Let’s be honest: Not all fun things are within our budget. Too often, we have to spend money just to enjoy the wonderful things in life.
This is certainly not the case in Lincoln, New Hampshire. For those of us who need to watch our wallets, there are lots of affordable attractions to enjoy in the area.
Thanks to its super-scenic location in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, this rural Colonial-era town is popular on New England itineraries. Just be careful not to get distracted by the gorgeous views while you’re driving and have an accident, okay? Because there has been news recently that defective GM airbags are being recalled, and few things can ruin a vacation faster than an injury!
Anyway, like most New Hampshire towns, Lincoln is a small community. Most people visit to enjoy the region’s magnificent natural scenery, and Lincoln makes a great base for that.
So in this article, we’ll share some of our favorite fun things to do in Lincoln (and around). And many of them are free!
1. Discover Clark’s Bears
Formerly known as Clark’s Trading Post, Clark’s Bears is a tourist attraction in the White Mountain National Forest. As the name suggests, the main attraction here is the Bear Show.
This is a fun way to observe black bears up close without being in danger of being attacked. Unmuzzled and unleashed, the Bears enjoy performing for visitors in their covered show arena.
The park is designed for people of all ages. Other attractions include an acrobatic circus, a climbing tower, a train ride based on historical figures of the town, and an assortment of other fun things to do. You can also visit museums that showcase early crafts and trades such as candlemaking, mining gemstones, and creating Christmas decorations.
They can BEARLY wait to see you!
2. Walk through Flume Gorge
Nothing quite compares to the walk through Flume Gorge, a natural chasm carved out by glaciers over many years. With 70- to 90-foot walls rising up on each side, the Flume provides a truly unique hiking experience.
Not that it’s difficult to hike. A walkway has been built through the middle of the gorge, with two paths leading up to it. The paths have informative signs pointing out interesting natural features.
There’s a two-mile trail loop that takes you past several waterfalls, natural cave-like rocks, and a classic covered bridge dating from 1886. For those with mobility issues, there’s also a shorter path that leads straight to the gorge, making it accessible to nearly everyone.
When you stop to purchase tickets at the visitor center, don’t just rush out the door to see the gorge. Some of the attractions at the center include a cafe with ice cream, a gift shop, an information center, a 20-minute film, museum-like displays, and a historic Concord Coach.
Flume Gorge is a must-see destination for anyone visiting New Hampshire. The scenery through the gorge is one of the most unique views in which you can experience nature, as you walk through the gorge. The rock formations seen through the gorge are also a scientific wonder because you can see the layers of the rock and soil after being weathered by the water.
Walking trips throughout the day are available to the public and the experience of walking through this naturally-made wonder is such a memorable experience.
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3. Ski at Loon Mountain
Stretching across Lincoln and the ghost town of Livermore, Loon Mountain is part of the White Mountain National Forest. It has the most accessible big-mountain skiing in New England, with a 2,100-foot vertical drop and 61 trails across three peaks.
In the colder months, Loon Mountain Ski Resort caters to tourists looking for ski trips and winter getaways in New England. In addition to its many downhill and cross-country ski trails, the resort has ice skating rinks (and sometimes, ice skating shows) available.
In other seasons, the mountain is open to the public. Free outdoor recreational activities include biking, trekking, and jogging across the mountain trails laid out all over the area.
Loon Mountain offers some of the best things to do in Lincoln, including the longest scenic gondola sky ride in New Hampshire (1.3 miles) to the summit of Loon Peak, ziplining, an aerial forest adventure park, bungee trampoline, the area’s largest climbing wall, Segway tours, glacial caves, and mountain bike rentals and tours.
The area provides a great escape and has great scenery that can revitalize those fed up with the urban vibes of the city. Head on to Loon Mountain for a great time with nature and have a thrilling outdoor experience!
4. Explore the Ice Castles
Every year since 2011, people have braved the winter weather to visit the Ice Castles at North Woodstock, just outside of Lincoln. The award-winning Ice Castles are one of the most unique things to do in Lincoln in winter because there are only five of them in the United States (Minnesota, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, New York, and Utah).
