Planning a weekend getaway or staycation with the kids? If you’re lucky enough to call New Hampshire home, and think you know all of the best spots to go with kids — keep reading. It’s time to un-hibernate and enjoy New Hampshire’s hidden winter gems.
Mill Falls at the Lake
Centrally located in the beautiful lakefront town of Meredith, Mill Falls is the perfect spot to stay. With this resort as your home base for your getaway, you are well situated to take off on day trips around the state to popular spots (Franconia Notch and the Seacoast are under 90 minutes away). If day trip plans are derailed with a storm rolling in and you find yourself snowed in, this resort is truly the place to be. With plenty of winter gear on site at the Ekal Activity Center, you can take off snowshoeing or ice skating with the kids and end the day with s’mores by the campfire. Adults can also treat themselves to a little pampering at the Cascade Spa, or enjoy window shopping the many boutiques at Mill Falls Marketplace.
With four distinct accommodation options at the resort, you can find the perfect fit for your family- from lakefront luxury to something more on the quaint and cozy level. The resort has a variety of dining options, all within walking distance of one another, and just across the street is a grocery store and pharmacy making it easy to grab any essentials or snacks for the room.
Pond Hockey Classic
This annual outdoor ice hockey tournament draws players from across the US and Canada, and turns Meredith Bay into a vibrant winter wonderland filled with hockey, delicious food and cold beer. The 2024 tournament runs from Friday, February 2 through Sunday, February 4 and will have over 500 games played on the 26 rinks. If you’ve got little ones who love hockey you don’t want to miss this unique experience that takes hockey back to its roots.
Be quick to snag a spot at one of the Mill Falls resorts and enjoy being steps away from the action and having a spot nearby to warm up in between games. Across the street from the pond hockey excitement is one of the state’s best pizza spots, Giuseppe’s. Or, grab a seat along the windows at Camp to watch the games while enjoying fun summer camp-esque menu options. For a dinner on the fancier side, check out Lakehouse. Here, the grownups will enjoy dishes like oyster deviled eggs and crab stuffed artichoke, while still finding plenty of kid-friendly options for the pickier palates.
Embrace nostalgia, and take the kids to see how one of their favorite confections is made.
Many of the state’s sugar houses still use sap buckets and wood fired distillation methods so you’ll feel like you’re taking a step back to simpler times. With sugar houses across the state, the NH Maple Producer’s Directory will help you find a sugar house near you. A few notable sugar houses include Ben’s Sugar Shack in Temple. Free tours are offered every weekend, with samples of the different grades of maple syrup at the end. You can also pick from a variety of delicious maple treats including maple cotton candy, maple ice cream, maple donuts and more! Another gem is the Eldridge Family Sugarhouse in Tamworth. Plan to stay for lunch to enjoy their homemade soups (the tortellini and broccoli cheddar are local favorites) and maple soft serve. Last, for an old-fashioned experience, head on over to Heritage Farm in Sanbornton, where they still use the wood stove evaporation method when making their maple syrup and truly live off of the land. The kids will love meeting all of the animals, getting to help out with morning feeds and learning about farm chores. Make sure to bring your appetite, so you can fill up on Heritage Farm’s delicious homemade pancakes and syrup.
Sleigh rides aren’t just for the holidays — many local spots are open all winter season. Located in Jefferson, Nestlenook Farm’s whimsical trails are filled with twinkling lights and fun displays and kids will delight in the fireside cocoa and s’mores at the end of the sleigh ride. For a sleigh ride with a delicious dinner to follow, take the kids over to Attitash Mountain Village for a lantern lit sleigh ride, and enjoy kid friendly menu options at nearby Matty B’s.
What better way to embrace the colder months than by exploring a shimmering winter wonderland that’ll make the littles feel like they stepped into the movie Frozen? Woodstock’s Ice Castles have something fun for the whole family. Young ones will be mesmerized by the twinkling winter fairy village as they stroll through magical trails, while the more adventurous can enjoy some wintery thrills with ice slides, caverns, crawl tunnels and a frozen maze. For the grownups, the Polar Pub serves up warm and cold alcoholic beverages on an icy bar.
Wild Winter Walks
For those who love nature and learning about wild animals, there is no better spot than Holderness’s Squam Lake Science Center. Though a hugely popular spot in the warmer months, this place is a little-known hidden gem in the winter time. Their schedule is full of wonderful events like Wild Winter Walks and Intro to Ice Fishing. Toss on some snowshoes and follow one of the brilliant naturalists on a guided walk through the animal trail, and learn all about what makes these creatures unique and how they survive in the chilly New Hampshire winters. Or, learn about how certain fish adapt to the frigid water temperatures in the wintertime and how to catch them using lures and jigging techniques.