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A New Meaning to Spontaneous Travel

There are few things Covid-19 hasn’t effected in some way; and travel is one industry in particular that has been completely turned upside down by this global pandemic.

Many modifications to trip planning have been taken on the sides of both visitor and destination to ensure, and enjoy a fun, yet safe vacation. Travelers have become creative in finding new ways to vacation through drivable vacations within a few hours distance of their homes; and businesses are working harder to provide high level experiences and customer service amidst social distancing mandates and staffing shortages.

With all of the accommodations the travel industry has made during the last year, yet another shift in behavior and collective thinking that must be made is that of the spontaneous getaway.

Mt. Washington Valley has always been regarded as a prime destination for trips of this nature. Its drivable proximity to other New England states, along with its myriad of activities from outdoor recreation to attractions to shopping provides a great option for an impromptu trip. But like most vacation destinations, it too has not been immune to these travel challenges.

Planning a spontaneous trip to Mt. Washington Valley now needs a temporary adjustment to the expectation of the term ‘spontaneous.’

Meaning something slightly different than what it did in the past, advance planning is now needed for what would have been an impromptu vacation or getaway. Many family attractions now require advance online ticket purchasing, and reservations; take-out from restaurants is offered on a limited schedule; parking lots are filling up earlier, and faster; and last-minute lodging reservations are becoming a hot commodity.

Mt. Washington Valley is in demand as a vacation destination, and the area’s chamber of commerce has run into some visitors who have not planned ahead and have faced disappointment when it came to experiencing all the valley has to offer.  “We want everyone to have an enjoyable trip to the valley, and that requires some advance planning. We encourage visitors to give themselves some breathing room when it comes to choosing dates for their trip to the Mt. Washington Valley, which will give them flexibility in ensuring they can experience all that Mt. Washington Valley has to offer,” says Assistant Executive Director of the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce, Michelle Cruz.

As part of the “MWV Pledge,” a program which works to educate visitors on respecting, and preserving the Mt. Washington Valley through a series of principles one can abide by when traveling, planning ahead, and being prepared is at the top of the list. This includes:

  • Researching availability. Don’t come to Mt. Washington Valley without a lodging reservation. It’s become increasingly more difficult to find a place to stay at a moment’s notice. The valley has seen instances of visitors who have driven up for a getaway only to find there is no room availability and they must make the drive back home.

    Similarly, many attractions require advance ticket purchasing, and will not let visitors into the park without a reservation.

    Many restaurants have contracted their take-out schedules, and are offering it on a limited basis. Make sure you call-ahead to determine the restaurants take-out schedule, days and hours of operation, instead of waiting until the last minute to make dinner plans.

  • Pandemic guidelines: The state of New Hampshire does not have an active mask-mandate, which means individual businesses set the mask requirements for its establishment. Mask expectations differ from business to business, so please travel to Mt. Washington Valley prepared to wear one, if asked.

  • Parking: Trailhead parking is becoming increasingly more congested, and parking in non-designated zones could cost you a ticket or being towed. If you have plans to recreate, make sure you have a back-up plan if you get to the trail-head and it’s full. You may have to try a different trail. Paid parking for access to state parks and certain parts of the Saco River is also required. Come prepared with payment, and pay attention to signage.

Educating yourself on these topics before you arrive for your vacation to Mt. Washington Valley ensure a more enjoyable trip. The Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce also encourages visitors to have alternative activities planned if they are unable to get tickets to an attraction or find parking at a trailhead. Explore our "Insider Blog" for endless articles on trip ideas and outdoor activities.

Visitors can learn more about trip ideas and alternative activities, as well as the “MWV Pledge” - a promise to protect, respect and preserve the Mt. Washington Valley's natural resources - at or call 800-367-3364. For more information on vacations in New Hampshire, go to

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