Close to amusement parks, hiking trails, easily accessible waterfalls, outlet shopping, restaurants, and some of the best family resorts in the northeast, North Conway is a popular spot for family vacations and weekend getaways in New England. And with no shortage of things to do all year round, it’s truly a four-season destination, too.
How to Get to North Conway
From Boston, North Conway is an easy two-and-a-half-hour drive north on interstate highways followed by a long stretch on the scenic Kancamagus Highway, a 34.5-mile stretch of road that twists and turns through forest and mountain and offers plenty of spots for stretch-your-legs detours like picnics and short waterfall hikes.
The closest airport to North Conway is in Manchester, New Hampshire, about two hours away by car. However, it’s often more convenient to fly to Boston Logan (which is served by more airlines) and drive or take the bus. Concord Coach Lines offers daily bus service between Boston’s Logan Airport or South Station and North Conway; bus service is also available from Manchester airport.
North Conway is not easily accessible by train. The closest rail station is in Saco, Maine, which is still about one-and-a-half hours away by car. (The Conway Scenic Railroad, located in the center of town, is for taking in the local scenery only.)
Top Family-Friendly Hotels and Accommodations in North Conway
Make your family weekend getaway in North Conway extra special with a stay at the one-of-a-kind Adventure Suites, which boasts unique themed hotel suites that will delight kids. With suites built from the ground up to mimic everything from ancient Rome to movie theaters to jungles to caverns, every room is literally a different kind of adventure.
For a touch of luxury, book a stay at the Omni Mount Washington Resort, which isn’t in North Conway but is centrally located in nearby Bretton Woods (New Hampshire’s largest ski area in the winter and an alpine adventure area in the warmer months). It’s convenient to North Conway’s attractions for families traveling by car.
Families also love the Red Jacket Mountain View Resort in North Conway, home to the Kahuna Laguna indoor water park where kids can splash, swim, and slide for hours before or after the day’s activities—or all day if the weather turns bad on your weekend getaway. (This resort is temporarily closed due to a fire.)
Fun Places to Go with Kids in North Conway
New Hampshire’s Storyland is a classic amusement park for kids themed around fairy tales and has just the right mix of kitsch and thrills for kids up to about 10 years old. The nearby Santa’s Village amusement park in Jefferson, New Hampshire, is another great vacation idea for families visiting North Conway. The two theme parks pair nicely for a family weekend getaway if you’re looking for a little mini-Disney-like experience closer to home.
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For outdoorsy families, North Conway is a perfect gateway to many active things to do, such as kayaking, canoeing, and snowmobiling. Outfitter Northern Extremes rents all the equipment you’ll need for these activities and even offers guided excursions.
You don’t need to be a rugged outdoorsman to feel like one in and around North Conway. The area is loaded with many easy-to-reach waterfalls and swimming spots with roadside parking areas, all within an easy walk or short hike. Spectacular Diana’s Baths, reachable with a half-mile walk on a clearly marked trail, is a family favorite for its cascading series of falls and idyllic picnic spots.
The Conway Scenic Railroad offers scenic train rides around the North Conway area. This vintage train takes passengers on tours of the Mount Washington Valley and makes several departures throughout the day from its Victorian-era station right in the center of North Conway Village. Make an evening of it with a dinner train ride in a special dining car.
Family-Friendly Restaurants in North Conway
You haven’t truly done a family weekend getaway in North Conway until you’ve had a meal at The Muddy Moose, a wilderness-themed restaurant with casual American fare in a rustic lodge setting right on the White Mountain Highway. Fine dining this is not, but fun dining? Absolutely. The kids will love it.
The Abenaki Trail Restaurant and Pub, also located on the White Mountain Highway in North Conway, is a family-friendly burgers-and-grub sort of restaurant with a dedicated kids’ play area that can be an absolute life-saver for parents who want a little bit of adult time to enjoy a beer or appetizer together.
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Hooligans Restaurant on Kearsarge Road in North Conway offers family-friendly dining in a relaxed setting. Grab pub drinks and classic American food while the younger ones order off the kids’ menu.
With a name like Horsefeathers, you know exactly what you’re getting when you head to this American fare restaurant in the center of North Conway. The food is familiar and kid-friendly, but the real reason to make this a stop on your North Conway family weekend getaway is the restaurant’s fantastic ice cream counter.
And when in doubt, get pizza, which doesn’t come any fancier than the artisanal pies served up at The Flatbread Company, a way-better-than-average pizza joint with wood-fired ovens. Parents will enjoy the unusual variety of pizza options; kids will love watching their usual favorites cooked up before their eyes in the giant clay oven.