A Perfect Summer Adventure
Surrounded by forest-covered peaks, roaring rivers, and pristine lakes – the White Mountains of New Hampshire offer an idyllic summer escape that promises adventure, relaxation, and cherished memories. If you’ve chosen a Bretton Woods Vacations as your base, you’re in for a treat. With a comfortable home as your hub, you are perfectly poised to explore local attractions, endless hiking trails, and charming local shops and restaurants. Whether you’re traveling with family, furry friends, or that special someone – this curated 5-day itinerary ensures there’s something for everyone.
Day 1: Settling In and Exploring Local Charm
Spend your first day in the White Mountains settling in and getting to know the area! Head into one of the bustling villages of North Conway or Lincoln and visit a local cafe and boutique.
North Conway: Park near the Conway Train Station. From here, you can walk the main street (White Mountain Highway) for a cup of coffee at The Met or Frontside Cafe. Once you’re caffeinated up, let the kids play at Schouler Park or walk over to Zebs General Store for candy and souvenirs. When you’re ready for a bite to eat, visit Flatbread Company for pizza and an atmosphere perfect for the family – and dog-friendly seating!
Lincoln: Walk the charming Main Street in Lincoln. Start with a bagel and coffee at White Mountain Bagel or Mountainside Cafe and take a stroll down through the charming street with a backdrop of mountains. Pop into White Mountain Wanderers for a local map or Life is Good for a souvenir. When you’re ready for a meal, visit One Love Brewery for family-friendly dining and patio seating that allows dogs.
Before leaving town, visit the grocery store and stock up for the week. Spend the evening winding down in your rental home with a barbeque.
Day 2: Outdoor Adventure
The White Mountains are known for their amazing hiking trails. Whether you’re looking for a summit climb, a waterfall vista, or a stroll through the woods – there’s something for everyone. Take a look at our suggestions below. Whatever your choice, be sure to pack the hiker’s ten essentials and grab an area map!
Easy Hikes: If you’re looking for a flat and easy trail, consider walking down the Lincoln Woods Trail. This wide and flat trail is great for all ages (and dogs too). It takes visitors along the Pemigewasset River. When you’ve had enough, turn around! Be aware that this trailhead is very popular and parking fills quickly. A $5 recreational pass is needed to park here as well. Another easy trail is Diana’s Bath in North Conway. This 1.3-mile out-and-back trail is a flat and easy stroll to a set of rushing cascades. Again, a parking pass is required and the parking lot fills quickly.
Moderate Hikes: Looking for a bit of a challenge? Take the 3.7-mile Boulder Loop Trail for views of the mountains hugging the Kancamagus Highway. If you want to see New Hampshire’s largest waterfall, hike the 2.8-mile trail to Arethusa Falls. Or, if a peak is more your style, try the 3.3-mile out-and-back trail to summit Mt. Avalon in Crawford Notch. Most of the trailheads in the White Mountains fill on busy summer weekends and require a recreational pass to park.
Challenging Hikes: If you want to see all the White Mountains in their glory – consider tackling one of the 48, 4000-footer peaks. Hike Cannon Mountain via the 3.8-mile out-and-back Kinsman Ridge Trail for views of Franconia Notch and surrounding peaks. Or, hike New England’s highest peak, Mt. Washington, via the Ammonoosuc Trail on the steep 8.2-mile out-and-back journey. As many hikers underestimate the peaks of the Whites, it’s important to start early and bring extra water, food, and layers of warm clothing, as Mount Washington boasts of having “the worst weather in the world”. Lastly, before you go – check out the Higher Summit Forecast, as the summit weather often varies greatly from the valley below.
After your invigorating hike, return to your rental house. Have a leisurely dinner and reflect on the day’s adventures.
Day 3: Area Attractions
Day 3 is all about embracing the many attractions that the White Mountains have to offer! Here are some of our suggestions for families, adults, and dog owners.
Amusement Parks: If you’re traveling with kids, head to one of the theme parks. Story Land is a magical amusement park that offers whimsical rides and a day of enchantment! Similarly, Santa’s Village is the amusement park that will bring the joy of Christmas year-round. With rides and attractions on a Christmas theme, take the family for a day of joy. Similarly, everyone will enjoy a visit to Clark’s Trading Post – where rides, shows, and attractions show off the charm of a different time.
Caves and Heights: If you want a bit of adventure, take to the air or under the ground with some of the fantastic attractions in the Whites. Lost River Gorge allows visitors to walk a boardwalk-style trail through a picturesque river gorge, past a waterfall and allows the opportunity to crawl through caves. If you’re looking for the adrenaline rush of ziplining – try Bretton Woods Canopy Tour or Alpine Adventures where you’re guaranteed a memorable adventure.
Gondolas and Trams: For an easy trip to the top of a mountain, take the Cannon Tramway up to the summit. Here, you’ll enjoy the view and grab a bite and New Hampshire’s “highest cafe”. Another great option is the Loon Skyride Gondola. Even your pup is allowed on this trip! At the summit, grab a snack or drink at the cafe and explore the glacial caves adventure (included in the ticket).
After your invigorating day, wind down at your rental home with game night!
Day 4: Relaxation
After all this adventure and adrenaline, take a day to unwind and relax. Here are a few suggestions:
Echo Lake Beach Day, Franconia: Bring your beach stuff for a day at the lake! This sandy beach has beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, boat rentals, and cool, clear swimming water. Make sure to get a day pass. Pets are not allowed.
Massage and Spa Day: The Spa at the Omni Mountain Resort will give you a true feel of vacation. Treat yourself to a massage or treatment to unwind.
River Day: Pack a picnic for a day at the river. Park at Lower Falls on the Kancamagus (parking permit required) and enjoy the rapids and scenic views. Similarly, the Lower Ammonoosuc Falls is a great spot to relax by the water. Pets are allowed at both of these spots.
Day 5: Local Flavors
Spend your final day in the White Mountains enjoying a taste of what the region has to offer. Visit a local farmers market, engage in a winery tour, or taste a flight at a local craft brewery. Here are a few local flavors to try:
Alcoholic Drinks: Visit the White Mountain Winery, Cathedral Ledge Distillery, or Tamworth Distilling for a taste of local liquors and wine! Great beer is abundant at Moat Mountain Brewery, Woodstock Inn Brewery, and many more.
Maple Sugar Shacks: The region is well known for maple sugaring! Visit Fadden’s Maplehouse in North Woodstock for a tour and a plethora of maple products. Or head over to the Eldridge Family Sugar Shack for their famous maple ice cream!
A Perfect Summer Destination
Whether you’re chasing adrenaline-fueled activities, family-bonding moments, or romance and relaxation – the White Mountains and your Bretton Woods Vacation Rental promises a summer getaway like no other. Enjoy everything the White Mountains have to offer with this perfect summer destination.