Q&A: Where will we find the best beaches in New England?

The Independent Parent: Your Questions Answered


Q We are relocating to Boston for a few months this autumn. However, before moving to the city, we would like to go to New England in mid-August for a two-week holiday. We are travelling with our two children (aged one and nearly four) and would like an area with child-friendly activities, and to spend some time on the beach.

Q We are relocating to Boston for a few months this autumn. However, before moving to the city, we would like to go to New England in mid-August for a two-week holiday. We are travelling with our two children (aged one and nearly four) and would like an area with child-friendly activities, and to spend some time on the beach.

We could do with suggestions for cheap accommodation (chalet-style or, perhaps, a Winnebago) and, ideally, would prefer to have a separate room for the children. Since we will be able to make trips later in the autumn, we won't need to cover a lot of ground.

Alison Baker, via e-mail

A Of New England's seven states, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut offer the best range of beach destinations within easy reach of Boston. To the north, Maine has some spectacular family-friendly beaches in the southern half of the state.

Massachusetts has some of the most impressive, uninterrupted stretches of sandy beach. About an hour's drive from Boston, Cape Cod is a favourite with families. The 50-odd miles of the Cape Cod National Seashore is home to some of the wildest beaches, but these are possibly a little too wild for young swimmers. It might be wise to head towards Nantucket Sound, where the water is calmer. From here, day trips from Hyannis Port to the pretty islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket are also possible, and boats depart regularly.

There are extensive bike trails throughout Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, including the Cape Cod Rail cycle route, with its diverse coastal scenery and flat terrain. Details of cycle routes can be found at www.capecodchamber.org, while bikes with child seats and wheelie "tagalongs" can be hired in Falmouth, Hyannis and Oak Bluffs from Bike Zone (001 508 775 3299, www.bikezone.com).

Vermont, New England's only landlocked state, should not be discounted either. Home to Lake Champlain, it has been compared to Massachusetts' Cape Cod. The 120-mile long lake offers all the attractions of the seaside, plus lots of child-friendly activities.

You don't say whether or not you have already booked your flights, so the following prices are for accommodation only. Bear in mind that separate or adjoining rooms for the children will push the prices up considerably. America As You Like It (020-8742 8299, www.americaasyoulikeit.com) offers a wide variety of holidays in New England, ranging from B&Bs to fly-drive itineraries, and recommends Cape Cod for family holidays. In August, two weeks at the Yarmouth Resort Hotel at West Yarmouth in Massachusetts costs £1,752 for two adjoining rooms (the price is halved if you all share a family room). The hotel has indoor and outdoor pools, and is located five minutes drive from the beach. In the main Cape Cod town of Hyannis, two weeks in a two-bedroom self-catering home, five minutes' drive from the beach, costs £1,650. Car hire can also be arranged for £203 per week for a four-door.

Travelbag (0870 890 1459, www. travelbag.co.uk) also offers tailor-made fly-drive holidays throughout the US, including motorhome hire in New England, and it can arrange accommodation-only packages. As an example, two-weeks' (from 11-24 August) basic rental of a motor home, sleeping a family of four, will cost you £644. The price does not include your bed linen and cooking equipment, though, which will set you back a hefty supplement of £60 per day. For a fortnight, the surcharge amounts to £840, or more than the basic cost of the rental.

There are also various B&B booking agencies in and around Cape Cod that can offer you economical accommodation. However, as August is the peak season, bear in mind that prices are at their highest and bookings should be made as soon as possible. Expect to pay, on average, between $90 (£60) and $175 (£120) per room, per night. Bed & Breakfast Cape Cod (001 508 255 3824, www.bedandbreakfastcapecod.com) has 175 properties on its books; Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Reservations (001 508 693 7200, www.mvreservations. com) has 150 properties; and Destinnations New England (001 508 790 0577, www.destinnations.com) has 40 properties throughout the region. All of the above can be booked through the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (020-7978 7429, www.massvacation.com).

For a slightly cheaper alternative to Cape Cod, and one with excellent family activities, there's the lakeshore beaches of New Hampshire. American Independence (0870 241 4217) offers two weeks at Eagle Mountain House, a family-friendly resort in Jackson just a short drive from the beach, for £888 per adult and £630 per child if you opt for adjoining rooms. If you all share, children go free.

For general travel information, contact Discover New England, the umbrella organisation representing the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont; call the premium rate (£1 per minute) number, 0906 558 8555, or visit www.discovernewengland.org.

Q My daughter is in her second year at university, reading Marine Biology and French. This summer, she is interested in finding an environmental volunteer project/holiday, possibly in the area of her degree. Would you be able to point us in the direction of any useful websites where we could find out more information?

Pam McKeon, Cheshire

A A good place to start is the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, which these days prefers to be known by the snappier name of BTCV (01491 839766, www.btcv.org). It is the largest organisation of its kind in the UK, and arranges activities for upwards of 130,000 volunteers annually, on projects worldwide. The charity operates more than 500 holidays, both in the UK and overseas. No prior experience of conservation work is necessary.

The Marine Conservation Society (01989 566017, www.mcsuk.org) is the UK's national charity for the marine environment and its wildlife. It offers selected holidays, which are for qualified divers only, and can also supply listings for organisations that cater to students. In this case, it recommends Coral Cay (0870 750 0668, www.coralcay. org), which works on coral reefs around the world, collating data to help with preservation. This is used for recommending which marine areas will become protected reserves. Currently, its research expeditions are based in Honduras, the Philippines and Fiji. Finally, Earthwatch (01865 318838, www.earthwatch.org/europe) is a non-profit organisation that aims to promote sustainable conservation of natural resources by creating partnerships between scientists and the general public. Volunteers pay for the privilege of working on field projects, assisting scientists and working alongside non-governmental organisations in 50 countries worldwide. The fees are high – it'll cost you an average of $1,700 (£1,160) for a fortnight's project – but there are some fully funded positions on Community Fellowship projects available to students.

News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Bruce, left, with Cream bandmates Ginger Rogers, centre, and Eric Clapton in 1967
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Junior Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker