New Hampshire, a short drive from where I live in Massachusetts, is home to some of my favorite family attractions. I have fond memories of visiting when I was a kid, and have loved returning with my children. Many of the wonderful family-friendly things to do in NH are in the White Mountains region.
The attractions in the White Mountains NH are great for even young children, which make it a great family destination for a weekend getaway or a longer trip. If you are planning an East Coast family vacation, it’s definitely worth visiting New Hampshire. Here are some of our favorite things to do in White Mountains with kids, including things to do in North Conway NH and things to do in Lincoln NH.
Disclosure: In the past, I’ve received complimentary admission to several of these attractions. However, I’ve also purchased admission on my own a number of times. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. A purchase and/or click through on one of the links may result in a small commission.
Attractions in the White Mountains of New Hampshire
We don’t ski much, so we typically visit the White Mountains NH in the late spring and summer months. Keep in mind that it does get crowded on weekends in the summer, so weekdays or early season is best. Check attraction hours, as some have limited hours except in the summer.
Things to Do in Lincoln NH
Lincoln, New Hampshire, located off of Route 93, is home to several fun family attractions. In the summer, enjoy a trip to the Whale’s Tale Water Park, which includes eleven waterslides, a wave pool, a lazy river, an activity area, and Akua Beach. Tickets to Whale’s Tale include admission to all of the attractions. The water park offers two food venues and changing facilities. Lockers are available for an additional fee. Bring along your own towels. (see reviews of Whale’s Tale here).
Younger kids will enjoy visiting Clark’s Trading Post. This small park offers a train ride (where you’ll be chased by a wolfman), a climbing tower, and a river raft ride. In addition, there are two shows – the infamous trained bear show, and a Chinese acrobat show. (see reviews here). I always have fond memories of visiting Clark’s as a kid, so it was fun to return with my children.
For some outdoor fun, head down the road to Franconia Notch State Park. This beautiful state park features a number of traditional state park activities, including hiking trails, lake swimming, and fly fishing. There’s also an aerial tramway, and the Flume Gorge. It definitely gets very crowded, so arrive early for the best parking options.
Just past Lincoln is 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.
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.
Things to Do in North Conway NH
For more White Mountains NH activities, head across the scenic Kancamagus Highway to North Conway NH. Even the car ride takes you through such beautiful scenery in the White Mountains National Forest.
There are so many things to do in North Conway NH. One of our favorite things to do is to visit the fabulous outlet shops of Settler’s Green. Remember that there is no sales tax in New Hampshire, making the outlet prices even better! There are also lots of independent shops and restaurants in North Conway. The town center is so quaint, and there, you’ll find the Conway Scenic Railroad, where you can take a scenic train trip around the area.
Right past North Conway, you’ll also find some other small towns in the area. The most popular White Mountains attraction for kids is Story Land, technically located in Glen, NH.
I used to visit Story Land as a child, and always loved it. It’s expanded over the years, and is now you’ll want to spend at least one full day there. The fairy tale attractions at the front of the park appeal to younger kids, while elementary-aged kids will love the flume, small roller coaster, and more. Guests who enter the park during the last three hours of the day will receive a complimentary ticket to visit another day. We find that this is the best value, and gives us lots of time in the park.
Down the road from Story Land is the Attitash Mountain Resort. In the winter, Attitash is a popular ski resort with 68 trails and 11 lifts. In the summer, Attitash Mountain Resort offers two alpine slides, a zip line, and a mountain coaster. An attractions pass is available in the summer and includes the alpine slides, zipline, mountain coaster, rockwall climb, chairlift rides, and more. The zip line is popular, so be sure to make reservations in advance. (see reviews of Attitash here).
Another ski resort, Cranmore Mountain Resort, is located right in North Conway. In the winter, you can enjoy skiing as well as a tubing and mountain adventure park. Visiting in the summer? Check out the Mountain Adventure Park, which offers eight different rope courses.
Other White Mountains Attractions
There are other great places to explore in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. One of the most popular is Mount Washington. Drive up Pinkham Notch on the Mt. Washington Auto Road to reach the highest peak in the Northeast United States. If you don’t want to drive, there’s also the option for a guided tour in season. There’s also the Mount Washington Cog Railway.
If you’ve got younger kids, consider driving to Jefferson, New Hampshire, where you’ll find Santa’s Village. When my kids were little, they loved this fun amusement park where it’s Christmas everyday. Santa’s Village features 20 rides as well as entertainment, other attractions, food, and shops. It’s open daily in the summer, and on weekends seasonally through Christmas.
White Mountains NH Hotels
There are so many lodging options in the White Mountains, including vacation homes, bed and breakfasts, quaint inns, and family hotels. Here are some White Mountains NH hotels for families: