Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Jackson, NH

  • Published 2022/11/06

Once you travel to Jackson in New Hampshire, you won’t be seeing just the White Mountains, but you’ll also the areas of Bartlett, Jackson, Intervale, Glen, and Hart’s location, which offer a beautiful country charm.

Its lovely scenery is what makes it a hit among travelers and locals waiting to catch the scent of the pleasant mountain air.

But did you know that this city was not originally called Jackson back in the day?

Before its incorporation in December 1800, the first settlers of Jackson, who first inhabited Madbury, called the city New Madbury.

And from the years 1800-1829, the city adopted the name Adams as a tribute to President John Adams, which was then followed by the name Jackson and wasn’t changed ever since.

Distinctively different than bustling North Conway, Jackson is home to some of New Hampshire’s most spectacular hiking trails, including Iron Mountain Trail and Double Head Trailhead.

Jackson’s warm lodges, exquisite restaurants, and grand hotels all have a universal appeal that makes people feel at home for a short time.

While there is no shortage of things to do in the area, here is a list of the top 15 best things to do in Jackson, New Hampshire.

Treat Yourself to a Hike through Iron Mountain Trail

Trail at Iron Mountain Trail.

Lucile Purnell /

A hike through Iron Mountain Trail is usually overlooked by those who don’t know its existence, and it can be easy to come across as an uninteresting trail thanks to its lackluster name.

Hiking 2,726-feet Iron Mountain isn’t the easiest way to spend your day, but you won’t regret checking it out because the scenic views you’ll encounter on this 3.2-mile round trip hike are breathtaking.

Stone pile at Iron Mountain Trail.

Shanshan0312 /

The Iron Mountain Trail is crossed by an access road that runs to a white farmhouse in the field next to the start of the trail.

That white farmhouse faces Mount Washington, and as you could imagine, it’s quite a view as good as any.

The Ellis River lays below while the Carter Dome and Wildcat Range are on either side— these key geographical elements were depicted by artist John Joseph Enneking in 1895 when he painted his famous painting of this site.

A short stone pile at Iron Mountain Trail.

Shanshan0312 /

Ski or Snowboard at Black Mountain

When it comes down to areas that offer skiing and snowboarding, Black Mountain happens to be one of the best ski resorts in New Hampshire.

On Black Mountain Road, this alpine mountain attraction challenges every one of all ages.

It’s got the best variety for people who are just getting started or would like an intermediate experience.

More advanced skiers or snowboarders can take advantage of the black diamond runs as well, and people who are looking for great camping spots or horseback riding will also love this fun and exciting place.

One of New Hampshire’s oldest ski areas, Black Mountain offers so much through its four lifts, 40 trails, 53 hectares of terrain, and 716-meter vertical drop.

And more importantly, it prides itself on a stunning, all-around view of Mount Washington at the very top.

Handled by a family-operated business, this mountain is also home to a snowboard school, as well as a rental gear shop to help you find the best equipment on your first or next snowboarding adventure.

All that, combined with its intimate lodging atmosphere at Whitney’s Inn at Jackson, makes for a conundrum for skiers and boarders even today.

See Art in a Completely New Way at Jackson Art Studio & Gallery

If you have any inclination towards the visual arts, then Jackson Art Studio & Gallery will make a great side project when visiting Jackson.

You’ll find this art space at 155 Ridge Road that includes a gallery and working studio.

They feature stunning oil paintings of the beautiful New England countryside and various small, rural towns located throughout the region.

Here, you can admire gorgeous oil paintings by artist Melanie Barash Levittand like her “Through The Stillness,” “Chocorua Reflection,” and “North Country Pasture.”

The adult classes cover topics as diverse as using a Chromatic Palette in color mixing with David Lussier, Beginner Landscape Painting with Melanie Barash Levittand, Paint BIG Landscapes with Cynthia Rosen, and more.

They also offer free or low-cost weeknight art classes for children—so bring the kids along and make their winter break from school a little more exciting!

Go for More Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing at Jackson Ski Touring Foundation Nordic Ski Area

The Jackson Ski Foundation is an organized and community-driven organization whose mission is to maintain quality snowshoe and cross-country ski trails.

