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Exploring Boston and surrounding areas/beaches/Salem with kids..itinerary?

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We are hoping to make a trip to Boston/surrounding areas the first part of August and would like some suggestions about possible sights to see/towns to visit while there. We have a 12 year old child so the sights should be appealing for her age.

We are interested in spending some time in Boston, but would also love to venture outside the city to a beach/coastal town or possibly Salem. Is Cape Cod too far or should we aim for something closer? Is there one beach area that would be more fun for kids her age? Is Salem worth the visit?

I am not sure how many days we should allow for the trip. I don't want to shortchange the trip but I also want to keep it fairly reasonably priced. We were thinking 5-7 days. Is that too short of time to see Boston and the coast?

What part of Boston is a good location to stay?

Thanks!

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