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What makes good New Hampshire winter getaways? Snow — and lots of it. Lots of outdoor activities that go beyond skiing. A cozy place to return to — perhaps with a fireplace, a blanket, and a nice, hot beverage waiting for you.
Winter is a wonderful time of year in New Hampshire. We have stunningly beautiful mountain landscapes, some of the best ski resorts on the East Coast, and adorable small towns that look like they were plucked from a painting.
When it comes to New Hampshire winter vacations, there is a surprising amount of variety in what you can do — so we at New Hampshire Way sat down to create winter travel guides to our favorite handpicked destinations.
And man, was this post fun to write! You’re going to love these winter adventures. (And don’t forget to check out our favorite things to do in New Hampshire in the winter!)
Choosing the Right NH Trip in Winter
New Hampshire might be a small state — but there’s an enormous variety in New Hampshire winter vacations. So how do you choose? Start by imagining the kind of trip you want. There’s a world of difference between a B&B in buzzing North Conway Village and a cabin rental by the Canadian border in Pittsburg!
Consider the kinds of outdoor activities you want to do. Do you plan to ski? Maybe hike or snowshoe? Something less active, like sleigh rides or dog sledding?
Consider the location. Do you want to be somewhere isolated and rural, or would you rather have dining and shopping options around? Do you want to bring groceries or go out for your meals?
Consider your accommodation. Would you rather be in a small B&B or inn? Do you like the feel of a big resort? Or would you rather rent your own cabin, house, or apartment?
Narrow down what you’re looking for and you’ll be well on your way to a memorable New Hampshire winter trip.
North Conway is a great option for both skiers and people who don’t ski. It has shopping and dining, and other winter activities like sleigh rides, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.
North Conway is the winter getaway for you if you want an adorable town with lots of amenities, shopping, easy access to ski mountains, and lots of outdoor activities.
Of course we list North Conway first — it’s the quintessential New Hampshire winter getaway! Right on the edge of the White Mountain National Forest and the Kancamagus Highway, this tiny town gives you easy access to New Hampshire’s best ski resorts, winter activities, and what seems like a scenic spot in every direction.
If you’re looking to ski, North Conway has easy access to Attitash and Cranmore Mountain resorts. Wildcat Mountain and Bretton Woods are further away but doable. Jackson is right up the road with excellent cross-country trails, and snowmobile trails criss-cross the region. (See our full NH ski resorts guide here.) And North Conway is a great place to try ice climbing!
If you’re not as athletically oriented, there are plenty more activities in the North Conway area: sleigh rides, cozy restaurants, cafes, and breweries; and tons of shopping options (hello, Settlers Green outlets!). The Conway Scenic Railroad even runs a “snow train” to Attitash and back.
We think North Conway is a fabulous choice for groups of friends, couples, families, and New Hampshire travelers who like a lot of variety on a trip. Some athletic activities, some lazier activities, all wrapped up in a quintessential New England village.
Read More: Best Things to Do in North Conway, NH
Where to Stay in North Conway
Hotels and Inns: North Conway has an outstanding selection of bed and breakfasts, inns, and boutique hotels. We are especially big fans of the Cranmore Inn, and two other excellent properties are the Eastman Inn, right in downtown North Conway Village, and the Buttonwood Inn on Mount Surprise, just outside town.
Cabins, Homes, and Rentals: This large house across from Cranmore Mountain is perfect for big families, this “chicken coop” of a home is cozy and pet-friendly, and this timber home is an Instagrammable winter dream.
Our Full Guide: The Best North Conway Hotels and B&Bs
Monadnock is the New Hampshire winter getaway for you if you love driving through postcard-perfect winter villages, staying at a cozy B&B, and enjoying small town New England.
We think the Monadnock region of southwest New Hampshire is one of the Granite State’s best kept secrets — and if you’re looking for a cozy, low-key winter getaway, this is where you want to be.
Keene is the biggest hub of the region, but it feels like a funky, youthful small town. And as you leave Keene and drive those country roads, you’ll be stunned by how much it looks like it could be the 1800s. This is the place to stay in a cozy bed and breakfast, watching the snow fall from your window.
