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The Best New England Winter Vacation and Travel Destinations

Winter on North Street in Walpole MA
Winter on North Street in Walpole, Mass.

by Eric Hurwitz. Updated 12/02/16.

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The cold weather will never stop a hardy New Englander from enjoying his or her outdoor surroundings and it
shouldn't stop visitors either.  Scenes of fluffy, white snow gracing town commons and winding country roads, the opportunity to ski, cross country ski and snowboard, the wonderful Vermont or New Hampshire mountain family resorts in sleepy or bustling ski destination towns, ice skating on the pond, sledding down a hill, and Christmas celebrations are enough to keep hundreds of thousands of New Englanders living in New England rather than, say, moving to Florida. Let's get the snowball rolling...


Mount Washington Resort, Bretton Woods, NH
Omni Mount Washington Hotel, Bretton Woods, N.H.

Perhaps the best choice for spending a family winter vacation is in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. This isn't your basic, wimpy, measly- hills-disguised-as-mountains vacation getaway. Mt. Washington peaks at 6,288 ft. It's a beautiful sight, with its peak capped with a blanket of snow, as is virtually other location in this rugged region.  North Conway is a terrific place to stay with views of Mt. Washington from Main St. and loads of great options for White Mountain-style lodging and dining choices -- as well as delightful, local store and a growing number of outlet stores. It's home to Mt. Cranmore with 40 acres of skiiable terrain with a vertical drop of 1,200 ft. and 41 trails of novice, intermediate and expert trails. While high and lonesome Bretton Woods doesn't have a downtown as clearly defined as North Conway, its closer in proximity to Mt. Washington. This family-oriented ski area becomes a ski lover's dream in the winter 434 acres of ski and snowboard terrain, 101 trails and glades, as well as four terrain parks. Bretton Woods is home to the 1902 historic landmark Mount Washington Resort -- dramatically stunning in appearance with its grand Spanish Architecture in an almost castle-like appearance.  The quintessential sleepy New England town of Jackson has a lot to offer in the winter with some classic, historic New Hampshire inns as well as Wildcat Mountain, a highly developed ski area with amazing views of Mount Washington that you simply won't believe!  Cross country skiing is prominent at Jackson Falls and Jackson X-C, a 150+ kilometer trail system that will take you through the heart of a truly scenic White Mountains area.


Photographed at Stowe Mountain Lodge, Stowe VT
Photographed at the Stowe Mountain Lodge, Stowe, Vt. Photo credit: Stowe Mountain Lodge.

Stowe has grown from a sleepy, little village into a major tourist attraction with Mountain Rd. featuring numerous hotels, dining, and shopping choices. Despite its growth, the small-town feeling and the scenery can never be taken away from this famous travel and vacation destination. The downtown is still classic Vermont with its general store, small-town stores and white church steeple within a spectacular mountain setting. Of course, those mountains create ideal skiing situations at Stowe Mountain Resort where Mt. Mansfield resides as the state's highest elevation at 4,395.  The highest skiing elevation comes in at 3,640 ft. and vertical drop at 2,360. The Mountain features 116 total trails, including 40 miles of 485 skiiable acres!

Stowe lodging abounds from the ski area to the quaint downtown in the form of motels, hotels, family-oriented resorts, and quaint classic Vermont inns and bed and breakfasts.  One famous lodging destination is the Trapp Family Lodge, a 96-room alpine lodge and mountain resort with spectacular mountains views and three heated pools, 100 km of trails, concerts in our meadows, world class cuisine, wine tastings and much more. With its Austrian-meets-classic-Vermont-country-inn feel, the Trapp Family Lodge is perhaps best known as the inspiration for the classic movie "The Sound of Music."

Make hotel reservations through or at some of New England's best ski areas!

Many areas mentioned below also include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding opportunities. Research each community and its hotels and you'll be amazed at the big-time winter attractions in such small towns...

Lincoln, N.H.-- Loon Mountain, in the heart of the White Mountains

Killington, Vt. -- Mt. Killington, perhaps New England's best developed ski area

Westminster, Mass. -- Wachusett Mountain, an underrated mountain with "major league" ski facilities.

Hancock, Mass. -- Jiminy Peak, in the heart of the Berkshires

Ludlow, Vt. -- Okemo Mountain, a well-regarded ski area in a very nice  "Vermont" town

Warren, Vt. -- Sugarbush Mountain, nice historic town center, beautiful Vermont rural scenery

North Conway, N.H. -- Mount Cranmore, a great ski area in one of New England's most idyllic, fun mountain towns

Here, you can find huge discounts on ski lift tickets at ski resorts in New England...

New England winter travel articles from VisitingNewEngland and the Thrifty New England Traveler
Best ski resorts for families in New England
Find top cross country skiing spots in New Hampshire
Boston Frog Pond winter ice skating at the Boston Common in Boston, Mass.
Turner Pond ice skating and lodge at Turner Pond in Walpole, Mass.
Winter cross country skiing in Jackson, N.H.
Winter recreation opportunities in west, northern Maine
Chilly outside, chili inside in Pomfret, Conn.
New England winter travel fun for the person who doesn't like skiing
Winter ice skating at Patriot Place in Foboro, Mass.

Experience the best Christmas celebrations, festivals in New England

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Eric wrote these helpful, fun New England travel books just for you...

Best Diners In New England Kindle bookMassachusetts Town Greens Book

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