Summer fun in the White Mountains
Outdoor adventure, amusement parks and Santa are waiting for you in New Hampshire's White Mountains this summer.
New Hampshire is home to some of New England’s most picturesque waterfalls, including the state’s tallest waterfall, Arethusa Falls, a towering 200-foot drop in Crawford Notch State Park (Route 302, Harts Location). Traveling the Kancamagus Highway? Look for the Sabbaday Falls rest stop on the south side of the highway near Conway. A bridge (with railing!) crosses directly over the rushing water.
Attitash Mountain Resort, Bartlett
Visit Attitash Mountain Resort in Bartlett to zipline, zoom down the slopes on a mountain coaster, and catch some air on the EuroBungy trampoline. In the Abenaki language, Attitash means “blueberry,” and this year on Saturday, August 4, 2018, the resort celebrates the fruit with its annual Blueberry Fest, featuring games, music, blueberry pie eating contest, and tasty blueberry treats.
New Hampshire is home to 66 covered bridges. Top picks include the Honeymoon Bridge in Jackson Village (Route 16A); the Bath-Haverhill Bridge (Route 135), the oldest bridge in the state; and the Windsor-Cornish Bridge (off Route 12A in Cornish), the longest wooden bridge in the United States.
The Brick Store
The Brick Store in Bath, in business since 1790, holds the record as the oldest continuously operated general store in the country. Stop by for the store’s specialties including homemade fudge, locally produced maple syrup, toys and lots of White Mountains souvenirs.
Cannon Mountain, Franconia
Soar to the top of Cannon Mountain aboard the Aerial Tramway. The enclosed cable car ride offers a breathtaking ride to Cannon’s open summit. Once you’re at the top, follow the summit trails to an observation platform and enjoy panoramic views of distant valleys and Franconia Ridge.
Echo Lake State Park, North Conway
Visit Cathedral Ledge, a sheer, 400-foot cliff just outside the North Conway village. Fenced in for safety and accessible by seasonal auto road, this is an easy stop for families. Cathedral Ledge, located in Echo Lake State Park, is one of the state’s most popular rock-climbing areas, so you're likely to see climbers pulling over the top of the cliff right in front of you.
Clark’s Trading Post
There’s nothing like the trained bear shows at Clark’s Trading Post in Lincoln, a White Mountains tradition since 1949. After the show, take a train ride, go on the blaster boats, and plummet down the Anaconda raft ride.
The Rey Center
Waterville Valley was the summer home of H.A. and Margret Rey, the creators of Curious George. Now it is home to The Rey Center. On Saturdays throughout the summer, children are welcome to stop by for the Center’s weekly storytime. And check out the gardens and trails, too.
Conway Scenic Railroad
Climb aboard the Conway Scenic Railroad! Departing from its main station in North Conway, feel the thrill of traveling by vintage rail car through spectacular Crawford Notch. Shorter trips to Conway and Bartlett are also available.
Whale’s Tale Water Park
For a splish-splashy good time in the White Mountains, jump into fun at Lincoln’s Whale’s Tale Water Park. Twist through the flume slides, get drenched in a downpour, and ride the surf in the White Mountains’ only wave pool.
In North Conway, there’s a swimming hole that’s truly fit for a goddess. Diana’s Bath is a series of crashing cascades and swirling potholes along Lucy Brook. The curiously circular potholes transform into surprisingly warm “bathtubs” perfect for a dip. Follow the signs from River Road.
In Franconia Notch State Park, don’t miss the Flume Gorge, an 800-foot-long natural canyon, so narrow in places that the 90-foot tall sheer granite walls are only separated by a mere 20 inches. A two-mile loop in and around the gorge takes you to waterfalls, covered bridges and glacial pools.
Christmas in July? Yes! With exciting holiday-themed rides and a chance to visit the jolly old elf himself, it really does happen at Santa’s Village in Jefferson. Ride, slide, splash and play at this favorite White Mountains attraction. Selected by TripAdvisor as one of the top 25 amusement parks in the country.
