Explore the Breathtaking Peaks and Winding Ravines of The White Mountains Region!
The White Mountains region of New Hampshire looms majestically over the northernmost area of the state. Fresh-scented pines, picturesque views, dizzying heights, quaint villages and endless places to explore await those who trek to the mountains. Here are some points of interest, traveling tips and activities to help you plan your trip.
A trip to the White Mountains isn’t complete unless you adventured into its lush forests and wind-swept peaks. The White Mountains region is known for its bountiful state parks and natural wonders. One such area is Franconia Notch State Park located in Lincoln, NH. Home to the original Old Man in the Mountain, this recreational park offers endless trails, hikes, caves, lakes and other activities.
Another must-see attraction is Jackson Falls. Complete with cascading waterfalls, cool swimming holes and wending forest paths, Jackson Falls is the perfect place for couples, families or even individuals looking to cool off during those hot summer days.
If you visit New Hampshire, you know you are going to want to see a moose. Maine may insist they are the true home of this majestic, long-antlered creature, but we’ve got plenty up here in the White Mountains! Pemi Valley Moose Tours in Lincoln offer guided bus tours to discover this elusive gentle giant. For more information, check out this link! Pemi Valley Moose Tours.
There are few outdoors activities that can take your breath away as much as an aerial tramway. The Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway in Franconia offers a tramway that takes passengers over 4,000 feet in the air! This is New Hampshire’s highest lift-accessed point.
If you are planning on spending time outdoors in the White Mountains, here are some links that can help you plan your trip. For hiking and backpacking, here is a complete list with tips and trail guides for your convenience: White Mountains Hiking/Backpacking. For more information regarding passes, permits and other park information, please refer to this New Hampshire government website: White Mountain National Forest: Recreation Passes and Permits. Furthermore, if you need a place to stay, here is a link for Campgrounds and another for general Lodging and Accommodations.
Where are good places to bring kids?
Although kids will certainly enjoy the outdoors activities as much, or maybe even more than adults, there are some kid-specific travel destinations in the White Mountains that shouldn’t be missed. One of the most famous attractions is Santa’s Village in Jefferson. Santa’s Village is a seasonal amusement park ideal for children 13 and under. All of its rides and attractions are Christmas themed!
A second well-known amusement park is Story Land. I remember personally as a kid begging my parents every summer to take me to Story Land. With its great variety of rides, delicious park goodies, and whimsical paths that take you through the magical plots of children’s story books, Story Land is sure to delight young children and even adults as well.
If you are seeking a more educational attraction that is suitable for both children and adults, head toward Holderness, NH to visit the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center. Here you can learn about the environment on the White Mountains and meet native animals in recreated habitats. Here, you can view mountain lions, white tailed deer, bobcats, and even black bears in close proximity!
Are there any free attractions in the White Mountains?
Of course there are! The White Mountains region has endless free parks and other beautiful places to explore. If you are looking for some astonishing scenic drives, check out the Kancamagus Highway. It wends 34 miles through the White Mountain forests at a high altitude for optimum sightseeing. Although it is stunning all year round, travelers have pointed out that fall with its rich, multicolored foliage is the best time to go. Another impressive scenic drive is the Mount Washington Auto Road. This winding path leads you up to the very top of Mount Washington as you take in the sheer majesty of the ice-tipped peaks and slopes. At the very top of the mountain is the Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center. This free facility allows tourists to observe the ever-changing climate and weather on Mount Washington. It is also a perfect place to take memorable pictures and have a picnic!
Where are the good places to eat?
All of this traveling and exploring is bound to make anyone hungry. Although it is fun to just pick restaurants en-route, here are a few dining options that stand out a bit from the rest. The Café Lafayette Dinner Train in North Woodstock is a fine-dining restaurant that bears passengers across antique railroad tracks! This special outing would make a perfect date for two or a memorable experience for the whole family. A less expensive option is the Gypsy Café. This eclectic diner serves both lunch and dinner and has a variety of scrumptious options. Both locals and tourists rave over the food here. One final option is the Sugar Hill Inn. This fine-dining experience features local farm-to-table entrees that truly showcase what New Hampshire farms and fisheries have to offer. Here is a link for the Sugar Hill Inn for reservations and more information: http://sugarhillinn.com/
Are there any unique shops?
There are many fine antique stores, small villages and other quant shopping locations throughout the White Mountains. A few notable examples are The Brick Store in Bath and Chutters in Littleton. The Brick Store is an old-fashioned general store that has been in operation since 1790. It features homemade cheese, fudge, maple products, sausages and other delectable goodies. Chutters is the home to the world’s longest candy counter! This is a dream come true for candy enthusiasts. You can just grab a bag and fill it with whatever delicious or nostalgic sweet treat to your heart’s content.
Where can I view a good show?
The Weathervane Theater in Whitefield, NH seeks to bring Broadway quality shows directly to the mountains of NH. They have been in operation since 1966 and offer fantastic, professionally produced shows all summer long. Here is a link to their website for upcoming shows and pricing: http://wvtheatreplayersnh.org/
Your White Mountains Region Checklist:
- Franconia Notch State Park, Franconia, NH
- Jackson Falls, Jackson, NH
- Pemi Valley Moose Tours, Lincoln, NH
- Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, Franconia, NH
- Santa’s Village, Jefferson, NH
- Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, Holderness, NH
- Story Land, Glen, NH
- Kancamagus Highway
- Mount Washington Auto Road
- Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center, North Conway, NH
- The Brick Store, Bath NH
- Chutters, Littleton, NH
- The Weathervane, Whitefield, NH
- Alpine Adventures Snowmobiling Lincoln
- Cannon Mt. Aerial Tramway Franconia
- Clark’s Trading Post North Woodstock
- Conway Scenic Railroad North Conway
- Flume Gorge Franconia Notch
- Hartman Model Railroad Intervale
- Hobo Railroad Lincoln
- Kahuna Laguna Indoor ParkNorth Conway
- Lost River North Woodstock
- Mt. Washington Auto Road Gorham
- Mt. Washington Cog Railroad Bretton Woods
- Old Man of the Mountain Franconia
- Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge Twin Mtn/Jefferson
- Polar Express Conway & Lincoln
- Santa’s Village Jefferson
- Settlers’ Green Outlet Village North Conway
- Six Gun City Jefferson
- Ski Museum Franconia Notch
- Storyland Glen
- Whales Tales Water Park Lincoln
- White Mountain Motorsport North Woodstock
Be sure to know where you are staying! Here is a link for places to stay to rest your feet and wearied head after a long day of exploring in the White Mountains: Lodging and Accommodations