See What Fun Awaits Your Family in New Hampshire!
If you're taking a family excursion to New Hampshire, there's a lot to see and do all around the state. Majestic mountains, dense forests, awe-inspiring coastline, quaint New England towns and contemporary cities are all readily available. And it's the fifth smallest state in the country, so it's not too taxing to travel across it in its entirety, east to west and top to bottom.
The Children's Museum of New Hampshire
The city of Dover in New Hampshire's Seacoast Region is home to the Children's Museum of New Hampshire (6 Washington St., Dover, NH). It's a leading attraction for younger kids in the state, featuring nearly 20 different zones full of fun, educational, hands-on exhibits. Help your kids explore various aspects of science, nature, building, logic, imagination and play as they interact with the stimulating exhibits.
Hours change seasonally (including closing on Mondays during the school year), so check the website at childrens-museum.org before heading over. Admission is only $10 per person, and if you have a family membership at your own local children's museum, you might qualify for discounted or free admission through a reciprocal membership offer. Just remember to bring your membership cards along.
Canobie Lake Park
In the southern New Hampshire town of Salem is a large amusement park called Canobie Lake Park (85 N. Policy St., Salem, NH). It has a great mix of kid rides, family rides, thrill rides, water rides, live shows and games, so there's plenty to please the whole gang. Don't miss the historic Yankee Cannonball, a wooden roller coaster built in 1936.
It's open all summer long and select days in May, September and October. Days and hours vary. Admission is nearly $40 for adults but cheaper for kids under 48 inches tall and adults over 60, while kids 3 and under are free. Tickets are discounted if you go after 5 p.m. too. You won't have to shell out for parking, though; it's free.
The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
You'll certainly want to visit the capital city while your family's exploring New Hampshire. Make some time in Concord for the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center (2 Institute Dr., Concord, NH). It's a cool air and space museum with all sorts of innovative, inspiring, interactive exhibits geared towards kids of all ages. There's a planetarium and an observatory, too.
Hours differ if local schools are in session, so check with starhop.com for information. Adult admission is $10, while it's $7 for kids 3 to 12 and $9 for students 13 through college. It's an extra $5 per person to see the planetarium show.
Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center
Treat your family to some of New England's beautiful great outdoors at Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center (1 Mount Washington Auto Rd., Gorham, NH). Located at the base of Mount Washington in northeastern New Hampshire, the experiences are very different during the summer and winter seasons, but whenever you're there, you're in for some fun adventure.
Hiking, trail biking, guided kayak tours and whitewater kayak trips are popular family activities during the summer program. You're also bound to spot lots of indigenous mountain wildlife. In the winter, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snow tubing offer cold-weather fun and exercise. Prices vary depending on the activities you choose.
The Conway Scenic Railroad
Take the kids for a ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad (38 Norcross Cir., North Conway, NH). Two different trips are offered, each presenting an old-fashioned railroading experience in restored vintage locomotives, and both departing from a historic 1874 train station in North Conway Village, a popular dining and shopping destination.
There are two Valley Train routes, one running 11 miles lasting just under an hour for the round-trip journey, and one traveling 21 miles round trip in about 1.75 hours. These passenger trains pass through lots of stunning New Hampshire scenery. There's also a Notch Train ride on select days, which heads into the mountains for breathtaking views. Schedules and fares vary.
Eric Mohrman has been a freelance writer since 2007, focusing on travel, food and lifestyle stories. His creative writing is also widely published. He lives in Orlando, Florida.