The start of school is just around the corner. Before you dive into back to school shopping, plan one last hoorah for the summer. The White Mountains are not only home to spectacular natural beauty, but also to many attractions, water parks, and more. Enjoy a weekend or a week away in the mountains before all the soccer practices, math homework, and ballet lessons start in September.
Clark’s Trading Post
Celebrating 90 years this summer, Clark’s Trading Post is a long-time family favorite in Lincoln. Part amusement park, part circus, and museum, Clark’s opened in 1928 as a roadside attraction featuring Ed Clark’s Eskimo Sled Dog Ranch where you could see the famous dogs and purchase souvenirs and maple candy at the “Stand.” Today, the large family theme park off the Daniel Webster Highway is home to a variety of attractions and activities for the whole family. On a hot summer day, the Anaconda Escape is the perfect ride to keep you cool. With 300 feet of twist and turns, this raft ride will be sure to please.
Climb aboard the historic wood-burning, steam-powered locomotive for a 25-minute ride along the White Mountain Central Railroad through the 1904 covered bridge along the Pemigewasset River. Keep your eyes peeled for the Wolfman. He’s always up to something! In 1949, Edward and Murray Clark added the famous Bear Show to Clark’s. A White Mountain classic, the Black Bear Show is an educational and entertaining 30-minute show for all ages to enjoy. Don’t leave Clark’s without taking a stroll down Main Street to check out all the museums that include relics from the past.
Did you know that Santa summers in the White Mountains? After spending all fall and winter building toys for the children of the world, Santa takes a break from the North Pole and enjoys hanging out with the thousands of little boys and girls that visit him every summer at Santa’s Village. All the rides in the park are family friendly but geared towards younger kids. Enjoy a scenic drive on the Antique Cars or crash into your friends on the Bumper Cars. Get a little wet on the Yule Log Flume of spin until you feel queasy on Himalaya.
On a hot day, let the little ones cool off in the kid’s water park. Speed down on the three JOY Ride slides or splash and play in Ho Ho H2O. Catch one of the many live shows, pat Santa’s famous reindeer, and visit him at his home where he’s normally sitting in his big green chair. Discover the magic of Christmas year-round with Santa’s Village in Jefferson.
For over 60 years, Story Land has been one of New Hampshire’s best amusement parks for kids. If you grew up in New England, you’ve probably ridden the Alice’s Tea Cups more than you could count at the time. Story Land has 30 kid-friendly attractions and rides that will leave your child begging to come back. The Roar-O-Saurus wooden roller coaster is a newcomer to the park, but it has undoubtedly made a roar. The Antique German Carousel, Dutch Shoes, and the Swan Boats are always a classic ride.
Enjoy story time with Mother Goose in her special house or meet a few of the animals from your favorite nursery rhymes like the Three Little Pigs, Baa Baa Black Sheep, and others. Play a few games to win a prize and practice your princess wave on Cinderella’s Pumpkin Coach. If your kiddo has a birthday coming up before school starts, rent a Birthday Gazebo and throw the party of a lifetime!
What little boy or girl doesn’t love Thomas the Train? You might not find the famous blue talking train in Lincoln, but you will find the Hobo Railroad in downtown Lincoln. The 14-mile ride will take you and your family along the banks of the picturesque Pemigewasset River and over the two-span train trestle. On Sundays, you can join your favorite storybook characters on the Hobo Railroad for special storybook readings. After a ride on the train, you can play a round of mini golf at the nearby Hobo Hills Adventure Golf Center with the Putt and Ride Combo Pass.
Whale’s Tale Waterpark
Of course, you can’t enjoy the dog days of summer without a trip to the local waterpark. Whale’s Tale Waterpark is one of the largest outdoor waterparks in northern New Hampshire. Perfect for the whole family, you can surf the big waves at Akua Beach or relax in Castaway Cove. Find the need for speed on one of the many waterslides of various lengths, heights, and twists and turns. The little ones will enjoy the shallow splash pool four waterslides, and water see-saw at the specially built Whale Harbor activity pool. On a hot summer day, the waterpark is where you want to be.
Don't forget to take a day and kick back and relax. If you wake up early, make sure it's to do something you want to do - or enjoy sleeping in and having a lazy morning. Enjoy swimming in the pool while the kids play in the arcade. Head out for dinner and enjoy not having to make dinner, do dishes and pack lunches. Enjoy and savor every last bit of summer.
School is just around the corner, so plan your last hoorah and give the kids something fun to talk about when they go back to school. The weather is great, there’s lots to do, and you’ll make memories that will last a lifetime.