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Planning Boston trip for late June/early July

Moorpark, California
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Planning Boston trip for late June/early July

I am in the early stages of planning a trip to Boston and other parts of MA for my family of 4 (two boys 13 & 11). We are looking at spending about a week there, either during the last week of June or first week of July and had a few questions.

1. I noticed that the hotel rates drop about a week before July 4 through the weekend right after the holiday. Not that I'm complaining, but was curious why the price drop? Graduation season over? Does everything shut down for the holiday?

2. We are planning to rent a car for some of the trip to see parts of MA outside of Boston (Basketball HOF for hubby and sons, Cape Cod, Salem), but will return it for the days we spend in Boston. I figured we could get around using public transportation and walking. I was hoping to get some recommendations for places to stay convenient to the T that are under $200/night, if that's even possible. We are fine with staying further out in 3-4 star (Best Western, HI Express type) hotels - they just need to be clean and in a safe location. If nothing fits the bill or if convenience/location outweighs the extra expense, we can look at adjusting our budget.

3. How easy is it to take the T to/from Logan rather than a cab? We travel light - just carry-ons and backpacks.

4. We plan to visit the national park sites and walk the Freedom Trail. Any other suggestions for places to see or things to do?

Thanks in advance for the help!

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1. Re: Planning Boston trip for late June/early July

All excellent questions. Be sure to cruise through this forum, because you'll pick up a lot of info.

Question 3 - Taking the T from Logan is easy, but it depends upon where you are headed. Also, it may be worth it for bigger groups to take a cab (instead of paying for 4 subway fares, changing trains perhaps twice, etc.). Let's see where you might be staying.

Question 2 - Excellent. You don't need a car while in Boston. In terms of location to stay, see if you can get a hotel room in these areas of Boston: Back Bay, Downtown/Financial District, Faneuil Hall, North End. Any of these would be fine. North End is just a little less convenient as some locations are not as close to a subway stop, but it's a fairly small area with lots of restaurants and cafes, and it faces the Boston Harbor. But my first choice would be Back Bay, in terms of overall amenities plus convenience. Oh, and you can include the few hotels around the Massachusetts General Hospital, as that's a pretty convenient area too.

Question 4 - For now, let's leave the July Fourth thing aside. I think the following things might interest kids that age: visit the U.S.S. Constitution (it's part of the Freedom Trail, but some people miss it). Take a ferry out to the Harbor Islands, and get off at George's Island (it has Fort Warren). Absolutely fantastic way to spend a summer day. You can explore the entire fort, it's great. Whale watch is another idea. You are almost guaranteed to see whales.

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2. Re: Planning Boston trip for late June/early July

The prices in between end of grad season & the 4th are usually pretty good & no worries about things being closed, everything is up & running at that time. Check the Boston Marriott Copley Place, they are showing a rate of $219.00 for the last week in June, great price, great location. The Wyndham Beacon Hill is showing $186.00 - they recently took over this property which was a Holiday Inn, also in a pretty good location.

BBall HOF is 90 minute ride, straight west on the Massachusetts Turnpike. If you are planning to visit the Cape for anything longer than a day trip, you may run into a 2 or 3 night minimum at many locations. You might like to visit the National Seashore, beautiful beaches & great waves for boogie-boarding. And finally, a tour of Fenway Park in Boston is always a good take.

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Boston Marriott Copley Place
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3. Re: Planning Boston trip for late June/early July

I’ll try to answer some of your questions.

Graduation season is long over by then; business travel is traditionally “off” during Independence Day week, many locals traditionally head to the mountains and coastal areas that time of year. But NO we don’t shut down for the holiday!! I mean on the 4th some stores and family-owned restaurants are closed, but that’s about it. The 4th of July is a BIG DEAL in Boston, the home to several revolutionary sites. There is the USS Constitution turn-around, the reading of the Declaration of Independence from the balcony of the old State House, fireworks, a huge concert … and an event called “Harborfest”. Check out their website.

Yes, subway and walking is the way to go while in Boston but I’m not clear on your plans. Do you plan to have a hotel in Boston for the entire trip and then rent a car for a single day at a time for various side trips? You don’t need a car to get to Salem, you can reach it via ferry or commuter rail (that’s the MBTA commuter rail). Cape Cod is a big place and July and August are “peak season”. If you plan to stay over there, you will find many places have a 2 or 3 night minimum.

I haven’t checked prices for July 4th week this year, but last year, your $200 would have been sufficient. Are your kiddos willing to share a double or queen-sized bed? Sometimes getting three beds (even if one is a roll-away) is an issue. Check out http://lastminutetravel.com They are a “secret hotel” website that shows the names (ooops) on hand-held devices. They have phone number on the home page of their site that says “call for better rates”. You need to be careful, some hotels labeled “Boston” are not Boston at all. Still there are usually some well-located, respectable hotels on there … so if you see anything you like, come back here and tell us, (we’ll need your exact dates) because chances are one of us will be able to ID it if you haven’t done so already.

Things to do … there’s LOTS of things to do in addition to the Freedom Trail. There’s the Black Heritage Trail. You could check out the Harbor Islands (take a ferry to George’s Island and explore the old fort. Take a ferry to Spectacle Island for swimming and eat at their café or pack a picnic. ) Visit the Tea Party Ship and Museum. Go on a sunset cruise of the harbor or a whale watch. Make your way via subway and bus to Castle Island in South Boston and explore the fort there and grab a quick bite to eat at Sullivan’s …. Take the subway’s blue line to Revere Beach. Visit the Aquarium, Museum of Science, Museum of Fine Arts (they have REAL mummies there --- some boys LOVE that), the Institute of Contemporary Art.. Watch the “street performers” at Quincy Market. Take the subway’s red line to Harvard Square and stroll through Harvard Yard. If you are here on a Friday see if there’s a “free Friday flick” alongside the Charles River. Often times during that week there’s a battleship somewhere in the area of the USS Constitution that is open for public viewing.

You’ll have plenty of activities to fill your time. HAPPY PLANNING!

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Moorpark, California
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4. Re: Planning Boston trip for late June/early July

WOW! Thanks for all of the quick responses! This is great info - I really appreciate it!

As for the car, I was looking at driving a loop, staying overnight (maybe 3-4 nights) along the way. As you can see from my moniker, I'm a big fan of our national park system and one of the things on my bucket list is to visit all of the units (We've been to 89 of the current 401). I'm hoping we can visit all of the Massachusetts sites (plus Rhode Island's) on this trip. Tentatively, we would go from Boston to Quincy to Cape Cod (just a short visit to the national seashore). From there thru New Bedford to Providence to Springfield, and then to Lowell, Concord & Lexington. Finally, Salem and Saugus and back to Boston. Or possibly this route in reverse.

We would spend our time in Boston without a car either at the beginning or end of the trip. I think we can visit all of the Boston sites via public transit (maybe we would do JFK and Olmsted in Brookline before we return the car). The Boston Harbor Islands are also on our list - thank you for the suggestions for George's Island! Plus all of the other non-national park things to do in Boston!

For 3-4 days in Boston, I was looking at getting passes ($18/person) for the T. Those are unlimited rides for a week, correct?

I will definitely check out the hotels that have been suggested. I'll probably be back with more questions. Thanks again for all of the helpful advice!

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5. Re: Planning Boston trip for late June/early July

Yes, unlimited travel from the date and time of purchase. Kids under 12 ride free.

6. Re: Planning Boston trip for late June/early July

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