Got kids? It can be quite difficult to find great vacation spots when traveling with kids. The East Coast has tons of kid-friendly places to explore. No matter how far or near the East Coast you live, this list has you covered. From cities perfect for history lovers to the best places for fun-loving kids or families looking to explore the outdoors, the East Coast has it all.
Places to Go with Kids on the East Coast
Baltimore is an amazing city to explore especially with kids. There is just so much to do here. Families can check out the Port Discovery Children’s Museum located in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. It is a museum dedicated to providing kids with educational and engaging experiences through interactive exhibits and activities. The museum features a climbing structure called the SkyClimber, a water area called the Wonders of Water, shops like the Royal Farms convenience store to provide role-playing opportunities, and more.
Next families can explore the Baltimore National Aquarium which is one of the top indoor play places in Maryland. Kids love to explore the variety of aquatic exhibits available such as the Tropical RainForest, Atlantic Coral Reef, Blacktip Reef, etc.
Be sure to check out the Dolphin exhibits and catch a show if you can, your kids would love it.
Orlando, FL is a popular tourist location, especially during the summertime. It is popularly known for its world-class theme parks, family-friendly attractions, and a wide range of activities for kids. A few popular spots to explore include the Walt Disney Resort which is a magical experience filled with exciting characters, attractions, and tons of fun entertainment.
Next, LegoLand is a must-visit as well. It has rides, shows, and several exhibits. If you take a vacation here, be sure to book a room at the LegoLand hotel, it’s an experience you do not want your kids to miss.
There are also tons of great day trip opportunities from Orlando!
Rochester, New York
A stop at Rochester, NY is sure to blow your mind. Take a trip down to the Strong National Museum of Play which is the ultimate play place for all kids. It is a huge space with tons of interactive exhibits for kids. Depending on the ages of your kids, you could spend an entire day exploring different exhibits.
If you have less time, look at the map and plan out the exhibits appropriate for each age group of your kids. A few favorite exhibits include the butterfly garden, zip-lining, video game Hall of Fame, Wegman’s shop, and more.
Another great stop here is the Seabreeze Amusement Park which offers visitors over 60 attractions including thrilling roller coasters, family rides, kiddie rides, and a waterpark.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a city rich in history and culture, and there are plenty of family-friendly activities to enjoy. The Philadelphia zoo is a very popular place to spend some hours exploring. It is known as America’s first zoo and is in close proximity to a lot of great parks and things to do. The zoo features over 1,300 animals, interactive exhibits, and a kid-friendly petting zoo.
The Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia is another kids favorite where there are no barriers to touching anything. Kids are allowed to explore and just be kids while here. It was designed specifically for young children and offers interactive exhibits and hands-on activities that encourage learning through play.
Richmond is a great city in Virginia to add to your vacation list. With plenty of family and kid-friendly activities, it’s sure to be a hit.
There is the Children’s Museum of Richmond which features interactive exhibits and play areas that engage kids in learning through play. Kids especially love the arts section with lots of arts and crafts opportunities for kids. It even has a carousel and a pretend doctor’s office, an ambulance, a pretend shop area, and more.
Right next to the Children’s Museum is the Science Museum of Virginia which provides interactive exhibits on science and technology. It includes The Dome Theater which offers science-related films for families.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is also a calming place for families and is known as a botanical garden.
One of the most popular attractions in Annapolis is the United States Naval Academy which showcases naval history. Kids can explore ship models, artifacts, and exhibits related to naval traditions and more.
The Chesapeake Children’s Museum is a small museum but full of hands-on exhibits and activities focused on science, the environment, and the arts. It has an arts section, a doctor’s office, a costume theater area, little animals exhibit sections, etc.
If you have a sweet tooth, the Annapolis Ice Cream Company has some of the best ice cream ever. The flavors change regularly and the staff is very friendly.
This is a fantastic destination for families that offers a ton of culture and activities. The famous Busch Gardens is located here and features huge roller coasters, live shows, and kid-friendly attractions for everyone.
Right next to Busch Gardens is the Water Country USA which is an amazing water park with water slides, lazy rivers, and splash zones which are great especially in the hot summer months.
Boston is a paradise for family fun. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, this city has a lot of kid-friendly activities.
Guests can start the day at the New England Aquarium which is home to thousands of aquatic animals, from the giant Pacific octopus to little blue penguins. One of the highlights is a massive, four-story ocean tank featuring a coral reef replica that is home to sharks, sea turtles, and an array of colorful fish.
Another thing to not miss out on is the Boston Children’s Museum which focuses on hands-on learning for kids through play. It has a ton of exhibits from exploration of art, science, and culture to environmental awareness.
Also read: Best day trips from Boston
Outer Banks, North Carolina
If you’re planning a family vacation, Outer Banks, North Carolina may just be the place for you. With its beaches, parks, and a ton of kid-friendly activities, it just might be the perfect getaway for families with kids.
Check out the Jockey’s Ridge State Park which is the largest natural sand dune on the East Coast. Kids will love climbing the dunes and hang gliding.
Learn the history of the Outer Banks at the Roanoke Island Festival Park which features a 16th-century ship, Elizabeth II, and a reconstructed Native American village.
