Situated in New Hampshire, White Mountains National Forest – or simply, the White Mountains – has long been a place for escape and adventure.

Skiers, hikers and families with small children are all captivated by the breathtaking scenery of this magnificent stretch of nature. Nature which covers a quarter of the state! With its enormous peaks and verdant valleys, it’s an ideal getaway for adventure and nature lovers.

Knowing where to stay, however, given all the different towns dotted throughout the region, can be a bit of a head-scratcher. But don’t worry; that’s where I come in. This guide on where to stay in the White Mountains has you covered.

I’ve put together the best areas to stay in the White Mountains depending on your travel style and budget. You’ll also uncover the best places to stay and things to do in each. After this guide, YOU will be an expert on the areas of the White Mountains.

Whether you’re up for conquering 4000ft mountains or relaxing lakeside, I’ve got you covered.

So, without further ado – let’s jump in and find out where in the White Mountains is best for you!

White Mountains National Park, Nashua, New Hampsihre
National Park scenes for days in New Hampshire

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Where is the Best Place to Stay in White Mountains?

Mount Washington Resort | Best Hotel in White Mountains

Mount Washington Resort White Mountains

Staying in the Mount Washington Resort is like staying in a piece of White Mountains history itself, just with wonderful hotel staff. Dating back to 1902, this Spanish Renaissance-style building houses a selection of tastefully decorated rooms, ensuring a comfortable, luxurious stay. The Mount Washington Resort is a National Historic Landmark, the last surviving grand hotel in these mountains.

With regards to all the amenities, you will have access to an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, a spa with a hot tub, and tennis courts. On top of this, Mount Washington Resort features an elegant dining room, 16 (!!) restaurants for on site dining, and various opulent lounges.

Cozy Wood Cabin | Best Airbnb in White Mountains

Cozy Wood Cabin with a fireplace in the White Mountains

The ideal option for a couple looking for a getaway in the White Mountains. This cabin has a big comfy bed and indoor fireplace – the perfect spot to spend evenings sipping wine together and warming up… 😉

Situated in a private forest, there’s easy access to hiking trails, mountain views, restaurants, and ski areas nearby. Oh, and did I mention there’s a hot tub?

Homey Ski Condo | Best Villa in White Mountains

Homey Ski Villa with wooden staircase White Mountains

The perfect mix of privacy and convenience, this holiday villa in Bretton Woods allows groups of up to six to sleep in a stylish, spacious property. With an indoor fireplace and outdoor deck, this condo is perfect for coffee with views of Black Mountain.

Resort amenities include a hot tub, sauna, and pool – and are all yours to enjoy. Not only this but you’ll have nearby outdoor activities on the doorstep, such as ski areas and hiking trails.

White Mountains Neighborhood Guide – Best Places to Stay in White Mountains

FIRST TIME IN WHITE MOUNTAINS
white mountains of new hampshire new england
FIRST TIME IN WHITE MOUNTAINS

Jackson

Jackson is a small resort town nestled practically in the heart of White Mountain National Forest, with parts of this sprawling natural wonderland surrounding it. Known as something of an artists’ retreat ever since the mid-19th century, today its beautiful landscape still draws people to the area.

ON A BUDGET
Lincoln White Mountains
ON A BUDGET

Lincoln

Lincoln is the second largest town in New Hampshire, and one of its most historic: settlement here dates back to 1764, when Lincoln was founded as a company town.

FOR FAMILIES
Bretton woods White Mountains
FOR FAMILIES

Bretton Woods

The neighbourhood of Bretton Woods is part of the town of Carroll, one of the handful of gateway settlements to the White Mountain National Forest. This area of town is a magnet for ski enthusiasts, with resorts right on the doorstep.

White Mountains Three Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

White Mountain National Forest covers an area of 750,852 acres. A sizable stretch of natural wonder crisscrossed with trails – including the famous Appalachian Trail – dotted with wilderness areas, and ripe for skiing. It’s a land of mountain peaks, with a total of 48 of these reaching over 4,000 feet above sea level. It’s a must-visit for adventure lovers backpacking the USA.

