The state of New Hampshire offers plenty for families with kids of all ages to do during any season of the year. State parks and lakes provide plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun, whether families enjoy hiking, camping, or just a relaxing cruise along lake waters; while a wide variety of museums offer all kinds of learning experiences and indoor excitement. New Hampshire is also home to work farms with hay rides and animals to visit, train rides along scenic railways, caves to explore, family-friendly amusement parks, and much more.
1.American Independence Museum
© American Independence Museum
The American Independence Museum, which is housed in what served as the New Hampshire Treasury during the time of the American Revolution, consists of the Folsom Tavern and the eighteenth-century Ladd-Gilman House in downtown Exeter, New Hampshire. The permanent collection of the American Independence Museum features early drafts of the United States Constitution and an “original broadside of the Declaration of Independence.” Children in particular can find enjoyment with the hands-on exhibit at the Folsom Tavern, including trying on Colonial clothes, learning about Colonial games, and finding out how kids lived during the Colonial America era.
One Governor’s Ln, Exeter, NH 03833, Phone: 603-772-2622
© America’s Stonehenge
Formerly known as the Mystery Hill roadside attraction, America’s Stonehenge is comprised of stone walls stretching across the hilltop, man-made caves, and mysterious rock formations. Located in the town of Salem, New Hampshire, the purpose and origin, of the mysterious structures has long been a topic of debate among amteur sleuths and scholars, raising even more questions. America’s Stonehenge is a maze of ceremonial meeting places, walls, and chambers, and at more than four thousand years old, is possibly the oldest man-made structure constructed in the country. All that’s known is that it was built by people knowledgeable in stone construction and astronomy.
105 Haverhill Rd, Salem, NH 03079, Phone: 603-893-8300
3.Canterbury Shaker Village
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The nearly 700-acre Canterbury Shaker Village preserves the 200-year history of the Shakers of Canterbury, New Hampshire, offering a destination for reflection and learning, as well as the “renewal of the human spirit.” Today, visitors can join a 75-minute tour of the educational institution and non-profit museum for a look into the values, times, and lives of the Shakers. There are twenty-five original Shaker buildings, along with a museum shop, in which guests will find traditional crafts available for sale. Visitors can also explore the Physician’s Botanical Garden or nature trails traveling through woodlands to dams, mills, and ponds.
288 Shaker Rd, Canterbury, NH 03224, Phone: 603-783-9511
The Charmingfare Farm in Candia is a working farm, home to several traditional agricultural animals that visitors would expect to find on a real farm in the countryside. The Oakhurst Dairy Discovery Barn is a popular attraction among kids with its large petting zoo area. Farm animals that can be seen include alpacas, miniature horses, draft horses, dairy cattle, llamas, emu, miniature goats, and much more. Paths take guests into the wooded area to discover the farm’s wildlife exhibits featuring wildlife native to North America. Other activities at the Charmingfare Farm include pony ride, horse-drawn rides, and tractor train rides.
774 High St, Candia, NH 03034, Phone: 603-483-5623
5.Children's Museum of New Hampshire
© Children's Museum of New Hampshire
Open every day of the week during the summer months, the Children's Museum of New Hampshire provides dozens of different activities and hands-on exhibits for kids, including the Yellow Submarine, the Cocheco River System, Music Matrix & Sound Watch, Kaleidoscopic, First Impressions, Dino Detective, Build It Fly It, Cave Explorers, and the Art Gallery. The Build It, Fly It exhibit lets children use their creativity and learn more about aerodynamics as they build their own flying machine, while the Cave Explorers exhibit invites kids to find cave paintings, read glow-in-the-dark books, and draw their own glowing paintings.
6 Washington St, Dover, NH 03820, Phone: 603-742-2002
6.Conway Scenic Railroad
The Conway Scenic Railroad provides an opportunity for a true old-fashioned railroad experience. Fun for the entire family, the railroad offers a choice of routes, such as the Bartlett or Conway Valley route or the Crawford Notch excursion. No matter what train route guests decide to take, they can delight in taking a journey back into the past. The Valley Train includes both First Class and Coach cars, or passengers can enjoy a meal in the Chocorua dining car. The Notch Train features First Class, Coach, and Dome seating, as well as some of the East Coast’s most dramatic natural scenery.
