Remember the good old days when you could go skiing up north followed by an afternoon of après-ski? Well, if your life is anything like mine now that I have young children, those days are over. Believe me, there are days when I’d love to be having a beer on the deck of a ski lodge overlooking the White Mountains. But for now, I’m trying my best to enjoy the everyday moments with my kids when we visit North Conway each winter (while looking longingly at those same mountains).
I do try to ski a fair amount, but it’s mostly on green circles while my son learns to ski. So, in an attempt to still enjoy my time in the White Mountains with kids, I’ve compiled my favorite non-skiing activities to stay busy during a trip to the North Conway area of New Hampshire during the winter. I’m a big believer that getting away for the weekend is always a good idea — especially in the winter!
Ice skating, sleigh rides, and snowshoeing
Pack your skates and head to downtown North Conway, where you can skate for free right off Main Street in Schouler Park. You’ll have picturesque views of the Conway Scenic Railroad Station and can head across the street after for a hot chocolate at the Met Coffee House.
If you don’t have your own skates or are looking to make it into a fancier affair, head north to Jackson, where you can rent skates and glide around the beautiful Nestlenook Farm. They also offer sleigh rides and snowshoeing on their idyllic winter wonderland property.
When I’m up north I’m staying in a condo with limited space for my children to play. As anyone with children knows, our little ones need space to run and play, and the Mount Washington Children’s Museum is a great option for that! The museum is located close to downtown North Conway and offers multiple rooms of play for children ages 1–7. My son is 4 and can play in there for hours. From the train tables to the kitchen area to the veterinarian’s office setup, it fosters great imaginative play.
Newer to the Mount Washington Valley is Living Shores Aquarium right next to Storyland in Glen. It offers information and viewing of fish native to New Hampshire and interactive areas where you can hold birds and touch stingrays and nibble fish. Watching the otter play is also exciting. Plan ahead if you can to save money on ticket prices!
Shopping and dining
Of course there’s shopping at the outlets and perusing the cute shops in downtown North Conway, such as Zeb’s General Store and the 5 and 10 Cent Store. There are always interesting finds and good deals, and somehow it feels better to shop while on vacation (especially tax free!).
There are a number of family-friendly restaurants in the area that check two boxes — fun outing and a meal! We love The Muddy Moose for its relaxed ambiance, fun decor, prompt service, and tasty meals for adults and kids. Delaneys Hole in the Wall is our favorite lunch or dinner spot — you’ll be welcomed like a local when you go there, and the food is all from-scratch and delicious!
Hopefully someday soon you’ll be back on the slopes or whatever it is you enjoy doing in your free time sans children. But in the meantime, I hope you can make the most of your time with kids — especially on vacation.
This post was originally published in 2020. It has been updated for 2024.