December and January have come to a close, but there’s still quite a long stretch of winter ahead of us here in New Hampshire. While lots of people will choose to hibernate under a mound of covers or fly off to warmer climates, the White Mountains offer an affordable, fun, nearby weekend escape for couples, friends, and families. More specifically though, it’s a snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing (and more) paradise!
In fact, the only difficult part of planning an active winter vacation in the Whites is choosing from the wide array of places to stay and play. Don’t worry though, we’ve outlined some of the best options along with some of the benefits of each to make your getaway both easy to plan and memorable.
Loon Mountain Resort
If you’re a skier, snowboarder, or any other kind of winter warrior, you’ve likely heard of Loon Mountain Resort. However, if this is your first attempt at a more active winter, you might not be aware that they offer a comprehensive group of rental equipment that will help you make the most of the snow.
Ski and snowboard rentals are offered starting at the low cost of just $59 and are suitable for all levels of experience.
Loon Mountain Resort boasts the most terrain in New Hampshire, offers both private and group lessons, and has opportunities for different types of snow-based fun like snow tubing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sno-go, and even gondola skyrides. There really is something for everyone at this destination.
More to Do: Loon Mountain is certainly a top winter fun destination, but did you know that you can take specialized snowshoeing tours? We highly recommend them.
Adair Country Inn and Restaurant
The Adair Inn is as pretty as a picture. Even their website features a charming watercolor of this quaint spot.
While staying at the Adair anytime can be lovely (there’s birdwatching, walking trails, and many other options), winter is an especially advantageous time as they run a pre-Valentine’s Day special. Stay with them any night before the 16th of February and you could save 30%!
And if your goal is a more outdoor-focused winter break, consider their snowshoe getaway option (offered in January, February, and March). What could be more romantic than the option to snowshoe on the Inn’s 200 acres with your sweetheart?
More to Do: If by chance 200 acres isn’t enough for you, just slightly past the Inn and Restaurant’s own land is the Rocks Estate, a 1,400-acre forest reservation.
Franconia Inn has everything a winter enthusiast could wish for. They even have their own cross-country ski center! Pick this inn if you love ice skating, tubing, and snowshoeing – they have 25 miles of groomed trails!
Not convinced? Check out this review about a winter stay…
“I have been going to the Franconia Inn since I was a young child. Absolutely love this gem of an inn. Very historical inside and lovely views outside. Just stayed for the weekend again this past weekend. Excited to stay at The Inn again this winter and go cross-country skiing on the property. Loved it!” –Lizzy A
More to Do: There are lots of great snowshoeing and hiking trails in Franconia including the Skookumchuck Trail. It’s rated as “hard” on AllTrails, it also scores 4.5 stars. If you’re looking for a winter challenge, take it on for yourself!
Golfers and other athletic enthusiasts already know Owl’s Nest Resort is a top pick for a stay in the White Mountains area, but did you know that you can also enjoy snowsports there?
One unique factor for this destination is that some of your winter play can take place on their golf course itself! Whether you’re into cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, this is the place to experience 18 holes in a whole new way.
Believe it or not, these are just a few of the top overnight spots to take advantage of in the White Mountains region. There’s no end to the winter possibilities, so try them all!
More to Do: While you can certainly snowshoe at Owl’s Nest itself, you can also take a ride over to Alpine Adventures where you can take a guided tour across their 300 acres.
The Notch Hostel
If you’d like to take getting active to a whole new level, consider The Notch Hostel, which markets itself as “your White Mountains Base Camp.” It’s a 30-person capacity space where you can stay in both shared or private rooms.
Simply put, this is the place for you if you want to network with fellow hikers, bikers, and other like-minded souls.
More to Do: Some other inns boast major trails, but this one is next to…all of them! Situated just minutes from New Hampshire’s peaks, you won’t find a better location for winter hiking.
RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountain
Guests of RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountain can sign out a pair of snowshoes from the Adventure Concierge free of charge! And as the resort name suggests, the RiverWalk trail is a great place to explore.
Venture out to their backyard and find the stone pathway that leads directly to the Pemigewasset River behind the resort. Follow the trail along the river where several benches are placed along the way. If you brought your four-legged friend along (they offer pet friendly suites), this is the perfect spot to get them out and about.
More to Do: Extend your adventure by venturing over to the J.E. Henry Trail which also follows alongside the river. Enjoy the quiet and calming 1 mile walk through the forest. Or take a quick drive to Lincoln Woods Trail and explore this 2.9-mile out-and-back trail that is wide and flat with incredible views.
If you’re looking to thaw out for a few hours in between snow-centric activities, but still keep to that winter theme, here are some nearby musts:
- The New England Ski Museum | 2628 White Mountain Hwy, North Conway, NH 03860
- The Museum of the White Mountains | 34 Highland St, Plymouth, NH 03264
- The Frost Place | 158 Ridge Rd, Franconia, NH 03580
- The New Hampshire Ice Castles | 24 Clark Farm Rd, North Woodstock, NH 03262
There are so many incredible ways to get active during the winter in the White Mountains. Snowboarding, snowshoeing, skiing, and other fantastic options are just a short drive away…
We hope to see you in our neck of the woods soon! And remember, the Western White Mountains Chamber of Commerce is always here to provide additional information and ideas.