Family Summer Hiking Vacation in New Hampshire and Vermont

Updated on February 04, 2013
H.H. asks from Des Plaines, IL
4 answers

Hi, there,
Okay, moms, you have always been great in the past with alllll kinds of questions.
Here we go-who knows about taking a summer vacation in the New Hampshire, Vermont area? A friend and her husband love hiking and the out of doors and want to go to this region in August. Where should they stay, where can they hike, and what else can they do? What places might be great for kids? I was thinking of having either Burlington, VT, or Manchester, NH be the base. From there, where are the best places for summer outdoor activities? Any advice or experience you have would be appreciated! Thanks!

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answers from Chicago on

Hi! We did a split trip a couple of summers ago -- several days sightseeing in Boston, and then several days out in nature in New Hampshire. We stayed up in the North Conway area and spent our time in the White Mountains. We took the cog railway up to the top of Mt. Washington, hiked through Franconia Notch State Park, saw the sight of the former man in the mountain (the face broke off in a rockslide a few years ago) went to Attitash and did the alpine slides there, took a nighttime moose safari that ventured up into was great. We stayed at the Wentworth in Jackson, NH. The Inn itself is charming, but seriously old and outdated. There are several condos that are free standing townhomes on the property though -- we were in one and it was perfect for our family's needs. Yes, we went to Storyland too, it was fun. On a cloudy day, we got there when it opened, had the whole place to ourselves for an hour, and did the whole park in half a day which was perfect for us. I think we flew into Boston and out of Manchester, with a one-way rental car in the middle.



answers from Boston on

I live in new hampshire about 20 min away from manchester, i would choose burlington vt if i were you manchester is a city and not a nice one, i think there would be alot more hiking in vt, or you could go up north in nh to the loon mt area there are alot of hiking trails up there and alot for the kids to do as well.....not sure how old your kids are but they have storyland up there and attitash and there are alot of things to do like horseback riding and kayaking,also clarks trading post and there are alot of natural waterslides in the rivers that are alot of fun


answers from San Francisco on

I went to Dartmouth for college, and the Dartmouth Outing Club is responsible for the maintenance of over 70 miles of the Appalachian Trail through New Hampshire. I'd highly recommend spending some time on Mt. Moosilauke at the Ravine Lodge. It is spectacularly beautiful, and there are some great day hikes (and longer hikes, as well, with cabins to stay in along the way).

Dartmouth College (in Hanover, NH) is open all summer (all sophomores have to stay during the summer term for classes), so the college has a lot of activities all summer long. It's a beautiful college with lots of history, and well worth visiting in my opinion. :)

I would also recommend the Canterbury Shaker Village: It's a fascinating tour, and they have activities for kids, too.

Sturbridge Village is fun, too (yes, it's in Massachusetts, but it's not that far away from NH/VT):



answers from New York on

Love VT. We've taken some great vacations there. Vermont state parks are very clean and well maintained. Great places for camping, or even just for picnicing, hiking, or swimming.

If you're into hiking you'll want to go part of "Long Trail" that runs the entire length of the state.

Depending on what activities you choose to do, how long you're planning on staying, etc - you may want to consider Queeche or White River Junction area.

In the central region on the east side near the CT river, check out Queeche Gorge. There's a nice trail along gorge, although parts of it are very steep. Also in Queeche is the VT Institute of Natural Science If you're interested in learning about birds of prey, this is the place.

Just north of Queeche, on the CT river in Norwich, is the Montshire Museum (a kids science museum, both indoors and out), which I highly recommend for preschoolers to age 12. Lots of hands on exhibits. They have beautiful grounds and picnic tables, so bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the day.

If you're a true tourist, Ben and Jerry's factory in Waterbury is worth a stop. It's extremely touristy, but lots of fun for kids. Personally, I think the tour is overpriced.

Burlington is a nice city. If you're looking for outdoors and the VT experince, I wouldn't recommend it. I wasn't impressed with ECHO, a marine science center for kids (although it may have improved over the years). We did take a nice boat trip on Lake Champlain. There's also a nice waterfront area for a nice stroll. If you're a beer drinker, be sure to stop by Magic Hat Brewery, it's ok to bring older kids.

South of Burlington there's the Shelbourne museum. It's quite a unique place. It has lots of building and each one is like it's own tiny museum with a specific subject. It's very spread out, so bring your walking shoes and it will take an entire day (not recommended for young children).

It's been many years since we stayed in NH, so I don't have much info. on that area.

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