11 Fun Family Activities In The White Mountains New Hampshire

Planning a family vacation in the White Mountains NH? New Hampshire offers the perfect mix of fun attractions and nature activities for your trip. Check out these one-of-a-kind experiences to make New Hampshire with kids a hit!

Cog Train White Mountains New Hampshire

New Hampshire was one of the places in our travels that really surprised us. I expected there to be some amazing scenery in the mountains, but I never expected there to be so many fun things to see and do as a family!

Even after traveling 42 states, the White Mountains New Hampshire are one of our top places to visit. We loved it so much that we came back a second summer.

Top 11 Things To Do In The White Mountains New Hampshire

Our family likes to check out fun attractions, but also explore nature on our trips. It is a huge bonus if some educational experiences are mixed in!

These activities are a perfect mix of fun and beautiful scenery. The first 3 on the list are our favorite can’t miss things to do on your trip.

1)Mount Washington Cog Train – Highest Point In The White Mountains NH

Mount Washington is the tallest mountain in the northeast. You can drive the Mount Washington Auto Road or hike to the top, but the most fun way to get there is to take the cog train.

The Mount Washington Cog Railway is the first cog train built in the world in the 1800s. It is truly a unique experience and kids love it.

Cog Train White Mountains New Hampshire

The cog runs up the mountain on a geared track system that allows the train to navigate the steep grades from 25-38%. It feels really crazy when the train is at the steepest grades.

It takes about 45 minutes to make it the 3 miles to the top. The scenery is spectacular.

The top of Mount Washington is a state park visitor center and a private weather observation center. The top of the mountain is considered an arctic tundra and has some of the most extreme weather in the world!

Mount Washington Cog Train White Mountains New Hampshire

The weather station at the top has measured world record-breaking winds of over 230 miles an hour in the winter! The area also has dense fog about 300 days of the year so your visibility may be affected by fog.

Adventure Tip: Use the bathroom before boarding, as there is no bathroom on the train. There is also a bathroom at the observation center at the top.

Bring warm clothing because it is almost always very cold and windy at the top. On the day of our visit, it was 84 degrees at the bottom and 49 at the top!

Mount Washington Cog Train White Mountains New Hampshire

2) Franconia Notch State Park – Top Things To Do In New Hampshire

Franconia Notch State Park is a must-see attraction when you visit New Hampshire. It is one of the best state parks in the country.

Franconia offers amazing views of waterfalls, gorges, and mountains. There is so much to see here, that you may need 2 days to enjoy this state park.

I) Hike The Notch

The top attraction in Franconia is The Notch. This 2-mile gorge hike features gorgeous carved granite rock walls, beautiful waterfalls, clear pools, and covered bridges.

Covered Bridge Fun Family Things To Do In The White Mountains New Hampshire

There are so many opportunities to take beautiful photos on the walk. The Notch is a mix of gravel paths, wooden walkways, and stairs. This short hike is packed with great scenery!

Adventure Tip: Wear and bring bug spray! We have been twice and both times the bugs tried to eat us alive.

Pro Tip: Check the park hours. We usually like to visit places like this in the late afternoon or early evening to enjoy fewer crowds, but we had to visit early due to park hours.

II) Ride The Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway – Best Things To Do In N.H.

Part of Franconia Notch State Park is a ski resort on Cannon Mountain. In the summer months, you can take the scenic tram ride up the mountain.

Gondola Going Up Mountain White Mountains New Hampshire

At the top of the mountain, there is a trail that circles around the mountain with fantastic lookout points. There is also a wooden look-out tower that you can climb for an even higher view!

There is a little bar at the top and a snack bar if you want to grab a beverage and enjoy the view.

Cannon Mountain Vacation In The White Mountains New Hampshire

Adventure Tip: Bring warm clothes on the tram as it can be cold at the top. It snowed on Cannon Mountain during our visit in July!

Pro Tip: Check the tram hours. All of the attractions close early at Franconia. One idea is to ride the tram when it opens in the morning and then hike The Flume in the afternoon.

To fully enjoy all that this park has to offer though, it is best to spend 2 days here.

III) The New England Ski Museum – History Of The White Mountains

At the base of the mountain near the tram station, is the New England Ski Museum. This tiny museum is worth a quick look around.

The museum has information on the history of skiing. The coolest thing to see though is Bode Miller’s World Cup and his Olympic medals for skiing.

If you have never seen an Olympic medal in person, it is pretty exciting. They are much bigger than we thought they would be!

