New England’s larger ski mountains are no longer just for skiing. Many have become year-round resorts, turning their lifts and on-mountain sports facilities into summer and fall playgrounds. Several of these year-round resorts are close to Interstate 93 as it draws an almost straight line from Boston north through the center of New Hampshire. The following are from 2–2.5 hours from Boston, and perfect for a weekend of summer fun.
Taking advantage of their mountain terrain, trails, ski lifts and base facilities, ski areas are ideally suited for a variety of thrill rides and activities for all ages. Some activities can run year-round — mountain coasters, ziplines and other gravity-assisted thrills use the same facilities, and tubing parks use the same slopes, with artificial surfaces replacing the snow. Canopy tours and high challenge courses take advantage of the forested hillsides, while mountain bikes use existing mountain trails.
Overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee in central New Hampshire, Gunstock Mountain was an early ski area to expand its year-round presence. Its latest addition is New England’s largest aerial obstacle course, the Aerial Treetop Adventure. The course offers 91 different challenges suspended in the trees overlooking a pond, in eight courses with features including log ladders, bridges, swings, seesaws, foot bridges and lots of zip lines. The Explorer Course is just for kids.
The 4,100-foot Mountain Coaster, included in the all-day Discover Adventure pass or purchased as a single ride, is six minutes of straight drops and turns; some are 360 degrees. Carts are equipped with brakes so riders can control the speed. There are Water Wars, a Spider Climber, bungee jumping, a climbing wall, Segway trail tours and scenic chairlift rides to the summit (where you can pick wild blueberries in midsummer). Gunstock also has a small lake where you can rent paddle boats, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards.
Just a little farther north at I-93 exit 28, Route 49 leads into the White Mountain National Forest to Waterville Valley. In the summer, its popular ski resort morphs into a self-contained summer recreation village. At its center is Corcoran’s Pond, fed by mountain streams and a center for water sports. You can rent kayaks, pedal boats and canoes at the Town Square dock, along with kid-pleasing stand-up paddle boards. Pedal boats can hold up to two adults and three children, great for the whole family. There’s a sandy beach for swimming, as well.
July 27–Aug. 27, Waterville Valley’s Ice Arena is open for public skating, with skate rentals available. Other activities include golf, tennis, mountain biking, chairlift rides and kids programs at the Curious George Cottage. Those staying at the resort get complimentary Freedom Passes that include most of the activities. This summer and fall you can cash in on your age with a special Decades Discount on midweek lodging at the Town Square Condominiums. If you were born in the 1990s you get a 10 percent discount; in the 70s and 80s it’s 20 percent; in the 50s and 60s it’s 30 percent; and if you were born in the 30s or 40s you get a 40 percent discount. Bring the kids’ grandparents to get the best deal on a spacious three-bedroom condo that sleeps up to eight people and has a fully-equipped kitchen. Everyone gets a Freedom Pass.
At Loon Mountain, just off I-93 exit 32 in Lincoln, a $38 all-day ticket includes the zipline, bungee trampoline, LogJam Maze and climbing wall, in addition to rides on the Gondola Skyride to the summit. Two-hour experiences in the Aerial Forest Adventure Park are priced separately. At the top of the gondola, kids love exploring the glacial caves, wiggling through tunnels and crevices between giant boulders dropped by glaciers during the Ice Age. Even little kids can climb the trail to the summit for King-of-the-Mountain views or climb the tower near the gondola station.
With cooler weather and fall colors on its way, it’s time to plan your fall family travels. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort PA Wilds in Mansfield is the perfect destination, and with both scary and not-so-scary events, kids and parents alike can celebrate the festive season with trick-or-treating, fall crafts, fun with the Yogi Bear characters and more.
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.
Oktoberfest is not all about beer. Although beer does play a major role, many of these German-themed fall festivals include activities fun for the whole family. You don’t need to travel to Munich to enjoy the oom-pah bands, lively dances, colorful Bavarian dress and traditional German foods; you can find them in almost all regions of the United States this October. Here are some good choices for families:
Rome is a city full of musts for visitors. You must visit the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps. And the list goes on, all the way down to trying gelato. No trip to Rome would be complete without the obligatory sweet treat, and for good reason. Gelato is delicious, refreshing and it comes in every flavor you can imagine. But while you can find it just about everywhere you turn in the Eternal City, it’s important to know not all gelatos are created equal. The city is brimming with fakes, and once you know how to tell the difference, not only will you see the fake stuff everywhere, but you will also refuse to settle for less than authentic.
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.
Looking for a unique, fun and educational activity for the kids during your next family travels? Well, Kidzania has you covered. Located in Dallas, Texas, this city is not only built for kids but also run by kids. It’s unlike any other entertainment parks; in Kidzania, kids learn useful knowledge, skills and experiences, all while having the chance to be independent.