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Family adventures, the I-93 corridor of fun

Getting damp under Downpour at Whale's tale.There is a lot to do in the western White Mountains of New Hampshire, just off I-93.
Getting damp under Downpour at Whale's tale.There is a lot to do in the western White Mountains of New Hampshire, just off I-93.
©Stillman Rogers Phography 2013

Close to the northern end of I-93 in north western New Hampshire there are enough attractions to provide things to do for days on end. This area, close to Woodstock and Lincoln, is a hot bed of summer activity that is now beginning to stir for the season. It’s easy to get to from the greater Boston and Hartford regions and provides entertainment and outdoor adventure in the clear, clean, air of northern New Hampshire. The western side of the White Mountains don't have all of the attractions, there is a lot more to do on the eastern side as well..

Getting wet in the wave pool at Whale's tale, Woodstock NH
©Stillman Rogers Photography 2013

In the water and up in the air

Whale’s Tale Water Park has become one of New England’s most popular summer attractions and it continues to grow in popularity. It has all of the water thrills and rides anyone could look for. Poseidon’s Voyage, new last year, includes a sudden vertical drop that attains speeds of up to 38 feet per second and a full 360 degree loop. Downpour is a slide with speed and enough twists and turns for a belly dancer and shipwreck Island guarantees a super wetting experience. In all they have 11 waterslides and the slow flowing Lazy River provides a quarter mile of just drifting for kids and adults. It opens on June 7 through 26 with restricted hours and full time on June 27. Whale's Tale is off I-93 at Lincoln, take exit 33 and Route 3 north a half mile.

Alpine Adventures joined up with Whales Tale last year. Alpine offers a number of physically active options from alpine adventure to thrilling off-road rides. It is best known for the high quality of its canopy tours, which include rope walks and zip line adventures, all under expert supervision. These adventures are available for several skill levels from beginner to well experienced. You should be in relatively good condition before undertaking these. They also, operate a six wheeled vehicle that roams the steep hills and valleys. They are open now for tours, register online and check out the many options that they offer. A new for this year combined ticket called the “Zip & Dip” includes adventures at both attractions. To get to Alpine Adventures go left off the ramp of exit 32 from I-93, they are on the left a few hundred feet up the road.

Clark’s Trading Post – trained bears, Chinese acrobats and the Wolfman

This is a family attraction in two senses of the word. Clark’s is a family operation that has been in operation since the 1920s and five generations of Clark family members have been operating it from the beginning. In the 1940’s they began to train black bears and since that time visitors have been thrilled with their twice daily shows. To the Clark’s these bears are family members. Another attraction of Clark’s are the circus acrobat shows the take place in the special ring several times a day. But Clark’s is more than these shows. They also run an authentic steam engine railway which features the antics of Wolfman, a somewhat harmless old coot. If you like wet, try the blaster boats and then challenge yourself on the climbing mountain. Among the many things to do here are a pair of museums with antique fire engines, and the original Moxie cowboy car. Clark’s Trading Post is just great fun. It opens weekends May 24 through June 15 and then daily from June 26. Take exit 33 from I-93 and take Route 3 south one mile.

A train ride and an encounter with some wildlife

The Hobo railroad in Lincoln has been drawing riders for years. The company has done such fine work on the restoration of rail cars that it now does restoration work for other rail companies. The Hobo starts at their own station in Lincoln then passes south through forests and along the Pemmigewasset River. They offer a Hobo picnic lunch to eat long the way. The railroad has now joined with the Squam Lakes Science Center of Holderness in presenting a “Nature by Rail” program. During the train rides experts from the Science Center ride on the train answering questions and talk about and show wild animals at the rail station. The Hobo Railroad is open weekends may 24 through June 15 and daily from June 24. Take exit 32 from I-93 at Lincoln and take route 112 toward Lincoln (left) in a few hundred feet look for the sign on the left.

A walk amidst nature’s awesome power at Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves

Sometime around 300 million years ago nature began to form Kinsman Notch and since then mile high glaciers and running water have formed a spectacular gorge whose river disappears underground. While this place requires lots of walking up and done stairs, it is well worth the effort. Here a small river passes into a steep sided gorge and wooden walkways and stairs guide visitors down into its depths. While it is possible to bypass them, most try working their way into and through narrow cave like passages formed by the masses of broken granite ledges. It’s not only fun but an impressive show of the power of nature. This year they will add, by summer, a forest adventure trail and a suspension bridge to a 750 foot boardwalk trail through a forest into a glacial boulder field. Along with the Flume, Lost River is one of the great natural wonders of New Hampshire. They open May 9 for the entire season. Take exit 32 from I-93 and at the bottom take Route 112 west, about 7 miles.

Getting There

From Boston take I-93 north to Lincoln NH. From West of the City take Route 2 east to I-93 north. From Hartford take I-84 east to I-90 East. From I-90 east use exit 11A to enter I-495 north and take exit 40B for I-93 north.