Planning Your North Conway Vacation

Planning Your North Conway, NH Vacation | MothersCircle.netAre you planning a North Conway vacation? We’ve been to North Conway, NH for long weekends both with and without kids.

While you can surely find extensive lists of restaurants and attractions nearby, here are recommendations from our personal experiences. No one has sponsored or asked me to review them, these are all just for you based on our times in NH.

I have to admit, while my husband and I had a wonderful North Conway vacation alone last summer to celebrate our 20th anniversary, it seemed that everyone around us had their kids and I felt like I’d have preferred to have them along with us. Sleeping in was thwarted as we heard kids jumping and thumping in the room above us and screaming up and down the corridors at the Attitash Mountain Grand Summit Hotel and Resort.

There were kids splashing and kicking as we dipped in the pool, kids coloring and munching fries at every meal out. So while we were without our own kids, it didn’t feel like such a kid-free weekend. Maybe leaf-peeping season brings out more solo couples, but with Storyland and Santa’s Village right nearby, and skiing in the winter months, I doubt there’s much time when this isn’t a very kid and family-oriented getaway location.

Here are a few tips and ideas as you plan your North Conway vacation.

Places to eat in North Conway, NH:

Diana's bath, hikes and falls in NH, water falls, Bartlett NH, kids hikes, outdoor activities

Diana’s Bath

We loved Sunrise Shack for breakfast, count on a wait, especially on a weekend morning, but they offer self-serve coffee, a big log bench outside, and the food was worth the wait. Inside felt fresh and bright, not at all like what you might expect from the outside appearance.

If you’re a coffee lover, The Met Coffee House was a great find along the main strip in town.

For dinners, we loved the nicer dining experience of the White Mountain Cider Co. (Nick cannot recommend the cod more highly, he is still going on and on about it), and Moat Mountain Smokehouse was terrific, too, if a little busy. There’s a great lawn for kids to run around on while you wait and if you go at peak times, you’ll wait. We ate on the closed-in porch and it seemed to empty out around 8:30 pm. Everything was delicious, including the house brewed beers and tasting flights. Loved the brisket, and the sides of mashed potatoes and cole slaw were noteworthy.

For dessert – you’ve got to try the fried ice cream at Margarita Grill. We enjoyed our farm-to-table meals as well and I practically licked the plate their homemade bacon ranch dressing is so yummy! This is across the street from a great campground we stayed at two years ago, Glen Ellis, with kids and another family.

Things to do in and around North Conway, NH:

Take a hike to Diana’s Bath. Go early, bring a snack or lunch, a towel to dry your feet. Friends recently did this hike during a mild December trip and found it a terrific outing in the winter as we had in August.

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Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves


Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves is a good day trip or excursion on your way home. It was a little pricey for what it was but the wooden walkways are in great condition and it was a really interesting, fun adventure through the gorge and crawling, climbing and eeking through rock formations.

The first time we went with the kids and friends, we were skeptical about going to Story Land and expected it to be outdated and awful but we ventured there for the kids. We were impressed and happily surprised. Even our oldest daughter and my Little Sister who were 13 and 17 at the time, had a terrific time! They loved the rides, the circus, the tall swirly slushies, and the silliness of being kids.

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From the top of the ferris wheel in Santa’s Village.

The following year, we stayed a little further north in Lancaster, NH at the Mountain Lake Campground to be near Santa’s Village. This time, Ali opted out to stay home for a friend’s birthday party and we got cute cabins with beds, lights and mini fridges! It was a great way to “camp.” We cooked out, had s’mores and the usual camping fun but we also played Apples to Apples on the front porch overlooking the lake and enjoyed the ease of set up and clean up in the cabin.

For things to do, I’d also recommend Santa’s Village which is about an hour north of North Conway. The kids, while not really little when we went, were so excited. Even Michael, who was in 7th grade at the time, had fun on the rides, petting reindeer, finding the elves around the park to mark their tags, and we got a great picture with Santa in August. (Plan ahead and you could have a great Christmas card photo ready to go!)

There are tons of things to do on a North Conway vacation!
Share in the comments things your family likes to do, places you like to eat and stay to serve as a resource for people planning their trips.

This North Conway Village website links to maps that promote the best resources in the Valley and White Mountains.

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2 Responses to Planning Your North Conway Vacation

  1. Tamara says:

    Great suggestions! I want to do some of these hikes like Diana’s Baths (if I can find it) next time we are up there.

    • ldecesare says:

      We had to back track and hunt a little for the start of Diana’s Bath, the women at the small information cabin on the main strip were very helpful, too! For travelers – check out Tamara’s website:

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