Taking up a fairly large area of New Hampshire, naturally, a number of towns make for a perfect base for exploring this protected land. They range from large towns with good connections to quaint neighborhoods nestled in mountain valleys. White Mountains is also popular with those staying in Boston, which is just a couple of hours away by car.

First and perhaps foremost in the region is the resort town of Jackson. Jackson has everything – lodges and ski resorts, classic diners and bars, as well as cafes and plenty of other entertainment and amenities nearby. It’s a charming place situated to the west of the national forest, just north of North Conway.

A girl trekking a mountain with a backpack on and trekking poles in her hands
North Conway is a village with more epic hiking if you have time to check it out.
Photo: @amandaadraper

Next up, there’s Lincoln. It’s much larger than Jackson, and therefore has a lot more in terms of chain eateries and hotels for visitors with that vibe. There are loads of entertainment options and theme parks in the area, owing to Lincoln’s long history as first a logging, then a resort town. More than everything else, it’s a haven for skiers.

You could also opt for Bretton Woods, a family-friendly location for your trip to the White Mountains. Steeped in history, it was founded in 1772 and named after an estate in Yorkshire, England. Today it’s a serene spot, with oodles of nature and history to discover.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the details of what makes these towns the best places to stay in the White Mountains – and which one will be perfect for you.

1. Jackson – Where to Stay in White Mountains for Your First Time

Jackson is a small resort town nestled practically in the heart of White Mountain National Forest, with parts of this sprawling natural wonderland surrounding it. Known as something of an artists’ retreat ever since the mid-19th century, its beautiful landscape still draws people to the area today.

white mountains of new hampshire new england
The views here are pretty breathtaking.

It’s a great location for a leisurely summer weekend getaway. Accommodation includes everything you’d expect of a mountain town, including ski resorts, rustic cabins and cottages. Jackson is quiet and maintains a charming character, but come winter, it comes alive with skiers attracted to four nearby ski areas and its cross-skiing credentials.

The Lodge at Jackson Village | Best Hotel in Jackson

The Lodge at Jackson Village  White Mountains

There are a few hotels in Jackson, but none quite as well-rounded as this one. The guest rooms at this lodge are modern, each comes with its own little outdoor area to sit out on for mountain views. Among other amenities, this lodge also has an outdoor pool and children’s play area, as well as a hearty breakfast served up each morning.

Cozy Wood Cabin | Best Airbnb in Jackson

Cozy Wood Cabin White Mountains

Looking for a classic cabin in the White Mountains? This place will definitely suit you. It’s not super rustic and old-school, it’s more an updated version of a cabin, but it still feels lovely and authentic.

Ideal for a couple’s vacation, this cabin is especially cozy in winter with its indoor fireplace and cute kitchen. There’s also an outdoor hot tub to keep you warm as you stargaze. It’s secluded, too, being situated in a private forest.

Warm Townhouse | Best Cabin in Jackson

Warm Townhouse White Mountains

This holiday villa is everything you need for a group holiday out in Jackson. There’s plenty of room for eight people to sleep, with two bathrooms and a big open-plan living space for all your evening entertainment needs.

It boasts a fully equipped kitchen, a huge tub in the master bedroom, and an indoor fireplace. There’s also a foosball table, which is part of the fun of this classic vacation property.

Things to See and Do in Jackson

new hampshire white mountains and new england foliage
  1. Spend the day snowshoeing at one of the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation’s miles on miles of trails.
  2. Swing by Jackson Community Church, a quaint and historic white-steepled church.
  3. Hit up Nestlenook Farm for 65 acres of trails, snowshoeing, evening sleigh rides, and even a Victorian-style skating pond.
  4. Pay a visit to Jackson Art Studio & Gallery for local art and artsy workshops.
  5. Snap a photo or two of the Honeymoon Covered Bridge, built in 1876.
  6. Play a round of golf at Eagle Mountain Golf Club, situated on the grounds of a historic hotel.
  7. Spend the day at Story Land, a fun-filled fairytale-themed amusement park for families.
  8. Hike to the top of Wildcat Cat Mountain, directly across from Mount Washington. There is a selection of varied trails, something for everyone.
  9. Take a trip to the cascades and pools of the beautiful Diana’s Baths
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2. Lincoln – Best Place to Stay in White Mountains on a Budget

Lincoln is the second largest town in New Hampshire and one of its most historic. Settlement here dates back to 1764 when Lincoln was founded as a company town. Now a well-positioned resort town, situated in the shadow of Loon Mountain Ski Resort and within the actual boundaries of White Mountain National Forest.

