Family vacations in New Hampshire are sure to be memorable, with kid-friendly activities found year-round across the state. Kids’ activities in New Hampshire range from springtime train rides through the mountains to summer fun at theme parks and water parks. Autumn family fun in New Hampshire includes scenic drives surrounded by fall colors, while winter offers alpine sports from skiing and snowboarding to tubing. Learn more about some of the fun, unique, and wild kid activities in New Hampshire on family vacations.

1. Ride the Mount Washington Cog Railway in White Mountain National Forest

White Mountain National Forest draws many to the area for family vacations in New Hampshire with opportunities for outdoor adventures and incredible scenic views year-round. You can take a beautiful drive down the Kancamagus Scenic Byway, which is especially colorful in autumn as the leaves change. Mount Washington’s erratic weather gives the mountain a notorious reputation, drawing many to the summit peak. You can enjoy the mountain’s beauty on a scenic drive up the Mount Washington Auto Road, or hop aboard the Mount Washington Cog Railway as it climbs to the summit.

2. Look for shells on the beach at Hampton Beach State Park

Hampton Beach State Park offers plenty of summertime kid activities in New Hampshire. Sandy beaches are perfect for strolling, building sandcastles, hunting for shells, and cooling off in the water. Hampton Beach offers family-friendly facilities including picnic areas and playgrounds, as well as lifeguards during peak season. If you’re driving in, locals recommend reserving a parking spot online in advance, as this is a popular family destination. For disability access, contact the park directly for information.

3. Ride kids’ coasters at Canobie Lake Park

Canobie Lake Park is a theme park and water park with rides and attractions for all ages. From family-friendly rides and rides for young children to thrill rides for older kids and water rides to beat the heat in the summer, this attraction has it all. On-site are family-friendly facilities, equipment rentals, dining options, and regular park events. Canobie Lake Park offers inclusive accommodations for guests with disabilities. See the park’s website for more information.

4. Ride the aerial tramway in Franconia Notch State Park

Franconia Notch State Park offers some of the most popular outdoor kid activities in New Hampshire. You can take a scenic drive down the Franconia Notch, a parkway that runs through a beautiful mountain pass following Interstate 93 as it winds between the mountains. Within the park, you can explore Flume Gorge, a natural gorge at the base of Mount Liberty with incredible rock formations, cascading mountain streams, and a roaring waterfall. Kids especially enjoy riding the aerial tramway to the summit of Cannon Mountain.

5. Climb aboard a heritage train on the Conway Scenic Railroad

All who board the Conway Scenic Railroad can enjoy an old-fashioned experience with heritage trains departing from the historic train station in North Conway Village. You can choose from a variety of railway adventures with trip times ranging from 55 minutes to over 5 hours aboard a collection of heritage trains. Locals recommend booking tickets in advance, as many of these tours sell out. Wheelchair accessibility can be limited on some tours, so it’s recommended to call ahead for more information.

6. Join the friendly crew on a pirate ship at Story Land

Story Land is a nostalgic, fairy tale-themed amusement park with activities for kids under 12 in New Hampshire. Colorful rides, attractions, games, and shows center around children’s stories where kids can ride in Cinderella’s Pumpkin Coach, hop aboard a buccaneer pirate ship, and spin through the Looking Glass on Alice’s Tea Cups. Even toddlers will have fun at Story Land, with age-appropriate rides and themed play spaces for young kids.

7. Climb inside the research submarine USS Albacore

The USS Albacore was built for a unique experimental mission, testing new science and technology to advance the research of submarine design. This experimental vessel eventually became the model for the standards that today’s submarines are built to worldwide. You can check out the visitors center and museum for exhibits and collections about the Albacore. Climb inside the submarine itself to explore the cramped quarters that submariners once lived and worked in, and see the complex mechanics inside this engineering marvel. Kids especially enjoy getting to sit behind the steering wheel in the ship’s control area.

