With its small-town feel, historic landmarks, and beautiful parks, we happen to think Reading, MA, is a great place to live—or to visit! As temperatures rise and kids begin their summer break, you may find yourself looking for new activities for your family to enjoy. This may be the second summer of social distancing, but keeping your family entertained doesn’t have to be a struggle! In fact, since businesses and individuals have had a chance to adapt to new social distancing practices, there are still plenty of places you can visit and activities you can take part in to create lifelong happy memories. Here are 10 of our favorite places to visit during summer in and around Reading, MA.
If you’re looking for a great place to spend the day outside, Lake Quannapowitt is one of the best parks near Reading, MA, you can go! Not only is the lake gorgeous, but it offers stunning sunsets each day and plenty of activities to keep you busy. There are walking trails around the lake, paddle boat rentals, volleyball courts, and two playgrounds, as well as plenty of open grass for you to set up a picnic or a game of your own! Plus, since it’s outside, there’s plenty of space to allow you and your family to social distance without feeling like you can’t do everything you’d like!
A well-known local bookstore, Whitelam Books has the welcoming atmosphere that comes from a small business with personalized touches. Its extensive and cozy kids’ section makes it a great place to take the family or to go by yourself for a bit of a breather. As relaxing as an afternoon spent in a bookstore can be, Whitelam Books also hosts regular community events—including virtual book clubs and author events!
You don’t have to worry about social distancing, either. The store is limiting the number of people allowed inside at one time and requiring everyone to wear a mask and wash their hands. Additionally, they’ve kindly put aside Wednesdays for high-risk customers or people who feel more comfortable without others in the store to make appointments so that everyone can shop safely and happily!
No list of great places to visit during the summer would be complete without Reading Town Forest. The 290-acre forest was planted in 1930 by locals, including Boy Scouts, and is now a fully mature forest with plenty of great hiking and biking trails. The park also has part of the Ipswich River running through it, making it a truly gorgeous place to take your family for a hike in a nearby corner of nature! Plus, the park is very dog-friendly, so you can easily bring the four-legged members of your family along.
Museums allow kids to get out of the house, have a blast, and learn all at once. Simply seeing your children have so much fun makes it entertaining for you, too, so museums make for a great family outing. The Discovery Museum has plenty of exhibits that let your child explore and learn, including a wide range of outdoor exhibits.
Plus, the museum offers free admission on the first Friday night of each month during the school year (see the website for times and exceptions), so you can visit all the exhibits your family is interested in without worrying about the price! The museum does require everyone to reserve tickets in advance and has a few social distancing rules, but your family will still be able to enjoy a day out engaging in active learning.
Everyone loves a good sweet treat, right? One of our favorite places to satisfy our sweet tooth is The Gingerbread Construction Co. They have so many fresh baked goods, including gingerbread men and absolutely massive muffins. We recommend the carrot cake and gingerbread muffins—they’re delicious! Just make sure that your entire family does a great job of brushing and flossing their teeth after your sweet treat.
Revere Beach is a little bit of a drive from Reading, MA, but it’s the perfect place to spend a hot summer afternoon. It has all the fun of other public beaches, easy access to public transportation, and free parking along the street. Since it’s outside, it’s easy to stay socially distanced even if there are a fair number of people on the beach. Every summer, the beach holds an international sand sculpting contest complete with a festival, street performers, rides, and fireworks, but we’re not sure how COVID will affect the celebrations yet. It’s an outdoor festival, though, and is currently still scheduled for July 21 to July 23.
Crafting is a great way to let your children explore their creativity and have some fun, but it can be a hassle to clean up. Plaster Fun Time is a great alternative because it allows your kids to get creative without getting your own house messy! They have six walls full of different figures for your little ones to choose from and paint, including anything from animals to kids’ show characters like Hello Kitty.
The tables allow your family to stay spread out and socially distanced during your visit, but you may want to bring a mask you’re okay with them getting paint on! Plaster Fun Time has multiple locations, including one in North Reading and another in Haverhill, MA, so you can visit whichever location is closest to you!
Zoos are a classic family outing for a reason—they let you get out and enjoy the great weather, give you and your kids great exercise, and help your children learn about the world and engage with unique creatures they wouldn’t be able to see anywhere else! Stone Zoo is home to a wide variety of animals like snow leopards and Mexican wolves, providing plenty for you and your children to enjoy during your visit. They have also taken steps to make social distancing easy, installing sanitation stations and requiring visitors to wear masks and reserve tickets to control the number of people in the zoo at one time.
If you’re looking for another fun outdoor experience with your family, Rumney Marsh Reservation is worth the extra drive! The reservation is a 600-acre salt marsh that offers activities like fishing, hiking, canoeing, and kayaking, along with free educational programs. It has been given the official status of an “Area of Critical Environmental Concern.” As a result, it provides more than just a lot of fun outdoor experiences for your family; it’s also a great learning opportunity for your kids about the environment, its importance, and the steps we can take to protect it!
If you have slightly older children or are looking for ideas for a night out with your adult friends, Amaze Escape provides an incredibly fun option! There are several escape rooms you can choose from with varying levels of difficulty. One room requires you to figure out how to escape a real jail cell, while another challenges you to pull off a heist—in a police station!
It makes for a unique night out that will give you plenty of memories and funny stories to tell later. Since you’re able to book an escape room with a group, you choose who you interact with, making it very easy to keep socially distancing without changing your experience in the escape room.
Whether you’re looking for lively family adventures or relaxed days out on the town, Reading, MA, has plenty of options for you to choose from. Even if you’re being very careful about social distancing, the adjustments that many businesses have made mean that it’s easy for you to be safe and create fun, meaningful memories that you’ll still be telling stories about years from now! First Dental Associates is proud to call Reading home and to serve our community by looking after their dental needs. If you are looking for a local dentist, feel free to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you!