A Family Midweek Summer Escape

It’s no secret that the family attractions abound in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, offering everything from mini-golf beside the beach to a nature center that gets you up-close to native fauna in their natural environs. However, if you come on a weekday, those same activities aren’t as busy…and that much more yours for the family to explore.

Day One

2 p.m. | Weirs Beach
Bowling, Mini-Golf, & Pinball at the World’s Largest Arcade

With over 600 games (including 300 classic arcade games that are sure to make mom and dad feel like kids again), Funspot is hailed as the biggest arcade in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records. Along with its never-ending pinball options, this Weirs Beach landmark since 1952 boasts 20 lanes of 10-pin or candlepin bowling, as well as an indoor mini-golf course. Expect to spend an entire afternoon.

6 p.m. | Meredith
Italian-Inspired Eats for All

Set in the Mill Falls Marketplace among brick and exposed wooden beams, Giuseppe’s offers a range of menu options from PB&J for the pickiest of eaters to kid-sized versions of Italian classics, like four-cheese ravioli and fettuccine alfredo. Of course, there is always a build-your-own-pizza option that is sure to please everyone. Just make sure to save room for one of their eight desserts and stick around for their nightly entertainment!

Day Two

10 a.m. | Holderness
Hike West Rattlesnake

With parking provided right at the trailhead off of Route 113, the Old Bridle Trail that snakes up West Rattlesnake is one of the best family-friendly hikes in the Lakes Region. That’s because it’s short (under a mile in length), well-maintained with sturdy stairway sections, and home to an amazing summit vantage overlooking the entirety of Squam Lake and its many islands.

1 p.m. | Holderness
Getting near to Nature

More than 200 acres of fields, forests, and wetlands are occupied by 20 different types of animals at the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. But unlike a typical zoo setting, where wildlife from all over the world is contained in settings constructed to simulate their natural habitats, these animals are all native to New Hampshire (actually rescued and deemed unable to return to the wild); therefore, their homes are created within the natural environment. See such species as bear, bobcats, foxes, and mountain lions up-close via the three-quarter-mile Live Animal Exhibit Trail.

4:30 p.m. | Meredith
A Sweet Shopping Experience at Mill Falls Marketplace

Located right next to a 40-foot waterfall and set in an old mill building, the nine distinctive shops at Mill Falls Marketplace feature a wide variety of clothing, crafts, souvenirs, and home decor inspired by lake living.

5 p.m. | Meredith
Fireside Fare with Flair

Even if the family isn’t camping, it isn’t a trip to Lake Winnipesaukee without some classic fireside favorites. And that you will find plenty of at Camp, housed within the Chase House Inn overlooking the northern edge of Meredith Bay. Expect an atmosphere evoking summer camp days of yore with pennants and deer heads on the walls and counselor uniforms worn by waiters, and a menu serving steak chili, burgers, ribs, and, of course, a plate full of s’mores for dessert.

6:30 p.m. | Laconia
Old-Fashioned Ice Cream at Kellerhaus

After dinner, treat the crew to their preferred flavor at Kellerhaus, a 110-year-old candy shop that looks like it came straight out of Bavaria, thanks to a half-timbered architectural style and an interior that gives way to multiple rooms stocked with homemade chocolates, Christmas ornaments, cuckoo clocks, and other trinkets and treasures. But the main draw, undeniably, is what’s known as the “ice cream smorgasbord,” a buffet-style sundae bar, which allows you to make your own from the selection of toppings than run the gamut from strawberries and pineapple to nuts and sprinkles to coconut and candy.

Day Three

9 a.m. | Bristol
An Honest Country Breakfast

Cardigan Country Store & Café is your classic country store, carrying local produce, dairy, and baked goods. Pick up all you need for a picnic, or opt for the attached antique-adorned bistro to indulge in a simple but locally sourced breakfast with options like french toast, oatmeal, and english muffins with apple butter.

11 a.m. | Rumney
Explore a Geological Gem

Created during the last Ice Age when glaciers dropped granite boulders along what is now known as Hawk’s Cliff, the interconnected series of nine caves – with names like “The Lemon Squeeze” and “Devil’s Turnpike” – may be the featured highlight at Polar Caves Park, but it’s certainly not the only one. Two rock climbing experiences and a mining sluice that allow kids to uncover gems, minerals, and fossils make this the ultimate family adventure.