Visiting the White Mountains National Forest offers a plethora of outdoor activities and scenic spots to explore. There are also amazing places to grab a bite to eat and New England’s BEST Ice Cream. One of the reasons we moved to New England is the opportunity to take long weekend trips to so many places with different outdoor activities.

The White Mountains are a perfect location for a family friendly trip with loads of activities for all ages. From kayaking, hiking, swimming, to visiting museums there are a lot of activities to make memories as a family!

The White Mountains have so many beautiful hikes to choose from that range from beginner to expert, don’t forget to pack a great hiking backpack with the necessary supplies for your trip! I have been using this one for years and it has held up really well:

The White Mountains are also a great spot for a romantic or solo weekend getaway. Grab a cabin for the weekend and explore the beautiful forest! Here’s a weekend itinerary to make the most of your trip:

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Day 1: Arrival and Exploration

Morning:

  • Arrival: Arrive at your accommodation in the White Mountains area.
  • Breakfast: Enjoy a hearty breakfast at a local diner or café. Polly’s Pancake Parlor is a White Mountains STAPLE! Nothing like a stack of pancakes topped with real maple syrup to fuel your day of adventures!

Late Morning to Afternoon:

  • Visitor Center: Start at the White Mountains Visitor Center (located in Lincoln, NH) to get maps, trail information, and learn about current conditions.
  • Scenic Drive: Take the Kancamagus Highway (Route 112) for stunning views of the forest, stopping at overlooks like Kancamagus Pass and Sabbaday Falls for short hikes.

Evening:

  • Dinner: Have dinner at Woodstock Inn Brewery or pack a picnic to enjoy at a scenic spot.
  • Relaxation: Depending on your accommodation, relax and enjoy the surroundings.

Day 2: Outdoor Adventures

Morning:

  • Hiking: Choose a hike based on your skill level and interests. Popular options include:
    • Mount Washington: Summit hike or take the cog railway (advance reservations recommended).
    • Franconia Ridge Loop: Challenging but rewarding hike with stunning views.
    • Arethusa Falls: Easier hike leading to a beautiful waterfall.
    • Artists Bluff: This is a popular hiking trail for its easy access and rewarding views! Try going early in the morning to beat the crowds!

Afternoon:

  • Picnic Lunch: Pack a lunch or find a spot to picnic along your hike or at a scenic overlook.
  • Exploration: Visit attractions like Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves or Flume Gorge for more natural beauty.
  • For the Outdoor Adventurer: Try your hand at Disc Golf or Mountain Biking at Loon Mountain Resort! If you are feeling really adventurous, you could do both in one day!

Evening:

  • Dinner: Enjoy a meal at Rek-Lis Brewery, they offer delcious food and a beautiful patio area for you to enjoy an al fresco dinner!
  • Dessert: We have tried A LOT of ice cream in the New England area and Super Secret Ice Cream is the BEST. There is a reason they have won awards for their ice cream. It is locally sourced and made in house. Try the honeycomb ice cream, you will not be disappointed!
  • Stargazing: If the weather permits, look for a spot away from city lights to enjoy the stars.

Day 3: Cultural and Relaxation

Morning:

  • Cultural Visit: Visit local museums or historical sites like the Castle in the Clouds or Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center.

Afternoon:

  • Relaxation: Consider activities like fishing, kayaking, swimming in a lake, or taking a scenic train ride on the Conway Scenic Railroad.

Departure:

  • Lunch: Enjoy a final meal in the area before heading home.

This itinerary provides a balanced mix of outdoor activities, sightseeing, and relaxation to make the most of your weekend in the White Mountains National Forest. Adjust activities based on your preferences and the season of your visit.

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