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Sledding, ice skating, horse-drawn sleigh rides... the list of arctic attractions in New Hampshire goes on and on, so it’s no surprise that the lineup of winter festivals is equally impressive. Whether you’re curing cabin fever or looking to treat the family to some frosty fun, elevate your Granite State getaway at one of these annual winter festivals in New Hampshire.
When it comes to established New Hampshire winter festivals, the Newport Winter Carnival in western New Hampshire is on a mountaintop of its own. Families have been flocking to this frigid festivity for 100 years and counting, crafting frozen figures at the ice sculpture contest, competing in ski and sleigh races, and gliding on ice rinks as Newport turns itself into a landscape of winter wonders. Newport is located just over the Vermont-New Hampshire border, about a half hour from Woodstock, so you can also get your fill of the Green Mountain State during your New Hampshire getaway (or vice versa!).
You may know the White Mountains as a go-to area for superb skiing and snowboarding, but if you time your trip right, you’ll find even more to appreciate than the slopes. The annual King Pine Winter Carnival brings four days of spirited celebration to Madison each February, with guided snowshoe tours, family challenge races, and a dazzling fireworks display over King Pine Mountain. And at just a half hour away, you’ll keep close to all the delectable dining and lodging options available in the Jackson/Conway area.
For more than ten years, the Keene Ice & Snow Festival has been livening up southern New Hampshire by taking full advantage of its serious snowfall. Ride past the snowy Monadnock mountaintops in a horse-drawn wagon, stop by “Snowman Central” and build your best button-nosed Frosty, or release your inner child (or children) at the snowball-throwing contest. A snowboard rail jam competition and a variety of local food vendors round out this popular New Hampshire winter festival.
Bringing youngin’s along? The Annual Winter Carnival in Merrimack boasts an especially kid-centric schedule of events. Between arts and crafts, cardboard box sledding, and even an ice carving demonstration, there won’t be a single family member left in the cold (so to speak). If you need a break from winter carnival games and that Naticook Lake breeze, you can warm up inside or by the bonfire — s’mores in hand, of course. Granite Staters know that all of winter shouldn’t be spent cooped up indoors — that’s why these winter festivals keep New Hampshire lively and energized all winter long. As you embark on your winter getaway, be sure to make a reservation at one of our New Hampshire inns or resorts for the inside scoop on area attractions (and a warm bed after a long day of sledding and skating).