Jackson, New Hampshire, a quiet resort town in the heart of the White Mountains, is the perfect spot for a leisurely summer vacation or winter weekend getaway. The town is home to an admirable variety of places to stay — from quiet, romantic inns to busy, skier-packed hotels — all of which feature classic New England charm, of course. For the outdoorsy type, Jackson’s location can’t be beat: Skiing and snowshoeing are an everyday option in winter, while hiking is the activity of choice in the summer. With all that in mind, here are a few of our favorite things to do in Jackson, NH.
THINGS TO DO IN JACKSON, NH
The Jackson Ski Touring Foundation maintains nearly 100 miles of trails throughout Jackson and the White Mountain National Forest. It keeps most of the trails — which range in difficulty from beginner to expert — well groomed and ready for snowshoeing, classic track skiing, or skate skiing. Feel free to bring your own equipment or rent it from the foundation’s base lodge, where day passes are also available for purchase. And for beginners, skiing lessons are readily available. 153 Main St., Jackson. 603-383-9355; jacksonxc.org
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With a huge Victorian skating pond and 65 acres of trails for horse-drawn sleighs, Nestlenook Farm is the perfect place to spend a winter’s day outdoors. The Victorian estate is a favorite among families and couples, who may enjoy a cheery afternoon skate, a romantic evening sleigh ride, or a peaceful snowshoe through the woods. 66 Dinsmore Road, Jackson. 603-383-7101; nestlenookfarmsleighrides.com
A drive up Mount Washington is an experience that sticks with you for life (as does the complimentary “This Car Climbed Mount Washington” bumper sticker). For passengers, it’s the breathtaking views that will never be forgotten; for drivers, it’s the sheer terror of driving nearly 8 miles up a narrow, guardrail-free mountain road. Needless to say, the Mount Washington Auto Road is not for the faint of heart — but it’s nevertheless an experience worth every hair-raising minute. The road is open from May to October, weather permitting, though you also can ascend the mountain by way of SnowCoach in winter. Alternatively, you can summit via the Cog Railway in Bretton Woods, which offers a slightly less nerve-racking experience and fantastic views during peak fall foliage. 1 Mount Washington Auto Road (Rte. 16), Pinkham Notch, Gorham. 603-466-3988; mtwashingtonautoroad.com
Wildcat Mountain’s enormous peak is located directly across the valley from the even more enormous Mount Washington — a location that presents skiers with unrivaled views of lovely White Mountain vistas. The mountain boasts 48 trails of varying difficulty, as well as New Hampshire’s longest novice trail (2.75 miles). Another feature of Wildcat is its partnership with nearby Attitash Mountain Resort, which lets visitors ski two mountains for the price of one! 542 Rte. 16, Pinkham Notch, Gorham. 603-466-3326; skiwildcat.com
Located right down the road from the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation, this classic country store is a favorite pit stop for locals and tourists alike. Visitors flock to the deli for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which can be eaten in the store or taken to go. The country store also sells a variety of gifts, trinkets, and local souvenirs. 174 Main St., Jackson. 603-383-8064; jtowndeli.com
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This Irish pub and restaurant has been a part of Jackson since 1953. Here you’ll find all your favorite Irish pub food, as well as a few Italian classics. Live entertainment usually is on the menu, too. Route 16, Jackson. 603-383-4211; shannondoor.com
Located right on Jackson’s main drag, Yesterdays is a breakfast and lunch restaurant that provides its patrons with classic, hearty meals at fair prices. Indulge yourself in fluffy blueberry pancakes for breakfast or a maple syrup–glazed Monte Cristo for lunch. 100 Main St., Jackson. 603-383-4457; sarahsyesterdays.com
Red Fox Bar & Grille is a large, all-American restaurant that specializes in authentic wood-fire grilling. The menu features everything from seafood to burgers, meaning almost everyone will be satisfied. It’s great for families or groups after a long day of skiing — and don’t miss the award-winning breakfast buffet on Sundays! 49 Rte. 16, Jackson. 603-383-4949; redfoxbarandgrille.com
JACKSON HOTELS & INNS
Courtesy of The Inn at Ellis River
The Inn at Ellis River’s decor is tastefully old-fashioned, with many of the rooms featuring fireplaces, hot tubs, and balconies. The inn is known for its great breakfast, heated outdoor pool, and friendly staff. 17 Harriman Road, Jackson. 603-383-9339; innatellisriver.com
Courtesy of The Snowflake Inn
If a couple’s retreat is what you desire, the Snowflake Inn might just be your best bet. The inn’s decadent rooms and suites are the epitome of romance, and the no-children policy means you’ll have all the peace and quiet you could ever want. Many of the suites also feature a Jacuzzi and fireplace — perfect for warming up after a long day on the slopes. 95 Main St., Jackson. 603-383-8259; thesnowflakeinn.com
Courtesy of The Inn at Thorn Hill & Spa
The Inn at Thorn Hill & Spa boasts a restaurant, too, so spending a whole afternoon just unwinding at the inn isn’t out of the question! The spa is staffed by licensed massage therapists who are guaranteed to make your visit a relaxing one. In addition to the rooms in the main inn, there are also several cottages for rent. Thorn Hill Road, Jackson. 603-383-4242; innatthornhill.com
The Eagle Mountain House is a huge, old-fashioned hotel featuring a pub, a restaurant, and a golf course just across the road. The rooms are embellished with classic wooden furnishings, giving the hotel an elegantly rustic air. 179 Carter Notch Road, Jackson. 603-383-9111; eaglemt.com
What are your favorite things to do in Jackson, NH? Let us know in the comments!
This post was first published in 2017 and has been updated.
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