What to do in White Mountains
Known for its dramatic alpine scenery that encompasses brilliant fall foliage, bucolic small towns and excellent downhill ski areas, this popular New Hampshire region is also home to Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeastern United States. While camping or hiking within the White Mountain National Forest recreation areas, guests may spot bald eagles, peregrine falcons and river otters.
Where to go in White Mountains
If your kids aren't already obsessed with trains, they will be once they take the Cog Railway, which cuts through the mountains and up to the Mount Washington summit. Story Land is a sweet, throwback amusement park geared towards younger kids that's themed around nursery rhymes and fairy tales.
If "hike to a waterfall" is on your vacation bucket list, try the trail to the 66-foot–high Glen Ellis Falls, which starts up the road from the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. You'll want to hold toddlers' hands on the steep granite steps, but it's otherwise an easy, enjoyable walk that's about a half-mile round-trip.
Where to stay in White Mountains
The Omni Mount Washington Resort is a majestic, turn-of-the-century resort where, in 1944, dignitaries gathered at the hotel for a conference that established the International Monetary Fund, thus making global financial history. Your kids, however, will be more interested in the hotel's current claims to fame, such as its location in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire's largest ski area, as well as its extensive zipline course (North America's largest), which is open during the warmer months and takes three hours to complete. It would be tempting to spend your entire vacation zipping down the slides at Red Jacket Mountain View Resort's Kahuna Laguna water park. But you'd miss the charms of the town of North Conway, such as Diana's Baths waterfalls and the nearby Kancamagus Scenic Highway ("The Kanc"), which features some of the region's most gorgeous scenery. Red Jacket has a mix of accommodations; the mountain view alcove rooms are ideal for families as they have a second bedroom with bunks or a queen-size bed. Bigger groups can rent two- or four-bedroom townhouses.
Where to eat in White Mountains
Flatbread Pizza Company is a beloved mini-chain specializing in organic, wood-fired pizzas with locations as far-flung as Maui and Canada's Whistler ski resort. At the location in downtown North Conway, kids can watch the chefs toss pizzas in the open kitchen and play with their own little mounds of dough, which are handed out by the wait staff.
Looking for more of the best vacations with kids? Check out TODAY's Family Travel Guide.