Lincoln White Mountains
You have to see Franconia Notch State Park.

But the outdoor activities don’t stop there, Lincoln also attracts keen hikers, as the famous Appalachian Trail crosses the northeast portion of the town. Long-inviting for visitors who want to enjoy its fresh air and mountain scenery, Lincoln has plenty going for it. A great base for exploring the White Mountains, Cannon Mountain is your closest peak.

Lumen Nature Retreat | Best Hotel in Lincoln

Lumen Nature Retreat, White Mountains USA

Lumen Nature Retreat offers something a little different. Six separate and independent glamping accommodations set up in the lush woods surrounding a private lake just outside of Lincoln. You’ll be in comfortable beds and have a private patio with stunning mountain views.

The ‘hotel rooms’ share a bathroom and shower block and you can book a room with or without a kitchenette. Within 14km of Loon Mountain, this retreat is in a great location and feels a world away from the big city of Lincoln.

Indian Head Resort | Best Resort in Lincoln

Indian Head Resort White Mountains

This family-friendly resort offers affordable all-year-round accommodation in the White Mountains. It’s a relaxing place to stay, with traditionally decorated rooms that feature white linen and their own veranda areas.

The resort boasts a selection of leisure activities to take part in on-site, including children’s clubs, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, its own lake, and a gift shop. This resort is in a great location, you’ll find it in the heart of Lincoln, making it a convenient option.

Stylish Studio Apartment | Best Airbnb in Lincoln

Stylish Studio Apartment White Mountains

This stylish apartment is everything you need to enjoy the scenery of Lincoln and the White Mountains. Situated at the base of Loon Mountain’s South Peak, it’s very well-placed for skiing, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

This apartment is a newly renovated condo with enough room to sleep four guests. Because it’s part of a hotel resort, guests will have access to all of its amenities; these include a game room, a sauna, and pools. Restaurants are also within walking distance.

Things to See and Do in Lincoln

Lincoln White Mountains
There’s no shortage of hikes around here!
  1. Splash the day away at Whale’s Tale Waterpark, a family-friendly place complete with a wave pool!
  2. Hike along the mystical Flume Gorge, situated in Franconia Notch State Park.
  3. Spend the day skiing at Loon Mountain Resort – and if you can’t, why not get a lesson or two?
  4. Sample some wine at Seven Birches Winery (paired with snacks, of course).
  5. Embark on a portion of the epic Appalachian Trail – one of the best hikes in the USA.
  6. Take a ride on the Hobo Railroad, a heritage railway line that runs along the Pemigewasset River.
  7. In the winter months, make sure you visit the Ice Castles: epic structures created by hand using thousands of icicles.
  8. Hit up the Basin Cascade Trail to stumble upon waterfalls such as Kinsman Falls and Rocky Glen Falls.
  9. Take the gondola up Cannon Mountain for stunning views.
  10. Get your pottery at Fired on the Mountain, a pottery studio with workshops (and a cafe, too).

3. Bretton Woods –  Best Neighborhood in White Mountains for Families to Stay In

The neighborhood of Bretton Woods is part of the town of Carroll, one of the handful of gateway settlements to the White Mountain National Forest. This area has abundant outdoor activities and is a magnet for ski enthusiasts, with resorts right on the doorstep. But it’s also fine hiking country, with plenty of trails and even peaks to tackle in the vicinity.

Bretton woods White Mountains

It’s long been a popular destination, with historic hotels and old railways to discover in town, among other heritage hotspots. An area of wooded mountains and cascades, Bretton Woods is a quiet and secluded place for a family vacation.

Mount Washington Resort | Best Hotel in Bretton Woods

Mount Washington Resort White Mountains

For a true taste of old-school luxury, Mount Washington Resort will not disappoint. This four-star hotel has everything you need to make your stay a comfortable and memorable one.

There’s a swimming pool, hot tub, children’s playground, and a large restaurant for evening meals. The hotel rooms are plush and well-appointed, with a charming country house aesthetic; some even come with their own fireplaces.