They’ve created over 150 kilometers of trail, far more than certain other towns, and try to ensure that they are trendsetting in cross-country tours.

Here, there are over 24 miles of snowshoeing on various trails and terrain and a warming hut for the mornings or whenever you might need to warm up.

The ski area also has an amazing main lodge facility that has lots of activities that you can rent out gear from, such as boots, skis, and snowboards.

Along with world-class grooming are many events throughout the season at Jackson Ski Touring Foundation Nordic Ski Area.

Every winter, the events range from children’s ski camp to ski lessons, snowshoe tours, Monday morning wax demonstrations, and more.

Enjoy a Nice Irish Meal at Shannon Door Pub & Restaurant

One of the oldest Irish Restaurants in New Hampshire, Shannon Door has been appeasing locals and visitors’ palettes since 1953.

Located between Routes 16A and 16 North on the Jackson Village loop, the Shannon Door Pub has been operated by the Mulkern family in the same building for over 50 years.

This Mt. Washington Valley food hotspot is known for its award-winning thin crust pizza, Irish lunch and dinner specials, and a menu of other staple pub food under $15.95 that’s sure to whet your appetite.

And their revamped kids menu will keep the little ones happy while you enjoy a relaxing meal or night out with friends.

To top it all off, they have an extensive craft beer list – even giving you access to booking live entertainment at this fun neighborhood hangout spot!

Create a Photo-op Moment of the Honeymoon Covered Bridge

Entrance of Honeymoon Covered Bridge.

Colin D. Young /

Situated on Village Street on the junction of N.H. Route 16 and 16A, Jackson’s Honeymoon Covered Bridge is a 121-foot long, 12-foot-high structure spanning the Ellis River and an important example of a once-popular covered bridge form found in northern New England.

Charles Austin Broughton, a three-generation Paddleford-truss bridge builder, built the Honeymoon Covered Bridge and one of the most iconic New Hampshire bridges on the state historic register.

The side body of the Honeymoon Covered Bridge.

Sarah Bray /

This 1876 Instagram-worthy white and red one-lane covered bridge takes pride and delight in being one of the few surviving covered bridges left standing in the United States.

This historic landmark offers beautiful views during autumn when all of New Hampshire’s foliage begins to turn different shades of red and orange.

Even more extraordinary is when it begins to snow around it during winter—a sight not to be missed on your bucket list!

Entrance to the Honeymoon Covered Bridge.

muffinman71xx, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Grab a Sleigh Ride or Go Snowshoeing at Nestlenook Farm

Is a winter wonderland what you and your family are looking for on your next stop in Jackson?

Say no more because, at Nestlenook Farm, every step can feel like a Christmas miracle!

Nestled in the attic of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Nestlenook Farm offers some winter activities that are enough to make anyone warm up just from thinking about them!

Also, Nestlenook Farm holds Smokin J’s Wicked BBQ on Fridays and Saturdays, where you can come for delicious food as you simultaneously enjoy their gazebo and ice skating rink.

One of the things your family can enjoy doing while at this lovely Jackson attraction is going on sleigh rides.

The place is famous for its custom-made Austrian sleigh and the bright snow trail filled with lanterns.

Its trail runs parallel to the Ellis River, too, so you are in for a treat with the change of snow-padded ground to an ice-frozen floor.

If you and your group prefer a more immersive experience, snowshoeing is also an ideal recreational activity.

And when you’ve finally run out of energy after a grand time zigzagging across snow trails, chill by the bonfires at the venue.

Your little ones may also like a s’more or two and a cup of hot chocolate for the freezing evening.

Keep in mind that no matter what you choose, it will be a “cold” environment but with lots of fun!

Explore Nature with a Pet-friendly Hike at Double Head Trailhead

Doublehead Ski Trail is a scenic loop trail in Jackson, NH, which is one of the most beautiful hiking trails around!

This 6.4-kilometer trail will take you through gorgeous wildflowers.

It also offers side trails through several forests as stunning as they are peaceful, offering dense woodlands shaded by evergreens or open fields carved out by time for grazing livestock like deer, moose, and even bears.

Although it’s a moderately difficult hike with two peaks to conquer along your way, these mountains are no match for Doublehead’s rewards—both the beauty of New England at every turn and picturesque vistas from the top!

