They were created some fifty thousand years ago by the movement of a continental glacier that muscled great blocks of granite loose and dropped them off Hawk's Cliff. With the caves are a maple sugar museum, animal exhibits and a gift shop.
You enter through the Visitor Center and descend a wooden staircase down into the 800 foot deep, granite crevice right alongside the rushing water.
Every half hour at the information center you can see a 15 minute movie introducing park. Afterward you can enjoy a leisurely walk or other activities in the park.
Take a nice slow train ride along the shore of Lake Winnepesaukee from Meredith Bay to Weirs Beach. Relax as you enjoy the sensational view of the lake, its islands, the boats and lavish summer residences.
Guided tours, programs and exhibits are designed to show the visitor what the Canterbury Shakers way of life is about. It's a living museum of shaker crafts, architecture and inventions.
Christmas is a special time here with the snow and decorations lighting up the place. Be sure to bring your camera.
You will learn the essential skills of outdoor survival. Their wilderness experts will teach you important things such as how to use maps and compasses, build a fire and shelter, camp cooking, leadership and observation skills along with many other skills you will need to take advantage of the great outdoors.
Take sleigh flying lessons at Loopin’ Louie’s Flying School. Discover and feed Santa’s reindeer. Make your own North Pole arts and crafts. Get your picture taken with Santa and his elf helpers. Even when it’s summer time, Christmas is the most magical time of the year.
This place will let the children’s imagination run wild. Meet your favorite storybook characters like Cinderella, Humpty Dumpty, Mother Goose or the Three Little Pigs. Ride the kid- friendly rides like Flying Fish, Bamboo Chutes and Clockenspiel. Thrill to the Royal Hanneford Circus performing in the big top tent. See fun musical shows at the Hilltop Theater and the Loopy Lab.
We flew in Manchester, which we used as a base for the first few days. We still don’t think that the pictures we took on our days out did the trees justice!
The scenery in that part of the states is incredible, with cute little seaside towns like Portsmouth breaking up the wooded hills and surprise lakes, that just seem to glide by the window without warning.
We are keen hikers, so for the second part of the trip we went up to Conway, and based ourselves in a small motel up there. We climbed several mountains up there, which were always well signposted and absolutely empty of other walkers! Absolute heaven. - By Mr. Wolfson from Denver
But the main thing we loved was the fact that it was really quiet and peaceful in the middle of the forest. It gave us all a chance to forget about our daily lives and enjoy the company of family. Our time was just spent with each other.
Plus it was great being able to get out into the mountains and trees and enjoy the outdoors. We hiked and biked, and in between we ate and enjoyed each other's company. While we've had vacations where we've gone on cruises and to beaches, nothing brings you closer to nature than a vacation in the mountains.
As I reflect on it years later, I remember it as the best vacation I've ever had, and I will be sure to bring my friends or children there in years to come. - By John from NYC
Families can find a lot to do in Franconia Notch. Echo Lake State Park has a great beach for summer swimming and boating, and our kids enjoyed playing on the beach while we relaxed. There is fishing in both Echo Lake, Profile Lake, and the many streams. My husband brought his poles and spent some great time alone trying to catch one.
During the summer, the tramway at Cannon Mountain takes visitors to the top of the mountain for great sightseeing and hiking. We enjoy riding up and watching the ant-sized cars on the road below before disembarking and taking a short hike.
If you are feeling energetic, you can hike up or down and take the tramway one way. Just watch out for the black bears that are sometimes roaming the grassy ski slopes. There are a number of hiking trails in the Notch, including some easier hikes for families. A few hikes are easy enough for children and they have a great sense of accomplishment when they reach the top and look down at the roads and building lots far below. We also like to pack a picnic and climb up Artist's Bluff. There is a ski museum to visit, as well as some gift shops and ice cream and other treats. The town of Franconia offers a number of hotels and inns.
For a fabulous breakfast or lunch, drive a short distance up Sugar Hill to visit Polly's Pancake Parlor. Here you can have the most delicious pancakes or waffles, served with a variety of pure maple syrup, maple butter, and maple sugar. The view is wonderful, and the coffee is always hot. For a week, or a weekend getaway, Franconia Notch is a great destination for a couple or family. We look forward to visiting every year. - By Missy from N.H.