38 Norcross Cir, North Conway, NH 03860, Phone: 603-356-5251
7.Currier Museum of Art
© Currier Museum of Art
The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire is an art museum renowned throughout the world and features American and European paintings, sculptures, photographs, and decorative arts. Artists featured at the Currier Museum of Art include LeWitt, Wyeth, O’Keeffe, Monet, and Picasso. The museum also hosts programs and changing exhibitions throughout the year and offers both public and private tours as well. Public tours are available daily at 1:00pm and last around forty-five minutes to an hour. The Currier Museum Art Center also offers workshops for families on specific dates, including the Creative Studio the second Saturday of the month.
150 Ash St, Manchester, NH 03104, Phone: 603-669-6144
8.Franklin Falls Dam
Managed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the land of the Franklin Falls Dam spans across five towns and encompass over 2,500 acres of woodland. The area is particularly popular with mountain biking enthusiasts, with the trail system for mountain biking centered near the administrative offices. This trail system consists of around ten miles of multi-use trails, designed and built “by mountain bikers for mountain bikers.” Along with mountain biking, the Franklin Falls Dam is also known to be a great spot for a picnic, with plenty of shade and tables, as well as hiking opportunities.
Federal Dam Access Rd, Franklin, NH 03235, Phone: 603-934-2116
9.High 5 Ballooning
© High 5 Ballooning
High 5 Ballooning is one of the premier companies in New England for hot air balloon rides, providing guests with an unforgettable experience from the thrilling liftoff to the post-flight picnic. High 5 Ballooning takes passengers on a memorable aerial adventures that features breathtaking vistas of the scenic Merrimack River Valley, the Atlantic Ocean, the White Mountains, and even the skyline of Boston. At the end of the flight, guests are taken to the picnic site where they can relax and enjoy a complimentary picnic, and for those twenty-one years of age and older, sip champagne mimosas.
4 Joseph St, Derry, NH 03038, Phone: 603-893-9643
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10.Klickety Klack Railroad
The Klickety Klack Railroad offers plenty of hands-on fun for kids of all ages. This award-winning hobby shop and model railroad is home to twenty-eight automatically operating trains, 150 locomotives, and plenty of buttons visitors can operate themselves to run over seventy different trains and accessories. The Klickety Klack Railroad is a place where children can touch nearly anything as they ring real trolley bells, turn on circus rides, operate water fountains, glide trains through tunnels and over bridges, make a chimney stack smoke, watch welding inside the roundhouse, ring church bells, operate the tramway, and much more.
8 Elm St, Wolfeboro Falls, NH 03896, Phone: 603-569-5384
11.Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves
© Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves
The Lost River Gorge near Woodstock, New Hampshire is one of the greatest natural wonders in the state. Combine it with the Boulder Caves and it becomes a popular destination for families to spend a day out. Visitors can take a self-guided exploration adventure along the one-mile wood boardwalk trail past cascading waterfalls, glacial boulder caves, and jagged rock walls. The natural beauty of the Kinsman Notch and the Lost River Gorge can be seen from the upper gorge Suspension Bridge and the Giant Bird’s Nest viewing platform. Families can complete their Lost River Gorge experience by trying their luck panning for gemstones.
1712 Lost River Rd, North Woodstock, NH 03262, Phone: 603-745-8031
12.McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
© McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center is located in the city of Concord, New Hampshire and is home to an impressive collection of interactive and innovative exhibits for kids of all ages to explore. The center provides a space for diving into the worlds of space and earth sciences, aviation, and astronomy and becoming immersed in a fascinating and entertaining environment of learning. The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center offers programs for people of all ages, making it a great place for families, from workshops for “Little Explorers” to the high-tech observatory to the planetarium theater with its variety of shows.
2 Institute Dr, Concord, NH 03301, Phone: 603-271-7827
13.Mount Washington Cog Railway
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The Mount Washington Cog Railway transports passengers up Mount Washington, which at 6,288 feet high, is the northeast region’s highest peak. Situated in the heart of the state, a trip up this railway can offer a very memorable experience for both kids and adults alike. The Sherman Adams Visitor Center is located at the top of Mount Washington, along with several museum exhibits, a post office, and the New Hampshire State Park. The Mount Washington Cog Railway itself is a three-hour, round-trip narrated train ride to the mountain summit on an awe-inspiring and historic railway with 360-degree views.
