7 Useful Tips For Walking The Freedom Trail With Kids

Sharing is caring!

For families visiting Boston, Massachusetts, walking the Freedom Trail with kids is a must! There is so much American history in the city of Boston, and a walk along the Freedom Trail is the perfect way to see all those historical sites.

We visited Boston at the end of September 2018. Since we only had a few days to spend in Boston, we decided the best way to experience the city was to walk along the Freedom Trail. It’s a great way to incorporate learning into our travel experiences, and also get to know the city better.

This post was updated on May 17, 2020.

This post may contain affiliate links. That means I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase something. But don’t worry, this will not result in any extra costs to you.
My daughter poses along the Freedom Trail (September 2018)

Walking the streets of history by walking the Freedom Trail with kids

Within the annals of American history, the city of Boston is a prominent presence. The city played a pivotal role in the American Revolution and the birth of the United States.

It was in this city in 1773 that the Sons of Liberty, in a protest against the British imposed taxes on tea, dumped a whole shipment of tea from the East India Company into Boston Harbor.

Boston is also the city where Paul Revere made his famous ride in 1775, alerting Patriot troops of the advancement of the British before the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

As an American, walking along the same streets where these historical events happened, it is truly an incredible experience. I love visiting historical places!

And for kids, it’s a chance to learn about American history in a more interactive way. We read the Magic Treehouse book, Revolutionary War on Wednesday while we were in Boston. It was fun to talk about what we were reading and discussing how they connect with the places we visited.

If you want more books about Boston history to read with your kids, take a look at these:

Boston History for Kids

What Was The Boston Tea Party?

Who Was Paul Revere?

Want to learn more about the United States? Read about other American cities and destinations here.

An aeriel view of Boston, MA, where families can enjoy walking the Freedom Trail with kids
An aerial view of Boston (September 2018)

Options for walking the Freedom Trail with kids

If you’re planning to spend a day in Boston, you definitely need to include some portion of the Freedom Trail into you itinerary. The city of Boston has so many beautiful neighborhoods, interesting museums, and delicious restaurants, and walking along the Freedom Trail will take you past many of these incredible sights!

The Freedom Trail itself was thought up in 1951 by a Boston journalist, as a way to link up many of Boston’s historical sites. There are 16 historical sites along the Freedom Trail. And if you’re planning to do the Freedom Trail, there are plenty of options available for how you can do it with your kids.

Guided tours of the Freedom Trail

You can choose to walk along the Freedom Trail with a guide, complete with 18th century dress. There are various types of tours that families can do, at varying prices. The Walk Into History tour is a 90 minute tour that stops at 11 of the 16 stops. The tour costs $14 for adults, and $8 for kids aged 6-12.

Other tours that families might enjoy are the African American Patriots Tour, the Revolutionary Women Tour, and the Reverse Walk Into History. These tours cost the same as the Walk Into History tour.

Here are some additional tours you can book for your trip to Boston:

Walking Tour of The Freedom Trail plus Beacon Hill to Copley Square & Back Bay (Boston City Walks)

Fascinating History + Photo Walking Tour of Boston’s Freedom Trail (Photo Walks)

Boston History and Highlights (Urban Adventures)

Self-guided tour of the Freedom Trail

When we were walking the Freedom Trail with kids, we chose to walk without a guide. This allowed us to walk at our own pace, stop at the places we wanted, and skip past the places that weren’t as interesting.

If you’re choosing to do the trail on your own, you can pick up a book that offers history of the places of interest along the Freedom Trail.

We like this one called, Freedom Trail Boston – Ultimate Tour & History Guide – Tips, Secrets & Tricks.

Walking the Freedom Trail as a family (September 2018)

Tips for walking the Freedom Trail with kids

If you’re thinking of walking the Freedom Trail with kids, whether on your own or with a guide, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your family has a good time.

It can be a bit challenging for young kids, especially if they’re not used to walking a lot. And there are times when you’re walking along busy Boston streets, so practicing road safety is absolutely prudent.

Those considerations aside, here are my tips for walking the Freedom Trail with kids.

A view of the red brick in Boston while walking the Freedom Trail with kids
The Freedom Trail in Boston (September 2018)

1. Give yourself plenty of time

One of our biggest tips for walking the Freedom Trail with kids is to allow plenty of time to do the whole trail. The Freedom Trail spans 2.5 miles, with about 16 official stops. You want to make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to explore some of those stops.

