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Your 2017 Guide to Winter on the Seacoast: Experiencing the Great Outdoors with Your Children

It may not be beach weather, but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy outdoor activities this winter on and around the Seacoast. Whether it’s snowy, icy, or somewhere in-between, there’s bound to be an outdoor pursuit that appeals to you and your little ones.

Sled Away the Winter Blues

child sledding in winter.Remember the thrill of coasting down hills in your red saucer? Time to re-live those moments with your children. They’ll likely complain about walking back up the hill, but at some venues, that’s not even necessary!  

  • Wagon Hill Farm Durham — You can find this hill (and its wagon) right along Route 4. You might want to come early, because only has 12 parking spots. You can even bring your leashed dog along! Free of charge.
  • Jady Hill Exeter — Look no further than the hills of the Exeter Country Club for sledding, tubing, and snow boarding fun. Open to the public for golf in the warmer months, the Country Club provides hours of sledding entertainment for children in the winter. Secluded by trees, it’s the best-kept secret sledding spot in the area!
  • Garrison Hill Dover — Located right off of Central Avenue in Dover (before Wentworth-Douglass Hospital), this steep hill is fast and furious. Free of charge and plenty of parking.
  • Powderhouse Hill South Berwick, ME — Dubbed as the smallest ski resort in Maine, this hill has an adjacent sledding area that’s free to the public. (And skiing is only $5, cash only.) Check out their Facebook page for up-to-the-minute details.
  • New England Sports Park Amesbury, MA — Kids won’t need to walk up the hill after they’ve thundered down these groomed trails. The minimum age for tubing is four, and kids between four and six are required to wear helmets. This sledding (or tubing) trip is a splurge at $20/ticket for a three-hour block of time. Bonus: the Crossbar Pub has a full bar and restaurant!

The Ice is Twice as Nice

  • Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond Strawbery Banke, Portsmouth — It’s not only a romantic way to spend a winter afternoon with your significant other, but a spectacular activity for the whole family. With ample public skate hours, children under five are admitted free. (Children age 6-17 are $9, and adults can expect to pay $11.) You can also rent and sharpen your skates here. Check out the pond’s Facebook page for up-to-date schedules and events.
  • Churchill Rink at Jackson’s Landing Durham — You might be skating outdoors, but it won’t feel like it, thanks to the protective overhead rink. This ice rink offers plenty of public skate time on weekends and weekday afternoons. Teens can even enjoy Saturday Night Lights on Saturday evenings. Children under 18, $5 fee. Adults, $7. You can rent and sharpen your blades here, too.

winter sleigh rideSleigh Bells Ring, are you Listening?

  • Coppal House Farm Lee — Who hasn’t dreamed of riding in a one-horse open sleigh? (Or, a sleigh pulled by several horses.) You can join the action on one of Coppal House Farm’s open sleigh rides. Geared more for a romantic adventure, these rides can be booked under a group rate ($200 for six people for one hour). Or, why not make it to one of their special events? Check out Coppal House Farm’s Facebook page for the latest special event dates and times. 
  • Charmingfare Farm Candia — This venue offers three different kinds of sleigh rides. The two-hour Sleigh Ride Social includes bonfires, hotdogs, and cocoa and can accommodate 16 passengers. It takes place on Saturday evenings in January and February. While children under two are free, tickets for the rest of the family are $25/each. The 90-minute logging sled ride also accommodates 16 passengers and runs $19/ticket and features a bonfire and good eats. Finally, the Vis-à-Vis Sleigh experience best suits small families. Each sleigh carries four people and runs $150 per sleigh. Find out more (including promotional codes) on Charmingfare Farm’s Facebook page.

Strap On Your Snowshoes

A little easier than skiing, snowshoeing allows the smaller people in your family to experience the snowy trails with fewer spills. There are ample trails on the Seacoast suitable for snowshoeing.

Don’t suffer indoors this winter, wondering what to do with your kids. Get out there!

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