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27 Ultimate Things to Do in the White Mountains, NH

Oct 11, 2022

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In need of an outdoor escape? Put your mind at ease and embrace the adventure that awaits you in the serene northern regions of New Hampshire. You can take on exhilarating hikes and uncover replenishing waterfalls to enjoy nature to its fullest. But there are more things to do in the White Mountains NH beyond walks and picnics. 

This list contains some of the top sights and attractions that you must see when visiting these mountains.

From sightseeing to themed parks, prepare for a wide range of fun activities! 

P.S. Look at this guide to a New England fall road trip for more ideas of what to do in the area. 

Disclaimer: Hey explorer! This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small percentage of each purchase made through my links. I only ever recommend products I believe in and appreciate your support if you decide to use my links—thank you!

Things to Do in White Mountains, New Hampshire

  1. Zipline Through the Forest
  2. Visit Mount Washington Cog Railway
  3. Take a Scenic Chairlift Ride up a Mountain
  4. Drive the Kancamagus Highway
  5. Discover the Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves
  6. Take a Hike
  7. Explore Franconia Notch State Park
  8. Experience Whale’s Tale Water Park
  9. See Flume Gorge
  10. Have a Splash at Santa’s Village
  11. Make a Stop at Crawford Notch State Park
  12. Ride the Conway Scenic Railroad
  13. Explore the Polar Caves
  14. Ski at the Attitash Mountain Resort
  15. Go Mountain Biking at Loon Mountain Resort
  16. Swim at Echo Lake
  17. Have Dinner at the Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train
  18. Feast at Black Mtn. Burger Co.
  19. Share a Pizza at Celli’s Pizzeria
  20. Indulge in Craft Drinks at Black Diamond Pub
  21. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Aloto Gelato
  22. Do Wine-tasting at Hermit Woods Winery
  23. Start Your Day at White Mtn. Bagel
  24. Take in the White Mountains From Beautiful Viewpoints
  25. Explore the Rocky Gorge Scenic Area
  26. Stargaze From the White Mountains
  27. Drive the Mountain Washington Auto Road

Don’t worry, we’ll dive into each item in the next section. Below is a map for you to reference.

Click here for a live version of the map!

New Hampshire is known for its extensive granite formations and quarries, lending it the nicknames, “the Granite State” or “the White Mountain State.” It’s also known as the “Switzerland of America” due to its resemblance to Switzerland’s ethereal white mountains. 

So, you have all the reason to gaze upon these dazzling rock formations yourself. However, here comes the part you’ve been waiting for — below are the top things to do in White Mountains, NH! 

#1 Zipline Through the Forest

Start your trip with a bang by ziplining through the White Mountains forest. If you’re a bit of a thrill-seeker, these zip lines are up to 1,000 feet long and will give you that rush you desire. You’ll find this zipline on the Barron Mountain hilltop courtesy of Alpine Adventures. 

You’ll be going at crazy speeds, so watch out for flying insects. Walk-ins are welcome, but it’s best to reserve your spot online. 

#2 Visit Mount Washington Cog Railway

Ready to go on a lively journey through thick forest and high peaking mountain tops? This first-in-the-world mountain-climbing cog railway promises an unforgettable rail adventure topped with panoramic views. 

Take on this exciting 3-hour round trip that’ll take you over 6,000 feet high. Although it’s open all year round, it may be best to hop on this train in summer when you’ll have clear skies. 

#3 Take a Scenic Chairlift Ride up a Mountain

A 7-minute chairlift ride is the most relaxing way to take in spectacular scenery. Take a breath of fresh air as you peer upon Mount Washington from 2,000 feet in the sky. You can have a mountaintop picnic at the end of your ride.

If you don’t have time to pack a picnic basket, the historic Meister Hut restaurant welcomes you to heart-warming snacks and meals. 

#4 Drive the Kancamagus Highway

Love scenic drives? This is one of the best things to do in the White Mountains for fall! Take a drive along the incredibly beautiful Kancamagus Highway that stretches 35 miles into the White Mountains New Hampshire.

Along your drive, you can visit scenic overlooks, take a hike, dip into the river, and much much more.

Read Next: 10 Best Kancamagus Highway Attractions 

#5 Discover the Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves

Explore one of the unmissable White Mountain attractions. See this natural wonder up close by following the wooden boardwalk that weaves its way along the Lost River. Get lost in one of 11 glacial boulders or gaze at gigantic rock formations and cascading waterfalls. 

