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Local NH & ME Attractions for Your Family Staycation

Local NH & ME Attractions for Your Family Staycation

| August 30, 2021

As the start of the new school year nears and the pandemic continues to bring unpredictability to our lives, many are avoiding traveling far from home. There might be more to do just outside your front door than you think. Have you ever stopped to think about how many cool places exist within driving distance to the NH Seacoast area? Have you been to every one of them? 

10 Things to Do in the Greater NH Seacoast and Lakes & Mountains

Whatever your reason may be for wanting to stay closer to home right now, there’s still a ton of things to do in your very own backyard. Isn’t it funny how we’ll travel hundreds and thousands of miles to visit cool places around the country or across the ocean, and we somehow forget about the amazing places nearby that people come from all over to see?

1. Water Country.

A sprawling water park with adventurous slides, relaxing water attractions, and plenty of food options for every member of your family, this fun-filled destination is tucked away on Route 1 in Portsmouth. There’s not much time left in the season, though, so hurry -- the park is only open through Labor Day. 

2. Children’s Museum of NH

Offering a variety of camps, classes, workshops, exhibits, annual events, and so much more for kids of all ages, the Children’s Museum is nestled in downtown Dover next to Henry Law Park. It’s affordable and the location can’t be beat, with plenty of shopping and dining options within walking distance of the museum. 

3. The Mount Washington Cog Railway

Do you like road trips, trains, and amazing views? If the weather is nice, the drive to catch the Cog Railway up Mount Washington is totally worth it. This is definitely a day-long trip, but one to remember, as you’ll climb to the 6288' summit by biodiesel or steam train in a 3-hour round trip. 

4. Santa’s Village

Labor Day weekend may wrap up the Summer season at this family-friendly park, but it’s open year-round, offering various rides, attractions and entertainment for every season. From bumper cars and swan rides to antique cars, train rides, and more, there’s something for everyone. Be sure to check their website before heading up north for the day.

5. Portsmouth Harbor Cruises

If you’re craving some time on the water but not quite ready for the Caribbean, a Portsmouth Harbor cruise is a great way to enjoy the sights during the day or at night, without having to travel too far from home. See the Isles of Shoals or head out on a sunset cruise and enjoy your favorite beverage while you take in the scenery.

6. The Music Hall

This antique venue and its newer counterpart -- The Music Hall Loft -- both sit in the heart of the bustling city of Portsmouth. The historic Music Hall was built in 1878 and has been renovated significantly. The space hosts theatrical performances, music concerts, art exhibits, video projects, and more, year-round. The Music Hall Loft was built in 2011 for hosting live events and movies.

7. York’s Wild Kingdom

This lovely zoo and amusement park is located just down the road from Short Sands Beach in York Beach, Maine. Offering a variety of animal exhibits, a butterfly kingdom, rides, food and beverage stands, and an educational area, it’s a great place to spend the day with the whole family. The park is open through late September. 

8. The Kittery Outlets

If all you want to do is shop for deals and eat great seafood, the Kittery Outlets has what you’re looking for. You could spend an entire day just at the Kittery Trading Post, where you’ll find clothing, gear, and accessories for the outdoor enthusiast. And when hunger strikes, there’s no shortage of places to find the best fried clams, lobster, and everything in between. 

9. Hampton Beach

There are many beaches in the NH Seacoast area, but Hampton Beach offers so much more than just a sandy place to catch some rays. Catch a concert at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, hit the arcade, nosh on some fried dough, dine al fresco, or stroll down the strip and just people watch. 

10. Funspot

Did you know that NH is home to the largest arcade in the world? It’s true. Located near Weirs Beach in Laconia, this super fun spot is more than just a huge arcade. You can also go bowling, play bingo, mini-golf -- that is if the 600 arcade games aren’t enough to keep you busy!

We couldn’t possibly list all the places you might not know about in our little corner of the world, but these 10 places are a great place to start. Here’s hoping your staycation is one to remember!

Going out of town? Check out these tips on how to pack lightly: Travel, Without the Baggage