3168 Base Station Rd, Mount Washington, NH 03589, Phone: 603-278-5404
14.Mount Washington Cruises
© Mount Washington Cruises
Mount Washington Cruises provides Sunset Dinner Cruises, Scenic Daytime Cruises, and Sunday Brunch Cruises along Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest lake in the state of New Hampshire. Located within the White Mountains foothills, surrounded by majestic mountain ranges, this massive lake features over three hundred islands and spans forty-four thousand acres of clear waters. Mount Washington Cruises offers several different opportunities to relax and enjoy the lake life. Families with kids may find the scenic daytime cruises to be their best option. These cruises are available daily from the Weirs Beach port and typically last around two hours and thirty minutes.
211 Lakeside Ave, Laconia, NH 03246, Phone: 603-366-5531
15.Mt Kearsarge Indian Museum
© Mt Kearsarge Indian Museum
The Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum reflects “a respect for the earth and all living things,” which is central to the way of life for Native Americans. The exhibits inside the museum let guests travel through space and time, presenting information and displaying artifacts on Native Americans from all parts of the continent of North America, from prehistoric to contemporary. Outside, visitors can explore the Betsy Janeway Arboretum, the Medicine Wood Trail, and an activity area with amazing views of the Mink Hills. The Medicine Woods offers a chance to learn some of the Native American ways and the natural environment.
18 Highlawn Rd, Warner, NH 03278, Phone: 603-456-2600
16.MWV Children's Museum
© MWV Children's Museum
The Mount Washington Valley Children’s Museum, or MWV Children’s Museum, is committed to “building tomorrow’s grown-ups” by giving children and their families opportunities to learn about a variety of topics through play. Kids can read a giant storybook, put on their own puppet show, play with designs and shapes, climb a life-size treehouse, play with trains, dress up in the Drama Center, climb in a tractor and castle, build sand castles, look through a giant kaleidoscope, dress up like jungle animals, cook in the Nutrition Kitchen, design structures in the Lego Room, explore the History Tree, and much more.
2936 White Mountain Hwy, North Conway, NH 03860, Phone: 603-356-2992
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17.Polar Caves Park
© Polar Caves Park
Located in Rumney, New Hampshire, the Polar Caves Park is a place where visitors of all ages can find inspiration and excitement by the natural world’s wild wonders, providing family-friendly adventures since the year 1922. The park consists of seven attractions, including climbing attractions; the Animal Park; nine granite caves to explore; and a shop where guests can browse for a variety of maple products, homemade fudge, snacks, unique gifts, and more. Created during the Earth’s last Ice Age, each cave features opportunities for fun and discovery, from The Devil’s Turnpike to Fat Man’s Misery to the Polar Pinch.
705 Rumney Route 25, Rumney, NH 03266, Phone: 603-536-1888
18.Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm
© Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm
The Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm offers a chance for adults and kids alike to step back in time to rural New England. Blending the present with the past, the museum shares the history of two of the area’s country doctors, as well as their homestead in Tamworth Village, New Hampshire. The Remick Country Doctor Museum is the only museum of its kind in New England, and one of just three country doctor museum in the nation, providing tours, activities, seasonal events, educational programs, farm-to-table meals, and workshops year-round to engage visitors with New England’s rural history.
58 Cleveland Hill Rd, Tamworth Village, NH 03886, Phone: 603-323-7591
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The Lawrence L. Lee Scouting Museum is home to the largest display of “Scouting” memorabilia in the northeastern United States, one of the country’s most extensive collections of this kind. Located in Manchester, New Hampshire, the museum is also now part of the New Hampshire Heritage Museum Trail. The collection at the Scouting Museum includes Jamboree memorabilia, paintings, stamps, and sketches by Robert Baden-Powel. There is also a flag that was carried by Alan Shepard, America’s first astronaut, to the moon. The museum is open from 10:00am until 4:00pm on most Wednesdays and Saturdays from mid-August to late-June.
395 Blondin Rd, Manchester, NH 03109, Phone: 603-867-2501
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20.Squam Lakes Natural Science Center
© Squam Lakes Natural Science Center
The Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness, New Hampshire is a place where families can spend the day exploring and learning about the outdoors and the wildlife that call the area home. The grounds feature the Kirkwood Gardens, mature forests, open meadows, and boardwalks that connect interactive natural exhibits home to several different native animal species, such as bobcats, river otters, raptors, mountain lions, black bears, and more. Visitors can do a self-guided tour of the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, including its hiking trails and animal exhibit trail, or take a ninety-minute Squam Lake Cruise.