Adventure Tip: The museum also closes early like the rest of the state park. Possibly consider a quick walk-through while waiting to board your tram tour.

Bode Miller Medals Fun Family Things To Do In The White Mountains New Hampshire

IV) The Old Man Of The Mountain Viewing Area – A New Hampshire White Mountains Legend

In the entrance area of The Flume hike, you will see lots of pictures of the Old Man Of The Mountain. The Old Man was a perfect profile of a man’s face in the granite on the side of the mountain.

The Old Man Of The Mountain was famous in the area, but despite restoration efforts, the granite profile crumbled and no longer exists.

The state park came up with an interesting way that you can still see the Old Man Of The Mountain. There is a memorial created with metal sculptures at the Old Man Of The Mountain Profile Plaza.

The Old Man Of The Mountain Vacation In The White Mountains New Hampshire

You stand on certain markings on the ground depending on your height. Then you look through the perfectly placed metal sculptures to recreate the image again on the side of the mountain where it once stood.

This actually worked and we could each see the profile on the mountain. Pretty neat to see!

Adventure Tip: Even if you don’t care to try to view the granite profile, the lake and surrounding mountains in this location are beautiful to enjoy and photograph.

Franconia Notch State Park Vacation In The White Mountains New Hampshire

3) Santa’s Village – Kids Favorite Attractions In The White Mountains New Hampshire

Santa’s Village is every little kid’s dream amusement park. It is seriously the most fun little theme park and you will be so glad you went.

Sure this park has fun kid and family rides, but what makes it really stand out is the little magical touches you can’t find anywhere else.

What sort of magical touches? Our favorite part of the park was the reindeer. They have all of Santa’s live reindeer that you can pet and feed!

Girl Feeding Reindeer Vacation In The White Mountains New Hampshire

You can visit Santa which really thrilled our daughter. She said seeing Santa in the summer was giving her an early start to her Christmas wish list.

There is a simulated snow tubing hill which is a blast. We rode it over and over again.

Snow Tubing Hill At Santa's Village White Mountains New Hampshire

There is also an Elfabet Game you can play. At the park entrance Elf University building, they give each kid a game card.

Throughout the park, the kids find elf statues that represent each letter of the alphabet. They insert the card into the elf’s present while the elf sings a little song.

Each elf punches the card and cancels out a letter of the alphabet. After all of the elves have punched the card, you go back to Elf University for a diploma and a prize. Sissy loved doing this!

The park finishes the day with a cute little show at the exit with characters and snow.

Outside the park exit, is a booth with a reindeer inside. This magical reindeer somehow answers anything your child asks! We had so much fun with this.

Girl With Talking Reindeer Fun Family Things To Do In The White Mountains New Hampshire

Santa’s village is in our top 5 list of amusement parks in the country. Kids love all of the magical touches.

Adults love how manageable this park is. Parking is free and close. The park is not too big and easy to navigate.

There are many rides the whole family can enjoy together. There is also a little waterpark included for the family to cool down.

Santa’s Village is geared toward younger children and families. There are no thrill rides that older kids may be looking for.

This place is so magical though, that older kids may still enjoy it. Sissy is 12 now and still asks if we can go back. Definitely put Santa’s Village on your list!

Adventure Tip: Like most attractions in New Hampshire, Santa’s Village closes very early. Be sure to check the park hours.

Pro Tip: Prior to Covid, the park ticket was valid one full day and a second day after 2 pm. This was a really great way to squeeze in more time in the park. Check to see if they bring back this option on park tickets in the future.

Ferris Wheel Vacation In The White Mountains New Hampshire

More Fun Things To Do On Your Vacation In The White Mountains New Hampshire

There are so many amazing family activities in the White Mountains. I just gave you our family’s top 3 must-see attractions. Here are some other great activity options.

4) Kancamagus Highway – Especially During White Mountains New Hampshire Fall

Why not take a scenic drive on the Kancamagus? This beautiful section of Route 112 is a National Scenic Byway that is especially stunning in the fall.

5) Clark’s Trading Post – A Top Pick For Kids Visiting New Hampshire

This little historic tourist trap hosts a popular 30-minute bear show. There is also a water tube ride, climbing wall, bumper boats, and a train to enjoy.

6) Storybook Land or Whale’s Tale

The same company that operates Santa’s Village runs both Storybook Land and the waterpark Whale’s Tale. They are all great options for family fun.

