That special time between Christmas and New Years is something we dream about all year. Oh, to have cocoa by the fire! To sled down hills, explore an iconic Attraction, bundle up for a walk in a wintry forest, or spend part of the day at a fun, family-friendly event at a local ski mountain – that’s the stuff that turns a week off from school into something to remember for years to come.
Keep reading for our favorite things to do during Christmas break in the White Mountains.
SANTA’S STEAM TRAIN EXPRESS AT LOON MOUNTAIN RESORT (Lincoln, NH)
Wrap up Christmas with one more visit from Santa. Climb aboard the Steam Train Express at the J.E. Henry Railroad at Loon Mountain Resort’s base and chug-a-choo-choo your way to the Kancamagus 8 parking structure. Guests will enjoy hot cocoa and a special nighttime story on arrival; bring a blanket if you’d like to stay extra cozy!
For a full day of fun, we’d recommend skiing Loon’s slopes prior to this festive event.
- Dates: 12/26 & 12/27
- Time: 5:30pm – 8:30pm
- Price: $15 per person (benefitting the Loon Mountain Area Community Fund)
CRANAPALOOZA AT CRANMORE MOUNTAIN RESORT
(North Conway, NH)
Ready to unwind after some sweet runs down the ski slope at Cranmore Mountain Resort? Take the whole family to Cranapalooza! There will be smores, music, and all kinds of games plus C-more the Penguin to keep your kiddos entertained.
- Dates: 12/26 – 1/1/23 (plus additional dates throughout January and February)
- Time: 2:30pm – 4:30pm
HOLIDAY EXCURSIONS ON THE CONWAY SCENIC RAILROAD
(North Conway, NH)
Before you ring in the New Year, take one last beautiful look at 2022. Your ticket to some of the best views? The Conway Scenic Railroad. Book your seats aboard one of the Railroad’s special Holiday Excursions to say goodbye to another year in style.
- Dates: 12/26 – 12/31
- Time: 11:30am – 3pm
- Price: Varies. Visit the Conway Scenic Railroad website to book your tickets.
FAMILY FUN NIGHT AT CANNON MOUNTAIN (Franconia, NH)
Ski the Huckerbrook handle tow at Cannon Mountain under the lights for a special, celebratory experience on the last night of 2022. Then, stick around to watch an epic torchlight parade & fireworks at 6:30pm. We can see the glittering snow, happy yet tired legs, and fond memories in the making already!
If you find yourself with extra time between Huckerbrook and the torchlight parade, visit the Cannonball Pub for apres entertainment (ages 21 +, until 6pm).
- Date: 12/31
- Time: 4:30pm – 6:30pm
- Price: $5 (in addition to RFID charge); purchase at Guest Services. Free for passholders and Same-Day ticket holders.
NEW YEAR’S EVE FIREWORKS AT TOWN SQUARE
(Waterville Valley, NH)
If you’re planning on being in the more southernly stretches of the White Mountains for New Year’s Eve, head to Waterville Valley at Town Square for a fireworks display to dazzle in the skies above Corcoran Pond.
- Date: 12/31
- Time: 7:30pm – 8:00pm
NEW YEAR’S EVE FIREWORKS AT CRANMORE MOUNTAIN RESORT (North Conway, NH)
Visitors to points east, listen up! Cranmore Mountain Resort is kicking off the New Year a bit early with a fireworks show at 6:30pm. Head to the base of South Slope for the best viewing and then head home with plenty of time to watch the ball drop from a cozy couch.
- Date: 12/31
- Time: 6:30pm – 7pm
Other Entertaining Ideas
GO SNOW TUBING
From the foothills of the White Mountains to lift-serviced tubing slopes at our ski resorts, our region is full of spots to slide! We’d recommend heading out for a few hours in all of your warmest layers, followed by an “apres sled” experience complete with yummy appetizers at a nearby restaurant. Take a look at this list of places to tube in the White Mountains to narrow down your adventure itinerary.
PLAY "I SPY" ON A SCENIC ROAD TRIP
Whether you take a quick drive around town or take a longer scenic route (like the Kancamagus Highway or the White Mountains Trail) on your way to another destination, keep your kiddos entertained by spotting the best Christmas lights, a mountaintop turned pink by the sunset, or animal tracks in the snow.
VISIT AN AQUARIUM
Meet axolotls, Asian small clawed otters, stingrays and a wild assortment of other critters at Living Shores Aquarium in Glen, NH. This awesome stop has a canteen onsite and numerous exhibits to keep your little ones entertained and educated over school break.
For a closer look at Living Shores, check out this blog.
CHECK OFF ONE OR TWO WINTER WATERFALL HIKES
Say “hello” to all of the White Mountain’s fresh snow with a winter waterfall hike. The ones on this list all have shorter, kid-friendly mileages plus plenty of photo opportunities at the end. As with all things outdoors, dress for the weather (including appropriate footwear and traction devices like microspikes), and plan your hike for daylight hours (as the sun sets very early this time of year).
For even more fun Christmas break ideas, visit our Winter Activities page or check out these kid-friendly winter activities. If you plan on being in the area for a few days, we would also recommend adding in one of our Winter Itineraries to maximize your adventures in the White Mountains.
Visit our Events Calendar for more things to do in the White Mountains, including live music, theatrical performances, and fireside chats to see you well into the New Year and beyond.