It took our family about five hours to complete the whole Freedom Trail. We stopped at several points of interests along the way, and also stopped for lunch.

2. Wear comfortable shoes

Walking the Freedom Trail with kids can be long, and it’s important that you (AND your kids) wear comfortable shoes. The last thing you want are blisters on your little ones’ feet! Look for shoes that provide support, as you’ll most likely log in more than 15,000 steps doing the trail. Our kids like using KEEN sandals because they’re so comfortable for them.

The whole trail is paved, so don’t worry about getting your shoes dirty. But do keep in mind that you’ll be walking on some old cobblestone streets, so avoid wearing heels or fancy shoes that may make it difficult to keep your balance. And if you’re pushing a stroller, make sure it can handle those cobblestone streets.

Taking a break on the Freedom Trail (September 2018)

3. Dress for the weather

Along the same lines as wearing comfortable shoes when you’re walking the Freedom Trail with kids, it’s important to dress appropriately for the weather. You never know what might hit you while you’re out walking!

During our day of walking the Freedom Trail, it turned out to be pretty blustery and cold. Fortunately, we came prepared with jackets. We used We stayed quite warm, despite the wind.

4. Bring water

As with any hike that you undertake, it’s important that you stay hydrated while you’re walking the Freedom Trail with kids. The trail can be long, and on hot days, you might actually get dehydrated!

We liked bringing along our GRAYL water filter and purifier bottles because we could refill them wherever we were. GRAYL bottles have built in water filters and purifiers, so you don’t have to worry about whether the water is safe to drink. This helps to greatly reduce your environmental footprint.

You can buy a GRAYL bottle of your own online using the links below. They come in 16oz and 24oz sizes.

GRAYL 16oz Ultralight bottle and filter

GRAYL 24oz Geopress bottle and filter

A child looking at Boston’s Old City Hall while walking the Freedom Trail with kids
Stopping at Boston’s Old City Hall (September 2018)

5. Brush up on your history

One of the things we like to do as a family to be more responsible travelers is to learn about the history of a destination. Something you can do before walking the Freedom Trail with kids is to brush up on your American history.

The Freedom Trail website has brief descriptions of each point of interest along the trail, and its significance in United States history. If you want more in depth information, you can take one of the many Freedom Trail walking tours offered.

Another thing that the kids and I did before walking the trail was to read a book about the American Revolution, to get us in the mood for learning about history.

6. Check out the points of interests

Walking along the trail is only half the fun of the whole Freedom Trail experience. There are 16 spots along the Freedom Trail, and each one is worth a bit of exploration.

During our experience of walking the Freedom Trail with kids, we chose to stop at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. While there, we saw a live demonstration of a printing press, printing a copy of the Declaration of Independence, just like in the 1770’s. What a treat for the kids to be able to see history come alive!

A woman working a traditional printing press in Boston, MA, an example of what to see while walking the Freedom Trail with kids
A woman working a traditional printing press (September 2018)

7. Eat at the eateries along the way

Speaking of Faneuil Hall Marketplace, be sure to give yourself time to check out the eateries along the Freedom Trail. Faneuil Hall, and nearby Quincy Market, has a number of sit down eateries, as well as counter-style places.

By far, our favorite place to eat while walking the Freedom Trail with kids is the Union Oyster House. This restaurant has been in business since 1862, and serves one of our favorite bowls of clam chowder!

Love learning and traveling with your kids? Click here to dive deeper into the topic of worldschooling.

Walking the Freedom Trail with kids: an experience to remember!

Walking the Freedom Trail with kids is truly an experience to remember. We were so proud of the kids, absorbing the sites as they followed the red line that wound through the old streets of Boston.

I know that we will see many more historical sites during our travels, both in the United States and elsewhere around the world. We are lucky to have this opportunity to experience history!

Do you have experience walking the Freedom Trail with kids? Share it in the comments!

Seven Tips For Walking The Freedom Trail With Kids | The Wandering Daughter

Need help thinking through how to budget for a family trip? My Travel Budget Worksheet is just the tool you need! Click here to receive your free copy by signing up for my newsletter.

Want to connect with me on social media? Find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. And for those of you who are dedicated to traveling more responsibly, sustainably, and ethically, join over 200 like-minded families on my Facebook group, Responsible Family Travel.

