8 Destinations and Activities for your Summer New Hampshire Family Vacation on a Budget

I have been dying to visit New Hampshire, and we’ve been talking about taking a winter getaway to the area for several years. However, these trips aren’t always the easiest on the wallet, so I decided to skip the slopes and explore this amazing location in the warmer weather. Summer outdoor adventures in New Hampshire are just as exciting and breathtaking without nearly the cost. I highlighted a few of my favorite spots for some inspiration. We can’t stop talking about our trip. It was such a great weekend with so many fun things to do!! Take a peek at these 8 Destinations and Activities for your Summer New Hampshire Family Vacation on a Budget.

8 Destinations and Activities for your Summer New Hampshire Family Vacation on a Budget

Clark’s Trading Post

This is by far my favorite spot in New Hampshire. Don’t let the understated sign out front fool you. This place is awesome! For $20 per person (free admission ages 3 and under), your family can enjoy a live bear show, try out segways, explore mini museums, ride bumper boats, and scale a climbing wall. We loved it so much that we went back twice! The quaint feel of a small hometown and the uniqueness of the daily bear shows are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s a family-run place, so your museum guide or your bear show host are likely related to the same cool bear-loving clan. Check out their daily schedule as open exhibits vary by day.




Tramway to Cannon Mountain

Grab your cameras and some snacks and hop on the tramway that takes you to one of the most scenic views of the area. It was interesting to ask the locals their favorite hiking spot or scenic view. Every person’s answer was different, which made me even more excited to come back for a longer hiking experience. For now, this view will definitely do! You can see Canada, New York, Maine, and Vermont all around you. Such a cool sight. Saving money tip: Only buy one-way tickets to the top of the mountain. Instead of spending $14 per person, you’ll cut your costs in half, and your family can take a casual hike down the mountain (probably takes about 30 minutes). Your heart and wallet will thank you for it!



Explore the Lupine Festival and other local fairs

There’s a lot of cute, small towns in New Hampshire that make for great day trips. We were around for the Lupine Festival, so we enjoyed the open-air market, story-telling by the townhall, and lots of great local foods. There’s a lot of festivals around the area, so check them out before planning your trip to see what’s available.



Polly’s Pancake Parlor

Flapjacks with maple syrup and a breathtaking view can’t be beat. The best part of this local restaurant is picking your own batter and throwing in your favorite mixings. Be sure to call ahead to put in your name. They don’t take formal reservations. When we were there on a Saturday at noon, the wait was an hour and a half! You know you’ve hit the jackpot with a wait like that, but be sure to plan ahead.

pancake house


Mountain Club on Loon

We stayed at a rustic hotel right at the foot of Loon Mountain. This resort was perfect for families with connecting rooms and a spacious kitchen area. You can always cook some meals right in your room to cut down on the expenses.


Alpine Adventures and ziplining

There’s a lot of adventure programs in New Hampshire. We took a mini zipline right at our hotel. This zipline was a quick ride across the creek and back. That may be perfect for your family, or take a more adrenaline-pumping trip with one of the other local spots.


 Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves

This destination is perfect for kids that like to climb and explore. The wooded walkways and steps makes this hike a mild one for the family. Caves are all over the trail, so your kids will be entertained looking forward to the next adventure that they can crawl through. Tickets prices are $18 for adults and $14 for kids (Free for 3 and under).



Scenic train rides

There are many different types of train rides that let you view New Hampshire’s amazing scenery. We took the Cafe Lafayette Dinner train. This upscale, 5-course dinner is a great date night, but there are other trains that have a more family-friendly vibe. Whatever you decide, you can’t leave this place without getting aboard one of them!



Hope you enjoy your summer trips this year. You can’t go wrong with a family road trip to go exploring a brand new place. Happy travels.

Thanks to our kind hosts Visit New Hampshire for accommodations during the trip.

9 thoughts on “8 Destinations and Activities for your Summer New Hampshire Family Vacation on a Budget”

  1. You barely scratched the surface! Drive up Mt. Washington. Take the Cog Railway up the mountain (pricy). Santa’s Village. Six Gun City. Story land. Wildcat. The Conway Scenic Railroad. Then there’s the dozens of things in the Lakes Region. The Mount Washington Cruises. The Loon Center. The Nature Center on Wiinisquam. Hart’s Turkey Farm. Weirs Beach. All the mini-golf places. Castle in the Clouds. The Moultonborough Country Store. Polar Caves. Ruggles Mine. I could go on and on.

  2. try Waterville Valley, lots to do, and best place to stay at Black Bear Lodge, everyone is very friendly and a very clean place

  3. Wow – as a resident of southern NH, I thought some of these items were REALLY pricey, not to mention wikkid touristy. I’d recommend some stuff on the Seacoast for much less $$. Take in a show @ Prescott Park, recommended donation of $5. Spend the day @ Odiorne Point State Park/Seacoast Science Center – kids 3-12 are $5, adults are $13. Try Newcastle’s Great Island Common Beach & Playground – ages 6-65 are $4.

  4. It sounds like New Hampshire has a lot of fun places! To be honest, the one that really caught my attention was Polly’s Pancake Parlor. I love pancakes, and you’re right, the view is beautiful. I would love to go there.

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