The White Mountains of New Hampshire are the perfect summer destination – gorgeous natural beauty, historic charm, and fantastic shops and dining. Whether it’s your first time visiting this region or you are a regular – there’s always plenty to do and see. Take a look at this three-day summer itinerary. Whether you’re looking for a couples retreat, a kid-friendly vacation, or special time with your dog – we’ve got you covered.
Day 1: Explore Nature
Morning: Hit the Trails
The White Mountains’ beauty is best seen on the trails. Start your vacation by finding a hike that meets your ability levels and awards you with a perfect view. White Mountain trails are known for rocky terrain and steep inclines. Don’t assume it’s in your wheelhouse based on the mileage alone. For all your hiking adventures, pack the ten essentials including a map (purchase from AMC), compass, warm clothing, extra food, at least 1 liter of water per person, flashlight, fire starter, first aid kit, whistle, rain jacket, and a knife. It is also recommended when hiking in New Hampshire you purchase a Hike Safe card, which will cover rescue if you run into trouble. Here are summer hikes for every ability level:
Easy: Lower Ammonoosuc Falls
Located on Base Road of Rt 302 in Twin Mountain, this 1.6-mile out-and-back trail to Lower Ammonoosuc Falls is the perfect introduction trail to the Whites. This kid-friendly and dog-friendly trail is a generally flat walking path through hardwood forest along the Ammonoosuc River to a set of powerful, low-angle cascades. When the water level is safe, it becomes a popular swimming spot. So pack your suit!
Moderate: Bald Peak
If you’re looking for a mountain view and a moderate climb, Bald Peak is the hike for you. This dog-friendly trail leaves from the Mt Kinsman Trailhead on NH-116 in Franconia, NH. The 4.5-mile out-and-back is a steady uphill climb through mixed forest. In addition, hikers get a couple of peeks at small streams and even a small waterfall on the hike before emerging at the Bald Peak spur for a 270-degree open view of Franconia Notch and the Kinsman mountains.
Challenging: Mount Liberty
Want to start your vacation with a big climb? Pack extra water for this one! Mt. Liberty via the Liberty Spring Trail is an 8.5-mile out-and-back hike with over 3,000 feet of elevation gain. This dog-friendly trail leaves from the Flume parking lot. The steady and steep trail travels through hardwood and then boreal forest. There are a few stream crossings and lots of stone staircases. However, the view is worth it. Liberty’s bald summit awards with breathtaking views of Franconia Notch and endless White Mountain wilderness.
Afternoon: Picnic Lunch at Echo Lake
After your hike, head to Franconia Notch State Park’s Echo Lake for a relaxing afternoon. Enjoy Echo Lake beach, splash in the water, or consider renting a kayak or paddle boat for some water fun. Pets are not permitted at this park, so if your furry friend wants to picnic too, head instead to the pet-friendly Wildwood Picnic Area where the pups can swim in the Ammonoosuc.
Evening: Cozy in Your Cabin
Wind down your day at your accommodation, ideally a cozy cabin or house. Bretton Woods Vacations offers many pet-friendly accommodations, ensuring your furry friend feels right at home. Enjoy a campfire or barbeque and relive the day’s adventures.
Day 2: Adventure Awaits
Morning: Exciting Excursion
Get your adrenaline pumping and visit a local attraction. Here are three pay-to-explore sites worth visiting to see the best the White Mountains has to offer:
Canopy Tour at Bretton Woods Adventure Center
This ziplining experience suits beginners and offers a unique perspective of the surrounding forests.
Lost River Gorge, North Woodstock
Walk a boardwalk trail past waterfalls and through caves. Choose your challenge as you weave through amazing geology and stunning natural features at this family-friendly adventure attraction.
Loon Mountain Gondola and Skyride, Lincoln
Take a ride up Loon Mountain in Lincoln. Enjoy stunning views of the White Mountains from the summit, visit the cafe, or take a walk through the glacial caves. Leashed dogs are allowed in the gondola!
Afternoon and Evening
Take advantage of your rental property! Take a walk around the property, enjoy the amenities, play a board game, and make a great dinner. Reflect on your vacation so far and end with a movie night before resting up for the next day in the Whites.
Day 3: Scenic Drives and Local Flavors
Morning: Drive along the Kancamagus Highway
The Kancamagus Highway is a picturesque and iconic stretch of 34-mile winding road. As the road climbs, so do the views – awarding drivers with glimpses at mountains, forests, rivers, and scenic pullouts along the way. Stop at designated viewpoints for photo opportunities and short hikes like Sabbaday Falls, Lower Falls, and Rocky Gorge. Dogs are allowed at all these spots. You’ll need to purchase a White Mountain National Forest Recreation Pass to park and explore.
Afternoon: Explore North Conway
North Conway is a bustling tourist town in the White Mountains. It has excellent dining and shopping including everything from boutique to outlet stores. In addition, there is a charming walkable downtown with a working scenic train station, a kid-friendly playground, and shops galore. Take a leisurely stroll with your family and dog. Stop and indulge in local treats and perhaps find a souvenir to remember your trip.
Evening: Dinner Out
Head to one of the many awesome dining locations in the White Mountains for your final night. There’s something for everyone – whether you’re looking for a family-friendly restaurant, a dog-friendly pub, or a fine dining experience – the Whites have it all. Here are a few suggestions:
Woodstock Inn Brewery – Woodstock: This craft brewpub serves hearty American pub fare in a rustic atmosphere. With terrific food and drink and a lively, open feel – it’s a great choice for families as well as groups.
Flatbread Company – North Conway: Looking for a spot your pup can join too? Flatbread Company in North Conway serves terrific pizza and local beers with outside seating for those traveling with their pup. The kiddos will love the pizza too!
Wild Rose Restaurant at Stonehurst Manor – North Conway: Do you desire a fine dining experience? The Wild Rose Restaurant at Stonehurst Manor serves American classics with a stunning view from the dining room. Make sure to get dessert!
The Perfect 3 Day Summer Getaway
A summer trip to the White Mountains promises views of rolling green mountains, babbling brooks, cascading waterfalls, and granite cliffs. With this three-day itinerary, you’ll experience the best of the White Mountains while creating lasting memories.