Planning a vacation in New England during February vacation is never easy, especially when you want some outdoor activities. The weather these past few years have made it difficult to plan vacations around winter activities. This year when planning a few days away during school vacation week we put a lot of though into where we wanted to go and what activities we wanted to do. We would have loved to either cross country or downhill ski, but with the unpredictable weather we have been having this winter, we decided to do something more focused on the indoors. Something we rarely do.
We love the North Conway area and have wanted to check out the Red Jacket Mountain Resort and waterpark and felt this was a perfect opportunity. We booked two nights through Groupon. If you book through Groupon make sure you read the fine print as all the deals to not include waterpark passes. Also if you book through another site, they also do not always include the waterpark passes either, so make sure you do your homework.
When reading reviews from various sites about the hotel and waterpark they were mixed, but we decided to check it out anyway and we are so glad that we did. We arrived Wednesday evening of New Hamshire's February School Vacation week. The front staff were friendly and helpful at a check-in. The hotel was neat and clean. There were some reviews that it was outdated, which it was a little, but nothing that turned me off to the hotel. Our room was a standard hotel room with a nice balcony. Our room did not overlook the mountains, but some of them do, which is a nice bonus. The feature we liked most about the room was having a dorm size refrigerator allowing us to bring out own drinks and snacks.
We headed straight to the waterpark after arriving. We have been to Greatwolf Lodge a couple times and were told we would be disappointed in the size of this waterpark. We were actually pleasantly surprised. They have different colored wrists bands for each day, from 11am to 10am the next morning. The waterpark area closes every day from 10am to 11am. Meaning the day you check out you can only use the waterpark until 10am. Outside the waterpark is a a small gift shop and staff to help with bands or any other questions. There is water play available for toddlers up to adults from a small toddler slide and pool area, a waterpark climbing and slide structure for older kids, a wave pool, basketball area, four large slides, two body and two for tube and last but certainly not least a large hot tub for the adults. There is a small food court serving food, drinks and adult beverages. My daughter, age 8, had a blast doing the bigger water slides, wave pool, basketball area and smaller play structure.
The next day we started out by getting breakfast at our favorite bagel shop, Bagels Plus. If you are in North Conway and love fresh bagels this place is a must stop. We headed back to the hotel and spent the next few hours participating in a scavenger hunt and at the water park. The nice thing about the hotel is if the kids need a break from the water park there is plenty of other things to do. They have activities throughout the day, a room with board games, a playground outside, hiking trails near by and close to the outlets.
When it was time to get some food my husband wanted to try out Moat Mountain Smoke House and Brew Company, as my husband loves a good beer. Since we went late in the afternoon it was not too busy. Our waitress was friendly and prompt. My husband got a flight of 10 beers and enjoyed all of them. We shared nachos and the Thai Chicken Pizza. OMG that pizza was amazing. We had difficulty finishing out meal. This restaurant is going on the list of places to return.
After "lupper" our version of lunch and supper. We wanted to get out and enjoy the beautiful day and check out some local scenery. Well this hiker forgot her hiking boots and sneakers and only had my Sanita Clogs. We knew that the Diana's Bath Trail was fairly flat, so we decided to walk a little ways down the trail to burn off some of our food.
Diana's Bath is a very special place to my husband and I. We use to visit this trail and waterfall a lot when we were dating. 15 years ago this October my husband proposed to me there. We like to visit when we can. The trail was a little icy, but we were able to get up to the falls no problem and enjoy the beautiful scenery, despite my lack of appropriate footwear.
After the much needed hike, we returned to the hotel for movie night and some more waterpark fun.
The next day was our departure day. We were able to enjoy the waterpark until 10am, when our passes expired for the day.
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed our mini vacation to Red Jacket and the North Conway area. We actually liked it better than Great Wolf Lodge as all the water activities were in one room and you could see just about everything at once. Since you cannot stay at the waterpark after your check out time, I feel you need a minimum of two nightss to enjoy the whole experience. We will be returning again and recommend others to stay here.