Essential Things To Do In New Hampshire With Kids

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No matter what you want to do or what season you visit, you will find it in New Hampshire. The more your family likes to do outdoors, the better! There are a lot of fantastic things to do in New Hampshire with kids.

This small state also has it all. A gorgeous seacoast, rugged mountains, and enough outlet shopping to satisfy any shopping enthusiast. Find out about all of the family attractions you will find in the Granite State.

Things to do with kids in New Hampshire Pinterest pin image

A ten-mile stretch along the southern New Hampshire border spans the coastal towns of Hampton, Rye, New Castle, and Portsmouth. Rocky beaches and state parks line the stretch and are a tourist’s delight from May through September.

Family Attractions In New Hampshire

hampton beach new hampshire

Hampton Beach

Hampton Beach is a great place for families with kids to visit. There is a boardwalk with plenty of shops and restaurants, as well as live entertainment for families to enjoy.

Kids can also splash around at the beach with its sandy shore and beautiful views.

No beach day would be complete without freshly fried dough or fried clams while watching the waves crash on the mile-long stretch of beach.

Odiome Point State Park

Rye

Rye is home to a variety of small businesses and boutiques that are perfect for a day of shopping with the kids, but that’s not all!

Odiorne Point State Park

Rye is home to Odiorne Point State Park. Just minutes north of Hampton, this park features beautiful woods, a beachfront, and a nature and science center.

Seacoast Science Center

The Seacoast Science Center is filled with information and hands-on activities about sea creatures and local wildlife.

Fort Constitution Historic Site

Rye is also home to the Fort Constitution State Historic Site. This park features a reconstructed fort, as well as gorgeous views of the Portsmouth Harbor and the Isles of Shoals.

Main Street, New Castle, NH

New Castle

Just north of Rye lies New Castle, home of the infamous Wentworth By the Sea oceanside resort. Originally built in the early 1900s, this thoroughly renovated resort is now owned and operated by Marriott.

Great Island Common

New Castle is also home to Great Island Common, a beautiful beach, playground, and picnic area just minutes from the Wentworth. There is a small admission fee per car during peak season but it’s well worth it.

A family can spend hours at Great Island Common enjoying the sun, surf, walking trails, and gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean. Bathroom facilities are available.

tugboat in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Portsmouth

Head north another few minutes to find the seacoast city of Portsmouth. Settled in the 1600s, this seaport is rich in history and culture. It’s also a haven for fine dining and shopping.

Strawbery Banke Museum

Just steps from downtown Portsmouth is the Strawbery Banke Museum. Tour the houses that were built in the 1600s and learn about the first settlers in this seacoast region.

Black Heritage Trail

While at Strawbery Banke, take a walk on the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire to learn about the important history and contributions of the earliest Africans in America.

Prescott Park Arts Festival

The Prescott Park Arts Festival comes to life each summer and features live performances of the Seacoast Repertory Theater at Prescott Park along the Piscataqua River.

Children’s Museum of New Hampshire

About 20 minutes north of Portsmouth is Dover which is home to the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. This hands-on museum features a variety of exhibits and activities designed to educate and entertain kids of all ages. The museum is located in a historic building on the corner of Congress and Market Streets.

Fall drive on the Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire White Mountains

White Mountains

A couple of hours north of Portsmouth, head up to the White Mountains. Mount Washington is the highest peak in the Northeast and features a railway and car roads taking visitors to its summit.

Hiking

Hiking and camping are prevalent in the White Mountains. Check with the Appalachian Mountain Club for specific trails and information.

Skiing

This region is a skier’s delight during the winter months. Some of the best skiing in New England takes place at New Hampshire ski resorts like Gunstock, Attitash, and Black Mountain.

Kancamagus Highway

One of the coolest things to do with kids in New Hampshire is to take a ride on the Kancamagus Highway through White Mountain National Forest. It is especially breathtaking in the fall.

aerial view of Lake Winnipesaukee

Lakes Region

The Lakes Region of New Hampshire is home to a variety of lakes, such as Lake Winnipesaukee, Sunapee, and Squam. Families will enjoy swimming, fishing, boating, and hiking in this region.

In the winter months, the lakes are a perfect setting for ice skating, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.

Castle in the Clouds

The Lakes Region is also home to the Castle in the Clouds, a mountaintop estate with stunning views of the surrounding lakes and mountains. The estate features hiking trails, gardens, and a restaurant.

aerial view of Meredith, NH

Meredith

Meredith is a popular destination in the Lakes Region and is where you will find Lake Waukewan, which is a 928-acre lake that flows past the Mill Falls Marketplace and into Lake Winnipesaukee.

Mill Falls Marketplace

This quaint town is home to a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as the Mill Falls Marketplace. The Mill Falls Marketplace is an outdoor shopping area featuring a variety of stores, including a toy store, an art gallery, and clothing boutiques.

Sharing statue, Wolfeboro NH

Wolfeboro

Wolfeboro is another popular destination in the Lakes Region. This quaint town is often referred to as the “Oldest Summer Resort in America” and is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and bed & breakfasts.

Wright Museum

Wolfeboro is also home to the Wright Museum, which tells the story of World War II through the eyes of those who lived it.

red colonial house in Hancock, NH

Monadnock Region

In the warm months, the region is known for its summer camping, swimming, and hiking activities. Many summer camps call the Monadnock Region their home.

