Planning a trip to Boston?
It’s Cathy from My Book a Day. When we booked our summer trip to Boston, we had to spend a day in Lexington and Concord. So many things happened there during the Revolutionary War! We needed to take our kids (18,18, 13 and 5) so they could see where history happened.
Lexington and Concord are about 30 minutes' drive from Boston. You can take a tour of this area, and I’m sure that they have great information. However, we focused on the national park and free historical sites, which kept our costs down.
This area was beautiful and peaceful, with lots of opportunity to learn history and walk outdoors. I could spend days touring historic homes and soaking up the scenery, but my kids were less enthusiastic. Be realistic about how many hours you can spend here, unless your kids are really into Revolutionary War history or American authors.
Here are my top things to do in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.
Lexington Battle Green
Our first stop was the Lexington Battle Green, also known as Lexington Common. This small, unassuming park was the site of the first shots fired in the Revolutionary War.
It was amazing to stand there – with the noisy sounds of cars, buses and people – and think about how it would have been to have lived there back then. Imagining British Regulars coming down the road toward the park was enough to give me shivers.
Look for tour guides in colonial costume during warm weather months. They will give you a complimentary walking tour of the Battle Green and its monuments.
There are homes, taverns, and churches around the park that were there during the Revolutionary War. Several are open for tours. I loved being surrounded by so much history.
Minute Man National Historical Park
Minute Man National Historical Park is big! You can take the trails that the British would have taken through Lexington, Lincoln and Concord, reading the historic information at placards along the way, or you can drive along Route 2A which parallels the trail.
The entire Battle Road Trail is just over 9 miles long, so we chose to drive instead of walk. There are lots of historic homes and sites along the way. We stopped at a couple of the visitor centers.
The visitor centers have pamphlets, as well as an app that explains what you’re seeing along the way. I love the way you can do as much or as little walking as you want. And since the road goes right along the trail, you can still see the historic buildings that are along the way.
Make sure you stop at the North Bridge Visitor Center. Not only can you go inside a brick mansion from 1911, but you can visit the Old North Bridge, which is the site of the first real battle of the American Revolution.
Make sure to go to the bridge itself. It’s a short, easy walk. The area is just so peaceful. It’s hard to picture it being a site of a battle. The gardens were also beautiful and well worth taking a few minutes to check them out.
Kids can earn a free souvenir Junior Ranger badge. Ask for a booklet a ranger desk early in your visit, then return for the badge when your kids have completed the activities. This program is intended for kids ages 5-12.
It costs nothing to visit Minute Man National Historical Park. There is a small tour fee for The Wayside: Home of Authors.
Learn more about Minute Man National Historical Park at https://www.nps.gov/mima
Along Highway 2A – at the far end of Minute Man National Historical Park – you’ll find The Wayside. Three famous authors lived here: Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Harriet Lothrop (Margaret Sidney).
We didn’t stop here, but I wish we could have! There is a small fee for adults to take the tour, but there is no charge for kids under age 17.
Orchard House, which was also home to Louisa May Alcott, is just outside the national park. There is a charge for this tour too, but it is included with the Go Boston card.
You’ll find Walden Pond nearby. This famous pond inspired the book Walden by Henry David Thoreau.
More Things to Do
There's a lot more in Lexington and Concord than we were able to do in a day. Here are a few more resources that may help your family make the most of your visit:
Official Visitor Websites – Check out the official visitor websites for Lexington and Concord. Lexington's site is especially helpful.
Go Boston Card – Several popular Lexington and Concord attractions are included with the Go Boston card. They are:
- Liberty Ride – a 90-minute guided trolley tour
- Orchard House – See where Louisa May Alcott lived and wrote
- Buckman Tavern – a Revolutionary War gathering place
- Concord Museum – For art and Americana, this is one of the oldest museums in the U.S.
Go Boston is a great way to save money on the most popular attractions in and around Boston. Click the button below to learn more at https://gocity.com/boston.
Free Tours By Foot has a good article with tips for visiting Lexington and Concord. It includes details on how to get there using public transportation from Boston. Learn more at https://freetoursbyfoot.com/visiting-lexington-concord-boston/.
Related: Tips for Visiting Fort Ticonderoga
There is so much to see and do in this part of Massachusetts. I was wishing we had more time and more willing adventurers!
I hope that our experience helps your family plan a great day at Lexington and Concord.