Best Things to Do in the White Mountains: 12 Top Attractions

by Jen
Best Things to Do in the White Mountains
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Are you thinking about visiting New England soon? Here are some of the most exciting, picturesque, and unique things to do in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. These sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for a truly remarkable escapade.

Renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, the White Mountains region is a gem of New Hampshire, boasting a rich historical legacy and a penchant for adventure. There are countless activities for thrill-seeking visitors to participate in. From the Sugar Hill Inn to the Franconia Notch State Park, from Mount Washington to the scenic White Mountain Trail, there is no shortage of things to do and places to visit in the White Mountains.

With a wealth of stunning natural beauty, there are countless White Mountains attractions that will appeal to outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, photography buffs, and those who are simply looking for a sweet escape from the daily hustle and bustle. There truly is something for everyone. That, of course, makes it all the more important for you to know which places are best suited for your particular interests. To help, I’ve compiled a list of some of my personal favorite White Mountains attractions. Check it out! Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in the White Mountains.

The top places to visit in the White Mountains right now
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Best Places to Visit in the White Mountains

Ready to discover all the coolest things to do in the White Mountains? As noted above, this impressive vacation destination has something for everyone. So read on and pick out the ones that appeal to you among these unique White Mountains places to visit.

Are you looking for some exhilarating fun and outdoor adventure? Or would you prefer a calm, peaceful and secluded getaway? Whatever your preferences are for your trip, the White Mountains can meet your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in the White Mountains that you should know about.

1. Mount Washington Cog Railway

Imagine climbing to the highest peak in the Northeastern United States, not by foot, but aboard a historic train. The Mount Washington Cog Railway offers just that experience. It’s one of the most unique things to do in the White Mountains. As the train chugs its way up the mountain, you’ll be treated to panoramic views that stretch for miles, encompassing lush forests, deep valleys, and distant horizons.

The journey itself is a marvel. The Cog Railway, which began operations in 1869, is a testament to human ingenuity and the desire to conquer nature. Riding on it feels like stepping back in time, yet the vistas it offers are timeless. At the summit, you’ll find yourself standing at a staggering elevation of 6,288 feet. The views from the top? Simply unparalleled.

If you’re a photography enthusiast, the photo opportunities are endless. From the vintage train cars to the expansive landscapes, every moment is picture-perfect. So, if you’re wondering where to visit in the White Mountains that offers both adventure and history, the Mount Washington Cog Railway should be at the top of your list.

Ride historic Mount Washington Cog Railway for panoramic White Mountains views—an unforgettable experience.
Ride historic Mount Washington Cog Railway for panoramic White Mountains views—an unforgettable experience.

2. Flume Gorge

Looking for the best things to do in the White Mountains? Don’t miss exploring the Flume Gorge! Nestled within Franconia Notch State Park, the Flume Gorge is a natural wonder that captures the heart of every visitor. This narrow granite gorge extends for 800 feet. It is flanked by towering walls that reach up to 90 feet high. As you walk the boardwalk, you’ll be serenaded by the sound of the rushing water below. This creates a harmonious blend of nature’s sights and sounds.

The journey begins with a short walk through a beautiful forest, leading you to the entrance of the gorge. From there, the wooden boardwalk allows you to traverse the length of the gorge, with several viewing platforms along the way offering breathtaking views of waterfalls, pools, and the surrounding greenery.

For those looking for White Mountains places to visit that offer a mix of adventure and tranquility, Flume Gorge is a top pick. The sheer beauty of the place, combined with its accessibility for visitors of all ages, makes it a must-visit. It’s an experience that stays with you long after you’ve left.

Exploring the White Mountains' Flume Gorge is one of the best things to do in the White Mountains.
Explore the White Mountains’ Flume Gorge—800-foot granite gorge, towering walls, serene boardwalk walks.

3. Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway

Elevate your White Mountains adventure—literally! The Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway is a ticket to some of the most jaw-dropping views in New Hampshire. As one of the best places in the White Mountains, this tramway offers a thrilling ride that takes you to the 4,080-foot summit of Cannon Mountain in under ten minutes.

Now, if you’re thinking about where to visit in the White Mountains for panoramic vistas, this is your spot. At the summit, you’re greeted with 360-degree views of the surrounding valleys, distant mountains, and on clear days, even glimpses of Canada and Maine. There’s a reason it’s a must-see in the White Mountains. The observation deck is a perfect spot for those Instagram-worthy shots. The walking paths allow you to explore the summit further.

For those who love a bit of history with their adventure, the tramway holds the title of being America’s first aerial passenger tramway. Riding this tramway is undoubtedly up there. So, strap in, enjoy the ascent, and let the beauty of the White Mountains unfold before your eyes. It’s an experience that combines thrill, beauty, and a touch of history in one unforgettable package.

Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway: Elevate your adventure, reach 4,080-foot summit in minutes for jaw-dropping views.
Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway: Elevate your adventure, reach 4,080-foot summit in minutes for jaw-dropping views.

4. Kancamagus Highway Scenic Drive

Imagine a drive where every twist and turn reveals a new breathtaking view, where the beauty of nature is on full display, and where memories are made around every bend. Welcome to the Kancamagus Highway, one of the most scenic drives in the entire United States. It’s no wonder it’s on the list of must-see White Mountains attractions.

Spanning 34.5 miles and connecting Conway to Lincoln, this highway is a haven for nature lovers. As you cruise along, you’ll be surrounded by the lush forests of the White Mountain National Forest, cascading waterfalls, and the swift-moving Swift River. Best places in the White Mountains for a picnic? There are numerous spots along the highway where you can pull over, enjoy a meal, and soak in the views.

During the fall, the Kancamagus Highway becomes a riot of colors, with the foliage turning shades of gold, orange, and red. It’s one of the coolest White Mountains things to do that you simply can’t miss. And for the adventurers, there are hiking trails that branch off from the highway, leading you deeper into the wilderness. So, pack some snacks, create a playlist, and embark on a drive that encapsulates the very essence of the White Mountains.

Discover Kancamagus Highway: Scenic drive, breathtaking views, unforgettable memories—a White Mountains must-see.
Discover Kancamagus Highway: Scenic drive, breathtaking views, unforgettable memories—a White Mountains must-see.

5. Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves

As far as things to do in the White Mountains go, this is one activity that shouldn’t be overlooked. Deep within the heart of the White Mountains, an adventure awaits that promises both thrill and wonder. Welcome to the Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves, a natural wonder that has been drawing visitors for over a century.

As you descend into the gorge, you’ll be met with a series of boardwalks and staircases that lead you through a maze of granite boulders and glistening waterfalls. The air is cool, and the sound of rushing water is ever-present. It’s a sensory experience like no other. And for those seeking a bit more adventure, the boulder caves offer a chance to squeeze, crawl, and climb your way through this subterranean world.

At night, the gorge transforms into a magical realm with the Lantern Tours. Walking through the gorge with only the glow of lanterns to guide you, it’s an experience that’s both eerie and enchanting. So, if you’re looking for unique places in the White Mountains that offer a blend of nature, adventure, and a touch of magic, the Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves is a must-visit.

Don't miss Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves
Don’t miss Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves—a thrilling and wondrous White Mountains activity in the heart of nature.

6. Franconia Notch State Park

Ah, the Franconia Notch State Park – a gem nestled in the heart of the White Mountains. This sprawling park is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. If you’re ever wondering where to visit in the White Mountains, this should be at the top of your list.

The park is home to the iconic Old Man of the Mountain, though he may have crumbled away in 2003, his legacy lives on. Visitors can still view the “Profile Plaza” and marvel at the history of this natural rock formation.

For those looking to immerse themselves in nature, the park offers a plethora of hiking trails. The Basin, a granite pothole over 20 feet in diameter, is a sight to behold. The water has a mesmerizing swirl to it, and it’s easy to lose track of time just watching it. And let’s not forget the stunning Echo Lake, where visitors can swim, kayak, or simply bask in the sun.

White Mountains attractions are many, but Franconia Notch State Park stands out with its blend of history, natural beauty, and outdoor activities. It’s a place that captures the heart and beckons for a return visit.

Discover Franconia Notch State Park
Discover Franconia Notch State Park: White Mountains gem for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Top destination to explore.

7. Bretton Woods

Bretton Woods is not just a name that resonates with history lovers. It’s also one of the coolest activities in the White Mountains for adventure seekers. Nestled in the heart of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, this area is renowned for its winter sports, especially skiing and snowboarding. But don’t be mistaken; it’s a year-round destination with activities for every season.

In the warmer months, the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour offers an exhilarating zip line experience. Imagine soaring through treetops, feeling the rush of wind against your face, and capturing panoramic views of the mountains.

For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, the area boasts some of the most scenic hiking trails. Every turn, every ascent brings with it a new vista, a new perspective. For a touch of luxury, the Omni Mount Washington Resort provides a grand backdrop to this natural playground.

From its historic golf course to its indulgent spa, it’s a place where nature and luxury intertwine seamlessly. So, when considering White Mountains places to visit, let Bretton Woods be your mountainous retreat.

Bretton Woods is one of the best things to do in the White Mountains.
Bretton Woods: History and adventure unite. White Mountains hub for winter sports and year-round activities.

