The Perfect Road Trips For A Cranky Child

Short enough for you, long enough for them to fall asleep!

Many a parent has resorted to putting a cranky child in the car and just driving. The motion and monotony work their magic, and voila! You have a sleeping or rested child. Driving aimlessly works.

I never had to resort to this when they were babies; in fact, we didn’t need this until they had given up naps. When they give up naps, they sure don’t give up crankiness, and what are you going to do? Driving aimlessly works, but driving with a destination is better for the adults involved.

40-Minute Drives Work For You And Them

I’ve discovered two road trips that take about 40 minutes, one way. The destination is fun for everyone, and if they don’t rest on the trip out, your kids will rest on the return. My husband even falls asleep on the return from these. Try them the next time your over-tired child just needs a break.

The first one is Mommy’s favorite. Prides Crossing Confections in Beverly has knock-your-socks-off turtles, those clusters of chocolate, nuts and caramel. They make them with pecans, cashews, macadamia nuts or almonds—go with the macadamias. Prides Crossing is a mini-wonderland of chocolates and candies located at…wait for it…A TRAIN STATION!

Kid in a candy store? You bet! Let everyone pick a favorite and you can look at the Polish iconography they sell in the front room. Excellent chocolate, intriguing art, perfect outing.

It is located at the Prides Crossing Station on Rt. 127 just north of Beverly. It has been voted “best chocolatier” by Boston Magazine, and is a must-visit for Valentines and Mother's Day. Directions and hours are here.

Good Fish Store, Good Distance

My kids have just discovered fish-keeping, or if truth be known, fish killing. Petsmart fish just didn't have the chops for this household, but we've found a great selection, a helpful staff, and a 40-minute road trip at Tropic Isle Aquarium in Framingham. And our casualties are significantly reduced.

Tropic Isle Aquarium during the week is a place you can easily spend an hour just looking around. They have a tremendous selection of fresh and saltwater fish, all in easy-to-see tanks. There are plenty of large fish that get oohs and ahhs from my guys, and of course exciting fish like the poisonous Lion Fish and Clown Fish ("Nemo!" "Marlin!"). According to the staff, during the weekend it's packed to the gills (sorry; couldn't resist), so come during the week if you can.

Kids will definitely see something they like, so be prepared. You can make several planning trips out there before taking the plunge, as it were. It's in Framingham off of Route 9, so have your Fast Lane Pass or change ready. Directions and hours are here.

With the bridge and interstate work that's underway, you may end up on the road considerably longer than you planned. Have plenty of gas and avoid rush hours if you can. Still, crankiness has no time table, so if you need to jump in the car, consider these destinations.


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