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A Timeless American Summer Family Road Trip to the White Mountains of New Hampshire

Bear show at Clark's Trading PostClark's Trading Post, North Woodstock, N.H. (Photo source: ClarksTradingPost.com)

by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on 11/16/16

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The concept of a road trip is inherently built into our American DNA.  The thought of jumping into the car en route to someplace fun and taking you away from the routine is truly pure Americana.

I remember when growing up in the Boston, Mass., area, my folks would take us in their wood paneled station Ford LTD station wagon to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  The sight of tall rugged mountains, the smell of fresh air and the virtual playground of really fun travel attractions made this the best New England vacation destination around. The great news is that so many of the things we enjoyed in the White Mountains as kids "back in the day" happily exist and often thrive as major New England vacation attractions to this very day.

Here are some of those memories that you can still enjoy as part of your family road trip to the White Mountains:

The Flume Gorge (852 Daniel Webster Highway, Lincoln) is a natural granite gorge extending 800 feet at the base of Mount Liberty and towering granite walls rising to a height of 90 ft. The Basin (Route 93 Lincoln) features a waterfall and a most unusual 20 ft. diameter pothole. You could stay here for hours and enjoy the whirling water in the basin (maybe it’s just me, but it does get crowded here). Clark's Trading Post (110 Daniel Webster Highway) features a trained bear show, museums, a circus act, family entertainment and the White Mountain Central Railroad that takes you through the best of rural scenic New Hampshire. Storyland (Route 16 Glen) is a thoughtfully-laid out children's theme park with rides and a chance to meet some famous storybook characters. Santa’s Village (528 Presidential Highway, Jefferson) in Jefferson, N.H., is just, a theme park with Santa’s home, Santa’s Express train, and amusements, entertainment and food with a holiday theme.  You can also experience incredible views by driving the Mt. Washington Auto Road near Gorham, en route to the peak of Mt. Washington -- new Hampshire’s highest peak at 6,288 ft. Just like in the old days, you can also receive that well-deserved  “THIS CAR CLIMBED MT. WASHINGTON” bumper sticker!

As a family back in the day, we stayed at the Indian Head Resort (664 Route 3, Lincoln) in Lincoln. You’ll know you’re here when you’ve found the landmark totem pole our front! Although a staple of the past, the Indian Head is perhaps more popular than ever with millions of dollars of renovation, year-round indoor and outdoor pools, 50 Plasma HDTVs in all motel rooms, paddle boats and fishing at the lake out back, and a ton of kids activities. You can stay in a motel room, cottage or bungalow.


We stayed at the Indian Head because it was so close to all the major White Mountain travel attractions. I was content, however, just staying at the Indian Head -- such a warm, comfortable, friendly representation of the great American road trip. My best memory is  the 84 ft. high observation tower where the mountain views are spectacular!

I also remember Woodward's Resort in Lincoln, the ultimate family resort that always seemed sunny, friendly and with nice rooms. Woodward's has expanded through the years to offer indoor and outdoors pools, hot tub, tennis court, a pub and a game room. It seems though that the staff has always elevated a very good place to stay into a great resort destination. -- nice to know in this day of age. 


 Of course, the White Mountains of New Hampshire has so many more vacation attractions and places to stay today, so we recommend checking out the whole experience at VisitWhiteMountains.com. But make sure to experience the attractions mentioned here in this article. They are indeed wonderful New England vacation attractions that have been a part of so many wonderful childhood memories through the years.


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