Mount Monadnock

The Monadnock Region of New Hampshire is made up of Mount Monadnock and several surrounding towns.

Fall Foliage

The Monadnock Region is also popular for its Autumn foliage. In the fall, the leaves change color and create a beautiful landscape. The region is also home to several corn mazes and pumpkin patches that families visiting in the fall can enjoy.

Crotched Mountain Resort

In the winter months, the Monadnock Region is a popular destination for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. It is home to Crotched Mountain Resort, which features a variety of winter activities for families.

Harris Center for Conservation Education

The Monadnock Region is also home to the Harris Center for Conservation Education in Hancock. The Harris Center is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the conservation of natural resources and the promotion of environmental education.

New Hampshire State House

Concord

Concord is New Hampshire’s capital, and the city itself is well worth a visit with kids.

McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center

While in Concord, visit the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center which pays tribute to the teacher who was on board the Challenger space shuttle.

New Hampshire Historical Society

Visit the New Hampshire Historical Society for a look back at New Hampshire’s history offer.

New Hampshire State House

Tours of the New Hampshire State House are also available, and school groups are often seen exploring the building.

Currier Museum of Art, Manchester NH

Manchester

Manchester is one of New Hampshire’s largest cities. These are just some of the things there are to do here.

SEE Science Center

In Manchester, families can enjoy a variety of activities, such as exploring the SEE Science Center for some hands-on science fun.

Currier Museum of Art

For art lovers, a visit to the Currier Museum of Art is an absolute must.

Robert Frost Farm

About 20 minutes south of Manchester in Derry, take a walk through the Robert Frost Farm. This is a 30-acre farm that was once home to the poet, Robert Frost.

rollercoaster at Canobie Lake Park
Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson via Flickr

Nashua

Nashua is another of New Hampshire’s larger towns. With its close proximity to Massachusetts, there are a lot of things to do here or just over the border in the Bay State.

Holman Stadium

See a baseball game at Holman Stadium, which is the home field of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League’s Nashua Silver Knights.

Greeley Park

Have a fun day at Greeley Park where kids can play on the playground, have a picnic, go sledding in the winter or in the wading pool in the summer, and more.

Canobie Lake Park

About a half-hour east in Salem, have a fun day at Canobie Lake Park. Canobie Lake Park is an amusement park with rides for kids of all ages, water rides, games, and more.

ride at Story Land in Glen, NH
Photo Credit: Martin Lewison via Flickr

North Conway

While in the ski resort area, spend a few hours, or even an entire day in North Conway.
Known for some of the best outlet shopping in the Northeast, this town is home to eclectic shops as well as nationally recognized outlet stores such as the New England classic, L.L. Bean, and more.

Story Land

While in North Conway, drive 10 minutes to Glen, NH, and take the kids to Story Land. Story Land is one of the most popular things to do in New Hampshire with kids. enjoy the day at an amusement park where fairy tales come to life.

Cranmore Mountain Resort

No matter what time of year you visit, you can’t go to North Conway without going to Cranmore Mountain Resort. Go skiing in the winter and have a blast at the adventure park for summer family fun.

Conway Scenic Railroad

Kids will also enjoy the Conway Scenic Railroad, which offers a variety of train rides through the scenic White Mountains.

Diana’s Baths

Spend the day hiking with the family and follow the trails to see the waterfalls at Diana’s Baths.

Cannon Mountain

Cannon Mountain is a popular destination for skiing, and its also home to the New England Ski Museum,

White Mountain National Forest

For a leisurely day of sightseeing, take a ride through the White Mountain National Forest. The Kancamagus Highway is a beautiful drive that goes through the mountains from Conway to Lincoln (or vice versa).

Covered bridge on the Swift River, New Hampshire

When Is The Best Time To Visit New Hampshire?

The weather in New Hampshire has changed in recent years, with spring being a nearly non-existent season.

Winter comes during the holidays and often stretches well into March, if not the first couple of weeks of April. If you’re looking to ski or participate in winter activities, plan your trip for December through March when you’re most likely to have snow on the ground.

Sometime in May, you’ll start to feel the weather warm up and New Hampshire becomes full of blossoms and warm weather activities begin. This is a nice time to visit New Hampshire with kids.

When planning your trip, keep in mind that New Hampshire is a popular destination in the summer and fall, so hotels and attractions will be busiest during these times.

Fall is probably the most pleasant and most beautiful time to visit New Hampshire, with dry and reasonable temperatures and little rainfall. The foliage creates an incredible backdrop of color perfect for photography or just enjoying the natural beauty of the state.

Final Thoughts

Most families come to New Hampshire with the intention of enjoying the outdoors and relaxing. Although there are a couple of fairly good-sized cities, New Hampshire isn’t considered a metropolitan area.

New Hampshire is a gold mine of activities, history, sights, and sounds throughout the year. Given its convenient location, just an hour north of Boston and an hour south of Portland, Maine, it’s one of the best places for outdoor family fun in the Northeast.

Enjoy the beaches in the summer. Check out the gorgeous mountain foliage in the fall. Ski and shop in the winter, and hike and sightsee during the warm spring months.

It is one of the few states that still has undisturbed land and many species of wildlife to catch a glimpse of. From ocean views to wetlands, mountains to northern streams, there are a lot of things to do in New Hampshire with kids. 

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