Lincoln, New Hampshire, in the heart of the White Mountains National Forest, is an easy New England road trip – especially from Boston. The combination of the location, right off of Route 93, and the kid-friendly activities make it an appealing destination for any family vacation. There are so many things to do in Lincoln NH with kids.
Lincoln NH is also a four-season destination, with things to do in the spring, summer, winter, and fall. Many of these fun things to do are outdoor activities, so be sure to dress appropriately for the weather/terrain. Despite living in New England, I’m not much of a cold-weather person, so I prefer to visit in the spring/summer. Fall is also wonderful, especially due to the fall foliage. Here are some things to do in Lincoln, NH with kids.
This post contains affiliate links. A purchase/click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us. All opinions are my own. In the past, I’ve received complimentary admission to some of these Lincoln NH attractions (as well as some in the greater White Mountain area). I’ve paid my own way many times as well. It’s one of our favorite destinations.
Things to Do in Lincoln NH With Kids
Whale’s Tale Water Park
This outdoor waterpark includes eleven waterslides, a wave pool, a lazy river, an activity area, and Akua Beach. You could easily spend the whole day there, and admission tickets to Whale’s Tale include all of the attractions. There are also two food venues and changing facilities so you can change into dry clothes before leaving. If you need a locker, they are offered for an additional fee. Bring along your own towels. (you can see reviews of Whale’s Tale here).
Loon Mountain Resort
While many think of Loon Mountain as a winter destination, there’s also so much to do at this ski resort in the summer. Depending on what activities your family enjoys, you’ll definitely want to include a visit to Loon during one of these seasons.
Winter activities at Loon Mountain include cross-country and downhill skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, ice skating, snowshoeing, and ziplining. In the summer, you can enjoy the Aerial Forest Adventure Park, a ropes course in the White Mountains National Forest.
Other activities include downhill mountain biking, regular mountain biking, a gondola sky ride, disc golf, and a bungee trampoline. Activity packages are available that offer admission to all of the activities.
Franconia Notch State Park
Known as the home of the now collapsed Old Man in the Mountain, Cannon Mountain is located right in Franconia Notch State Park. It offers an aerial tramway, downhill skiing, and the New England Ski Museum. Sadly, the iconic Old Man in the Mountain can no longer be seen, but it’s still worth visiting the ski area to ride the tram if you’d like a great view of the White Mountains.
However, there’s more to Franconia Notch State Park than Cannon Mountain. This beautiful state park features a number of traditional state park activities, including hiking trails, lake swimming, and fly fishing.
The Flume Gorge is also located within Franconia Notch State Park. There’s a visitor center, as well as a 2-mile loop that you can walk around. It opens for the season in the late spring – check their website for a specific opening date.
In my experience, the whole Franconia Notch State Park area gets pretty crowded (especially in good weather), so be sure to arrive early for the best parking options.
Want to see a moose during your New Hampshire vacation? While it’s absolutely not guaranteed that you’ll see one, the Pemi Valley Moose Tours offer night tours starting in the late spring. These tours run for about 3 – 3 1/2 hours and are appropriate for the whole family. I’d probably recommend this for kids that can easily pay attention for that length of time.
Tickets can be purchased online, and it’s a good idea to do that if you know when you want to go to ensure availability.
If you are visiting in the winter, you’ll want to visit the New Hampshire location of Ice Castles. This attraction is open on a weather-dependent basis throughout the winter. Tickets can be purchased online, and you definitely should do that before heading up to Lincoln. While standby tickets are offered, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to get in.
Tickets are slightly more expensive on the weekend, so try to go during the week if you can. You can find tickets and opening dates here.
Alpine Adventures is owned by the same company as Whale’s Tale. It offers adventure activities, including a canopy tour, a treetop adventure course, off-road tours, snowshoe tours, zip-lining, and more. Tickets for everything can be purchased online.
Clark’s Trading Post
Younger kids will enjoy visiting Clark’s Trading Post, one of the most iconic attractions in the Lincoln, New Hampshire area. I remember visiting as a kid with my family, so it was exciting to visit with my kids.
This small park offers a train ride (where you’ll be chased by a wolfman), a climbing tower, and a river raft ride. The highlight, however, is the infamous trained bear show. There’s also a newer Chinese acrobat show. (see reviews here).
Even if you don’t visit Clark’s, you’ll want to check out their huge gift shop filled with fun souvenirs of your Lincoln family vacation.
Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves
Just past Lincoln is the small town of North Woodstock, where you can find the Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves. Open from mid-spring through early fall, Lost River includes caves, hikes, and other outdoor activities. There are also special events and activities including animal presentations and lantern tours. Check their website for the schedule.
Looking for other things to do in Lincoln NH? You’ll also find the Hobo Railroad, fun shops, and miniature golf. There are also some great family resorts where you enjoy outdoor/indoor pools and other family activities. The downtown Woodstock area is definitely worth visiting as well. There are several shops and cafes there.
Beyond the Lincoln area
During your New Hampshire vacation, you may also want to drive down the Kancamagus Highway to the North Conway area of the White Mountains.
There, you’ll find outlet shopping (no sales tax in New Hampshire!), Attitash Mountain Resort, and Story Land, along with other family-friendly activities. You can see things to do in North Conway, NH here.
Restaurants in Lincoln, NH
There are several great places to eat in Lincoln NH. Most of the restaurants are family-friendly, but check menus and reviews before committing.
One of our favorites is the Lincoln location of the local chain, the Common Man. It’s centrally located on the Kancamagus Highway and offers a big menu with lots of options.
Another popular spot is the Woodstock Inn Brewery. It’s located in the adjacent town of North Woodstock and offers a casual environment and good food.
I haven’t been there, but the La Vista Restaurant in the RiverWalk Resort gets great reviews.
Where to Stay in Lincoln, NH
There are lots of fun family hotels in the Lincoln area, including many with indoor pools. Here are a few options for top-rated family hotels in the area.