It is not too late for a weekend summer trip in New England. Especially with the hot weather we had this past week and the hot weather in store for the week to come. The White Mountain area of New Hampshire makes a great weekend or long weekend trip. There is plenty to do and plenty of good places to eat and dine.
My family and I took three full days in the area just a couple of weeks ago. We have three young children, two boys and a girl, ages 8,6, and 4. We decided we would make at least one more trip up for them to go to Storyland before our oldest gets much older and while our youngest is at that age where she will be in wonder.
Our experience reinforced our decision. Unlike the Six Flags or Lake Compounce in Massachusetts or Connecticut, Storyland can be the right speed for that age group. There are no super roll coasters that they cannot go on (or that the parents do not want to go with them on) and the rides have just enough thrill in them for the age group.
This time of year, Storyland is only open on the weekends. I would recommend getting to the park for opening time which can be at 9 or 9:30 am. If you get in early you can get 9-10 rides in before noon when the lines start to get longer on all the rides. As you probably have realized getting through the lines quicker keeps younger children engaged and from getting restless from a long wait. Another great thing about this park as opposed to more main stream parks is you can bring in your own food and drink if you are motivated – you can even bring in a cooler. Groupon’s (coupons) are sometimes available as well which can save you close to the price of admission for one.
This year our children’s favorites were the flume (some of them went on 5 times), the relatively new dinosaur coaster, and the raft ride. Storylands’ Princess (Cinderella?) character was also a big hit with my daughter. The park closes around 5 pm and you can get in all the rides and more in that time if you start early and keep a good pace.
As I mentioned there are plenty of other activities in the area as well to fill out the weekend. Some examples include driving your car to the top of Mount Washington – New England’s highest peak. You can take a train up too but this is significantly more expensive than the price for driving your own car to the top which is about $25 and comes with an audio disc narrated tour. You can enjoy some great scenery with a gondola ride up the Wildcats which will give you a fantastic view of the Presidential Mountain range. Check out some wild life with a moose tour, explore caves, and if weather permits go for a tube ride down the Saco River. If you want to try a different mini theme park you could make the trip a little farther north to Santa’s Village which also has some children’s rides and shows. Personally, I would save that one for the few weekends before the Christmas Holiday when they re-open.
There are plenty of choices for restaurants and places to stay between Conway and Gorham. Whether you prefer a hotel or camping. The North Conway Grand was recently renovated and offers a competitive rate with great pools and a big playground. The Attitash Mountain Resort is a condo style set up, affordable, with great outdoor amenities, including a pool, a playground, and more. The Red Jacket Mountain View Resort also offers comfortable accommodations with discounts to an on- site indoor water park and wave pool which will keep your family well occupied and will come in handy should you get a day with wet weather. Easily done in two or three days depending on how much you want to do and the pace you keep.