Ice castles are built by professional ice artists, who hand-place hundreds of thousands of icicles to create a magical winter wonderland made entirely of ice. Thanks to nature, every ice castle is unique.
if you visit during the day, you’ll see the details in the ice as well as the deep blues that only sunlight can reveal. After dark, multicolored twinkling LED lights will give the ice an otherworldly glow. Wandering through the colorful castle and the lighted walk through the woods will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale.
According to tourists, visiting the Ice Castle in Lincoln is one of the best things to do in New Hampshire in the wintertime.
Visit the website for more information including the best way to find the ice castle entrance, parking, clothing suggestions and to purchase tickets.
Seven Birches Winery can be found at the RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountain. Here, you can explore and taste different kinds of handcrafted wines made from classic European varietals of grapes and other fruits.
The winery offers an affordable $10 for a wine tasting of 5 different wine samples. A meat and cheese platter is also on offer to enjoy along with your wine flight. During the tasting, the staff also share interesting facts about the taste of the wines.
You can also sit on the balcony and enjoy a view of the mountains and swimming pool while wine tasting. Seven Birches Winery also has tours of their winemaking facility during weekends wherein you can also learn how they turn different grapes from around the world into fine wines.
6. Go back in time on the Hobo Railroad
The Hobo Railroad is a historic rail system that dates back to the late 1800s, when steam trains were popular. This is one of the most-visited historic destinations in New Hampshire and showcases the heritage railroad between Lincoln and North Woodstock.
You can enjoy an 80-minute excursion while sitting in one of the train’s vintage coaches. The trip covers about 15 miles, showcasing the nature, woods, and rivers in the area. Here, you can look back in time and appreciate the old-fashioned, round-trip train rides along the Pemigewasset River.
The railroad operates from late May through October and in December and the Hobo Junction Station opens at 10:00 AM. Schedules can be seen online and tickets can also be purchased through the Hobo Railroad website.
7. Ride the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway
The Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway is a great way to experience some of New England’s most spectacular views. On a clear day, you can see for miles in every direction – including the mountains of four states and Canada!
The cable car has been carrying passengers to the 4,080-foot summit of Cannon Mountain since 1938, making it North America’s first aerial tramway. It is still the only one in New Hampshire.
On the 8-minute ride to the summit, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views from an enclosed cable car. Then after reaching the top, you can explore different walking and hiking trails and take in panoramic views from the 360-degree observation deck. You can also enjoy a ski lodge that serves up an expansive menu of cafe and pub food, restrooms, and more.
As prt of Franconia Notch State Park, Cannon Mountain is a popular ski destination in the winter. There are 97 runs and slopes for all skill levels, and the New England Ski Museum at the base of the mountain.
It’s best to make advanced reservations for the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, as walk-ins are only accepted when space is available, and this ride is very popular during the fall, especially on the weekends.
A view from the aerial trams at Cannon Mountain.
8. Hike up the trails in Franconia Notch State Park
The Franconia Notch State Park can be found at the center of the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. It extends eight miles of Interstate 93 covering the Kinsman and Franconia mountain ranges.
This place is highly recommended for nature lovers. The breathtaking scenery will make you appreciate the calmness and beauty of nature. You can hike through Franconia Notch, a public mountain pass, which is a historic site for being the home of the famous Old Man of the Mountain – a series of five granite cliff ledges that seems to be a profile of a human face.
Aside from that, you can also try outdoor activities such as swimming, fishing, kayaking, and camping. Explore the beach, mountain attractions, and campgrounds in the area.
Just as with the tramway, it is best if you get a reservation on the Franconia Notch State Park website. Walk-ins are limited and accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Final thoughts about visiting Lincoln NH
The locations around Lincoln, NH are just a few of the most scenic and beautiful natural spots in North America. With vast choices of mountains, gorges, historical spots, and winter attractions, you can never get bored exploring all of these locations.
Paired with a rich history and affordable prices, Lincoln, NH is surely the place to visit now. You’ll enjoy vacation experiences that will make you come back again and again.