Related posts

It seems we can't find what you're looking for.


24 Responses

  1. Good job kiddies! The freedom trail was tiring even for us adults. We really like you tip about eating along the way. Nothing gets me through a long walk like quick doughnut and coffee stop. How Boston is that! I’m surprised no one has made an app for the freedom trail yet…

    Thanks for sharing. Keep travel blogging. Adventure is better shared with friends!

  2. Hello dear Astrid,

    First of all, thanks a lot for this great recommendation about hiking with kids. Even if I don`t plan to walk the freedom trail (I am from Europe) your tipps are really usefull and helpfull ->I do plan a small excursion with my nephew.
    Have a wonderful day

    1. That is so true. Even if they don’t retain all the information and things they saw along the way, they’ll remember that they walked the trail.

  3. I don’t have an experience of walking the Freedom Trail at all (or visiting Boston for that matter), but I would, like you did, take the trail without the guide. It seems more relaxed that way, and I’d surely like to skip dressing up in a 18th century dress! 🙂 I’d like to have a bowl of that clam chowder right now!

  4. I remember walking the freedom trails when we visited Boston and found them such a great way to learn the history of the city whilst also seeing it in person on foot. It looks like such a fun way for kids to learn history too, especially as you can self-guide rather than being constrained on an organised tour.

  5. I’m a huge fan of history and would love to do the Freedom Trail, most likely with a guide, as I always learn so much more. Thanks for all the tips and where to get great clam chowder!

    1. I think there’s a lot you can learn from a guide, especially if you want to do a more deep dive into the Freedom Trail.

  6. “In a protest against the British, they imposed taxes on tea” – as a Brit, this did make me laugh! The freedom trail seems like a very important thing to see and a fascinating discovery of history. I will be sure to walk this on my visit to the States!

    1. I often wondered how the Brits interpreted the American Revolution. I’m sure the history books take a much different stance than what the American history books cover.

  7. Allowing plenty of time to do the 2.5 mile long Freedom Trail is a top tip. I have walked the trail numerous times over the years and can’t tell you how many times I have witnessed kid and parent melt-downs about mile 2 because one parent or another was treating it like a forced march. So many great places to sit and snack or eat along the way that you point out too. Great post!!!

    1. Yup. Fortunately, my husband and I have done the trail before we had kids, so we knew what to expect in terms of how long it would actually take.

  8. We don’t have kids, but as history buffs, it’s good to see that some parents travel with their children and make them explore historical sites! You can certainly be proud that your kids learned so much while walking the Freedom Trail in Boston! 🙂

    1. Since my kids are young, we stuck with easy chapter books and picture books. For example, we read “Revolutionary War On Wednesday” by Mary Pope Osborne. It’s part of the Magic Treehouse series. We also read the book “I Am George Washington” by Brad Meltzer. These books didn’t really take place in Boston, but it did talk about the American revolution. I also read aloud the Declaration of Independence to the kids. I don’t think they understood most of it, but we did talk about what it means for one country to have control of a group of people. Of course, this was also a nuanced subject, because we did discuss that not everyone was given freedom (slaves and Native Americans).

  9. The Freedom Trail has a website  and a Twitter feed. If you follow the full route, plan for 4 hours to allow for walking, reading plaques, spending time inside some of the sights, and taking a serendipitous detour or two. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Let's connect

Hi, I'm Astrid

I'm a full-time traveling mom who's passionate about worldschooling.

Live the Travel Lifestyle

Take that step to living a life of full-time travel. Get my family gap year guide!

Buy my new game for your next family trip

Want a new game for your next family trip? Buy our award-winning game, Stack The Scoops.

Planning a trip to Mexico?

Check out my new blog, dedicated to family vacation travel to Mexico, and start planning your trip today!


Capture your travel memories

Make your family trips even more memorable with a photo session from Flytographer. Use the link to receive $25 off your session.

Join my online community!

Are you dedicated to traveling responsibly with your kids? Join my Facebook community of more than 200 families just like you!

Read Family Travel Stories!

Do you enjoy travel stories? Read my travel story, and other families' stories too, in the latest travel anthology from Bradt Travels.

Learn More About Homeschooling

Curious about homeschooling? This informative book outlines everything you need to know about homeschooling, including a chapter on worldschooling!
Madera hammocks are durable and easy to pack. And what's more, the company will plant two trees for every hammock purchased!