Families have little trouble finding fun, low-key things to do with kids in northern New England. The natural world seems to hold tremendous wonder for the younger set -- an afternoon exploring mossy banks and rocky streambeds can be a huge adventure. Older kids may like the challenge of climbing a mountain peak or learning to paddle a canoe in a straight line, and the beach is always good for hours of afternoon diversion.
Be sure to ask about family discounts when visiting attractions. Many places offer a flat family rate that is less than paying for each ticket individually. Some parks and beaches charge by the car rather than the head.
Also, when planning your trip be aware that certain small inns cater only to couples and prefer that families not stay there, or at least prefer that children be over a certain minimum age. This guidebook notes the recommended age for children where restrictions apply, but it's always best to ask first, just to be safe. At any rate, if you mention that you're traveling with kids when making reservations, often you'll get accommodations nearer the game room or the pool, making everyone's life a bit easier.
To locate accommodations, restaurants, and attractions that are particularly kid-friendly, refer to the "Kids" icon throughout this guide.
Recommended destinations in northern New England for families include Lake Winnipesaukee and Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire (for splashing around and kid-friendly attractions), York Beach and Acadia National Park in Maine (ditto), and Waterbury, Vermont, for its famous ice-cream factory. North Conway, New Hampshire, also makes a good base for families with young kids; the town has lots of motels with pools, as well as minitrain rides, streams suitable for splashing around, easy hikes, and the distraction known as Story Land.
Some recommended family travel websites include Family Travel Forum (www.familytravelforum.com), a comprehensive site that offers customized trip planning; Family Travel Network (www.familytravelnetwork.com), an online magazine providing travel tips; and TravelWithYourKids.com (www.travelwithyourkids.com), a comprehensive site written by parents for parents offering sound advice for long-distance and international travel with children.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.