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New Hampshire Road Trip – <strong>Scaling the White Mountain State</strong>

New Hampshire Road Trip – Scaling the White Mountain State

Manchester, NH - Concord

Experience the epic viewpoints, coastal serenity and unforgettable landscapes of the White Mountain State, with our New Hampshire road trip. Spanning five days, our Granite State route covers 351 miles and 11 stops.

You’ll begin in Manchester and head over to the coastal region. After discovering the village of Conway, you’ll travel along the Kancamagus Scenic Byway, towards the White Mountain National Forest.

Next, you’ll drive south to enjoy watersports at Lake Winnipesaukee, before reaching Concord to complete your trip in the state’s historic capital.

What to drive:

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Manchester, NH

New Hampshire Road Trip – Scaling the White Mountain State

Stop 1: Manchester, NH 1/11

Kicking off your trip is a visit to New Hampshire’s largest city. Manchester is home to several intriguing attractions, including Zimmerman House, Currier Museum of Art and Weston Observatory, in Derryfield Park.

Enjoy a relaxing lunch at the top-rated Republic Café, which serves Mediterranean farm-to-table fare, before checking out a glittering production at the Palace Theater.

Once you’ve absorbed the epicenter of New Hampshire’s arts and culture scene, take NH-101 east and venture through the verdant Rockingham County countryside, towards the coast.

Manchester, NH, 03104

https://www.yourmanchesternh.com/Visitors

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Seacoast Region

New Hampshire Road Trip – Scaling the White Mountain State

Stop 2: Seacoast Region 2/11

New Hampshire’s Seacoast Region is the country’s smallest, but one of its most beautiful.

18 miles of white sands include Hampton Beach, voted one of America’s cleanest beaches and with fantastic accommodation in its many lodging houses.

Continue north along NH-1A to admire nonstop views of the Atlantic and reach Portsmouth. Experience this port city with a stroll down its cobbled streets and join an immersive outdoor history experience at the Strawbery Banke Museum.

Portsmouth, NH, 03801

https://www.goportsmouthnh.com/

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NH-153 Scenic Route

New Hampshire Road Trip – Scaling the White Mountain State

Stop 3: NH-153 Scenic Route 3/11

After bidding farewell to New Hampshire’s seaside delights, take the NH-153 Scenic Route. Along this 50-mile drive, you’ll travel through some of the most picturesque countryside and villages imaginable.

With Pocket Mountain visible to the west, take in the sweeping views across Sunrise, Lovell and Province Lakes – where you’ll briefly cross into neighboring Maine.

As you journey north along the peaceful, tree-lined highway, you’ll encounter quintessential New England forestry and scenery, en route to Conway and the White Mountain National Forest.

Farmington, New Hampshire

https://www.visitnh.gov/things-to-do/scenic-drives/lakes-region

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Conway

New Hampshire Road Trip – Scaling the White Mountain State

Stop 4: Conway 4/11

Conway is one of America’s top-rated ski destinations and also features a Downtown Farmer’s Market. There are several lakes nearby, offering plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities.

For a cozy dining experience while in town, stop off at May Kelly’s Cottage. This distinctive Irish pub serves wholesome country cooking, with enviable mountain views from the patio.

Need someplace to stay? Check out Cranmore Mountain Resort, seven miles north, for skiing and thrilling off-slope pursuits – including the Soaring Eagle zip ride and mountain rollercoasters.

Conway, NH, 03818

https://northconwaynh.com/

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Kancamagus Scenic Byway

New Hampshire Road Trip – Scaling the White Mountain State

Stop 5: Kancamagus Scenic Byway 5/11

From Conway, you’ll now head along the Kancamagus Scenic Byway, cutting a swathe directly through the White Mountain National Forest. At Nearly 35 miles long and 2,855 feet at its highest point, this designated American Scenic Byway delivers stunning mountain range views.

Majestic waterfalls lie just a short hike from the highway at the Sabbaday Falls Observation Site. There are also plenty of campsites along the way too.

In the Fall, tourists flock to admire the changing foliage of the lush forests, witnessing brilliant reds and golds, before continuing through the mountains.