8. Alpine Adventures

If you’re searching for White Mountains attractions that’ll get your adrenaline pumping, look no further than Alpine Adventures. This adventure park offers a thrilling combination of zip lines, off-road tours, and aerial adventure courses. Imagine soaring through the treetops, feeling the wind rush past as you take in panoramic views of the White Mountains.

For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, the off-road tours provide a rugged journey through the mountainous terrain. You’ll be bouncing and laughing as you navigate the challenging trails, all while learning about the region’s history and natural wonders. And if you’re up for a challenge, the aerial adventure courses will test your balance, strength, and courage with a series of obstacles set high above the ground.

Alpine Adventures is not just about the thrill, but also the opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region. So, when you’re pondering where to visit in the White Mountains, make sure Alpine Adventures is on your itinerary!

Alpine Adventures: Adrenaline-packed attraction with zip lines, off-road tours, and aerial courses
Alpine Adventures: Adrenaline-packed attraction with zip lines, off-road tours, and aerial courses in the White Mountains.

9. Diana’s Baths

Diana’s Baths is a series of small waterfalls located in the heart of the White Mountains, and it’s one of those unique places in the White Mountains that is sure to be a highlight of your trip. A haven for nature lovers, this enchanting spot offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

The journey to Diana’s Baths is as mesmerizing as the destination itself. A short, 0.6-mile trail leads you through a dense forest, with the sound of cascading water growing louder as you approach. Once there, you’re greeted by a series of cascades and pools, each more beautiful than the last. It’s easy to see why this is one of the top White Mountains attractions.

During the summer months, the Baths transform into natural swimming holes, providing a refreshing respite from the heat. Kids and adults alike can be seen splashing around, enjoying the cool mountain water. And if you’re a photography enthusiast, the play of light on the water, especially during sunrise and sunset, offers some fantastic shots.

For those seeking rest and relaxation, a stop at Diana’s Baths is one of the most unique things to do in the White Mountains you simply can’t miss. It’s a blend of natural beauty and tranquility that promises an unforgettable experience.

Diana's Baths: Serene waterfalls in the heart of White Mountains. Enchanting escape for nature lovers.
Diana’s Baths: Serene waterfalls in the heart of White Mountains. Enchanting escape for nature lovers.

10. Story Land

Nestled amidst the scenic beauty of the White Mountains, Story Land is a magical realm where childhood fantasies come to life. It’s one of those coolest things to do in the White Mountains that both kids and adults can’t get enough of. From fairy tale characters to thrilling rides, this amusement park offers a delightful mix of adventure and nostalgia.

Right from the moment you step in, you’re transported to a world of enchantment. Remember the tales of Cinderella, Humpty Dumpty, or the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe? You’ll find them all here, waiting to share their stories with you. And for those seeking a bit of adrenaline, the park boasts a range of rides that promise to get your heart racing.

The Story Land ensures that there’s never a dull moment. The live shows are a hit among visitors, with performances that captivate and entertain. And if you’re visiting with little ones, the mini rides and play areas are sure to keep them engaged.

Story Land is a place where memories are made. So, if you’re yearning for a unique thing to do in the White Mountains, this enchanting park should definitely be on your list. It’s a journey back to childhood, filled with wonder and joy.

Story Land is an enchanting amusement park
Story Land is an enchanting amusement park in the White Mountains. Magical realm for all ages, blending fairy tales and thrilling rides.

11. Whale’s Tale Water Park

Imagine splashing around, feeling the cool water against your skin, and hearing the delightful laughter of families all around. Whale’s Tale Water Park is one of those cool places in the White Mountains that promises a day filled with fun, sun, and tons of water activities. Located in the heart of the White Mountains, this water park is a refreshing oasis, especially during those hot summer days.

From thrilling water slides that will get your heart racing to the lazy river where you can just float and let the world drift by, there’s something for everyone. Kids can have a blast in the kiddie pool area, complete with mini slides and water features. And for those who prefer to stay dry, there’s plenty of lounging areas to soak up the sun.

The Whale’s Tale Water Park offers a perfect blend of relaxation and excitement. For a truly awesome family day out, this is the place to be. Is this one of the coolest things to do in the White Mountains? You bet!

Whale's Tale Water Park is one of the best things to do in the White Mountains.
Whale’s Tale Water Park: Cool White Mountains oasis for family fun.

12. Santa’s Village

Nestled amidst the picturesque surroundings of the White Mountains, Santa’s Village is a magical destination that brings the North Pole to life. It’s one of those unique places in the White Mountains where the spirit of Christmas thrives all year round. From the moment you step in, you’re transported to a winter wonderland, complete with elves, reindeer, and of course, Santa Claus himself.

One of the best places in the White Mountains for families, Santa’s Village offers a delightful mix of rides, shows, and interactive experiences. Kids can hop on the Christmas-themed rides, meet Rudolph and his friends, and even get a chance to whisper their wish list to Santa. And if you’re wondering what to do in the White Mountains that combines fun, fantasy, and festive vibes, this is your answer.