Covered Bridge Vacation In The White Mountains New Hampshire

7) Take A Ride On The Conway Scenic Railroad

If you didn’t take the cog train up Mount Washington, or you are still looking to enjoy a more traditional train ride, then check out the Conway Scenic Railroad.

8) Explore Rock Formation Caves At Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves

Glacier activity in this area moved huge boulders around forming talus rock caves to explore. We recommend The Flume at Franconia Notch State Park, but if your family loves this kind of exploring, then head over to Lost River Gorge.

9) Go For A Waterfall Hike

There are many amazing waterfalls in the area. Some great options are Diana’s Baths, Glen Ellis Falls, Sabbaday Falls, Arethusa Falls, or Georgiana Falls.

10) Ski Resort Summer or Winter Activities

Many people don’t consider visiting a ski resort in the summer, but they offer great activities year-round. Many of the ski resorts offer chair lift rides, ziplining, ropes courses, and climbing walls.

Attitash Mountain Resort has the longest alpine slide in North America.

Gunstock Mountain Resort has the longest zipline in the Continental US.

Loon Mountain has a scenic gondola tour and an aerial ropes course.

Waterville Valley Resort has a skateboarding camp and an indoor ice rink.

Cranmore Mountain Resort has a giant swing ride and a seated zip line.

There are so many fun options at the ski resorts!

11) Tour The Winter Ice Castles – Best Winter Activity White Mountains New Hampshire

If you visit the White Mountains during the winter months, the Ice Castles are a must. These beautiful ice sculptures are a huge bucket list destination. 

Beautiful With Mountains Vacation In The White Mountains New Hampshire

Frequently Asked Questions White Mountains New Hampshire

What Is Special About The White Mountains?

The White Mountains are known as a skier’s paradise in winter and a hiker’s paradise in summer. There are beautiful gorges and waterfalls to explore. This area also has Mount Washington which has some of the wildest and windiest weather in the world. 

Are The White Mountains Worth Visiting?

Yes, absolutely! The White Mountains are one of our favorite vacation destinations. The scenery is stunning any time of year and there are so many great family fun activities available.

What Towns Are Near White Mountains NH?

Lincoln, NH, and Woodstock, NH are towns in the valley of the White Mountains near the main tourist attractions. Conway, NH is close to the Cog Railway and another area with tourist attractions.

How Many Days Do You Need At White Mountains?

You could spend a couple of weeks exploring this beautiful area of mountains in New Hampshire. But we would recommend at least a 5 day trip in either winter or summer. There is a lot to see and do in any season of the year. This gives you enough time to enjoy both outdoor activities and some tourist attractions.

What Is There To Do In White Mountains NH In The Summer?

There are many amazing hiking and state park activities in the summer. You can enjoy tubing and floating activities on the area rivers that are a blast in the summer.

There are also amusement parks and water parks to enjoy in this area. Most of the ski resorts have a whole list of fun summer outdoor activities.

Plus you can take the Cog Train to the top of Mount Washington in the summer. The many area waterfalls are flowing and beautiful during the summertime.

What Is The Best Time To Visit White Mountains?

Any season is a great time to visit the White Mountains New Hampshire. Winter and spring are the peak ski season in this area. You can also go visit the gorgeous Ice Castles.

In the summer, there are river tubing, rafting, hiking, waterfalls, amusement parks, water parks, the Cog Train and many state park activities to enjoy. You will never be bored with a trip to this area.

Whew! There are so many things to do in the White Mountains of NH. I hope this guide inspired you to plan a great family vacation.

Have you ever traveled to the White Mountains? What were your favorite activities? Please leave me a comment! I would love to hear about your experiences.

Are you also headed to nearby Vermont on your trip? Check out: 7 Fun Things To Do Near Stowe Vermont.

Or heading over to the Finger Lakes area of New York during your New England Trip? Check out: 3 Can’t-Miss Experiences in The Finger Lakes And Corning NY

Secrets To Avoid Crowds At Watkins Glen Falls NY

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Enjoy your adventure detour!

Aerial Tram Vacation In The White Mountains New Hampshire
Full-Time RV Family In Front Of Mountains


We are so glad you found us. We are Scott, Van & Sissy. We turned our love of travel into a 7 year full-time RV living adventure.

Our goal is to guide you to unique US travel destinations, share RV travel tips, and help you navigate full-time RV living.

Something that makes us different is our unfiltered approach. We choose to share both the benefits and the challenges of traveling and the full-time RVing lifestyle.

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