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Need help planning our New Hampshire vacation

De Pere, Wisconsin
6 posts
1 review
Need help planning our New Hampshire vacation

We are planning to visit family in Portsmouth New Hampshire in July. We are going to spend a couple days with them, but then want to explore other nearby areas. We will have our kids, ages 11 & 13. I'm not sure where to begin or which way to go first. They love nature so I was thinking the Kancamagus Highway attractions would be nice. I don't know if we should do that as a day trip or if we should stay somewhere in the white mountain area and take a couple days to do it. Or....we could head back & stay in a coastal area in Maine (was thinking Ogunquit or somewhere near there). Wouldn't mind fitting Boston in there too....but one can only do so much. Ugh!

I don't have any hotels booked yet....and I'm okay with spreading it out, day here, day there kind of thing. I want to make the most of our time but not spend too much time driving...and not being familiar with the area, I'm not sure the amount of time and/or best order to do things. I am totally flexible and open to suggestions. Here's our "schedule"

We arrive Tues in Boston, spending Wed & Thurs with family in Portsmouth....we have Fri, Sat, Sun, and Mon to do what we want. Leaving on Tues out of Boston.

De Pere, Wisconsin
6 posts
1 review
1. Re: Need help planning our New Hampshire vacation

I should mention that when I say "kancamagus attractions" I was thinking along the lines of .....Diane's bath, cathedral ledge, the flume gorge, the basin etc. BUT....looking further, I don't think these are actually part of Kancamagus. Not sure how far off the beaten path these are?

Baltimore, Maryland
Destination Expert
for North Conway
Level Contributor
12,372 posts
58 reviews
2. Re: Need help planning our New Hampshire vacation

You can visit all you mentioned in whites over a couple of days or you can visit Maine coast, you can do both if you are excited about cheap gas and only want to drive around. I can't tell you which is best or more enjoyable. You are going to have to make a choice. Different experiences, both great.

Central Maine
Destination Expert
for Maine
Level Contributor
7,213 posts
158 reviews
3. Re: Need help planning our New Hampshire vacation

You could consider something like: Leave Boston as early Friday AM as possible driving to Lincoln NH (about two hours under normal traffic) -- check in with lodging in Lincoln (just so they know you're in the area even if room isn't ready yet). Drive north through Franconia Notch to Cannon Mountain Tramway and, after riding it, work you way back south to Lincoln with stops at Basin and Flume, leaving a short Friday afternoon drive back to Lincoln for the night. Saturday morning drive The Kanc to Conway, north on West Side Road too Cathedral Ledge and Diana's Baths... and maybe an afternoon trip up the Cog Railway or Mt Washington Auto Road (but only if summit weather is good -- bad summit weather means no visibility so it's not worth going up). Overnight in Jackson or North Conway, NH. Sunday morning for anything you didn't do yesterday before heading down US 302 to Portland, ME -- afternoon/evening there visiting Portland Head Light lighthouse, restored Old Port District, maybe a Portland Sea Dogs baseball game at Hadlock Field (if they're "at home" that weekend or a Casco Bay Lines ferry ride to a bay island so the kids get a different view of Maine life. Overnight in Portland. Monday drive to Ogunquit (can check out Kennebunkport and Seashore Trolley Museum or Funtown Amusement Park/Water Park en route). Overnight in Ogunquit or head south at the end of the day for Portsmouth, NH or even somewhere on the North Shore of Massachusetts for easy access to Logan Airport on Tuesday. Not a lot of flexibility in the above if you hit bad weather -- or time to linger much -- but if you're willing to move right along, it can be done...

De Pere, Wisconsin
6 posts
1 review
4. Re: Need help planning our New Hampshire vacation

That sounds like an awesome way to go about it.....thank you so much! I will look into all of that ;-)

Lincoln, NH
Level Contributor
2,999 posts
11 reviews
5. Re: Need help planning our New Hampshire vacation

Auggie, for the nature part of your tour in the White Mountains, I would select one or two hikes. There are some relatively easy hikes that have big payoffs. Arethusa Falls is easy, you can add the Frankenstein Cliffs for a little more challenge. (Google these phrases for images). Sabbaday Falls is also great and takes less time. The Basin is worth a visit. It's free. I'm not a huge fan of The Flume, simply because it has a lot of people visiting and cost a lot of money. Mt. Willey is a great hike that is pretty easy too. Same for Mt. Pemigewassett.

If you want a ride to a summit, there's none better than Mt. Washington. A distant second would the the tram to the summit of Cannon.

I always recommend getting your hands on a copy of the AMC Guide to the Best Day Hikes in the White Mountains. It has trail maps and descriptions of the hikes I mentioned, plus others. You may be able to get it at your library.

And, Mainer's and NESlaw's ideas are excellent too -- you have good advice form them!


De Pere, Wisconsin
6 posts
1 review
6. Re: Need help planning our New Hampshire vacation

Awesome suggestions! Thank you so much!

San Diego...
1 post
7. Re: Need help planning our New Hampshire vacation


WIth kids you definitely want to spend some time on Lake Winnipesaukee in the lakes region. Laconia has activities that kids like such as arcades, mini-golf etc. You could rent kayaks and explore the many quiet coves and inlets the huge lake offers. If you based there, would be little over an hour to the mountains. The Lake is clean and you can find good beaches in Gilford or Wolfeboro. More boat traffic in Weirs Beach/ Laconia. My father and I enjoyed this area the most, but the mountains are great for one or two nights.

As far as coastal Maine, the water is too cold to swim , in my opinion.


8. Re: Need help planning our New Hampshire vacation

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