Omni Bretton Arms Inn at Mount Washington Resort | Best bed and Breakfast in Bretton Woods

Omni Bretton Arms Inn, White Mountains USA

Ok, so technically, this is part of the Mount Washington Resort but I thought it deserved special mention. Tucked away on the resort property, The Omni Bretton Arms Inn feels a bit more homely, bed and breakfast vibes ya know?

But, you still get all the amenities of staying at one of the best hotels in the White Mountains. Mount Washington Resort has big perks. Indoor pool, outdoor pool, spa center with a hot tub, tennis courts, you name it, they’ve got it, as do you when you stay here.

Stickney Circle Condo | Best Airbnb in Bretton Woods

Stickney Circle Condo White Mountains

Stickney Circle is close to the famous Mount Washington Hotel, boasting easy access to Mount Washington itself, as well as other nearby hiking trails. This condo is in a great location, perfect for keen hikers and nature-lovers.

It’s a modern property perfect for a family, given all the space and amenities, including a large kitchen and dining area, the all-important fireplace, and spectacular mountain views.

Homey Ski Villa | Best Villa in Bretton Woods

Homey Ski Villa White Mountains

Family-friendly and part of a larger resort complex, this holiday villa is perfect if you’re visiting White Mountain National Forest with your children in tow. There’s space for up to six people to sleep, with roomy living spaces all decorated in warm yet minimal Nordic style design. It even features a pretty cool spiral staircase and a cosy fireplace. On-site, guests have access to a pool, hot tub and outdoor fire pit.

Things to See and Do in Bretton Woods

Bretton Woods White Mountains
A good place to get back in touch with nature, I reckon.
  1. Cruise up Mount Washington Auto Road: eight miles of narrow, winding mountain road…
  2. … Or take the Mount Washington Cog Railway. Opened in 1868, it’s the oldest (and second-steepest) cog railway in the world.
  3. Enjoy the views, and some delicious food, at Latitude 44°.
  4. Go for a hike on the Mount Willard Trail to reach awesome views that won’t be too hard on little legs.
  5. Grab your hiking boots and explore the 6,000 acres of Crawford State Park with its hiking trails, cascades and forests.
  6. Swing by Bretton Woods Stables and book yourself on a sleigh ride in winter or, a carriage ride in summer.
  7. Drive out to Sugar Hill for a chance of scenery.
  8. Have a blast in an inner tube as you zip down the runs at Bretton Woods Nordic Center.
  9. Embark on a road-trip through New England
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FAQs About Where to Stay in White Mountains

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of White Mountains and where to stay.

What To Pack For White Mountains

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Where to hike in the White Montains?

There are so many epic trails in this gorgeous area. Check out Loon Mountain and Cannon Mountain, but my best suggestion is asking the staff wherever you’re staying. Chatting to the locals is the best knowledge resource always.

Where are the White Mountains?

The White Mountains are a segment of the Appalachian Mountains, north-central New Hampshire. 87 Miles or 140kms across, they extend over the border into Maine and contain the highest elevations in the northeastern United States.

What’s the deal with North Conway?

North Conway is a gorgeous village that’s the starting point for hiking into Mount Washington. The village itself has lots of accommodation within walking distance of the cute shops. Mount Washington Valley has an annual Ice Fest that is worth checking out.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for White Mountains

Anything could happen at any time. Everyone needs good travel insurance.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in White Mountains

The White Mountains is definitely a destination for any nature-lover worth their salt, an epic landscape of peaks, valleys, and forests. Choosing the place that’s right for you (and your budget) is the best way to go about finding your accommodation.

Jackson is a quiet but quintessential resort town, while Lincoln offers more in the way of urban conveniences.

To really be in the heart of the White Mountains, Bretton Woods is a good option. There may be a lack of restaurants and other amenities here, but it makes up for that by being utterly charming. If you’ve got the budget, staying at the Mount Washington Resort is truly an experience in itself. – let alone all the action-packed days you’ll be planning!

I hope my guide has helped you figure out where to stay in the White Mountains for you. Let me know what you get up to here in the comments!

man smoking with a massive snow covered mountain in the distance
Peace out White Mountain People
Photo: Will Hatton
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