Family vacations in Rhode Island can be rewarding experiences or absolute disasters -- it all depends on pre-trip homework. To make planning easier, we've done all the preparation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on traveling with children, here are recommended attractions for those planning Rhode Island family vacations.
Scarborough BeachOne of Rhode Island's most popular outdoor destinations, Scarborough Beach offers a variety of seaside activities, including sunbathing, swimming, sightseeing observation towers, a boardwalk and ample shaded picnic facilities. Scarborough Beach pavilion recently underwent renovation, and the south area of the beach also saw a major expansion.
Address: 870 Ocean Road, Narragansett, RI 02882
Hours: The beach is open weekends May 1 through Memorial Day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The beach is open daily Memorial Day through Labor Day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Price: Monday through Friday, $12 per car; weekends, $16 per car.
Providence Children's MuseumBilled as Rhode Island's only "hands-on museum for kids and their grown-ups," Providence Children's Museum features a range of interactive exhibits. Play Power lets kids apply their imagination to build unique and original contraptions, then put their creations into action by propelling objects through air tubes and sending balls over ramps and around mazes. Water Ways encourages children to explore the way water moves by watching, touching and trying to redirect it. A variety of special activities and events are also held at the museum throughout the year.
Address: 100 South St., Providence, RI 02903
Hours: The museum is open April through Labor Day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and September through March, Tuesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is open select Friday evenings until 8 p.m. year-round
Price: General admission, $12; children 12 and younger, free.
Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of DesignThe Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design is the premier art museum in the state, housing more than 84,000 objects of international art and design. The museum also features an array of tours, lectures, workshops and hands-on experiences for every member of the family, like "Family See and Sketch" activities.
Address: 224 Benefit St., Providence, RI 02903
Hours: The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Price: Adults, $10; senior citizens, $7; youth ages 5 to 18, $3; children 5 and younger, free.
Fort Adams State Park
The largest coastal fortification in the United States, Fort Adams was in service from 1824 to 1850. Today, music fans know Fort Adams State Park as the location for the world-famous Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival. The park also offers a wide variety of activities from windsurfing and boating to soccer and picnicking.
Address: Fort Adams State Park, Harrison Ave., Newport, RI 02840
Hours: The park is open year round from sunrise to sunset. The lifeguard is on duty from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during swimming season, weather permitting.
Price: Entrance to the park is free. Various fees apply for overnight parking and athletic field rental.
Roger Williams Park ZooRoger Williams Park Zoo is home to more than 950 animals of 156 species. Zoo exhibits include moon bears, red pandas and snow leopards seen along the Marco Polo Trail and golden lion tamarins, white-faced saki monkeys, anacondas and two-toed sloths of Tropical America. Zoo visitors may also enjoy strolling along the Feinstein Junior Scholar Wetlands Trail to experience a variety of native wildlife including great blue herons, Canada geese, wood ducks and turtles. Along with the wildlife, the zoo features a children's farmyard exhibit, carousel ride and playground.
Address: 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence, RI 02907
Hours: The zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Price: Adults, $12; seniors and children ages 3 to 12, $8; children 3 and younger, free.
Newport Winter FestivalWith more than 150 events, the Newport Winter Festival has been described as "New England's largest winter extravaganza." The festival is held during the last two weeks of February and includes dozens of family, food, music and entertainment experiences. From a chili cook-off and cutest dog contest to concerts and a children's fair, the Newport Winter Festival heats up the cold days of winter with big fun for the entire family.
Address: Festival event locations vary in the Newport area
Hours: The festival is typically held during the last two weeks of February. Hours vary by event.
Price: $8 for a Winter Festival button that includes free or discounted admission to festival events.
Save The Bay Exploration Center And Aquarium
Save the Bay Exploration Center and Aquarium lets families get up close to lobsters, octopus, crabs and jellyfish. Aside from showcasing approximately 140 species of local marine life, the aquarium teaches visitors about restoring and protecting Narragansett Bay through a variety of exhibits and activities. Adjacent to Newport's only oceanfront beach, the aquarium is also a great place for families to embark upon their own seaside expedition.
Address: 175 Memorial Blvd., Newport, RI 02840
Hours: The aquarium is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
Price: General admission, $6; children 4 and younger, free.
What are your family's favorite Rhode Island destinations?
Check out more FAMILY TRAVEL GUIDES.