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Launchpad Boston: Design a Summer of Discovery and Adventure

Teens at Fenway Park | Key To Amaze, Boston

As the school year winds down, families often face the challenge of transitioning from a structured academic environment to the free-form days of summer. This time is a golden opportunity to blend structured activities and excursions with ample downtime, ensuring your teen has a summer that is both enriching and relaxing. Whether it’s through exploring emerging technologies, engaging in community service, or discovering the rich tapestry of destinations within a stone’s throw from Boston. Planning a summer that promises learning, adventure, and personal growth will be well rewarded.

Early Summer: Wind down the structure and add a bit of fun and excitement

As school doors close, the realm of STEAM opens a window to new worlds. Often not fully explored in conventional school settings, STEAM summer programs of all types can offer a fun yet laid-back structured opportunity to grow and make new connections. Early summer is an ideal time to explore these frontiers. Encourage your teen to dive into introductory workshops or day camps focused on the latest technological trends, arts, and creativity. These can range from coding games to experimenting with digital design and AI, maybe even dabbling in the basics of robotics and video or music production. Such activities not only keep the academic spirit alive but also add a layer of excitement to learning.

Midsummer: Connect and Contribute through Community Projects

Girl helping senior with VR headset  | Key To Amaze, Boston

As the summer heat intensifies, so can your teen's engagement with the community. This period is perfect for participating in local social impact projects or volunteering at tech-driven community services or local hospitals. Whether it’s helping out in a community garden that uses sustainable tech for irrigation, teaching basic internet skills to seniors, or setting up a gaming room for young hospital patients, opportunities to give back are endless.

These experiences enrich your teen's social, emotional, and ethical development, paving the way for lifelong lessons in empathy, teamwork, and social awareness. Explore the options with your teen and map out a summer of giving back. Look at FB groups, reach out to hospitals and senior centers to get started. Connections made here can have a life-changing impact!

Late Summer: Explore Near and Far

Teen boy at Museum  | Key To Amaze, Boston

Before the school bell rings again, why not cap off the summer with a travel adventure? Instead of expensive flights, consider more budget-friendly options like road trips, train journeys, or bus tours. These travel methods offer a scenic route to bonding and learning. Discover historical sites, explore state parks, or attend outdoor fairs and festivals, each destination provides a unique opportunity to learn and grow.

Amazing Day Trips to Remember: Nothing says summer like a day trip!

  • Providence, RI (Car 1 hr/ Train 1.5 hrs): Dive into the arts at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum and Campus. Then head to historic Federal Hill for beautiful views, Historic architecture, and Amazing Restaurants!

  • Portland, ME (Less than 2 hours by car or bus): Relish the coastal charm and seafood delicacies of the Old Port. Take a Lobster boat tour. Check out the iconic Portland Head Light for yourself, one of the most photographed lighthouses in the World!

  • Newport, RI (Car 1.5 hrs/ Bus 2.5 ): Walk the historic Cliff Walk and tour the grand mansions. Rent a scooter, bike, or tiny car to tour the city's Historic District, beaches, and Fort Adams. Or head out on the water on a kayak or boat. For a teen that loves music check out the Jazz and Folk festivals in late July/ early August.

  • Blue Hills, (Car 35 min/ Bus 1 hr) Take a day to get into nature and go for a hike, check out Eliot Tower and the Observatory, and add in a picnic in nature. Infuse the day with some tech and go Geocaching or take a short walk and cool off at Houghton's Pond.

  • Gloucester, MA (Car 1 hr/ Bus-Train 2 hrs) Head to amazing beaches and visit an iconic town. From Rocky Neck to Gloucester Harbor, Lighthouses, Art galleries, and great food, there is a full day of amazing things to explore here.

  • Salem, MA (Car 45 min/ Bus 1 hr) Witches, History, Museums, and good food. There is a great day here for anyone looking for out-of-the-ordinary history. Beware, If you're there after dusk you may run into a witch or two!

These short day trips can also be sprinkled into the summer offering an awesome reward after a week of enrichment or volunteering. All of these can be reached by car, bus, or train and offer a real glimpse into the diversity and history available right in Boston’s backyard.

Longer Multi-Day Adventures: Spend a weekend or a week you will not be disappointed!

  • New York City, NY (Car 3.5 hrs/ Train 4.5 hrs): The City that Never Sleeps. Discover the endless attractions from: Central Park to Times Square, Ellis Island, The Met, 9/11 Memorial Plaza, or the Empire State Building. There is more than enough for a day or weekend. Top it off with endless restaurants that never close, the Big Apple delivers!

  • Montreal, QC, Canada (Car 5 hrs/ Bus 9 hrs): Spend a few days here and immerse you and your teen in French-Canadian culture and cuisine. From the Botanical Garden to Place Jacques-Cartier Square, Montreal Tower, or the City's Underground tunnels. With Sightseeing, great Cuisine, History, and Activities you will not be disappointed.

  • Philadelphia, PA (Car 5 hrs/ Bus 7 hrs): The city of Brotherly Love. Visit historical landmarks like the Liberty Bell or Independence Hall. Explore the arts at the many museums, and stroll down Elferum’s Alley, the oldest continuously inhabited street in the US (1702). Or spend the afternoon at the Zoo with over 1300 animals. Fun, Fun, Fun!

  • Quebec City, QC, Canada (Car 6 hrs/ Bus 12 hrs (overnight): Explore the historic walled city, Notre-Dame de Québec Basilica-Cathedral, and the Montmorency Falls. From there trek on to Mont Sainte-Anne or the Botanical Gardens. Worth the trip, especially when you are looking to explore and discover a different culture over your summer break.

  • Washington DC (Car 8 hrs/ Train 9.5 hrs) An Amazing trip for teens and families alike. There is more to do here than can be listed. Some favorites include; The National Mall, Smithsonian Museums, the US Holocaust Memorial, the Air and Space Museum (my favorite) or the US Capitol Building. There is something for everyone and food abounds!

Teen girl at Lincoln Memorial | Key To Amaze, Boston

We live in an amazing area. Boston is within easy reach of some of the most unique and iconic destinations, not just on the East Coast but in the world! Plan your trips correctly and you will be talking about them for years to come, not days! Space them out over the summer to give you and your teens something to look forward to. Even if you can't get away for a week, multiple-day trips can strengthen your relationships, inspire and create lasting memories. Remember summer is short but the days are long and hot so stay hydrated and bring a backpack of snacks (the more the merrier).

Planning for Flexibility and Fun

Family Taking Vacation Picture | Key To Amaze, Boston

Summer planning is all about balancing structure with spontaneity. By discussing and mapping out these activities now, you ensure that your teen has a summer filled with growth, discovery, and joy. Planning together not only ensures a balanced summer but also teaches valuable lessons in time management and decision-making. Remember, the best summer plans accommodate flexibility, look for options that allow changes, just in case another opportunity for an unforgettable summer adventure comes your way.


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