You don’t come here to ski. (Granite Gorge was a reliable local option, but it closed following the pandemic.) Instead, drive around and explore: visit breweries (we love Post & Beam Brewing and Branch & Blade Brewing), go antique shopping in Peterborough and Fitzwilliam, take a sleigh ride at Stonewall Farm, drop by New England Sweetwater Distillery or Copper Cannon Distillery to sample some spirits.
We think Monadnock is one of the best New Hampshire winter getaways for couples, solo travelers, and adult friend groups who relish exploring small towns and would rather drive around and explore than tick off a long checklist.
Read More: Best Things to Do in Keene and Monadnock, NH
Where to Stay in Monadnock
Hotels and Inns: For a winter getaway to Monadnock, we strongly recommend one of the area’s excellent bed and breakfasts. Two solid options are The Bridges Inn in Swanzey and The Chesterfield Inn in West Chesterfield, both with lovely fireplaces.
Cabins, Homes, and Rentals: Did you know you can stay in an actual treehouse in Monadnock? We also love this home overlooking Forest Lake in Winchester and this gourmand’s cottage near the base of Mount Monadnock, that comes with a world-class kitchen and closet of spices.
Jackson is the New Hampshire winter getaway for you if you want to enjoy the White Mountains in a cozy, low-key atmosphere — and lots of cross-country skiing.
Jackson is a short drive from North Conway, but feels like a world away. As soon as you cross the Honeymoon Covered Bridge, you’ve entered a classic New England village with rolling hills (and edged with high-ticket bed and breakfasts).
In Jackson you have easy access to several ski resorts: Cranmore Mountain, Attitash, and Wildcat Mountain are within a short drive. But Jackson truly excels when it comes to cross-country skiing. There are more than 50 trails covering more than 100 kilometers (62 miles), extensive trailside dining, and JacksonXC is a great resource for people looking to ski.
But there’s way more than skiing. Nestlenook Farm is a favorite Jackson stop for sleigh rides and ice skating. And when you’re ready for some indoor time, we recommend a visit to White Mountain Puzzles. This company still makes all of their own puzzles and the business is a treasure!
We think Jackson makes an excellent romantic getaway, where you can relish the quiet, hide away from the world, and enjoy plush accommodations. And if you need a bit more excitement? North Conway is right down the road.
Where to Stay in Jackson, NH
Hotels and Inns: Jackson is a hub for excellent, high-end B&Bs. The Wentworth has an upscale homey atmosphere and a billiards table; the Inn at Jackson has traditional decor and a fireplace surrounded by leather chairs. The Christmas Farm Inn and Spa has an Aveda spa on property, a great way to recharge.
Cabins, Homes, and Rentals: We love this cozy pet-friendly cottage, this two-bedroom peach Victorian home is out of a storybook, and if you want to be central, in this home where you can ski right onto the town common!
Pittsburg is the winter getaway for you if you want to get far away from the world — even by New Hampshire standards — and get on a snowmobile.
If you’re unfamiliar with Pittsburg, you’re not alone — this town (unlike the city in Pennsylvania, there’s no h on the end) is the northernmost town of New Hampshire, deep in the Great North Woods. During the summer, people come to Pittsburg for pristine lakes and some of New England’s best stargazing; in the winter, however, it’s all about snowmobiling!
While New Hampshire is an excellent state for snowmobiling, Pittsburg takes it to the next level with extensive, well-maintained trails. You can even earn bragging rights by snowmobiling into Québec! The Pittsburg Ridge Runners have all the information you need on exploring the region safely.
Not a snowmobiler? You can cross-country ski or snowshoe along the trails, or try your hand at ice fishing. While some of the lakes are safe for ice skating, there’s also a rink next to the Congregational Church in downtown Pittsburg.
Dog sledding is popular in the snow-rich areas of the Great North Woods. If you’re keen to try, we recommend checking out New England Dog Sledding in nearby Colebrook or Northern Exposure Outfitters in Milan. (See our full dog sledding New Hampshire guide here.)
