10 Of The Best: Family Fun

Summer

Santa’s Village

5 Stars, 13 minutes away in Jefferson. “Pure Joy Family Style” rings true with the visitors who return year after year and love this theme park gem in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Live performances, tons of rides, water park, games, real reindeer, immaculate grounds and layout, and dedicated staff have all made Santa’s Village a top rated amusement park in the US. The must visit family destination here. Tip: Arrive at the park during the last three hours of the day receive a ‘return pass’ to come back and visit the park for a full day. Seasonal, open 9:30 am - 6 pm. website

Patchwork Players Performances

n/a Stars, 10 or 24 minutes away depending on location. The Weathervane Theater brings Broadway to the north country every year and the troupe puts on Wednesday and Friday daytime children performances at the Weathervane Theater in Whitefield and at the Colonial Theater in Bethlehem. Family-friendly and kid-centric performances vary from hip-hop to classical.

Muddy Paw Dog Sled Rides

5 Stars, 17 minutes away in Jefferson. Year around dog sled rides. An amazing unique experience that lets you connect with dogs, appreciate their teamwork, try your hand at mushing and enjoy the exhilarating ride. It's not just a ride, dog lovers can get involved by helping harness the dogs to the sled, hand out treats to them after, and even sponsor a dogs. The dogs love pulling the sled and the Muddy Paws Mushers have a strong bond with the dogs. Positive, uplifting and fun for all ages! open 9:00am - 5:00pm. website

Bretton Woods Canopy Tour

5 Stars, 30 minutes away in Bretton Woods. Thrill seekers must be 12 years or older. Test yourself and have a blast on this exhilarating year round 3-hour adventure. The course is an assortment of different experiences including 9 zip lines, 2 sky bridges between treetops, and 3 repels. They start off small so you can build your confidence and skill as you progress through the course. The guides make sure you are always safe. Advanced reservations required. website

Franconia Notch State Park

5.0 Stars, 37 minutes in Franconia. This highly rated destination for the sheer spectacularly beautiful setting includes many family activities in one local. Note: Pets are only permitted in Franconia Notch State Park in the designated dog walks in the Flume & Tramway parking lots. Pets are prohibited from Echo Lake Beach, Lafayette Campground, on the Tram and in the Flume Gorge. website

Family Hikes

Bald Mountain and Artists Bluff, Lonesome Lake Trail, Basin Cascade Trail See 10 Of The Best: Family Hikes.

Echo Lake Beach & Boats

4.5 Stars, 37 minutes. Part of the Franconia Notch State Park, Echo Lake is at the top of the notch set Between Cannon mountain and Lafayette mountain. The dramatic beautiful setting, cold mountain water, and canoe & boat rentals make the beach a popular summer destination for families to beat the heat. Pack a picnic lunch, bring a blanket, swim, paddle, and relax. Hiking Bald Mountain and Artists Bluff is also accessed from Parking Lot.

Bike Trail

n/a Stars, 40 minutes. Part of the Franconia Notch State Park, The Bike Trail runs the length of the park from top to bottom and is a great way to explore the park with your family. Bicycles can be rented at the top of the park in the Aerial Tramway Base of exit 33. The ride is all down hill so test those brakes! On the way, there are lakes, rivers, waterfalls, short hikes, plenty of history and amazing scenery to keep you totally engrossed in the park and ride. Shuttle pickup is at the Flume Parking where there is a cafeteria and welcome center and of course The Flume itself.

Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway

4.5 Stars, 40 minutes. Spectacular trip for all ages and the quickest way to get to the top of a 4000 footer. The observation deck offers 360° views into four states and Canada. The 80 person capacity trams are open from Early June to the Middle of October open 9:30 am - 5:30 pm for sight seeing and in the winter it carries skiers. website

Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza

42 minutes. Visit the history museum and see the virtual old man on the mountain at the viewing area. The original old man of the mountain collapsed on June 3rd, 2003. Watch for birds the notch is home to many species including hawks, owls, herons and much more.

The Basin

4.5 Stars, 42 minutes. The basin is a whirl pool carved into the granite bedrock by rushing waters of the Pemigewasset River over millennia. The area has wading pools and is a great place to stop for a picnic on the cool rocks in the shade. Hiking the Basin Cascade Trail is also accessed from Parking Lot.

Flume

4.5 Stars, 45 minutes. The Flume is an 800-foot geologic formation that features 90-foot granite cliffs separated by 20 feet with the river flowing through. Guests can choose to do just the gorge or trek the 2-mile trail that highlights the forests vegetation and rock formations of the area. website

North Country Climbing Center(N3C)

5 Stars, 39 minutes in Lisbon. For first timers and experienced climbers, for kids and adults of all ages climbing is a great way to spend family time together, build fitness, and challenge yourself. Of course, parents and grandparents don’t have to climb when they bring kids to N3C. They have comfy padded benches where people can rest between climbs or just sit and watch the action. The climbing center is all indoors so it’s perfect for a rainy day, but outdoor guided sessions are available to get out and enjoy nature and enjoy the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Outdoor guided climbs for families up to five are available in full and half day sessions. Various day camp programs are available in July & August for children 8 - 16 years. open, times vary. website

Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium

4.5 Stars, 50 minutes in St Johnsbury Vermont. Collections of bugs, beetles, birds, butterflies and much more make the museum great for discoverers, explorers, and families. Another rainy day trip, the Museum & a variety of Planetarium shows scheduled daily. website

Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves

4.5 Stars, 55 minutes in North Woodstock (Kinsman Notch). Ravine park for hiking, caving & gemstone mining amid boardwalks, ladders, mountain & river scenery. Learn about mining history, geology and how the forces of nature create natural wonders. The gorge is so steep and boulder filled that the river literally disappears in under the boulders hence the name “Lost River Gorge”. Perfect to beat the heat on hot summer days. Available picnic area, good for all ages, plan to spend two hours exploring. Seasonal, open 9 am - 6 pm. website

Clark’s Trading Post

4.5 Stars, 45 minutes in Lincoln. A popular theme park with trained bear shows, rides on a steam powered train, acrobatics show, and climbing wall and other amusements and rides. The admission fee covers all rides and shows, you can bring your own food, fun for all ages. Seasonal, open 9:30 am - 5:30 pm. website

Story Land

4.5 Stars, 60 minutes in Glen. This theme park in New Hampshire entertains young families and children with the basis around children’s stories. Since its founding in 1954, the amusement park has grown to include more shows, dining, characters, rides and play areas with the newest wooden roller coaster completed in 2014. At the same time, the Story Land Team has been careful to keep the park from outgrowing the very little people and their parents it founders dreamed of entertaining. Seasonal, open 9:30 am - 6 pm. website


Honorable Mentions:

Whale’s Tail Waterpark

4.5 Stars, 45 minutes in Lincoln. 17 Acre Waterpark. Seasonal, open 10 am - 6 pm.

Winsock Summer Camp

n/a Stars, 10 minutes away in Whitefield. One-week, two-week and three-week sessions depending on age Starting in July and finishing in August.


*Star ratings from TripAdvisor

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