City Guide: 11 Ways to Explore Cape Cod in the Winter

I was lucky enough to grow up less than 40 minutes from Cape Cod and spent many a summer day on the Cape’s iconic beaches. However, the Cape is a beautiful spot to visit anytime of year and the winter season offers a peaceful, calmer pace of relaxation. We recently spent part of our holiday on the Cape and we found plenty of family friendly attractions still open and offering special events and activities. Some of these attractions do close for a period in January or February, so we’ll suggest visiting for a holiday or after the February break, and always check online or call ahead of time to confirm hours. 

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10 Ways to Explore the Cape Cod National Seashore

The Cape Cod National Seashore is one of the most popular spots on the Cape, attracting 4.5 million visitors each year. The 43,608 acres of the Seashore are spread out across six towns and on both the Cape Cod Bay and Atlantic Ocean sides of Cape Cod, the “flexed arm” of Massachusetts. Overseen by the National Park Service and established in 1961, the National Seashore encompasses 40 miles of beach, 12 self guided hiking trails, six public beaches (Coast Guard, Nauset Light, Marconi, Head of the Meadow, Race Point, and Herring Cove), 6 lighthouses, three biking trails, fishing and hunting, and two Visitor Centers (Province Lands  and Salt Marsh).  The Visitor Centers are free to visit, as are many ranger led programs and activities, and showcase the history of the Cape, beginning with the English pilgrims who arrived at Provincetown on the Mayflower in November of 1620 . Visiting National Park Service sites (there are over 400!) are one of our favorite activities in a new spot and we really enjoyed our recent to the area. Most people explore the Seashore during peak summer months, but there is still plenty to see and do during the quieter winter months.

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City Guide: St Augustine, Florida

Located in the northern part of Florida, St Augustine has the distinction of being known as the oldest continually occupied European settlement in North America. It was founded in 1565 by Pedro Menendez and his soldier and colonists, fifty years after Ponce de Leon claimed the area now known as Florida for Spain in the early 1500s. St. Augustine was under Spanish rule until 1763 when Britain took over for 20 years, followed again by Spain until the United States took over in 1821. Florida later became a state in 1845. The St. Augustine area became popular with tourists in the 1820s as a spot to escape cold northern winters, and the popularity grew when Standard Oil co-founder Henry Flagler founded the Florida East Coast Railway and began building hotels, churches, and a hospital throughout the area. Today, St. Augustine is a popular spot to be immersed in rich history and culture and the city offers plenty of family friendly adventures. 

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5 Ways to Explore the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St. Augustine, Florida

The oldest masonry fort in the United States, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument was built from 1672 to 1695 (with various interrupted breaks due to disease and conflict) to guard St Augustine, the first permanent European settlement, from both pirates and English troops. The fort was made from local coquina shell stone quarried in the area that is now Anastasia State Park and is up to 19 feet thick in some ocean side walls. The shell-stone walls helped up against cannon firing and helped the Spanish protect the fort.   In 1821, the United States acquired Florida from Spain and renamed the fort Fort Marion, later adding Florida’s first golf course on the grounds in 1895, and then declared a national monument in 1924. After being deactivated in 1933, the 21 acre fort was used as a US Coast Guard training base during World War II. The fort celebrated its centennial in 2016.

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15 Free Things to Do in Boston with Kids

I have shared many times that Beantown is my hometown, and I often bring my family “home” to Boston. We have tons of posts on things to do in Boston (our Boston City Guide is a good place to start).  Summer is an especially fun time to explore Boston, as there are so many family friendly attractions near the Harbor waterfront. This week, we’re sharing 15 free things to do throughout the Boston area. Some of these attractions are free all year, but many activities cater to the warmer weather. 

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10 Family Friendly Winter Activities in Woodstock, Vermont

Woodstock, Vermont is a quintessential New England town. Located one hour south of the Vermont capital of Montpelier and just over two hours from Boston, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut, Woodstock has a population of just over 3,000 but swells with visitors in both the popular foliage and summer seasons. Many of the activities center around nature: skiing, hiking, fishing, biking, and swimming, but there are also plenty of historical museums, hands-on centers, tons of family fun, and plenty of beautiful shops (if the kids can be entertained). We visited Woodstock in the summertime many years ago, but found that winter is also a great time to visit when we returned last month. While fact checking logistics, we found woodstockvt.com helpful with places to explore, dining and shopping suggestions, and  calendars of events.

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