This scenic trail can be found in Kinsman Notch, New Hampshire. In-person ticket sales are not guaranteed, so you’d have to reserve a spot to discover this natural attraction. 

Hiking in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest is undoubtedly one of the best things to do, especially in the fall season! 

When autumn hits, you can enjoy a sea of golds, oranges, and fire reds when you choose to hike one of the White Mountain’s many trails. Some incredible ones to choose include:

  • Mountain Willard Trail
  • Black Cap Trail
  • Artist Bluff

#7 Explore Franconia Notch State Park

The White Mountain National Forest if home to some incredible New Hampshire state parks. A must-see is Franconia Notch State Park—a sight for sore eyes. 

Here, you can enjoy scenic overlooks, a trip to Echo Lake, and gorgeous hikes.

What’s interesting about Franconia Notch is that it’s a mountain pass between the Kinsman Range and Franconia Range in the White Mountains. This makes for some interesting views, and one of the best places to enjoy this uniqueness is along Artist Bluff Trail.

#8 Experience Whale’s Tale Water Park

Summer vacation won’t feel complete without a day at a waterpark. And if you’re visiting the White Mountains area in summer, you’d want to experience Whale’s Tale. This is one of the most award-winning parks in the US. 

What makes Whale Tale waterpark so special? How about the winding 430-feet-long downpour slide? Or the waves at Akua Beach for a fun surf? And there are plenty more attractions to uncover. 

#9 See Flume Gorge

A hike with a refreshing cascading reward at the end is every mountain trekker’s dream. And the Flume Gorge is a majestic site not to be missed. Take the morning to hike the 2-mile Flume Trail loop and see the roaring Avalanche Falls. Then squeeze through the Wolf Den pathway, see Table Rock, and other noteworthy natural attractions. 

You can find the trailhead leading to Flume Gorge at the check-in booths in front of the Flume Building. Ages 13 and over pay $18 online and $21 at the ticket window. Ages 6–12 will pay $16 for an online reservation and $19 at the ticket window. 

#10 Have a Splash at Santa’s Village

Christmas-themed park anyone? Indulge yourself in the festivities and fun that is Santa’s Village in Jefferson, New Hampshire. With plenty of rides to choose from, including roller coasters and water slides, this destination is perfect for thrill seekers.

Climb aboard Santa’s express train, see what’s being tinkered at the North Pole workshop, and brace yourself for an exciting bumper car adventure.

#11 Make a Stop at Crawford Notch State Park

Crawford Notch makes up a large pass that carves straight through the White Mountains. In New Hampshire’s smallest town, Hart’s Location, Crawford Notch State Park, is the hidden mountain gem you didn’t know you needed in your life.

If everything aligns, you could see peak fall colors here, which is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Fall will paint the trees with the most intense red color, leaving any fall lover speechless!

Some popular fall foliage things to do here include hiking Frankenstein Cliffs—A more challenging trail that will take you to Arethusa Falls. 

Some parts of the trail will take you close to parts of the park’s railroad (Frankenstein Trestle)! 

#12 Ride the Conway Scenic Railroad

From Crawford Station, you can ride the Conway Scenic Railroad’s Mountaineer route, which is a ridiculously scenic fall ride through the mountains.

This is certainly a bucket list item for anyone visiting the White Mountains of New Hampshire, especially in the fall! You’ll get to ride in between the mountains for a once in a lifetime experience.

Your trip will be about 50 to 60 miles round trip (approximately 4.5 to 5 hours). 

Click here to learn more about the railroad!

#13 Explore the Polar Caves

It’s not right to visit a mountain range without exploring its caves. And this hidden gem is itching to be examined by cave dwellers. This impressive natural feature sits deep in the White Mountains forest. 

These glacial caves formed during the last Ice Age, resulting in stunning granite boulders. To explore them, you’ll have to get a two-hour pass costing around $24.50 for adults and $15.50 for children (ages 4–11). 

#14 Ski at the Attitash Mountain Resort

Who said you couldn’t enjoy the White Mountains during snow-filled wintertime? Get your snowshoes and ski equipment ready; you’ll want to take on these slopes. The Attitash Mountain Resort contains everything you need for a smooth-sailing ski trip. 

Lodging, rentals, and dining are all available on-site. Keep an eye out for their tickets, passes, and weather reports to help plan your trip. 

#15 Go Mountain Biking at Loon Mountain Resort

Explore the White Mountains of NH and Loon by bike. Loon is home to all the biking adventures you’ve been looking for. Get the thrill of a downhill mountain biking expedition, or take it easy on the tranquil Lincoln Loop trail. 