Atlanta, Georgia is a favorite when it comes to activities for kids. There is the Georgia Aquarium which is one of the largest aquariums in the world. Kids will love the exhibits featuring beluga whales, dolphins, penguins, and tons of other aquatic life.
Kids can spend the day exploring the Zoo Atlanta, home to over 1,000 animals from around the world. Some fun exhibits at the zoo include the giant panda habitat, the African Savanna, and a variety of interactive experiences.
Check out the Fernbank Museum of Natural History and explore exhibits on dinosaurs, gems, and minerals, as well as the outdoor WildWoods and Fernbank Forest.
Another city in Georgia is the city of Savannah which also is great for kids.
Your kids would love checking out Forsyth Park where they can play on the playground, explore the Fragrant Garden, and enjoy the open spaces. There’s also a large fountain at the north end of the park that’s perfect for taking walks.
Although it’s a short drive from Savannah, Oatland Island Wildlife Center is a nature preserve and educational facility. Kids can see native wildlife up close, including wolves, alligators, and various birds.
Washington DC although known for the monuments and all things government is great for kids. DC offers a great mix of educational and entertaining attractions to go through for several days.
The Smithsonian museums which are typically free provide great educational opportunities for kids and are usually field trips for schools.
A few favorites for kids include the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, and the National Children’s Museum.
The National Air and Space Museum is a perfect space for kids with a curiosity about aviation and space exploration. It has hands-on exhibits and flight simulators.
DC also has the National Zoo which is free and has over 2000 animals for kids to explore. In the summer months, take advantage of the city’s splash parks and playgrounds, such as Canal Park or Yards Park, where kids can cool off and play.
Bar Harbor, Maine
When you think of family-friendly vacation spots, Bar Harbor, Maine, might not be the first location that springs to mind, but it should be!
The Acadia National Park is a nice place to explore and is just minutes away from Bar Harbor. It has family-friendly trails like the Jordan Pond Path or the Asticou that are great for hiking.
Visit the Abbe Museum to learn about the Native American history and culture of the Wabanaki people. They also have hands-on exhibits and storytelling sessions.
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
This is an ideal vacation choice for those seeking a combination of relaxation and adventure. It has a mile-long boardwalk, lined with lots of eateries, shops, and amusement arcades that the kids will absolutely love!
Not far from Rehoboth is the Delaware Seashore State Park which has about six miles of ocean and bay shoreline. This park offers excellent opportunities for fishing, swimming, and bird-watching.
A summer visit to Rehoboth is not complete without stopping at Jungle Jim’s, Delaware’s largest water park. With wave pools, water slides, and a lazy river, it brings a day of water-soaked fun for the whole family. For those who prefer dry land, there’s also a fun mini-golf course and a bumper boat pool.
White Mountains, New Hampshire
The White Mountains in New Hampshire offer a ton of family-friendly activities and natural wonders for everyone.
Check out Story Land which is a delightful amusement park designed specifically for young kids. The park comes to life with storybook characters, thrilling rides, and interactive play areas.
There is Clark’s Trading Post, a family-friendly attraction featuring trained bear shows, a steam train ride, and a variety of museums.
Finally, for an educational outing, visit Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves. Kids can navigate the boardwalks, cross the suspension bridge, and explore the caves while learning about the geology and ecology of the area.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
While in Virginia Beach, take a stroll along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, enjoy the street performers, and the beautiful views of the Ocean. Kids will love playing on the sandy shores and even play tons of games while on the beach.
The Virginia Aquarium deserves a stop too, although if you have been to the Baltimore National Aquarium, it’s not as big.
By the beach, there are tons of restaurants such as Chick’s oyster bar, Waterman’s Surfside Grille, Bubba’s seafood restaurant, etc.
Hilton Head, South Carolina
Hilton Head, South Carolina, is a family-friendly vacation destination filled with activities that kids are bound to love. It has a nice balance of outdoor activities, water adventures, and family-friendly attractions.
The city is known for its extensive bike paths and kids can ride their bikes or rent bikes to explore the variety of trails.
The Coastal Discovery Museum is also located here and features exhibits, nature trails, and programs about the island’s unique ecosystems.
Ocean City, Maryland
This is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the East Coast and if you visit, you would see why. The boardwalk is about 3 miles long and is full of lots of entertainment, places to eat, hotels, and more. Ocean City is also full of lots of fun things for kids to do and even for adults. Kids will love the arcades, amusement rides, and the famous Trimper’s Rides and Jolly Roger amusement park on the boardwalk.
Not far from Ocean City is the popular Assateague Island National Seashore known for its wild ponies that roam around freely on the island. Kids will definitely love watching them. Pro tip, take mosquito spray as there tends to be lots of mosquitos around.
For visitors who just want to chill out, the beach is a great spot to be at. Kids can build sandcastles, play beach games, and take a dip in the ocean.
As you can see, the East Coast is a paradise full of educational and fun-filled destinations suitable for children. From the magical wonderland of Disney World in Florida to historical landmarks in Washington D.C, and the Acadia National Park in Maine, there’s something for every child.
- East to West Coast by bike
- Florida facts
- Maryland for outdoor lovers
- Florida, the Sunshine State
- Best places to see Fall colors in the USA
- Visiting the 50 States in 50 days