New Hampshire is Haven for Vacationing Families

New Hampshire is Haven for Vacationing Families

Reprinted by permission from:
New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development

Imagine relaxing at a place where you can leave behind the hectic pace of city life and reconnect with your kids in the great outdoors. Or take the time to discover nature’s distractions: stars that are visible in the night sky; the sound of a woodpecker in the forest; sunset across a cool, clear lake.

From the seacoast to the soaring peaks of the highest mountains in the northeast, New Hampshire is a vacation destination that offers plenty of opportunity for sport and play-and for life’s authentic, simple pleasures. Easily accessible via Interstates, New Hampshire is easy to get to and the state is small enough to crisscross in a day, with activities to suit everyone’s tastes.

Does someone in the family want to mountain climb, while another wants to hunt shells at the ocean’s shore? It’s easy to do both in a short amount of time. A mountain, a lake, a city, a forested wilderness, an ocean-they’re all within easy reach. Just pick a home base-an all-inclusive family resort, a campground, or your own rented lake home-and plan your trip from there. It’s a great way to turn your vacation into a family reunion.

Besides swimming, biking, hiking, camping and other outdoor adventures, there are dozens of activities the kids will enjoy: water parks, family-size amusement parks, petting zoos and working farms, museums and historic sites. And New Hampshire’s famous tax-free shopping makes the state a bargain-hunter’s haven.

The information below will help you craft a story about New Hampshire as a family vacation destination. We have also enclosed the latest New Hampshire Guidebook and our media kit containing background materials, travel information, story ideas and contacts. The New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development ( can help with anything else you might need for a New Hampshire travel story. Also, please visit our media web site, for more great story ideas . Let us know what you are looking for-we will do the rest!

New Hampshire’s many ski resorts are perfect for families any time of year. They aren’t just for skiing and snowboarding (though they offer excellent children’s learning programs). In the off-season, many ski areas offer family activities such as water parks and alpine slides, hiking trails or horseback riding. And many offer the chance to climb the highest heights the easy way-on a chair lift, tram or gondola. At Cannon Mountain, the views from the tram reach to Canada and Vermont and the ride up and down the mountain rivals an amusement park. Loon Mountain’s Skyride is also a thrill for kids, with a café and caves to explore at the summit.

The forests of northern New Hampshire provide plenty of opportunities for viewing and learning about the state’s wildlife. One popular sport is “Moose Spotting,” where visitors set out to find this lovable, huge animal in its natural habitat. Three areas lend themselves especially well to moose spotting: The Thirteen Mile Woods near Lake Umbagog and Route 3 between the towns of Colebrook and Pittsburg, are havens for moose. The Kangamagus Highway in the Lincoln-Woodstock area of the White Mountains is also a popular tour for moose spotting. Several tour operations offer local guides who can lead you right to the moose’s favorite places, or venture out on your own. Of course, you may just happen upon a moose while out hiking a mountain or strolling through a state park.

The Great North Woods of New Hampshire is an excellent place for family adventures, particularly if your family likes fishing, canoeing, kayaking or camping. The Lake Umbagog Wildlife Refuge may offer a glimpse of bald eagles or nesting loons. This wilderness is possible because it was once part of a vast working forest where loggers took the trees to be processed into paper products at the milling town of Berlin to the south. While visiting the North Woods region, the family can enjoy an educational visit to an authentic logging camp established in Berlin. At the Northern Forest Heritage Park, children can be eyewitnesses to the life of a logging camp in winter and see how logs were floated down river to the mills. Special programs explore the cultural heritage (Russian, Greek, Scandinavian, Italian) of the workers, as well as the first inhabitants, the Abenaki Native American tribe.

New Hampshire may have only 18 miles of seacoast, but it’s a shore filled with fun for families. Every day can be described as children’s day at Hampton Beach, with its boardwalk of amusements and its lengthy, sandy beach, but an annual Children’s Festival in August focuses on kids more than ever. More state beaches are located in nearby Rye. Whale-watching tours and boating outings can be found at Portsmouth Harbor or sample life on a submarine at Albacore Park where a 27-foot submarine is housed.

Most school children can tell you who Christa McAuliffe is-the New Hampshire teacher-astronaut who lost her life in the Challenger explosion. In Concord, New Hampshire’s capital city, McAuliffe’s educational mission continues at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium, where a state-of-the-art domed theater takes visitors to the stars. In Portsmouth, a visit to The Children’s Museum teaches the science of the sea through hands-on exhibits. In Peterborough, a vibrant arts community, the Mariposa Museum invites children to learn about the vast cultures of the world through dance programs, story-telling, and interactive exhibits. A way to get close to agriculture is a visit to the Stonyfield Farm Visitors Center where the popular brand of yogurt is made. A tour of Stonyfield shows the journey from farmer’s milk to consumer product. At the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum, in the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region, children learn about the history of ancient people through hundreds of artifacts from the many Native American tribes.

Because New Hampshire retains much of its rural character, it offers experiences a child may not find elsewhere-a chance to milk a cow, see maple sap boiled into syrup, or milk churned into butter. Several working farms offer children hands-on experiences with farming-a chance to learn something while having fun. At Charmingfare Farm in the Merrimack Valley, more than 200 animals can be seen up close. At the East Hill Farm in the town of Troy, families can spend a week or a weekend on a working farm and do as much or as little of the work as they want. At the New Hampshire Farm Museum, they can watch a cobbler fixing shoes or a blacksmith working over an anvil.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that around every bend in New Hampshire, you can find a natural wonder sure to impress the kids. The southwest corner of the state, the Monadnock Region, is full of easy hikes for families to do, yet they open to some mountain vistas that can impress even the most jaded climbers. Of course, the White Mountains range is filled with scenic vistas, pristine rivers for wading, and hidden waterfalls beckoning. The Flume Gorge and Franconia Notch State Park are popular stopping points, with easy hikes for children. In Groton, a series of glacial potholes known as the Sculptured Rocks Natural Area can pique a child’s interest. A visit to Ruggles Mine in Grafton offers an opportunity for mining their own gems at an open pit mine at the top of a mountain.