If you’re not much of a daredevil, you can go for mountain biking lessons, with a beginner lesson starting at around $15. And if you haven’t got your bike, various bicycles are available to rent, including standard and e-bikes. 

Immerse yourself in the serene waters of Echo Lake. This state park offers up a flurry of activities and amenities for you to enjoy. Bring your bathing suit and picnic basket to soak up some sun and dip in the refreshing Lake. Nothing could be more appealing for a summer’s day endeavor. 

You’ll find this Lake in the North Conway region, with access to many scenic trails. And if you’re looking for a place to stay nearby, there are plenty of cozy North Conway accommodations waiting to welcome you. 

If you’re into fishing, you can look forward to catching a Brook or Brown trout, amongst many other species. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for children (ages 6–11). Children ages five and under and NH residents aged 65 and over are admitted for free.

#17 Have Dinner at the Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train

to wine and dine in a unique spot? This dinner train features a two-hour ride complete with a five-course dinner. It’ll surely take your tastebuds on a ride too. Dining in the Pemi River Valley on a historic White Mountain timberline is a memorable experience indeed. 

Don’t forget about the food, though. The butternut squash ravioli or apple cheddar chicken might make this restaurant your new fave. Reserve your table early so you don’t have to miss this train. 

#18 Feast at Black Mtn. Burger Co.

After a long day of exploration, a mouthwatering burger is the perfect answer to a rumbling tummy. Black Mtn. is renowned for dishing out impressively large burgers with comforting and unique flavors. 

Try the buffalo chicken tenders for a comfort meal. Or give the Thai chili burger a try for an exotic palate endeavor. Wash it all down with a beverage from their extensive menu, and voila, you’re sorted for the day. 

#19 Share a Pizza at Celli’s Pizzeria

If you can’t resist a warm, cheesy pizza, you can’t miss out on Celli’s Pizzeria. This is a place where you can simply sit back with a red at hand and enjoy the woodfire ambiance. If it’s authentic hand-tossed Italian pizza you’re after, this joint won’t disappoint. 

You simply cannot pass on their delicious panini topped with fresh ingredients. The restaurant sits in the heart of the White Mountains, making it a convenient option.  

#20 Indulge in Craft Drinks at Black Diamond Pub

Handcrafted cocktails or craft beer, anyone? Get your hands on a yummy beverage to unwind. There’s something about a cold beer or refreshing martini at the end of a busy day, and the Black Diamond is no short of options. 

This pub also serves local delicacies and comfort food cooked by award-winning chefs, including Scotty Powel and Sean Michael Ryan.   

#21 Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Aloto Gelato

A sweet treat has never hurt anybody. And you can get your tasty fill of sugary delights at none other than Aloto Gelato. Specializing in creamy Italian gelato, fresh sorbet, French-style crepes, and much more. It’s no surprise this ice cream shop attracts hordes of customers. 

Try the simple maple butter sugar and cinnamon crepe or a delicious scoop of Caribbean coconuts, and you’ll be nuts about the place too!

#22 Do Wine-tasting at Hermit Woods Winery

There’s nothing better than savoring the sips of quality, locally produced wines. At the Hermit Woods, you’ll do just that and more. Test your palette at the guided wine tasting that operates daily without reservation. 

Or gather your friends and family for a winery tour through the wine-making facilities. Wine tasting costs around $16.95. And you’ll pay $25 per person for the 30-minute winery tour. 

#23 Start Your Day at White Mtn. Bagel

Kickstart your day with a good cup of joe and something light to eat at White Mtn. Bagel. This bagel shop in Lincoln serves freshly roasted coffee along with many delicious eateries. The freshly baked bagels are scrumptious, so choosing one might be difficult as there are so many varieties. 

Cappuccino, hot chocolate, sandwiches, and other baked goods are all up for grabs. How about a cinnamon raisin bagel topped with cream cheese? And an iced pumpkin latte to wash it down? 

#24 Take in the White Mountains From Beautiful Viewpoints

Want to find the most instagrammable viewpoints in the White Mountains? Look no further – these sites provide excellent scenery for you to admire and capture. 

Pemigewasset Overlook

Discover a breathtaking view of the Osceola Mountains along the Kancamagus Scenic Byway. The views here are majestic and best enjoyed during sunset. In summer, it’s gorgeous, but you cannot miss out on the stunning foliage colors of fall! 

Sugar Hill Overlook 

Seventeen miles west of Conway is where you’ll find a stunning panoramic view of Swift River Valley and surrounding mountains. From this point, you can gaze at the vast mountainous landscape and snag some impressive photos. 

