The ultimate King of the Mountain game is on the summit of a real mountain, especially a tall one with a commanding view of everything below. But not every family wants to climb one. In New Hampshire’s White Mountains you don’t need to climb — you can ride. And yes, getting there IS half the fun.
Mt. Washington Cog Railway
You’re riding a piece of railroad history when you board the colorful cars of the Mt. Washington Cog Railway to ride to the summit of the Northeast’s highest elevation. Opened in 1869, The Cog was the first mountain-climbing cog railway in the world. More eco-friendly diesel has replaced the old smoke-spewing steam engines, but the ride is still the same, and kids will want to try standing up at an angle to the seats while the train climbs at an average gradient of 25 percent.
At the top, you can pose for pictures at the summit sign, eat lunch at the cafeteria, learn about the mountain’s extreme weather, send cards from the post office and admire the see-forever views. They are best on a clear day, of course, but it’s also fun to be there on a day when you can look down on the tops of clouds hanging below the summit.
Mount Washington Auto Road
From the opposite side of the mountain, the 6.25-mile-long Mount Washington Auto Road climbs to the summit. You can drive it in your own car (and get the bumper sticker to prove it) or you can ride to the summit and back in a van operated from Great Glen Trails. Beware: The Auto Road is not for anyone with a fear of heights. In the winter you can ride the specially outfitted SnowCoach to the halfway point on Mount Washington Auto Road to look at the frost-coated trees and winter landscapes. As on the summer van trips, the driver describes the natural environment as you climb.
Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway
Also holding a place in White Mountain history, the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway was the first passenger aerial tramway to operate in North America, airlifting skiers, hikers and sightseers to the 4,080-foot summit since 1938. As the giant gondola rises, the views down into glacier-carved Franconia Notch just get better and better. At the top, it’s a short climb to the observation tower at the summit, for views that stretch across the White Mountains, west to Vermont and north to Canada.
Take a 15-minute walk around the Rim Trail along the brink of Franconia Notch, where flat ledges give heart-stopping straight-down views into the notch. It’s a place to hold the hands of small children, and show older ones the circular scoop where mile-thick ice carved out the notch.
Loon Mountain Gondola
Designed to carry skiers to the top of its ski trails, the Loon Mountain Gondola operates all summer and through fall foliage. While the views are not quite as far-reaching as the other two mountaintop rides, Loon Mountain’s 2,733-foot summit has another attraction the others don’t. A tumble of gigantic glacial boulders just under the summit created a natural fun house of caves and passages easy to access via wooden stairs. It’s another place where kids can learn about the glaciers that once covered these mountains, dropping huge boulders they had scraped from higher peaks as they traveled.
Halloween is right around the corner, which means its time to start making plans for spooky and scary stops for having fun with the family this fall. New York’s Cayuga County is always a fun visit for family travelers, but if you plan on being in the area this October, you will definitely want to explore its haunted history with some choice spots along New York’s Haunted History Trail. This curated list of haunted and spooky stops throughout New York features incredible locations showcasing the perfect combination of the state’s beautiful charm and fascinating history.
As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
The next two seasons see Franklin, Tennessee, come alive with festive events, fun pop-ups and colorful lights. Family travelers planning a trip to Tennessee this fall or winter must make time for Franklin, a city just south of Nashville with plenty of history and festivities awaiting.
United Airlines is in the midst of a major initiative to modernize its fleet over the next several years. After first announcing the plan in 2021, planes fitted with United’s signature interior are finally beginning to appear across the airline’s narrowbody fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes. United flyers are sure to notice these enhancements from the moment they step on board: Each new or updated plane sports remodeled seats, seatback entertainment screens for everyone, Bluetooth connectivity and more, all adding up to a better experience on every journey.
Mysterious glowing seas? Yes, actually! Through October, Florida’s Space Coast waters within Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River and Indian River Lagoon glow with blue-green bioluminescence — a phenomenon resulting from the presence of comb jellies and dinoflagellates (tiny, single-celled marine plankton that exist in some freshwater locations).