State parks

This scenic staircase is part of the historic White Arrow Trail on Mount Monadnock.

April school vacation is a time when, normally, many families in New Hampshire will escape for the week to warmer climates and recharge. But with the COVID-19 global pandemic still very much with us, travel outside the region is discouraged by public health officials to slow the spread of the virus.

Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock wants to encourage families to consider ways to enjoy April break without having to board a plane this year and offers the following suggestions for planning a stay-cation.

Start by deciding what is important to you and your family during your time away from regular commitments. Rest and relaxation? New experiences? Family time? All of the above? Understanding this will help in setting ground rules, such as whether or not to check email and planning out time.

One fun option is to choose a theme for each day to plan activities around. Involve the whole family by letting everyone brainstorm and offer ideas. Together you can create a colorful and fun calendar and post it in a common space. Some ideas include a family film fest, game day — whether it’s sports, board games or video games — getting takeout for all meals, doing random acts of kindness for others, and a kids’ choice day.

If you were dreaming of faraway places, there are ways to bring them to you. For example, if you were planning on traveling internationally, spend time during vacation learning about a country, practicing phrases in its native language, and cooking one of its signature meals. When the time comes that you can hop on a plane and go, you’ll be ready.

Be a tourist in your own state: With an abundance of natural beauty and fun attractions, New Hampshire is a popular tourist destination. Take a look at the state with fresh eyes and a new perspective. Stay in a town you have yet to visit, tour the state parks, or check out a new attraction. Plan ahead, as there may be capacity limits in place and reservations required.

A good place to start planning:

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