#25 Explore the Rocky Gorge Scenic Area

This is just another spot that’ll make you say, “wow!”. You’ll also want your camera handy, as the Rocky Gorge is a sight to behold. Here, you’ll stumble upon many natural attractions — the Swift River, cascades, Falls Pond, and foot bridge. 

The site also serves as a popular fishing area, but swimming or jumping in the gorge is strictly prohibited. This scenic gorge has picnic tables scattered about, so you’ll definitely want to bring a picnic basket. 

#26 Stargaze From the White Mountains

There are several spots in the White Mountains to get your fill of celestial views. The Granite State offers clear shimmering skies perfect for stargazing. Visit one of these locations below, providing you some of the best photo ops of star-filled night skies: 

  • Crawford Notch Depot
  • White Lake State Park 
  • Francestown Barn
  • Lake Solitude

#27 Drive the Mountain Washington Auto Road

If you want to see incredible views of the White Mountains from the comfort of your vehicle, then taking a drive up the Mt. Washington Auto Road is for you!

You’ll be able to drive yourself up to the summit of Mountain Washington for a unique view of the Great Gulf Wilderness and Presidential Mountain Range.

Visit Mt-Washington.com for all the details!

Where to Stay in the White Mountains, New Hampshire

Staying in and around the White mountains will ensure you get the best out of your trip. Not only are you within reach of all the action and attractions, but you’ll also spend less time traveling. 

Riverwalk Resort at Loon Mountain, Lincoln ($$$)

The Riverwalk Resort is a wonderful 3-star hotel at the foothills of Loon Mountain. Enjoy all its simple luxuries, from free parking to the delicious meals on offer at the hotel restaurant. And if that isn’t enough, you’ll have spectacular views of Loon Mountain.

InnSeason Resorts Pollard Brook, Lincoln ($$)

The InnSeason Resort at Pollard Brook is a romantic destination if you want to nestle in amongst a majestic pinewood forest. Enjoy a relaxing experience at the wellness spa, or dip in the water at the year-round indoor pool. No matter what room you’re in, you are guaranteed to have a lovely stay.

Stonehurst Manor, Conway ($$$) 

Tucked away in the forest of the White Mountains is Stonehurst Manor, which offers a romantic and captivating stay. Not only is it a secluded stay at a 5-star lodging, but you can also expect complimentary breakfast and dinner.

Carriage House, Conway ($$)

If you want a more private experience away from the hotels and resorts, this Carriage House is the place to be. This accommodation is in a great location—close to all the action. Not to mention, it’s tucked away in the woods where you’ll have your own fall magic to enjoy every morning.

Practical Tips for a White Mountain Visit

Now that you know where to stay and what to do in the White Mountains, nothing is stopping you from going. Still, you’d want to be well prepared for this trip, especially for the outdoor activities. Venturing into a vast mountainous area removed from civilization requires some prep work. 

That said, here are some practical tips that may benefit you: 

  • Be prepared to pay a $5 fee at some parking spots in the national forest. 
  • If you want to stay in the White Mountains National Forest, you’ll have plenty of designated camping options and even cabins available for rent. 
  • Stick to the path when hiking the many trails in this park, and do not ignore any warning signs. 
  • The best time for the White Mountains attractions is late spring to mid-fall, as this season offers ideal warm conditions for hikes, biking, and swimming. You can also catch the peak foliage in late September and early October. 
  • If you’re visiting in winter, you’ll benefit from wearing snowshoes and moisture-wicking clothes. 
  • Make sure to have outdoor essentials on hand such as insect repellent, adequate sun protection, food, and water. Dress accordingly and prepare for unexpected weather turnouts. 
  • Finally, you’d want to get around using a GPS or map of the park in case you get lost. Downloading an offline map may also be helpful in case you lose signal. 

Wrapping Up What to Do in White Mountain

There you have it! These are some of the best things you can do in the White Mountains. You’ll have many options with a fantastic mix of free things, popular attractions, and hidden natural gems to choose from. You can curate your list to match your needs. 

Whether you’re seeking to relax or keep busy all day, there’s something for every wanderer in the White Mountains. 

Which activity or attraction are you most excited about? Once you’ve completed this trip, you might want to take on the Adirondack Mountains during fall next!

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I'm a burrito loving explorer who got fired from corporate America and turned that into my dream career as a photographer and blogger. Now I'm here to help you explore life's magic. Thanks for stopping by!