There is still a lot of summer left and we know that you have a bucket list of fun and adventure you still need to complete. A trip to the White Mountains is sure to be on your list, and we have some great suggestions that you do not want to miss. Get your pen out and start marking some checks in those boxes!
Summit Mount Washington
The White Mountains is home to the Northeast’s highest peak, Mount Washington, which comes in at 6,288 feet. While there are many hiking trails to the summit, not every family has the means or the time to hike to the top. Thankfully, there are options! The Cog Railway is considered the world’s first mountain climbing cog railway and has been in operation since 1869. This is a scenic, and historic trip for families. Another way up to the top is a drive up the Mt. Washington Auto Road. Families can either drive their own car up the 5 mile road or can get shuttled up in an Auto Road Stage Coach. There are many scenic vistas and photo opportunities along the way. At the summit, check out the Tip Top House museum, the observation deck, and the Observatory museum.
Explore Caves and Gorges
Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves takes you along a ¾ mile boardwalk which you can follow at your leisure, or detour through the various granite caves within the gorge. Stop at Paradise Falls, a 35 foot waterfall that will leave everyone in awe. Kids will enjoy mining for gems and rocks at the mining sluice and will get a bird’s eye view of the White Mountains in the Giant Bird’s Nest. Polar Caves Park has many caves for families to explore as well as a petting zoo, mining sluice, and an outdoor climbing wall. The Flume Gorge is a 2-mile loop that brings visitors through a gorge that is 90 feet high. Explore waterfalls, a cave, the Flume Covered Bridge, and the Visitor’s Center, which includes a 20-minute video of the natural and historical significance of the White Mountains.
Release Your Inner Child
Clark’s Trading Post has been family owned and operated since 1928. Their trained bear shows have been delighting and amazing generations of visitors. Along with Clark’s Bears, they offer a range of activities including a train ride with a visit by the Wolfman, Blaster Boats, the Anaconda Escape, and much more.
Splash the day away at Whale’s Tale Waterpark! With multiple water rides, wave pool, lazy river, and the latest addition to the park, AKUA Beach surf simulator, there is a water adventure for every member of the family.
Parents and grandparents may remember visiting these two popular parks in the White Mountains. Story Land is a storybook themed amusement park that first opened in the 1950’s and offers over 30 whimsical rides, attractions, and musical shows to delight children and parents alike. Santa’s Village is “Pure JOY, Family Style”, and visitors will be surrounded by Christmas in the summer. Feed the reindeer, visit the water park, meet Santa, and spend the day riding over 20 Christmas themed rides.
Take a Train Ride
The Hobo Railroad brings visitors on a 1.5 hour tour along the Pemigewasset River to explore the natural and historical beauty of the White Mountains. Enjoy a hobo packed lunch on board and stick around for entertainment on and off the train. The Conway Scenic Railroad offers tours in town through Conway and Bartlett, as well as through Crawford Notch. An old-fashioned railroading experience sure to please the whole family.
The White Mountains obviously has its share of mountains, and these peaks offer fun and adventurous ways to get to the summit and back without having to break a sweat. Check out the gondola and tram rides, mountain coasters, ziplines, and adventure parks at Loon Mountain, Cannon Mountain, Attitash Mountain Resort, Cranmore Mountain Resort, and Wildcat Mountain. Looking for a treetop adventure? Alpine Adventures has ziplining, the Off-Road Safari, the Aerial Thrillsville Park, and the Big Air Stunt Bag, so you can customize your day exploring 300 acres of fun.
Sleep Under the Stars
Some amazing memories are made over s’mores and a campfire at a perfectly selected campsite. The White Mountain National Forest offers many different camping experiences for families and groups of all sizes, and there are also wonderful, privately-run campgrounds throughout the White Mountains with features and amenities to suit every campers' needs.
Bag a Peak or Two (Or Three)
From a simple stroll in the woods to 48 4,000 footers, and everything in between, we have a trail for everyone in the White Mountains. Here are a few to get the blood pumping that also have some pretty amazing views.
Mount Moosilaukee-The trailhead begins in the Beaver Brook Trail on Route 112 and is approximately 7.6 miles roundtrip. It stands at 4,802 feet and has 360° views of Franconia Ridge and the Kinsmans.
Mount Osceola-Offering stunning views of the Sandwich Range Wilderness, this 4,315’ peak can be accessed either from the Kancamagus Highway r off of Tripoli Road in Waterville.
Potash Mountain-This 2,700’ peak is on the list “52 With a View”, and offers sweeping 360° views. The trailhead can be accessed on the Kancamagus Highway.
Spend the Day in the Water
The Saco River, Pemigewasset River, Androscoggin River, and Echo Lake, (in both Franconia and Conway), are just some of the beautiful bodies of water in the White Mountains that are great to relax at, explore, or take a dip in. Check out our top picks for to rent kayaks, canoes, or tubes, for a more adventurous day in the water.
Pan For Gold
For hundreds of years, gold has been discovered in the waters of the Pemi, Baker, and Ammonoosuc Rivers. People still come from all over to try and pan for these precious nuggets. If you have or made your own prospecting equipment, go forth and find your riches! If you don’t know the first thing about prospecting, head over to the Twin River Campground in Bath and you can purchase your own prospecting equipment at their camp store.