5 family-friendly February break day trips across Massachusetts

Gas up the car.

The carousel at the Lowell Winterfest
Lowell Winterfest will include carousel rides. Tory Germann/courtesy City of Lowell

February vacation is Feb. 18-22 for most Boston-area schools, which means it’s fast approaching. That also means parents will be looking for ways to fill up the days. Why not gas up the car and explore another area of the state for a day? Here are five Massachusetts day trip ideas that are chock-full of family-friendly fun.

Make some magic in Springfield

It’s going to be a magical week at Springfield Museums in downtown Springfield — literally. The museums are hosting a program called “Magic at the Museums” from Feb. 18-22, bringing several acts to the campus. Your children can try their hand at magic tricks, step into a wizard photo booth, watch strolling magicians, see theatrical shows, join a magical scavenger hunt, and more at the campus museums throughout the week. Admission to Springfield Museums includes entry into The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum, the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, the Springfield Science Museum, the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History, and the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden. Looking to add some outdoor frolicking to your Springfield visit? Then check out the kid-friendly events taking place at Forest Park from Feb. 18-21.

Compete in a boat-making contest in Newburyport

Do your children love boats and pirates and everything having to do with the sea? Then head to Newburyport, where the Custom House Maritime Museum will host Family Fun Days from Feb. 19-22. There will be so much for kids to do throughout the week, from discovering how sailors navigate the ocean to hearing stories about constellations to completing a museum scavenger hunt using a compass. During a boat-making contest, prizes will be awarded to the top aluminum-foil boats that can hold the most pennies without sinking. If all of that maritime fun makes you hungry, your family can have lunch at one of several restaurants in downtown Newburyport’s Market Square Historic District.


Notchview in the Berkshires

Families can go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at Notchview in the Berkshires.

Go snowshoeing in the Berkshires

If an outdoor adventure is what your family is craving, you can travel to the Berkshires, where Notchview in Windsor offers 25 miles of groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. There are plenty of organized lessons for kids taking place throughout vacation week, including a learn-to-ski package that includes rental equipment, a group lesson, and a ticket good for the whole day. After you’ve had your fill of the outdoors, you can head to Pittsfield’s Berkshire Museum for the Ten Days of Play Festival, taking place Feb. 16-26. During the festival, the regular admission price also includes access to additional interactive activities for kids.

Do farm chores on Martha’s Vineyard

Families that are all about farm animals should catch the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard on Feb. 20. Your little farmers-in-training can spend the day learning how a farm works at the “February Farmer for a Day” event at the Farm Institute at Katama Farm in Edgartown. The 162-acre farm, which provides year-round farm-based educational programs, is home to animals such as cows, sheep, turkeys, and about 300 laying hens. Kids will get a taste of a farmer’s life by completing farm chores, collecting eggs, and helping out in the garden. Pre-registration is required. Once you wrap up on the farm, you can meet more animals before catching the ferry home — this time, alpacas at the Island Alpaca Co. of Martha’s Vineyard in Oak Bluffs. If you call ahead, you can even arrange to take an alpaca for a walk.

Hop on a carousel in Lowell

Cap off your children’s February break with a winter festival full of ice skating, live music on two stages, and carousel and horse-drawn carriage rides. It’s all happening at Lowell Winterfest in downtown Lowell from Feb. 22-23. A “family fun zone” will include games, face painting, balloon twisting, sing-alongs, crafts, and magic and puppet shows. Hungry festivalgoers can choose from several food trucks, or pop into an all-you-can-eat chocolate festival at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church. For more family-friendly fun in Lowell, check out Lowell Kids Week from Feb. 18-23, which will include more than 40 free, family-friendly programs.