Otherwise, come with groceries and a stack of library books, make yourself a nice hot tea or cocktail, and build a fire in the fireplace. This is the time of year for savoring early sunsets and cold, clean air. When you need a New Hampshire winter vacation to recharge, Pittsburg is a great choice.
Where to Stay in Pittsburg
You don’t come to Pittsburg for hotels — here it’s all about home rentals. Head south to Colebrook for more accommodation options, like the Mohawk Cottages, a collection of five cozy bungalows.
Bretton Woods is the New Hampshire winter getaway for you if you want to experience one of New England’s best winter resorts, with all the bells and whistles you could ask for.
In New Hampshire, Bretton Woods is often synonymous with the Omni Mount Washington Resort. This historic hotel is a New Hampshire legend and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986. Today people flock here to enjoy winter outdoor fun in the shadow of Mount Washington.
So what is there to do here? Quite a bit. Tons of alpine skiing trails, and of course snowboarding. Tons of cross-country skiing and snowshoe trails. Guided backcountry skiing, if that’s your thing. Snow tubing! Winter ziplining canopy tours! Scenic gondola rides! Fat tire biking in the snow!
Bretton Woods is an excellent New Hampshire winter vacation for families, couples, groups of friends, and people who want all kinds of outdoor activities at their fingertips. And if you don’t want to leave the premises for a week, that’s fine — you won’t run out of things to do.
Read more: The Best NH Ski Resorts
Where to Stay in Bretton Woods
Hotels and Inns: In Bretton Woods it’s all about the Omni Mount Washington Resort. The most luxurious property in New Hampshire and a solid option with more winter fun than you ever imagined. It’s pricey, but New Hampshire winter vacations don’t get better than this!
Cabins, homes, and rentals: This four-person ski-out condo calls itself “affordable luxury,” this forested cottage is a short walk from the beginner skiing areas, and it you’re looking for spectacular views from giant windows, this five-bedroom home will blow you away.
Meredith is the New Hampshire getaway for you if you love quiet off-season trips — and you’re keen to try some ice fishing.
Lake Winnipesaukee? In the winter?! We’re serious. Lake Winnipesaukee claims to be the oldest summer resort in America, but it can be a four-season destination with plenty of winter fun.
Meredith is one of our favorite Winnipesaukee towns, and it looks absolutely beautiful under fresh snowfall. Meredith also hosts a number of winter events: the Great Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby, and the New England Pond Classic ice hockey game, and the Laconia Sled Dog Derby is just down the road.
Looking to warm up on a chilly day? Spend an afternoon at the Spa at Mills Falls, try some wines at Hermit Woods Winery or some beers with a side of board games at Twin Barns Brewing. Browse for new reads at Innisfree Bookshop or hit up the games at Funspot.
And if you’re in the mood for a little bit of skiing on your Meredith winter getaway, Gunstock Mountain Resort is just down the road.
Read More: Things to Do in Lake Winnipesaukee
Where to Stay in Meredith
Hotels and Inns: Ballard House Inn is a solid B&B right in Meredith with easy access to everything in town; another traditional option is The Nutmeg Inn. Willing to go a bit further? We recommend the Center Harbor Sutton House B&B next door to Meredith in the town of Center Harbor, complete with its handmade quilts.
Cabins, Homes, and Rentals: This all-wood craftsman cottage feels so cozy and warm; this hilltop lakeview home is big enough for the whole family, and if you’re on a budget, this one-bedroom apartment is great value.
Portsmouth is the New Hampshire winter getaway for you if you want a chic urban atmosphere with lots of shops, restaurants, bars, and breweries to explore…when the summer crowds are long gone.
You might think of Portsmouth as a summer destination — and frankly, you’d be right. Portsmouth and the Seacoast truly come to life during the summer months, with boat rides along the Piscataqua River and concerts in Prescott Park.
But in the winter? You get Portsmouth all to yourself. You can go out to eat and not have to wait for a table. You can go to a brewery and have a long chat with the brewer about the latest beers on tap. You can stroll through historic sites without feeling the crowds.
