While many hunker down indoors by the fire come winter, there is so much of the Granite State available to explore during these chilly months. Even if you don’t like winter sports, or the snow in general, we’ve got something for you. Ideas for family-friendly park trips, rugged ice-fishing and yummy treats are all included below.
1. Ride the Bretton Woods Skyway Gondola
This short gondola ride packs stunning views of Mt. Washington and the entire Presidential Range. Bundle up, snap a photo, and be sure to take a pit stop at the top for a bite at the Switchback Grille or Peaks Café.
99 Ski Area Road, Bretton Woods
(603) 278-3320, brettonwoods.com
2. Sip on a hot cocoa from L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates
You can’t go wrong ordering a hot chocolate from a chocolate shop, right? Their self-proclaimed “best hot chocolate in New England” can’t be missed. Grab a few handcrafted chocolates or artisan pastries and cakes to nibble alongside. You can even take home a drinking chocolate kit, complete with a whisk to recreate the delectable experience at home.
47 Main Street, Walpole
(603) 756-2882, burdickchocolate.com
3. Go sledding
This one might feel obvious, but it’s one of our favorite options mainly due to its versatility. All you need is something to sit on and something slanted like an old toboggan, a dining hall tray or even a baking sheet, and trudge to your closest slope. Feel a rush of adrenaline and youthfulness as you speed down, hair windblown and heart full. Check out our big list of sledding hills here.
4. Experience the magic of Lincoln’s Ice Castles
Guests of all ages will be in awe of these gigantic icicle structures lit up in brilliant blue, warm pink and dark purple. Walk through the Mystic Forest Light Walk, speed down an ice slide and crawl through the chilly tunnels. Tubing and sleigh rides are also offered as add-ons to complete your winter delight.
24 Clark Farm Rd, North Woodstock
5. Try ice fishing
Fishing is so much more than a summer pastime. Head to the Lakes Region, or any frozen body of water with fish below, and experience this classic winter hobby. Shops such as The Tackle Shack or Fish and Game Headquarters can provide licensing and equipment, and then you’re all set to hit the ice. Be sure to dress warm and bring some snacks.
6. Ice-skate at Stratham Hill Park
Enjoy this favorite Seacoast-area park in the “off-season.” There are two great options for skating at this family park, a natural area and a NiceRink®. Both are well-lit and great for recreation and hockey. If skating doesn’t appeal to all in your party, there are trail heads, fields and bike rentals available at the park as well.
270 Portsmouth Ave, Stratham
(603) 772-7450, strathamnh.gov
7. Try a latte flight at Flamingo’s Coffee Bar
Stepping inside this Hampton café feels like you’ve been transported to South Florida, with the whimsical furnishings and pink and green printed wallpaper. Order their seasonal flight for a taste of everything, or stick to a classic coffee or tea. Hungry? They offer fresh baked goods such as bagels and pastries from a variety of local shops.
27 B St, Hampton
(603) 910-5647, flamingoscoffeebar.com
8. Experience the “world’s worst weather”
Trek up for a day trip, or consider booking an overnight stay to see the beauty of dusk and dawn atop the mountain. According to WeatherBug, conditions at the top are similar to those of Mt. Everest. Snow and wind are almost constant guests upon the mountain, so you’d better bundle up before joining them. Get ready to cross this “cool” activity off your New Hampshire Bucket List.
Mt. Washington, Sargent’s Purchase
9. Snowshoe at Mt. Monadnock
Picture it: Snow-covered trees, footprints of various critters dotting the trail, the sounds of birds and wind in the distance. There are options for all skill levels around the mountain and park, just grab your warmest gear and favorite shoes. Move at your own pace through the trails, or trek to the top for remarkable views. Pick a day with clear visibility, and from the top you’ll be able to see every state in New England.
10. Stock up at a Winter Farmers Market
Increasingly popular, these indoor winter markets are a great way to support local farmers, bakers and artisans in their off-season. Whether you go for your weekly grocery trip, for that one delicious cookie, or just to walk around and window shop, this is a great daytime activity for people of all ages. Check out a full list of markets across the state here.
11. Try Snowkiting at Hardwater Kiting
The most adventurous winter activity-seekers should consider giving snowkiting a go. While still relatively unknown, snowkiting has grown in popularity in recent years. Basically, skiers hold onto a kite and let its wind guide them across the terrain and jumps. Hardwater Kiting offers lessons for all abilities, including introductory and beginner. All equipment besides a helmet is provided, and participants can keep their kite as a memento of their bravery.
78 Grove St #2573, North Conway
(603) 986-2784, hardwaterkiter.com
12. Go for a drive along the Kancamagus
While the drive is well-known for its scenic views of foliage and prime leaf-peeping opportunities in the fall, it is stunning in the winter as well. Grab some snacks, a great playlist, and maybe a friend or two and head out for a drive. Be sure to check the forecast and road conditions first, however. Snap a few photos or videos and tag #NHMagazine for a chance to be featured.
13. Visit “America’s Stonehenge”
The breathtaking beauty and mysterious magic of England’s Stonehenge in… Salem? You heard that right. This arrangement of rocks is estimated to be over 4,000 years old and is actually an accurate astronomical calendar. However, the creators are still a mystery. Check out the orientation video on their site, and get ready to explore this preserved masterpiece.
105 Haverhill Road, Salem
(603) 893-8300, stonehengeusa.com
14. Explore a new city or town
This is another option that can be as simple or detailed, inexpensive or fancy as you desire. We’re biased, but there really is so much to explore in New Hampshire with new shops, restaurants, breweries and activities opening up often. Turn to Instagram, or just close your eyes and point at a location on a map of the state. The fun and adventure will follow.
15. Create your own “food tour”
Pancake enthusiast? IPA aficionado? Aspiring florist? The Granite State is packed full of creators, bakers, chefs and artisans who love to share their craft. Consider picking one of your favorite things, doing some research on locations across the state, and making a bucket list. This can be a solo adventure, but would also be fun with others. Share your expert opinions and rankings of the best of the best yummies in our state.
16. Enjoy a flight of spirits at Tamworth Distilling
Take part in the long-awaited return of the cozy outdoor Skiklubben Ski Lounge at Tamworth Distilling, a winter oasis featuring cozy chairs, glowing heat lamps, and a menu offering light bites, and an ideal stop before or after the mountain or for a quintessential New Hampshire winter road trip.
15 Cleveland Hill Rd., Tamworth
(603) 323-7196, tamworthdistilling.com
17. Dine in a rooftop igloo
The Rooftop at The Envio’s igloo dining experience will wrap you in a cocoon of coziness as you overlook downtown Portsmouth from above. Igloos are heated and require a $100 rental fee for a two hour dining or cocktail night out.
299 Vaughan St., Portsmouth
(603) 427-0152, theenvio.com