Family Activities Abound at Cardigan

April 14, 2014
Dennis WelshFamily Adventure Camp activities include exploring Mount Washington’s Alpine Garden.

Picture a place where you can go with your kids, leave the daily clamor behind, and imagine what it’s like to be a salamander.

Better yet, you and your kids can figuratively walk in a salamander’s shoes as part of a naturalist-led outdoor program.

We have such a place at the far end of a quiet gravel road, near a comfortable lodge, amid miles of hiking trails that wind through the woods.

This family-friendly locale is AMC’s Cardigan Lodge and Reservation in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, and it’s the setting for AMC’s Wee Wanderers program, a guided two night, three-day outdoor exploration designed for families with young ones aged 3 to 5 to share the surprises of the world outdoors together.

Surrounded by 1,200 acres of AMC forestland, nature trails suitable for the small set, and a pond for swimming and splashing, Cardigan is an ideal spot for this popular family program, which evolved from AMC’s Family Adventure Camps as a way to offer adventures of shorter duration for families with younger children.

Family Adventure Camps continue to go strong, and they are featured at AMC’s lodges and huts in the White Mountains, and in Maine’s Moosehead Lake region at AMC’s Gorman Chairback Lodge and Cabins.

These guided, six-day, five-night programs are geared for families with kids aged 5 to 12, and activities may include hiking, canoeing, scavenger hunts, map-and-compass activities, animal tracking, and other forest-focused pursuits. Family Adventure Camp programs are also offered that feature an overnight trip to AMC’s Zealand Falls Hut or Carter Notch Hut.

Families with kids 9 and older may opt for the Multi-Sport Family Adventure, in which participants can learn the basics of rock climbing, hiking, and whitewater rafting over the course of five days in the White Mountains.

AMC’s Cardigan Reservation also provides a fine introduction to family camping for those seeking to set off to the woods for an overnight outdoors. Whether you opt for a guided weekend where you can develop your camping skills, or you prefer an on-your-own experience, both are available at Cardigan, and lengthy hikes to your campsite aren’t necessary. The reservation’s 50-mile network of hiking trails includes routes to not-too-hard-to-reach 360-degree views atop Mount Cardigan, which make lasting mountain-climbing memories for many youngsters.

AMC also runs volunteer-managed camps in spectacular locations that appeal to families. Activities such as group hikes and paddling excursions are popular pastimes, and venues amid mountains (New Hampshire’s Cold River Camp) or on the water (Three Mile Island Camp on Lake Winnipesaukee and Echo Lake Camp, not far from the seaside at Maine’s Acadia National Park) are among the options.

Guided Hut-to-Hut and Lodge-to-Hut Adventures are also offered in the Whites. And, of course, AMC’s eight high mountain huts offer unique self-guided backcountry experiences amid some of the region’s more spectacular scenery.

To sweeten the deal for those with little ones, AMC offers kids-stay-free specials at Lonesome Lake Hut, where one child per paying adult can stay and eat free, and at Cardigan Lodge, where up to three kids can stay and eat free per paying adult from June 1 to August 31.


Click here for details on the kids-stay-free deal and other summer savings at AMC destinations.

Choose your family activities here.

You can also search “AMC kids outdoors” at AMC’s YouTube page for video tips on getting kids outdoors. Additional trip ideas can be found on our online community.

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Rob Burbank

Director of Media and Public Affairs
(603) 466-8155