamming

shearwater excursion

Head north and go clamming, mateys! Shearwater Excursions, a Nantucket, MA, touring company renowned for memorable family-friendly offerings, now has a coastal clamming trip in addition to its popular whale-watching and fishing cruise options. This one’s worth building a vacation around.


91. Go: Land of Make Believe & Pirate Cove

The mega parks have their place, sure, but if you have little ones, the Land of Make Believe & Pirate Cove in nearby Hope Township, NJ, is a refreshing alternative. Many of us have sweet memories of going there when we were kids! Attractions include the Action River Ride, a new Ferris Wheel, a roller coaster, wading pool, and many pirate-themed rides for mini-buccaneers.


92. Go: Baseball Hall of Fame

Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown during Hall of Fame weekend in July, when the four newest members will be honored. Enjoy four days of celebratory events and programs for baseball fans of all ages—a guaranteed home run!


93. Go: Splish Splash

Dive into the fun at Long Island’s own Splish Splash (voted one of the Best Water Parks in America by the Travel Channel), which features 96 acres of rides—Alien Invasion, Abyss, and Bootleggers are faves—and slides for everyone in the family. You’ll find four kiddie areas as well as relaxing wave rivers and pools to stay cool, and the entire Suffolk County property is landscaped strategically: Any time spent waiting in line is in the shade.


94. Go: Strong National Museum of Play

national toy museum

Take play seriously! Let your children loose at the Strong National Museum of Play, a world devoted solely to play in the Finger Lakes region. The museum blends the best features of both history museums and children’s museums, making it appropriate for parents and children. Kids are indulged with entertainment at the museum with the National Toy Hall of Fame, an indoor butterfly garden, a 1918 working carousel, and a circulating library.


95. Go: Mystic Seaport

Be a seafarer for a day. Located in charming Mystic, CT, the Mystic Seaport is not only a world-renowned living history maritime museum, but also a great family destination. Young sailors can explore the children’s museum, learn to tie knots at the discovery barn, build a toy boat souvenir, or climb aboard the museum’s playscapes.

 

95 days of summer