23 Science Center Rd, Holderness, NH 03245, Phone: 603-968-7194
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© Story Land
Story Land is considered by many to be the state of New Hampshire’s “best children’s theme park,” providing entertainment and rides to families with younger kids for more than sixty-five years. Located in the village of Glen within the White Mountains, Story Land contains more than thirty attractions designed to make young children smile, ranging from Cinderella’s Castle to the Polar Coaster. The Living Shores Aquarium, now at Story Land, adds even more fun and excitement for kids as they explore exhibits, immersive activities, and interactive tide pools. Visitors can feed tropical birds, touch stingrays, and much more.
850 NH Route 16, Glen, NH 03838, Phone: 603-383-4186
© The Fells
The Fells encompass approximately eighty-three acres of tranquility and beauty in the town of Newbury, New Hampshire. At this historic estate, visitors can learn about the life and career of John Milton Hay, a statesman and diplomat; explore the renowned and beautiful gardens, tour the Colonial Revival 22-room house; and walk along woodland trails. The Fells is preserved by The Garden Conservancy and is on the country’s National Register of Historic Places. Guests will find both informal and formal gardens at the estate and take a guided tour of the six gardens on a seasonal basis.
456 Route 103A, Newbury, NH 03255, Phone: 603-763-4789
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23.The Mount Washington Observatory
The Mount Washington Observatory is situated at the top of the tallest peak within the Northeast and provides visitors with a destination for exploring the science of climate and weather with its Weather Discovery Center. The interactive science museum puts the wonders of the atmosphere right at people’s fingertips through interactive and fun exhibits, such as the wind room, the sailboat pond, and the air cannon. With lessons and hands-on exhibits for any level of experience, the Mount Washington Observatory weather Center is great for visitors of all ages. There is also the snowcat theater and tours with the observatory.
2779 White Mountain Hwy, North Conway, NH 03860, Phone: 603-356-2137
24.The Robert Frost Farm
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Now a National Historic Landmark, The Robert Frost Farm was the home of famed poet Robert Frost, who lived here with his family between the years of 1900 and 1911. One of the most acclaimed poets of the United States, Frost’s poems are often referred to as “the epitome of New England.” The Robert Frost Farm Historic Site is open to the public from May through October. Visitors can join a guided tour of the historic house, wander through the woods and fields behind the home, or take a self-guided tour of the poetry and nature trail.
122 Rockingham Rd, Derry, NH 03038, Phone: 603-432-3091
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25.The Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad
The Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad in Meredith, New Hampshire is a place where both adults and kids alike can enjoy a scenic train excursion along the lake shore of Weirs Beach, once a busy summer resort town. Traveling between the towns of Lakeport and Meredith, the lake is always within view during the journey. Once a portion of the Boston and Maine Railroad that once brought tourists during the summer to the lake from the late 1890’s to the 1950’s, the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad travels through several front yards of some of the area’s finest resort homes.
154 Main St, Meredith, NH 03253, Phone: 603-745-2135
25 Best Things to Do in New Hampshire with Kids of All Ages
- American Independence Museum, Photo: American Independence Museum
- America’s Stonehenge, Photo: America’s Stonehenge
- Canterbury Shaker Village, Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
- Charmingfare Farm, Photo: dennisvdwater/stock.adobe.com
- Children's Museum of New Hampshire, Photo: Children's Museum of New Hampshire
- Conway Scenic Railroad, Photo: jiawangkun/stock.adobe.com
- Currier Museum of Art, Photo: Currier Museum of Art
- Franklin Falls Dam, Photo: eks/stock.adobe.com
- High 5 Ballooning, Photo: High 5 Ballooning
- Klickety Klack Railroad, Photo: Ulf/stock.adobe.com
- Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves, Photo: Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves
- McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, Photo: McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
- Mount Washington Cog Railway, Photo: Richard Semik/stock.adobe.com
- Mount Washington Cruises, Photo: Mount Washington Cruises
- Mt Kearsarge Indian Museum, Photo: Mt Kearsarge Indian Museum
- MWV Children's Museum, Photo: MWV Children's Museum
- Polar Caves Park, Photo: Polar Caves Park
- Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm, Photo: Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm
- Scouting Museum, Photo: singburi/stock.adobe.com
- Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, Photo: Squam Lakes Natural Science Center
- Story Land, Photo: Story Land
- The Fells, Photo: The Fells
- The Mount Washington Observatory, Photo: jonbilous/stock.adobe.com
- The Robert Frost Farm, Photo: Zack Frank/stock.adobe.com
- The Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad, Photo: jonbilous/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: clementsphoto/stock.adobe.com