8. Explore granite caves in Polar Caves Park

Polar Caves Park encompasses a series of caves formed during the last ice age, providing a unique space for family fun in New Hampshire. There are 9 granite caves and ancient passages that you can explore, connected by man-made boardwalks and stairs to allow for easier access for families and kids. Within Polar Caves Park, you’ll also find an animal park with mellow creatures to interact with and a lodge visitors center.

9. Learn about Black history on a Sankofa Guided Walking Tour

On a Sankofa Guided Walking Tour, you can learn about New Hampshire’s often-neglected history of Africans in America. Themed guided tours are offered by knowledgeable Sankofa Scholar Guides as part of the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire and present a truer and more inclusive history of the state. Self-guided tours of locations in New Hampshire are also available on the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire website.

10. Play with interactive exhibits at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is structured around learning through play, with immersive, hands-on exhibits best enjoyed by kids 12 and under. Activities range from designing and building your own mini flying machine to playing in an augmented reality sandbox and making music on an interactive sound sculpture. The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire also offers inclusive accommodations and resources for visitors with autism, sensory sensitivities, and disabilities. Find more information on their website.

11. Play classic arcade games at Funspot

Funspot is one of the largest arcades in the world, providing a ton of fun indoor kid activities in New Hampshire. The huge collection of arcade games appeals to adults and kids alike, with pinball machines, classic arcade systems, current and classic video games, kiddie games, and prizes. The complex also houses additional indoor attractions like bowling, mini-golf, cash bingo games, and kiddie rides, as well as a restaurant and tavern.

12. Explore living history at the Strawbery Banke Museum

The Strawbery Banke Museum is a 10-acre living history museum in the Puddle Dock neighborhood. You can explore charming historic buildings, homes, and gardens, interact with costumed role-players, and watch artisans provide traditional crafting demonstrations. In the winter months, head over to Puddle Dock Pond for family-friendly ice skating as well as accessible Adaptive Ice Time events and equipment.

13. Learn about native marine life at Seacoast Science Center

Within the Seacoast Science Center, you can learn about the diverse creatures native to the Gulf of Maine. You can explore exhibits housing an array of marine life, get hands-on with touch tanks, and become a fisherman at sea on the Discovery Dock kids' playspace. The Seacoast Science Center also offers regular family-friendly events and programs, from environmental day camps to family tide-pooling programs.

14. Go on a dog-sledding adventure at Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel

You can check off "dog-sledding adventure" from your bucket list at Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel, which offers year-round sledding experiences. When you arrive for your prebooked adventure, you’ll assist in preparing a team of loveable sled dogs to hit the trail, and likely get plenty of sloppy dog kisses in the process. In snowy weather the team pulls a traditional dog sled, while in warmer months this is switched out for a rolling dog sled. Once your team is ready, you climb aboard the sled for an unforgettable ride, guided by a professional musher.

15. Hit the slopes with alpine sports on Loon Mountain

Loon Mountain is a great spot for alpine sports on a wintertime family vacation to New Hampshire. Winter family-friendly activities include skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing, snow tubing, and zip lining. During warmer months, families can enjoy mountain biking and hiking, explore glacial caves, and experience gondola sky rides.

16. Enjoy holiday-themed activities at Santa’s Village

If your family celebrates Christmas, you may enjoy a trip to Santa’s Village for holiday-themed rides, attractions, and events. Kids can go on a scavenger hunt at Elf University, learn how to fly a sleigh on the Little Elf Flying School ride, and take a ride on Santa’s Express Train. In the summer months, water rides and attractions are great for cooling off in the park. You might even catch a glimpse of Santa and his reindeer in the park during your visit.

17. Go on a moose-watching tour with the kids

Moose-watching is on many people’s bucket lists, and these magnificent creatures can be found all over New Hampshire. There are locations around the state where you’re more likely to see moose in the wild, including popular moose-watching routes on roads and highways. Northern ponds often attract feeding moose, especially in the early morning and near dusk. For higher chances of seeing moose, you can go on a guided moose-watching tour with local companies around the state.