10 Family Friendly Spots in Gloucester, Massachusetts

Known as “America’s oldest seaport”, Gloucester was the largest fishing port in America in the second half of the 19th century, and one of the top five ports in the world at that time. In addition to its contributions to the fishing industry, Gloucester also produced granite in nearby quarries as well as a thriving art community. Founded in 1623, the city is less than one hour north of Boston, directly on the Atlantic Ocean. Gloucester is one of four communities (Essex, Rockport, and Manchester-by-the-Sea are the other three communities) that make up the Cape Ann district.

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Mystic Seaport in Connecticut

My family has recently been on a nautical kick, with a weekend in New Bedford, Massachusetts and the New Bedford Whaling Museum. During a visit to Mystic, Connecticut a couple of weeks ago, Connecticut we thought we would continue to broaden our sealife knowledge with a visit to the Mystic Seaport.

Mystic Seaport, the largest maritime museum in the United States, was founded in 1929 and now welcomes almost 300,000 visitors and hundreds of school groups each year. It’s conveniently located one mile off Interstate 95, right on the water, in the picturesque town of Mystic, Connecticut. Mystic offers tons of family fun, such as the Mystic Aquarium (check out my post here). Spread out over 19 acres, the Seaport recreates 19th century life in a seafaring village with over 60 different exhibits, buildings, boats and areas to explore.

New Bedford Whaling Museum

New Bedford, the sixth largest city in Massachusetts located about an hour south of Boston, is known as the whaling capital of the world. At the height of the whaling industry in the mid 1850s, New Bedford employed over 10,000 sailors on over 300 ships. There’s no better place to learn about the history of the whaling industry than the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Housed in a building originally built as a bank in 1803, the space was converted into a museum in 1903.  My family recently spent the weekend in New Bedford (you can read about all of our adventures here) and visiting the Whaling Museum was one of our trip highlights. Admission tickets to the museum are valid for two consecutive days, so you can take your time exploring. 

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New Bedford, Massachusetts

New Bedford, a small city located in the southeastern part of Massachusetts (about an hour from Boston), is known as the whaling capital of the world, due to the protected deep water harbor of Buzzard’s Bay and ideal transportation routes. Indeed, New Bedford has a rich history in whaling, fishing, and commerce. At its peak in the mid 1850s, New Bedford employed over 300 ships and 10,000 fisherman.

My family recently took a weekend trip to visit the New Bedford area and were pleasantly surprised by the variety of family friendly activities, even in the “off” winter season. I started my research at DestinationNewBedford.org and found lots of helpful advice.  I printed copies of the Kids Scavenger Hunt for my kids to complete while we were in town, although you can find copies at many local attractions.

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