Conway, NH

https://kancamagushighway.com/

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Franconia Notch State Park

New Hampshire Road Trip – Scaling the White Mountain State

Stop 6: Franconia Notch State Park 6/11

After following the I-93 mountain pass for eight miles, winding through the peaks of the Kinsman and Franconia Mountain ranges, you’ll reach Franconia Notch State Park.

Famously the home of the Old Man of the Mountain, the park also contains Echo Lake, glacier walking at Flume Gorge, alongside falcon and hawk watching at Cannon Cliff.

There’s also the chance to fly fish at Profile Lake and hike the famous Appalachian Trail, before setting off on NH-16 towards Mount Washington.

Franconia Notch State Park, Franconia, NH, 03580

https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/state-parks/franconia-notch-state-park

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Mount Washington

New Hampshire Road Trip – Scaling the White Mountain State

Stop 7: Mount Washington 7/11

Perhaps the centerpiece of the trip, Mount Washington is the highest peak of the White Mountain range. Reaching a dizzying height of 6,288 feet, the peak is accessible seasonally by car, via the famous Auto Road that winds up the mountain’s east side.

As you ascend through the clouds to the summit, you’ll be rewarded by spectacular views of the forest – and a “This Car Climbed Mount Washington” bumper sticker.

Nearby accommodation includes The Glen House, situated just before you reach the start of the Auto Road.

Mount Washington Auto Road, Gorham, NH, 03581

https://mt-washington.com/

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White Mountain Trail Scenic Drive

New Hampshire Road Trip – Scaling the White Mountain State

Stop 8: White Mountain Trail Scenic Drive 8/11

The epic North Conway to Conway section of the White Mountain Trail is your next scenic drive, taking you along one of New Hampshire’s most picturesque roads.

Rugged peaks rise on each side of the byway, including Wildcat Mountain, whose resort has nearly 50 skiing trails, with forests enveloping the landscape.

There are a couple of trailheads that line the route too, including at Winniweta Falls and Rocky Branch North, while the Iron Mountain Trail is one for more adventurous hikers.

Greens, NH

https://www.visitwhitemountains.com/attractions/the-white-mountains-trail

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Conway Scenic Railroad

New Hampshire Road Trip – Scaling the White Mountain State

Stop 9: Conway Scenic Railroad 9/11

Before heading back into Conway, be sure to stop off at the Conway Scenic Railroad. Step into a 19th-century railroad car and take a trip back in time as you explore more of the wonders of the Mount Washington Valley.

While you’re here, you can enjoy excursions through the Saco River Valley, experience premium dining in first-class, 1950s-style with the Mountaineer dining package.

Even if you’re not riding the rails, you can pause to admire the Victorian-style station and outbuildings.

38 Norcross Cir, North Conway, NH, 03860

https://www.conwayscenic.com/

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Lake Winnipesaukee

New Hampshire Road Trip – Scaling the White Mountain State

Stop 10: Lake Winnipesaukee 10/11

After traveling back through Conway and along NH-16, the penultimate leg of your trip takes you to Lake Winnipesaukee – the state’s largest lake at approximately 70 square miles.

Lodge accommodation, camping and resorts are dotted around the lakeside, with fresh seafood, steaks and burgers available at several restaurants and bars.

Wolfeboro offers prime accommodation along the 81-mile lake loop, and the town is known as “The oldest summer resort in America”, courtesy of its lively main village.

Wolfeboro, NH, 03894

https://www.winnipesaukee.com/

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Concord

New Hampshire Road Trip – Scaling the White Mountain State

Stop 11: Concord 11/11

You’ll conclude your New Hampshire road trip with a visit to the state capital, Concord.

You can experience interactive space exhibits at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, shop at the antiques gallery, visit presidential homes and burial grounds and pick apples at the Carter Hill Orchard.

After a busy day, you can relax at the Granite Restaurant and Bar for fine dining or enjoy a more relaxed evening at the Draft Sports Bar & Grill, serving a selection of all-American comfort food.

Concord, NH, 03301

https://www.visitconcord-nh.com

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