Fort Jefferson Fun Park
Play where you stay at Fort Jefferson Fun Park, a White Mountains campground that has its own built-in amusement park. Fill your family’s day with excitement that includes Western-themed rides, waterslides and laser tag. Then get ready for campground fun all night — with no long car rides in between. Cabin rentals available.
Great Glen Trails, Gorham
Where else would you expect to find “white water” than in the White Mountains? In summer, Great Glen Trails cross-country ski center in Gorham transforms into a whitewater rafting center along the Androscoggin River. Trained instructors can teach your family everything needed to have a safe day riding the rapids.
Littleton is the hometown of famed children’s author, Eleanor H. Porter. In 1913, Porter wrote Pollyanna, her bestselling novel about a girl with limitless optimism and good cheer. To celebrate Porter and her work, visit the charming Pollyanna statue on the Littleton library front lawn. Be sure to rub her high-top shoe for luck and gladness.
Lost River Gorge
When the last Ice Age retreated, it left behind Lost River Gorge in North Woodstock, a glacial, rockstrewn canyon that makes the river flowing through it seem to “disappear.” As you make your way along the wooden boardwalk, check out deep caves and a rushing waterfall. Kids can pan for fossils and gemstones along the river – and keep what they find.
Polly’s Pancake Parlor
Fuel up before your big day exploring the Franconia Notch region with breakfast or lunch at Polly’s Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill, a can’t-miss dining spot that has been offering great food in a family-friendly atmosphere since 1938. For a taste of everything Polly’s has to offer, make sure to order the Pancake Sampler.
Mount Washington Valley Children’s Museum
For a rainy day escape, head to the Mount Washington Valley Children’s Museum in North Conway, where kids can put on puppet shows, play with trains, climb into a life-sized treehouse, explore outer space and more. The museum is in the heart of downtown, so you can walk to nearby restaurants and shops.
Outdoor Rock Climbing
Mooney Mountain Guides
Outdoor rock climbing is a popular pastime in the Granite State. Want to give it a try? Mooney Mountain Guides in Concord offers family lessons at one of three popular rock climbing spots: Rumney, Echo Crag and North Conway.
Mount Washington Auto Road
You know you want that bumper sticker that says, "This Car Climbed Mount Washington," so make your way to the Mount Washington Auto Road and go for it. With often crazy weather, winding roads, and spectacular vistas, this is a car ride you’ll never forget. The toll road leaves from Pinkham Notch/Route 16.
Mount Washington Weather Observatory
Learn about the wild weather at the top of Mount Washington at the Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center, an interactive science museum that makes the wonder of weather come alive. Mount Washington has some of the fastest wind speeds ever recorded on earth, but the weather center is safely tucked away in North Conway’s bustling downtown district.
The most unique place to cool off when temperatures soar? One front runner is the Polar Caves in Rumney. The centerpiece of this White Mountains attraction is the glacier-carved caves that stay cold year round. Explore the caves then visit the animal park, climbing walls, and sluice mine to pan for gems.
Settlers Green Outlet Village
Already thinking about back-to-school shopping? Settlers Green Outlet Village in North Conway is home to cost-cutting outlet versions of kids’ and teens’ favorite stores, including Justice, Children’s Place, Osh Kosh B’Gosh, American Eagle and Banana Republic. Mom and dad can check out the Yankee Candle outlet, Stonewall Kitchen, and Lindt.
At Story Land, a fairytale-inspired amusement park in Glen, take a spin in a teacup, travel in pumpkin coach style on the way to see Cinderella, and scream along on the Roar-O-Saurus, the only wooden roller coaster of its kind in northern New England. There’s enough to do here for a day’s worth of fun — and then some.
For a bird’s eye view of the White Mountains, take a zipline tour over the treetops. Adventurous types can get their thrill on at Alpine Adventures in Lincoln, Cranmore’s Aerial Adventure Park, and the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour, the longest zip line tour in New England with a descent of over 1,000 feet in elevation.