6 fun things to do with kids in Boston in May

by | May 7, 2017 | Best of Boston, latest sessions, Tips and Tricks | 0 comments

Although it is torrentially pouring outside my office window as I type this blog post, it is finally May and I do believe the fear of snow is behind us and there are lots of warm sunny days in the near future!  As I drive around town I find myself completely distracted by all the amazing trees blooming in everyone’s yards right now (Yes, that’s me going 20 mph with my head hanging out the window).  Fall is still my favorite season in Boston, but spring is definitely a close second!

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for some adventures in the Boston area that are kid friendly, so I am continuing my “Boston Adventures with Kids” series by putting together a list of fun Boston activities for the month of May!  Who knows, maybe your family’s path will cross ours on one of these outings??

 1.  Go for a walk, hike, bike, stroll at the Arnold Arboretum!  

It’s funny, when I moved from Roslindale to Needham, I thought OH it’s the suburbs, I can’t wait to see what kind of green spaces we will have to explore!! But then we got here, and I quickly realized that nothing can hold a candle to the 281 acre Arnold Arboretum in Roslindale/JP!!  Thank goodness we are still just a 15 minute drive away.  It is truly one of my favorite places on earth to go with my clients and with my family.   There is so much to explore that you can’t possibly see it all in one visit so plan to hit this spot a few times this year.

Boston Arnold arboretum photographer

Cara’s TIP:  If you’re looking for a place to ride the bikes, or for your kids to LEARN to ride their bikes, park at the intersection of Bussey and South Street and enter at the Bussey Street Gate.  This is just a short walk to a long strip of very flat paved road.  Perfect for new riders.

Looking for a short challenging walk and a great view of Boston?  Park on Mendum Street and enter at the Mendum Street Gate.  Once inside the gate, take a left and hike up Peter’s Hill. There are a few large rocks at the top where you can sit and take in the view…

2.  Stop and smell the lilacs!

OK, the Arnold Arboretum is so great, it gets two mentions in this blog post.  Every year, on Mother’s Day the arboretum hosts a “lilac festival” which (fingers crossed) coincides with all the amazing lilac trees in peak bloom!  Did you know that lilacs come in purple, pink and white, too?  Just walking down the path is a treat for the senses as the intoxicating smell wafts all over the path.

Cara’s TIP:  This is the ONLY day the Arboretum allows you to bring in FOOD!  So be sure to pack a blanket and a picnic lunch or plan to eat from one of the 20 food trucks scheduled to be on site.  See the Arboretum website for a full schedule of events and more details.

Boston maternity photographer

Beautiful maternity session at the peak of lilac season!

3.  Watch a rubber duckie race

This one is technically out of town, but I wanted to include it because it’s sounds so strange and fun at the same time!  The Wildquack Duck River Festival is an annual fundraiser held in Jackson, NH on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.  There are tons of activities and admission is FREE and one of the main events is the Wildquack Duck Race!

Cara’s TIP:  When you get tired of all the rubber ducks, Storyland is just 6 miles up the road!  Purchase your park tickets after 3pm and you can use them again the next day!

4.  Watch a duck parade!

Speaking of ducks, I couldn’t write a post about kids activities in Boston in May without a shoutout to Duckling Day in the Boston Public Garden!  This event also takes place on Mother’s Day every year and is a sight to see, with over 1,000 people gathering together to parade through the Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden dressed like characters from Robert McCloskey’s classic book “Make Way for Ducklings”.   Since my toddler has been going through a “dress up like a chicken” phase, I think it could be appropriate to hit this event this year! (ducks.. chickens.. same thing??)

Boston Children's Photographer

5.  Head for the islands.

Beginning May 13th, ferry service opens to the Boston Harbor Islands!  My family has only explored George’s Island so far and the kids had a blast exploring all the tunnels in Fort Warren, a Civil war-era fort.  Stories about the Lady in Black that supposedly haunts the fort were enough to keep me a little on edge all afternoon, but the kids loved every minute of it.

Cara’s TIP:  If you go to George’s Island, bring a flashlight!! The forts are super fun to explore, but they are very dark!!  I saw lots of people using their iPhone flashlights, but they weren’t really bright enough.  We brought a flashlight with us, but I think the kids would love to wear headlamps next time.  There are full service cafes on both islands (and the food tastes pretty good!) so no need to bring your own lunch if you’d like to travel light.

6.  Go for a paddle.  

This activity is perhaps the one I’m most excited about this year!  Our family has been toying with the idea of buying a canoe for a while. I did a little research and decided it would be a good idea to first get our feet wet by getting a season pass at Charles River Canoe & Kayak.  We’ll get to check out all four of their locations and try out all their different types of boats before investing in our own.  I’m really excited about the potential for some beautiful and peaceful scenes out on the water!

Charles River Canoe

on the river circa 2011, pre-Charlie!!

Cara’s TIP:  If you ever decide you want to give your spouse a canoe membership for Christmas, you can buy this super cute custom ornament as a way to unveil the news!  Paddling season begins this weekend I can’t wait to get out there.  Also am curious to see how this all works out with a toddler in my boat.  😉

I hope you enjoyed this month’s roundup of activities and you are inspired to go out adventuring with your family!!




Cara Soulia is a Boston Newborn & Family Photographer living in Needham, MA.  Cara is a mom of three and loves to get out of the house (so her kids don’t drive her crazy with their whining and fighting) and explore hidden gems in and around the lovely city of Boston, Massachusetts.  Get in touch with Cara to find out more about scheduling your family’s next photo session!