It’s officially summer! 11 things to check out with kids while vacationing or stay-cationing…
While vacationing or staying around home this summer with your kids, take the time to catch some of the hottest local activities. Here’s a list of 11 things to get you thinking and started ~ and some of them are absolutely FREE!
1. Beaches, Lakes, , Rivers, Swimming Holes, Bluffs: Be sure to check out local listings for public access, fees, parking, concession availability, ease of access with children, water quality, safety of surf, lifeguard hours, rules/regulations/information regarding what you can bring to the site. There may even be a “jumping bridge ” that becomes a family rite of summer. The above photo is our own Jane, at age 10, jumping off the famous bridge at Martha’s Vineyard… something she’s done each of many, many years since!
2. Parades: Research local parades. Big, medium or small, a Parade is a summer standard in many communities, most with local flavor. Check out times, routes, access to seating, parking, restroom facilities, food vendors, cancellation policies. Just bring your sunblock, hats and cheering voices!
3. Fireworks: Who doesn’t love these colorful celebrations in the sky? Check out dates, times, access, parking and most definitely cancellation policies due to weather. Locals will tell you the best places to enjoy the sights and sounds.
4. Art: Towns and cities love showcasing their galleries, big or small. Check out schedules of openings and exhibits, times, guided tours and be sure to prep kids on gallery etiquette. These visits may inspire a love of the artistic process. Also check out local Gallery Night Series. Summer is a great time for these wonderful gallery events, and trollies are often the mode of transportation from gallery to gallery. Kids love trollies!
5. Museums/Historical & Preservation Societies: Towns and cities love showcasing their museums and societies. Museums and their collections can take anywhere from a half hour to an entire week to explore. Be sure to research the collections of museums you wish to tour, and give kids a “heads’ up” as to what you’ll expect to see. Check out featured exhibits as well, most found on the museum/society websites; along with times of operation, fees, parking, access to cafes/restaurants inside the museum. You’ll be surprised at how much information kids will take away from just one museum summer visit.
6. Festivals/Strolls/Flea Markets: Ah, the outdoors summer festival, stroll or flea market. Local festivals/strolls/flea markets embody the spirit of summer – Art, Crafts, Flowers, Food, Heritage, Historic Homes, Music, Workshops or a combination of the above and so much more. Check out dates, times, parking, fees, size/distance of the festival/stroll/flea market for potentially bringing your own picnic goodies and/or strollers, etc. Lots of festivals/strolls/flea markets have websites to check out for more details.
7. Sports: Check out local or close-by sporting events, stadiums, histories of local teams. Baseball may be the traditional sport of summer, but soccer games, polo grounds/tournaments, golf courses/tournaments, tennis facilities/tournaments, sailing schools (and canoeing, kayaking, white water rafting, surfing, jet skiing, water skiing, rowing) are but a few activities to explore and/or discover “how-to”. Check out hiking trails, mountain climbing, zip lines, bike paths, bird watching adventures. Look for local 5ks; most have kids’ races as well. Check out event times, cancellation policies, admission fees, parking, access to equipment rental, handicapped access. Kids love getting out there!
8. Children’s Workshops: Gardening, Farming, Woodworking, Arts & Crafts, Cooking, Music, Performance… and so much more. Local schools, theaters, colleges, libraries, museums, wildlife refuges, environmental centers, nature conservancies offer summer-long programs for kids. Check out times, fees, age-appropriate classes for registration. Workshops are great ways to introduce your kids to new endeavors in a fun atmosphere.
9. Theater: Summer musicals and theater geared to youth and children’s entertainment ~ with performances during the day ~ are wonderful opportunities to let your kids’ imaginations soar. Check out local performances, admission fees, parking, age-appropriate content. Some of these performances are interactive as well… even better!
10. Music: Summer is the time for outdoor concerts. From famous performers to local music groups, Summer Concert Series are perfect for outdoor fun for the family. Big cities and the smallest towns love to showcase talent in a fun, family-friendly, often reasonably priced or free venue. Bring your blankets, pack your picnics and sunblock and go!
11. The Great Adventures: Take your kids on a ferry cruise, train adventure, helicopter ride, river ride, tourist trolley around a brand new city. Most of these adventures require reservations, so check out the local websites and hit the Road. Rails. Water. And sky.
But most of all, have FUN!