You might get lucky and experience some snowfall in Portsmouth — but due to its coastal location, you don’t get heavy snowbanks. Instead, you get a lot of wind — so be ready to duck into the nearest adorable shop!
Portsmouth is more of an urban adventure type of winter destination. Instead of skiing or snowshoeing, spend your days hopping from cafes (we love Cup of Joe and Popovers on the Square) to breweries (we love Great Rhythm and Portsmouth Brewery).
In the winter you can go ice skating at Puddle Duck Pond at the Strawbery Banke Museum, visit the U.S.S. Albacore (though they close from Christmas to mid-February), or drive down to the Seacoast Science Center in Odiorne State Park.
If you visit Portsmouth in December, it’s all decked out for the Christmas season, with Christmas trolleys, holiday lights, and window displays! On weekends you can experience the Candlelight Stroll at Strawbery Banke.
Portsmouth is the New Hampshire winter getaway for urban adventurers who don’t let a little cold weather ruin their fun time! During this time of year we think Portsmouth is a better fit for solo travelers, couples, and groups of adults than young families; bring the kids in the summer.
Read More: Best Things to Do in Portsmouth, NH
Where to Stay in Portsmouth
Hotels and Inns: The Sailmaker’s House makes an excellent splurge, one of the best independent properties in town. We’re also fans of the stylish Ale House Inn. If you want a spa to warm up from the cold, we recommend the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel.
Cabins, Homes, and Rentals: We love this one-bedroom apartment a short walk from downtown, this simple one-bedroom is great value for money, and if you want more space, this three-bedroom historic home is lovely.
Our Full Guide: Where to Stay in Portsmouth, NH
Franconia is the New Hampshire winter getaway for you if you want to enjoy the White Mountains without the crowds, with fun breweries and easy access to beautiful hikes.
We say Franconia here, but we’re using it to refer to Franconia Notch and four towns in the northwest corner of the White Mountains: Franconia, Sugar Hill, Bethlehem, and Littleton. This is an outstanding part of New Hampshire, filled with great beauty and small towns.
As far as skiing goes in Franconia, you have easy access to Cannon Mountain; Bretton Woods and Loon Mountain are each a 30-minute drive away.
But beyond that, it’s all about the hiking. Some of the best winter hikes in New Hampshire are in Franconia Notch, from the easy, classic Flume Gorge trail to challenging Franconia Ridge. Be sure to have the proper gear for winter hiking. In many cases you’ll need snowshoes.
And for us, no trip to the Franconia area is complete without a visit to Polly’s Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill! And we love warming up at the cozy breweries in the area: Rek-Lis Brewing in Bethlehem, Schilling Beer Co in Littleton (in fact, save an afternoon for exploring downtown Littleton), and Iron Furnace Brewing in Franconia.
Franconia is the New Hampshire winter getaway for you if you want to spend your days out winter hiking — then coming back to reward yourself with a warm beverage and a nice spot by the fireplace.
Where to Stay in Franconia
Hotels and Inns: If you’re going to splurge, go for the Sugar Hill Inn, one of the best B&Bs in the White Mountains and worth every penny. We’re also big fans of the Adair Country Resort in Bethlehem and Kinsman Lodge in Franconia is a good value option with a lovely innkeeper.
Cabins, Homes, and Rentals: This home near Cannon Mountain in Franconia has a new jacuzzi, this affordable log cabin is walking distance from downtown Bethlehem (and one of our favorite breweries, Rek-Lis), and if you want wow factor, this Sugar Hill log cabin is on 14.5 private acres.
More on New Hampshire in the Winter:
- Things to Do in New Hampshire in the Winter
- The Best NH Ski Resorts
- Where to Go Dog Sledding in New Hampshire
- New Hampshire’s Best Sleigh Rides
- Where to Go Snow and Ice Climbing in New Hampshire
- Ultimate Guide to Christmas in New Hampshire: 2022 Events
Best of New Hampshire:
- 50+ Best Things to Do in New Hampshire
- The Best New Hampshire Breweries
- New Hampshire Outdoor and Indoor Water Parks
- New Hampshire Fall Foliage: When and Where To Go
What’s your favorite New Hampshire winter getaway?