The park also boasts eateries where you can indulge in holiday treats and shops to pick up Christmas souvenirs. It’s a place where memories are made, and the magic of the festive season is celebrated every day. So, if you’re looking for White Mountains things to do that will leave you with a heart full of joy and a twinkle in your eye, Santa’s Village awaits!

Santa's Village: Year-round Christmas magic in the White Mountains.
Santa’s Village: Year-round Christmas magic in the White Mountains.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in the White Mountains

Looking for more content on the top things to do in the White Mountains? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to the White Mountains:

What is special about the White Mountains?

The White Mountains stand out for their breathtaking landscapes, from cascading waterfalls to rugged peaks, offering a natural playground for adventurers and nature lovers alike. Their rich history, charming towns, and diverse seasonal activities make them a must-visit destination in New England.

Is the White Mountains worth visiting?

Absolutely! The White Mountains offer a breathtaking blend of natural beauty, thrilling outdoor activities, and charming New England towns. This makes it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking both adventure and relaxation. Whether you’re hiking its scenic trails or simply soaking in the views, you’ll find the region brimming with unforgettable experiences.

What is the best time to visit the White Mountains?

The ideal time to visit the White Mountains largely depends on your preferred activities. Fall brings a riot of colors with its famous foliage, while winter is perfect for skiing and snowboarding. Summer offers pleasant temperatures for hiking, and spring sees the region come alive with blooming wildflowers.

Winter scene in White Mountains National Forest: Snow-covered trees and mountains under a clear blue sky.
Winter scene in White Mountains National Forest: Snow-covered trees and mountains under a clear blue sky.

What is White Mountains New Hampshire known for?

The White Mountains in New Hampshire are known for a range of attractions and features that make them a popular destination for tourists and outdoor enthusiasts. Here’s what they’re renowned for:

  1. Stunning Scenery: The White Mountains offer breathtaking vistas. This includes rugged peaks, dense forests, and beautiful waterfalls.
  2. Outdoor Activities: Hiking, biking, skiing, and snowboarding are just a few of the outdoor activities you can enjoy in the White Mountains.
  3. Hiking Trails: With over 1,200 miles of hiking trails, including portions of the Appalachian Trail, the White Mountains offer hikes for every skill level. This includes everything from family-friendly walks to challenging treks.
  4. Ski Resorts: The area is famous for its ski resorts, providing opportunities for downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports.
  5. Mount Washington: This is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States and is known for its unpredictable and extreme weather. The Mount Washington Auto Road and the Cog Railway offer unique ways to ascend the mountain.
  6. Kancamagus Highway: A scenic drive that is particularly famous for its fall foliage. It offers some of the best leaf-peeping opportunities in New England.
  7. Family Attractions: From theme parks like Story Land to the Flume Gorge, there’s plenty to keep families entertained.
  8. Wildlife: The region is home to diverse wildlife. This includes moose, bears, and a variety of bird species.
  9. Camping and Lodging: Whether you’re looking for rustic camping or more luxurious lodging, the White Mountains have a wide range of options for staying overnight.
  10. Historical Sites: The area has a rich history, with several historical sites and attractions that tell the story of the region.

In summary, the White Mountains in New Hampshire are known for their natural beauty, diverse outdoor activities, historical significance, family-friendly attractions, and commitment to conservation.

Are the White Mountains family-friendly?

Absolutely! With attractions like Story Land, numerous hiking trails suitable for all ages, and various educational nature centers, there’s something for every member of the family to enjoy.

How many days should I spend in the White Mountains?

While a weekend getaway can give you a taste, ideally, spending 4-7 days allows you to explore the major attractions and soak in the natural beauty of the region.

Is it expensive to vacation in the White Mountains?

The White Mountains offer a range of options for every budget. From luxury resorts to budget-friendly campgrounds, and from gourmet restaurants to quaint cafes, you can tailor your trip to fit your financial comfort zone.

Are there guided tours available in the White Mountains?

Yes, there are several tour operators offering guided hikes, scenic drives, and even historical tours that provide deeper insights into the region’s rich heritage.

Concluding Thoughts on Exploring the White Mountains

The White Mountains beckon with their majestic peaks, verdant valleys, and the promise of adventures waiting at every turn. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, a nature lover, or someone seeking a tranquil retreat, this region has it all. Dive into the myriad activities, savor the local flavors, or simply sit back and let the mountains weave their magic around you. Every visit leaves you with memories to cherish and stories to tell. It makes the White Mountains a destination you’ll want to return to, time and again.

The top things to do in the White Mountains for all types of travelers
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