The state of New Hampshire is home to beautiful beaches, ethereal forests, tranquil lakes, and the majestic White Mountains. The Winni Wanderer Team is fortunate to have the White Mountains right in our backyard so we are aware of how these rugged, breathtaking peaks can truly captivate visitors from around the world and we would be remiss not to share some of the best attractions and experiences found in the White Mountain region of our beautiful state.
From spring to fall in New Hampshire the White Mountain scenic roads are frequented by motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists, and even pedestrians.
White Mountain Scenic Trail: This 100-mile-long stretch of roadway begins in Woodstock at mile 1, winds through Franconia Notch, Twin Mountains, Bretton Woods, the Mount Washington Areas, Crawford Notch, Glen, North Conway, Conway which at mile 64 starts the last 36-mile leg of the national scenic roadway called the Kancamagus Highway – “The Kanc” for short which ends in Lincoln at mile 100.
While traveling this route there are scenic view stops, hiking trail heads with access from the road, and a plethora of places to stop and stay, eat, and activities to choose from.
Mount Washington Auto Road: This awe-inspiring trek can be made by self-driving, guided tours, ATV, and by railway. The views are unprecedented and on a clear day the visibility can be miles of gorgeous land, lakes, and towns. This road is not for the faint of heart or those who have a fear of heights as it does not have guardrails and a fair portion is gravel, but it will certainly be a triumph if completed – then you can proudly adorn your vehicle with a “This car climbed Mt. Washington” bumper sticker!
Skiing in the White Mountain region is a favorite activity for visitors in the winter. However, there is so much to explore in the other seasons as well.
Polar Caves Park: Explore caves that were formed during the Ice Age by boulders being pushed through the earth by glacier movement. The caves are well lit and are navigable by walkways built throughout with some fun features along the way - including the Lemon Squeeze, Mysterious Hanging Boulder, and Needle’s Eye to name a few.
Flume Gorge: At the base of Mount Liberty is a natural gorge surrounded by walls of granite almost 100 feet high. There are boardwalks to guide you around the Flume Trail which is a 2-mile loop that features an abundance of native flora. There is also a covered bridge built over the Pemigewasset River, glacial boulders, a narrow path called the Wolf Den – where visitors must crawl on hands and knees to enter, and Avalanche Falls where the water cascades from the Flume brook down 45 feet into the gorge creating a roar-like sound.
Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves: Located in North Woodstock at Kinsman Notch, this natural attraction has waterfalls, selfie-worthy views, glacial caves, a suspension bridge, and a trail along the Lost River. Adventurous visitors can climb into what is called the Giant Bird Nest to take in some spectacular views!
Did you know that in the White Mountains there are several theme parks for families and kids of all ages to enjoy? Check out some of these must-visit places for fun and thrills!
Whale’s Tail Water Park: Dubbed by Tripadvisor as a “Traveler’s Choice – Top 25 Waterpark in the United States”, Whale’s Tail has splashy fun for everyone! Learn to surf at their Akua Beach area, relax at the Castaway Cove in the 85-foot pool and surrounding hot tubs, or catch thrills on several of the water slides and rides around the park.
Santa’s Village: Have North Pole fun even in the summer! At Santa’s Village in Jefferson, NH there are so many things to delight visitors of all ages – feed Santa’s reindeer, visit with Santa, ride on the many park rides, catch Santa’s Express Train, and feel the magic of Christmas, even in July!
Storyland: Nestled in Glen, NH is a magical place where storybook characters come to life, Cinderella would love to meet you, Humpty Dumpty is fully intact, and you can step inside the Peter’s Pumpkin and meet his wife! There are shows, entertaining characters, and thrilling rides for all ages.
Clark’s Bears: Take a trip to Lincoln and meet Darla and Hildie, the adorable stars of the Bear Show! They will swing on a swing, gently take treats from their trainers, shoot hoops, and eat an ice cream cone. Plus, there are rides, bumper boats, a climbing structure with varying levels of difficulty to test your agility and even a train ride to see the elusive Wolfman who lives in the woods and loves to chase after the train. Take a stroll among the shops and sample some candy, make a candle or two, and purchase some souvenirs.
Castle in the Clouds & Scenic Railways
We have explored the many ways to see the White Mountains but a great way for all of those in your party to see the stunning landscape, glimpse some wildlife, and take in the whole experience is to take a train ride. And we cannot leave out a trip to the Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough which offers stunning views of the Lakes Region.
Mount Washington Cog Railway: Embark on a journey to the summit of Mount Washington aboard the Cog Railway. Known as the “first mountain-climbing cog railway in the world” it is also the second steepest and the easiest way to ascend the mountain. Sit back, relax, and chug your way to the top!
Conway Scenic Railroad: Wind your way through the Mount Washington Valley on the Valley Train, take the Mountaineer to Crawford Notch, or take a Sawyer River excursion in a classic passenger train. The length of trips vary, and passengers can order a lunch package to complement their ride.
Hobo & Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad: Travel through Lincoln, Meredith, Weirs Beach, and Laconia on the Hobo Railroad. Passengers can pack a picnic to enjoy on the ride along the Pemigewasset River or the western shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. They also offer rail bike tours to pedal your way along the shores of Lake Winnisquam.
Castle in the Clouds: Castle in the Clouds isn’t just a place; it is an experience. Take tours through the 16-room Lucknow mansion (or castle, if you prefer), go horseback riding on trails throughout the property, attend one of the many events hosted for visitors – tours, yoga on the lawn, or take a stroll through the gardens.
We hope this inspires you to plan a trip to explore the White Mountains! Let us know what you think or if you have been here by dropping us a line at WinniWanderer@winni.com. Hearing from you will make our day!
By Staff Contributor