New Hampshire is probably the state that has surprised me the most on our #90DayRoadTrip. Having never been there before, when we drove into the state a few weeks ago from Maine, I was not sure what to expect. Soon though, we were on curving highway roads, with towering mountains, wildflower littered valleys, and beautiful vistas all around. If your family is into outdoor adventure travel, then few places fit the bill better than the Mt. Washington Valley area. Check out some of our favorites.
Attitash Mountain Resort
A year-round adventure destination, the Attitash Mountain Resort is open 10am to 6pm during the Summer, with a wide range of adventure attractions for the whole family. You can purchase a pass and spend an entire day of fun here. We spent our first day in the Mt. Washington Valley here, and the boys only willingly left when the adventure park closed down for the evening.
Available activities include a 2,880 foot trip down the mountain on the Nor’Easter mountain coaster, an alpine slide track that is over a mile long, EuroBungy Trampolines, a scenic chair lift, waterslides, a climbing wall, an Airbag Jump and more. Each of the boys had a different favorite activity, including my oldest who loves the Airbag Jump. I even tried this free-falling adrenaline rush for myself, and it was really something to just let go and fall, but so fun!
Attitash Mountain is open daily with weather permitting, and general admission passes for all day fun are available at a rate of $49 for over 48″ tall and $25 for those under 48″.
Bretton Woods Adventure Center
Another incredible resort that has a wide range of outdoor adventure options for families is the Bretton Woods Resort. Their Adventure Center is packed full of activities that will help the kids burn off their energy, and you can’t beat the beautiful views. This is another attraction that can take all day if you want it to, so be sure to budget at least a few hours to accomplish it all.
Included in the Summer Day Pass is the Williwaw Racing Zip Line, Kids’ Go Kart Park with ATV’s and go-karts, 18-Holes of Disc Golf, the Slopeside Climbing Wall, Archery Range, the Scenic Chair Lift and the Kinderwoods Adventure Playground.
The boys’ favorite activity at Betton Woods by far was the Go Kart Park. They had such a great time getting to drive the kid-sized ATV’s by themselves. My 13 year old was a real pro at Archery, but it was my 11 year old who ended up with the bulls eye! After some fun, we headed up the scenic chairlift, with breathtaking views of the Presidential Mountain range behind us, and had lunch at the Latitude 44 Restaurant at the top of the mountain.
The food at Latitude 44 is standard lunch fare of burgers, sandwiches and other goodies. It is all tasty, but you really come here for the views. Nothing beats this view while you happily enjoy your lunch in the gorgeous Summer sun.
The Kinderwoods Adventure Playground is great for little ones. They can get a feel for ziplining on the zip swings, and scramble over the obstacle course to burn off any extra energy after lunch.
Summer day passes to Bretton Woods Adventure Center for children are $49 for those over 4 foot tall, and $29 for those under. The Adventure Center is open daily from mid-June to mid-October.
The Mount Washington Cog Railway
There are a few different choices for train ride adventure in the Mt. Washington Valley. However, none fit our needs quite so well as the Mount Washington Cog Railway. For one, this historical staple has been a part of Mt. Washington Valley tourism since its opening in 1869! Secondly, it is the only railway that makes its journey up the 6,288 feet to the summit of Mt. Washington. For these two reasons, a 3-hour tour aboard the Mount Washington Cog Railway was high on our list of “must do’s.”
As part of your tour, you climb aboard replica coaches powered by either an old-fashioned steam or innovative biodiesel locomotive. On your journey up the 6,288 foot ascent, you are actually being pushed by the engine, it is not physically attached to the coach in any way for safety reasons. The coach and engine use an incredible Cog wheel design to help climb their way up the mountainside.
An informative guide will list specific features of the Cog railway, tell you of its over 140 year history, and point out landmarks along the way. Like the water tower that is used to refill the steam engine as it makes its daily climb up and down the mountain, or the point where the railway reaches its steepest assent and you are encouraged to stand up and see how your body tried to compensate for the angle.
Once on the Mount Washington Summit, you have an hour there to explore off of the train. Visit the Extreme Weather Museum in the visitor’s center, check out the historic 1853 Tip Top House, or just marvel at the exquisite 360° views of the Presidential Mountain Range and Mt. Washington Auto Road.
Make your way back down the mountain after your hour on the summit, and watch how your coach is actually pushing the engine down the mountainside on your descent. Once at the end of your ride, don’t forget to stop inside and check out the museum to learn more about this magnificent Mt. Washington Valley attraction.
Mount Washington Cog Railway tours run daily from June -October. Tours are three hours long and $68 for an adult biodiesel ticket and $73 for a steam. While children tickets are $39, regardless of engine choice.
Cranmore Mountain Resort
Cranmore Mountain Resort is home to two parks full of outdoor adventure fun. The Aerial Adventure Park is a zipline and ropes course, and the Mountain Adventure Park is full of various adrenaline-pumping fun. On our visit, we chose to take on the Mountain Adventure Park, and had an entire afternoon packed full of fun.
The Mountain Adventure Park features a mountain coaster, Soaring Eagle zip ride, a giant swing, Spider Mountain climbing course, bounce houses, a tubing hill and more. The boys learned a few days earlier that they really loved mountain coasters, so that was their first stop at Cranmore Mountain Resort.
They then talked me into the Soaring Eagle zip ride, which was an incredible amount of fun. If you love the flip flop feeling your stomach does when you hang upside down on swings, then you will love getting the same sensation on the Giant Swing ride, and they best way to follow it up is by careening down the hillside on a tube.
You can ride the scenic chairlift to the top of the mountain for a bite to eat accompanied by great views at the restaurant there, and then head back down for some climbing fun on Spider Mountain. Don’t forget to stop by the bounce houses or try out the bungy trampolines before you end your day at Cranmore Mountain.
The Mountain Adventure Park is open daily, and passes are $39 for those over the age of 9 and 54″ tall, and $29 for over three and under 54″ tall.
Other Outdoor Adventure Options in the White Mountains
The White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Mt. Washington Valley area is home to a total of 17 major attractions that are all perfect for family-friendly outdoor fun. Some other options that we did not get to take advantage of due to weather and time restrictions include:
- The Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves
- Mount Washington Auto Road
- Whale’s Tale Water Park
- Santa’s Village
- Loon Mountain