7 Fun and Inexpensive New England Day Trips

It’s mid-August, the summer sun is still inviting, the kids still seem to have boundless energy and… you are sick of the beach. How to keep the kiddos outside and entertained, but not doing the same old thing you’ve been doing all summer? Here are some sunny day New England day trips for you and your family to get you through this homestretch before school is back in session. Each of these choices are budget-friendly, out in nature, and the perfect places to inspire great ideas and new adventures.

New England Day Trips

A Little Bit of History: Minute Man National Park

Concord, MA

Price: Free!

If you have never been up Route 2 and visited the little town of Concord, this is the perfect time to go. Locals and tourists alike meander the Minute Man Trails and experience the history of the opening salvos of the Revolution with each footstep. The Old North Bridge offers plenty of parking, often a Minute Man or Red Coat in full gear, and friendly, knowledgeable Park Rangers. It’s also a wonderful place to people watch: visitors come from all over the world to see the bridge and surrounding monuments!


New England Day Trips

A Pet-Friendly Bucolic Stroll: The Carlisle Cranberry Bog

Carlisle, MA

Price: Free!

Off the beaten path but totally worth it, this working cranberry bog is breathtaking, dog friendly, and a stimulating stroll. Wild plants and pleasant waterways offer gorgeous views as you walk the many trials. Have budding photographers or artists in the family? Pack a picnic and your supplies because there is plenty of inspiration just ready to be captured. Have a pup in need of a new place to explore? This is the perfect place for responsible pet lovers to bring their trained buddies for a day out!


New England Day Trips

Enchantment Under the Canopy: The Garden in the Woods

Framingham, MA

Price: $12 Adults, $6 Kids (Protip: Check your local library for a museum pass. Some offer 50% adult tickets and $1 admission passes for kids)

Don’t let the admission price discourage you! This immaculately curated wild-flower garden offers shade on a sunny day, stunning views, and trails that will give you a hearty workout. Get the bingo card for the kids and let them explore! There is a magical kids section deep within and plenty of little wonders along the way.


New England Day Trips
© MitchellGreenPhotography.com

The Biggest and Best Treehouse: Discovery Woods at the Discovery Museums

Acton, MA

Price: $12.50 Adults, $12.50 Kids (Protip: Check your local library for a museum pass. Some offer 50% admission tickets for both kids and adults)

A hidden gem and local treasure, the Discovery Museums are modernizing and growing with a newly renovated Science museum later this year. In the meantime, the brand new treehouse is the ideal spot for high-energy exploration and play, with plenty of activities run by warm and caring staff members. Plenty of parking, more than enough to do, and a treehouse so special you really feel like you’re in the treetops. The best part? Every single part of the treehouse is fully accessible and designed with kids of all abilities in mind. This is the perfect place to spend a sunny day!


© Andrew Watson

Art, Unsheltered: deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum

Lincoln, MA

Price: $14 Adults, Kids under 12 free! (Protip: Yup, that’s right, your local library might have a pass for this one, too. Reduced admission for up to 4 adults.)

When art meets nature, wonderful things can happen. The deCordova is the perfect place to get out and explore under the sun and be inspired by incredible art. Take your time exploring the different pieces and look for the places where nature and art seem to blend in perfect harmony.


New England Day Trips

Butterfly Gardens and the Sandy Shore: Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary

Price: $4 Adults, $3 Kids

On the Cape already? Heading down yet again? Long Pasture offers the perfect active alternative to a lazy beach day. The butterfly garden is full of plants you’ve probably never seen, and the winding woodland trails offer moments of spectacular views. It’s true that there is a marshy place with sand and surf for those who need it… but you can visit and enjoy without it if you want to! Make sure to say hello to the goats!


New England Day Trips

Bonus! A Moonlit Sonata: Waterfire Providence

Downtown Providence, RI

Price: Event free. You’ll have to pay for parking. (Protip: Get there early!)

Have kids who can stay up a little late? Head down to Providence for an early dinner and then stroll down to the Riverwalk for Waterfire, a festive art installation in the heart of the city that features over 80 woodfire lit basins. The sweet smell of burning wood, the light shining across the water, the music in the air and the entertainers doing everything from dancing to eating fire is otherworldly. There is nothing else like it in New England and it’s totally worth the trip. The next full lighting is September 3rd.


If you’re feeling like this is the home stretch, or if you are trying to savor every moment left during the care-free days of summer, this list offers plenty of budget-friendly choices for your next great family adventure. Be sure to practice good sun safety while out for these last days of play!

Already planning your next sunny-day trip? Take pictures and share them with us on Facebook! We want to know where you go! Have recommendations for next year’s New England day trips list? Post on our page! We want to know where fellow New Englanders frolic under the sun!


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