Find and book unique accommodations on Airbnb
Guests agree: these stays are highly rated for location, cleanliness, and more.
Snow-capped peaks covered in ski resorts and hiking trails pair with peaceful river valleys and small New England towns in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Around the region, chairlifts, gondolas, cog railways, and winding alpine roads bring visitors to mountaintops for scenic views along with a bit of the great outdoors. On a clear day from the summit of Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeastern United States, the view looks over five states ― Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont ― and into Canada. But the smaller hills offer plenty of views, too, particularly in the fall, when the White Mountains fill with leaf-peepers admiring the rainbow of crisp autumn colors that stripes the ridges. In the valleys, covered bridges cross rivers that weave in and out of small towns, making for a scenic drive best experienced with stops at the classic New England diners, antique shops, and historic buildings.
A road trip on the small country roads of the White Mountains is the perfect introduction to the area. It’s also somewhat essential, since getting from place to place here is nearly impossible without a car. The closest major airport is Boston's Logan International Airport (BOS), a roughly three-hour drive, depending on where in the White Mountains you are headed. Smaller airports that will cut an hour off the drive and be a little easier to navigate — especially if you are flying with ski equipment and need a rental car — include Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) in southern New Hampshire, Burlington International Airport (BTV) in Vermont, and Portland International Jetport (PWM) in Maine, all of which serve a variety of regional and domestic destinations.
The White Mountains bustle all year, with the extremely cold northern winters producing the area's downhill ski resorts and cross-country ski trails, as well as blanketing small towns in a picturesque blanket of snow. But dress warmly: winter lows average in the single digits Fahrenheit, and even the highs are routinely below freezing. The mountains provide relief from the region’s hot and sometimes humid summers (even in July, the top of Mount Washington averages a high of only 55 degrees), making for ideal alpine hiking conditions. Fall brings with it New England’s famous foliage, as well as optimal hiking conditions in the lower valleys, at least until the snow arrives.
Getting up (and then down) the region’s highest peak is an essential White Mountains experience. Though the weather can tilt extreme, from whipping winds to blinding snowstorms, the views never disappoint. The historic Cog Railway dates back to 1869 and brings you (weather permitting, seasonally) up to the summit, as does the excitingly scenic Mount Washington Auto Road and a bevy of hiking trails.
Built as a summer home in the early 20th century, this mansion in Moultonborough now welcomes visitors to enjoy its beautiful architecture, stunning views, and scenic gardens. Hiking paths, a pond, snowmobiling trails, and exhibits on the history of the unique building and property will keep you busy for a full day here.
The longest hiking-only trail in the world runs through the White Mountains on its way from Georgia to Maine, where experienced hikers encounter some of the steepest portions of their journey. But many pieces of the trail also make good day hikes or shorter backpacking trips, while still letting you experience the storied route.