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Three Ways to Cool Off in the Mt. Washington Valley, NH


There is nothing like a New England summer. The breeze coming off the lakes, the summer drives passing by farmland, concerts in fields, outdoor dining with mountain views; we are here for it all!

But while New England summer’s are truly something special, it also has to be said that there’s nothing like the humidity that comes with them. When you’re spending your summer in the Mt. Washington Valley, you’ll want to know where and how you can cool off when the temperature and the humidity that comes with it, starts to rise! Here are three of our tried and true ways to make the most of your summer vacation in the Mt. Washington Valley, NH, and beat the heat!

For more ways to play in the Mt. Washington Valley, sign up for our monthly newsletter, Vacation Inspiration.

Take A Dip!

State parks in Mt. Washington Valley, NH abound, and many offer access to lakes and waterfalls. Pack a bag full of sunscreen, and snacks, and make sure you show up to the park early, as finding a parking spot only gets trickier as the day wears on.

Two of our favorite spots include the Albany Covered Bridge, off of the Kancamagus Highway, and Echo Lake State Park, off of West Side Road in North Conway, NH.

Echo Lake offers picnic tables and a sandy beach, with views of Cathedral Ledge. It’s a perfect spot for setting up shop for a morning or afternoon spent by the water. There is no current, so you don’t have to worry about little ones losing grip and getting caught up in a moving body of water. Hiking trails, and fishing spots also provide a range of activities for the whole family.

Restrooms are available, and access to the park, and parking is paid, per person, through a day pass, which you can purchase at the gate, or make reservations 30-days in advance, here.

Albany Covered Bridge sets you up on the Swift River. You won’t find a beach like you would at Echo Lake, so claiming a large rock to lay your towel out on is key. This river carries a current, so make sure those in your party can manage swimming upstream.

Even with a more rugged offering, the Swift River is a tried and true spot for those looking to take a quick dip or enjoy a quick stop for lunch. Cheese Louise is located just a few miles south of Albany Covered Bridge. Make a stop there for freshly made artisanal grilled cheese sandwiches, ice cream sandwiches and shakes, and freshly squeezed juice drinks.

You’ll also find fishing spots and hiking trails near The Albany Covered Bridge. Restrooms and paid parking are available.

Paddle Down the Saco River

Spend the whole day on the river by canoe, kayak or tube!

By planning a paddle down the river, you can be on the water for hours. Try out different beaches, find logs and rocks to do cannon-balls off of, and river outfitters even provide super-soakers for kids, and kids-at-heart to have water fights with.

A river trip down the Saco River is a great way to enjoy the water without having to worry about a lot of details. Parking is provided by most outfitters, and they shuttle you and your family to and from the river launch. You can choose from multiple routes, and decide on a mileage that is appropriate for your family. All you have to do is make sure you pack snacks that everyone likes, sunblock, and plenty of water. Make sure you reserve your Saco River trip in advance, as many outfitters sell out. Click here for a list of rental options.

Seek The A/C

Take comfort in the churn of ye old air conditioner! A tried-and-true method for keep heat and humidity at bay! These establishments below keep the cool breeze cranking and the entertainment flowing! Include them in your family-friendly Mt. Washington Valley vacation! For a list of attractions for all ages, click this link!

Consider gathering the kids for an afternoon at Mystery NH, an escape room experience that is a fun, exciting, and immersive. You and your family and friends will be placed in a room with a specific theme. Your job is to find clues and solve puzzles that align with the specific theme of the room. When you solve a puzzle, you’ll open locks and eventually make your way out of the room. All while the clock is counting down against you!

Ryan’s Family Amusements is a hub of family-friendly entertainment that includes 50 of the hottest and newest games. There are video games, skill games, arcade games, and virtual reality. Play to win great prizes, create friendly competition between family members, and no matter how old each member of your family is, there is an activity for everyone!

Make sure when spending time in the valley you commit to the MWV Pledge to preserve and protect Mt. Washington Valley, by being a respectful traveler of nature and of other visitors. Practice the Leave No Trace principles when you venture out into the White Mountain National Forest, and ensure you do your part in sustaining this area we love so much so that it’s around for generations to come.

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