Child’s Play

By Stacey Marcus

Soon, school will be out for the summer. Families all over are considering where they can travel to make lasting vacation memories. There’s great news on that front: you needn’t go far. New England resorts are brimming with ways to savor summer days with kid-centric activities that range from chasing hermit crabs, zip-lining down mountains, fly fishing, smore-making, swimming in ponds, pools, and the cool blue waters of the Atlantic, and much, much more. We rounded up eight spots that offer an abundance of ways to celebrate the season of fresh air and freedom with your children.

Woodstock Inn & Resort—Woodstock, Vermont

There’s a summer activity for every member of the family at this iconic inn on Main Street in Woodstock, which has been a mainstay since 1892. “From golf to fly fishing and garden tours to spa treatments, both kids and adults will find outdoor adventures, relaxation, and spaces to enjoy time together, such as making s’mores over our oversized fire pit or playing games in our retro game room,” says Courtney Lowe, president of the Woodstock Inn & Resort. Throughout the summer, kids’ camps are held for families staying at the resort. Activities typically include tennis and swimming at the Woodstock Athletic Club, golfing at the Woodstock Country Club, gardening at Kelly Way Gardens, history exploration at Billings Farm & Museum and mountain biking, hiking, and outdoor games.

The Nantucket Hotel—Nantucket, Massachusetts

Nantucket, cooled from the season’s heat by ocean breezes, is in its prime in the summer. One of the most authentically American locales in the nation, Jamie Holmes, the general manager at The Nantucket Hotel, says “being on Nantucket feels like being part of a Norman Rockwell painting. It’s a little old fashioned, fully in bloom, and filled with great restaurants.” The bustling hotel is geared for young families to experience the joys of summer with a kids’ club day program: a full morning of programming, activities, and games with counselors. During the evening program, kids can eat dinner, play outdoor games, and watch a movie while parents enjoy a little time to yourselves!

Omni Mount Washington Resort—Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

When the Mount Washington Hotel first opened in 1902, families would flock from cities for the entire summer for the fresh air, outdoor activities, and bustling social scene. “While their visits are shorter today, guests are still attracted to the same basic comforts which are now enhanced with more modern amenities and activities. From learning something new like fly-casting or sinking the perfect putt, to sharing stories and making s’mores around the fire, we continue the tradition of welcoming generations of families for the simple joy of being together,” says Craig Clemmer, director of sales and marketing. In addition to an 18-golf course, there are tennis courts, horseback riding, and both indoor and outdoor pools. Kids 12 and over can also join in on the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour at the ski resort across the street, for a thrilling adventure featuring nine ziplines, two sky bridges, and three rappels.

Weekapaug Inn—Westerly, Rhode Island

A Relais & Chateaux property, Weekapaug Inn is a natural jewel surrounded by a salt pond and overlooking a barrier beach. Families can enjoy beach walks, boat trips, biking, and bird watching. There are lawn games, crabbing, and kite-flying excursions facilitated by young staff members who act as camp counselors focused on making sure the kids at the inn are having fun. This summer, the inn is offering a special family package that includes an activity with the resort’s naturalist. You can also add pony rides and a VIP experience at the Mystic Aquarium. Fear not if rain is in the forecast: there’s an onsite Hunter boot borrowing closet so families can stay dry while they discover the area during inclement weather.

Mayflower Inn and Spa—Washington, Connecticut

Mayflower Inn & Spa, part of Auberge Resorts, is perfect for families looking to escape to a luxury country retreat. Beyond hiking and meandering around the 58-acres gardens and woodlands, the resort offers outdoor wonder including archery lessons and fly fishing and afternoon picnics along the riverbank. There’s a pool set amid the verdant landscape and tennis courts nearby. Bookworms will love the resort’s partnership with Hickory Stick Bookshop which provides baskets full of books for all ages around the hotel.

Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club – Brewster, Massachusetts

“There is something truly special about a Cape Cod summer! The peak of summer is an amazing time to visit Ocean Edge as the days are long, the air is salty, the beaches welcoming, and the lobster rolls are ready to eat! All seasonal attractions such as whale watching, art galleries, and historical museums are also open and are great to explore after a morning of swimming, hiking, riding, golfing, or lounging at the resort. For family-oriented activities, Ocean Edge’s robust roster includes beach relay races, carnivals, tennis challenges, scavenger hunts, and movie and trivia nights. This summer, the resort is also poised to welcome back its menu of private experiences for families to book, including private oyster bed tours, pickleball, archery, picnics, private dining, tennis, and beach firepits with s’mores and private beach yoga.

Winnetu Oceanside Resort—Edgartown, Massachusetts

With its iconic historic white Federal-style homes and quaint lanes, the village of Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard feels a world away from the mainland. Matt Moore, Winnetu’s general manager, describes Edgartown as a place with unspoiled natural beauty, “with retro charm that makes you feel nostalgic for a time that has slowly disappeared from our everyday lives. In summary, it is picture perfect.” Complimentary kids’ programs feature beach treasure hunts, arts and crafts made from natural elements, water relays, and field games. Save Wednesdays for family clambakes where you can enjoy classic Vineyard fare complete with acapella, sunset s’mores, and stargazing. Make sure to hop on the antique firetruck or wood paneled Winnetu Jitney!

Spruce Point Inn—Boothbay Harbor, Maine

Situated on 55 acres of coast and pine forest on a peninsula in Boothbay Harbor, Spruce Point Inn inspires families to relax and play the old-fashioned way: unplugged and outdoors. The slice of nirvana is within miles of hiking trails, offers a fleet of complimentary kayaks, and has two swimming pools including one just for kids! In addition to a game room in its recreation hall, the inn also offers a selection of day and evening programs for kids to make friends, play games, and get out and explore nature. One of its popular programs is its marine biology field trip, which brings kids out into nature to go “tide-pooling” for sea critters from baby lobsters to hermit crabs. Be sure to take the crew into the village to enjoy ice cream cones, sailboat cruises in the harbor, whale watching, and oyster farm tours.

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