Family-Friendly Summer Activities in Waterville Valley, NH

Planning a family trip to Waterville Valley this summer? You’re in good company, and with good reason--Waterville Valley is not just a winter destination. There are at least a zillion things you can do in the summer from all-out extreme sports to lazing by the pond. I talked with April Smith, Director of Lodging and Village Operations for Waterville Valley to get a few more ideas. Here’s what she had to say.

While Waterville Valley has great family hiking options like the Mad River Trail, Goodrich Rock, and Cascade Trail--more on those in a minute--families looking for non-hiking alternatives have plenty to choose from, too. Smith recommends chairlift rides up Snow’s Mountain, Adventure Center activities like the climbing wall, the bungee trampoline, or mountain bikes and ResortBoards. There’s also the golf course and the White Mountain Athletic Club complete with splash pad. You could also just hanging out at Corcoran Pond. There are boat rentals, but also plenty of opportunities to build sand castles and laze on the sandy shore.

Smith recommends checking out the Rey Center, especially their calendar--there’s a great story time and family-friendly programming, like nature walks, astronomy nights, and crafts. It’s also nice to visit the cottage where Margret and H.A. Rey, creators of the popular Curious George stories, summered. The Rey Center also offers a popular Friday night speaker series! Sign up for their newsletter to get the most accurate list of activities and events.

Town Square has a lot to offer, too, with summer concerts and festivals and Sunday morning live animal shows from the local Squam Lakes Science Center. Smith also recommends checking out the Town Recreation Department, which offers evening bingo nights and ice cream socials, not to mention their top-notch camps for kids, which offer last-minute daily drop-ins.

If the kids are busy with any of the myriad activities and parents are free, Smith recommends checking out some of the local hiking and mountain biking options, enjoying one of Town Square’s restaurants, playing a round of disc golf, trying out pickleball at the Recreation Department, grabbing a tennis racket, or just relaxing in a quiet spot--there are plenty of those, too!

It’s worth mentioning that Waterville Valley also boasts a Freedom Pass for lodging guests. What’s the Freedom Pass? It allows you to enjoy all of the activities the Valley has to offer as part of your stay. 

About those hiking trails… Did you know that Waterville Valley is home to the oldest network of trails in the US? Waterville Valley is an incredible destination for families seeking hiking experiences. Smith offered several suggestions, for anything from an easy trail stroll to harder hikes. You can pick up a trail map at Toad Hall, the Valley’s own independent bookstore.  

Smith said, “For a family that wants an easy hike, the Mad River Trail is great. It’s easy except for one short steep uphill and downhill staircase, and it’s got a bit of everything: at trail in the woods, a section along the river, and in the end--if you do the entire loop--it spills out onto the road in a section of the Valley that most guests don’t get to see.”

For families looking to test their hiking chops a bit more, Smith recommends Goodrich Rock. She said, “Those boulders along the trail are really cool, and then climbing that ladder onto Goodrich Rock is pretty unique. The view is nice, too.”

Looking for a family-friendly waterfall hike? Waterville has that, too. Cascades Path not only has a waterfall, but you can access it from a chairlift ride up Snow’s Mountain.

Families who want a more rigorous hike--and who want to cross a 4,000 footer off their list--can summit Mount Tecumseh. It has amazing views of the surrounding peaks and is right in town.

For those seeking a multi-summer hiking challenge, the Waterville Valley Recreation Department offers new Redliner Patch program, featuring 19 peaks, 57 natural features, and 48 trails over 125 miles. The Recreation Department also offers new guided hikes of many of the peaks on that list. That’s a few summers worth of hiking--or one epic family trip! 

Your takeaway? Come to Waterville Valley this summer.

Bring a sense of adventure, a decent pair of sneakers, a swimsuit, and some sunscreen. What else? Make it up as you go. There’s plenty to do. 

As Smith says, “You can’t do everything there is to do here in just a couple of days, but if you stay longer, Waterville Valley is a fabulous gateway to a wide array of other fun activities in the area… river float trips, horseback riding, family amusement parks, hardcore hiking, and so much more.”

Ready for a fantastic summer adventure in Waterville Valley? Book your stay today.

Alyssa Walker writes, lives, works, and plays in Waterville Valley with her husband and two adorable children. Check out her website.

Bring a sense of adventure, a decent pair of sneakers, a swimsuit, and some sunscreen. What else? Make it up as you go. There’s plenty to do.

Bring a sense of adventure, a decent pair of sneakers, a swimsuit, and some sunscreen. What else? Make it up as you go. There’s plenty to do.