Hiking in New Hampshire: Arethusa Falls in Crawford Notch State ParkDistance: 1.3 miles one-way
Crawford Notch is 5,775 acres of beautiful terrain ready for you to explore. Of the many trails you could take, one of the best by far is the trail to the popular family destination Arethusa Falls. You can reach it off of Route 302, about a half mile south of Dry River Campground. The path itself is somewhat steep and gets slippery as you reach the end, but you’ll get a chance to see the impressive 140-foot waterfall, the highest in the state. Don’t forget a picnic lunch to eat beside the water!
Once you’re ready to move on from the falls, you can retrace your steps back to Route 302. Alternatively, you can follow the trail to complete the 3-mile loop, which will take you past Frankenstein Cliff back to your start point.
Hiking in Massachusetts: Bentley Loop in Myles Standish State ForestDistance: 3.7 miles round-trip
Myles Standish stands out as a forest that looks rather different from others across the state. Not only is it the largest forest around, but its vegetation is less like surrounding areas and more similar to the woods found on Cape Cod and the islands. Making Boston Globe’s list of 10 family-friendly hiking locations in New England, Myles Standish State Forest is perfect for a relaxing day out enjoying Mother Nature.
The forest boasts four main trail loops of varying difficulty and length. The best one to start with is the Bentley Loop. It’s a bit hilly so you’ll get a nice little workout, and you’ll pass by a handful of meadows and ponds.
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Hiking in Rhode Island: Clay Head Trail on Block IslandDistance: 3.0 miles round-trip
For a true getaway, Block Island is beautiful place to visit at any time of the year. The Clay Head Trail goes through the 150-acre private preserve that takes you along clay bluffs soaring above the ocean. In addition to the great views, the preserve is known as the best place to see migratory songbirds in the fall.
From the trail, you’ll have access to both the beach and the bluffs. If you’re looking to extend your exploration, there’s a nice maze of unmarked, interconnected grass trails that wind away in the opposite direction, which could add an extra mile or two to your hike. When you’re done wandering, you can head back to town for some specialty shopping and fresh seafood!
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Hiking in New York: Breakneck RidgeDistance: 2.8 miles round-trip
Ready for a challenge? Don’t let the short distance deceive you - it’s called Breakneck Ridge for a reason. One of the toughest trips in the state of New York (and one of the
most popular hikes in the country), the trail features incredibly steep paths and rock formations to scramble over. However, once you’ve fought your way up, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Hudson River and nearby quarries. Worth it.
To get there via public transit, take the Metro-North Hudson Line from Grand Central Terminal and request a stop at Breakneck Ridge (weekends only). The white-blazed trail is the most popular path up, but there are several routes to explore. Plus, if you time your hike right, you might run into a New York-New Jersey Trail Conference trail steward to help you with directions at the trailhead!
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Hiking in Pennsylvania: Thaddeus Stevens Historic Trail in Caledonia State ParkDistance: 0.8 miles round-trip
For the ultimate family hiking trip, check out Caledonia State Park. Trail-wise, you have access to 10 miles of well-maintained, interconnected paths. These vary in difficulty, and even include a section of the Appalachian Trail. While each one has its merits, the one to highlight is the Thaddeus Stevens Historic Trail. You can grab a guide at the park office and then travel through to learn about the abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens and his Caledonia Ironworks. For the full educational experience, make a stop at the Gettysburg National Military Park on the way home.
Of course, this park isn’t just for history buffs. It’s really the whole package. The Hosack Run creek flows near the campgrounds, and if it that water’s not enough, there’s a pool with a waterslide nearby.
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Hiking in Maryland: North Point State Park TrailDistance: 3.6 miles round-trip
North Point State Park rests in scenic Chesapeake Bay and has some unusual areas for you to explore. First, the park used to be the site of the Bay Shore amusement park that closed in 1947. You can still walk down the 1000 ft. pier, visit the Trolley Station, and see the restored Fountain that used to be the centerpiece for amusement park visitors. The trail itself is well marked and offers great opportunities for birding – you might even see a bald eagle! After a morning of exploration, you can head down to the water to wade and look for crabs.
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