You can bring Fido with you as you hike Double Head Trailhead, but make sure you keep your pup on a tight leash during your trek.

Visit Red Fox Bar and Grille for Sensational WoodFire Pizzas

The Red Fox Bar and Grille is about as central to beautiful picturesque New England you can get.

You can find this spacious kitchen & sports bar across from the photogenic Jackson Covered Bridge in Jackson Village on Route 16, a scant 1.5 miles from the entrance to StoryLand in New Hampshire’s gorgeous Mt. Washington Valley.

Red Fox Bar is only a stones-throw away from the hub of North Conway and the heart of the NH White Mountains.

From the famous Josper Oven to sensational WoodFire Pizzas and everything in between, Red Fox Bar and Grille offers guests an unforgettable experience.

They also offer rehearsal dinners, event hosting, private dining, nine flat-screen TVs, and a gluten-free menu providing guests with 17 awesome made-onsite draft beers.

Enjoy the Sunshine and Cold Refreshing Water in Jackson Falls

Water downstream from Jackson Falls.

Michael Shake /

In the chilliness of a summer day, visitors flock to Jackson Falls in hopes of not only admiring its grandeur and beauty but also enjoying some time cooling off in the small waterfall’s pools and potholes.

You won’t see any magnificent drops in Jackson Falls as huge as some of the larger falls in other parts of the country, but you can still enjoy a walk through the woods that has plenty of cascades, slides, and plunges of various sizes.

Autumn colored trees near Jackson Falls.

Jack Nevitt /

There are also plenty of scenic landscapes, including smooth rocks naturally shaped into rounded corners and deep cracks cut into stone that make them stand out.

At the same time, if your group is big on picnics and sightseeing, it’s the ideal location for a romantic date.

Don’t forget to take photographs, too, to keep as mementos on your memorable trip!

With its 100-foot tall drop, you are sure to enjoy the raw scent of water and hear the raging ripples of its current.

And what’s more, this landmark is also popular among newlyweds and weds-to-be.

So, if you’re looking for a unique venue to have your wedding vows exchanged, this is it!

Its convenient location and spacious ground can make your intimate event more meaningful and unforgettable.

For those looking to enjoy this special place alone, there is a trail at the lower half of Jackson Falls that starts across from The Wentworth Hotel, where you can stroll along and enjoy several large plunges.

Big rocks near Jackson Falls.

Jack Nevitt /

Stop by Autumn Nomad Cafe for a Sweet Treat and a Nice Latte

When it comes to delicious baked goods, nothing beats a little creativity and some dedication to quality.

Just about 5 miles away from the majestic Mount Washington is Jackson’s Autumn Nomad, a quaint café and cake studio best known for their beautifully decorated, inventive, and local specialty cakes and house-made artisan, wraps sandwiches, and salads.

With such warm, inviting decor, it’s no surprise to find that Autumn Nomad also serves a fresh selection of hot and cold drinks.

From espresso to teas and lattes (including Maple Bacon Lattes, Cinnamon Bun Lattes, and Almond Joy Lattes), the line-up of tempting beverages changes daily, ensuring you’ll always have something new and exciting to try.

At Autumn Nomad, they bake with as much care as they craft and design their cakes, which is evident in every single one that ends up in your mouth.

From wedding cakes to specialty desserts, it’s never-ending where their imagination takes them when designing unique treats that you won’t find anywhere else.

Everything you’ll see here is handcrafted by an amazing team of artists looking to bring cake after cake of unmatchable flavor and quality into the world.

Enjoy the Books at Jackson Public Library

The Jackson Public Library first opened for public visitation in August of 1901 and served as the community’s library until November of 2010, upon its relocation.

The famed architect from Boston, William Ralph Emerson, designed the library that’s still going strong today.

When it made its way to the National Register of Historic Places, it also became a place for fun community-building events in Jackson like concerts, festivals, and art shows.

This quaint and charming building is owned by the residents of Jackson, but it is still a property of the Protestant Chapel Association, which is responsible for its maintenance and operation.

The Jackson Public Library has 700 square feet of space overall, always comfortably accommodating anywhere between 15-20 patrons at one time.

Although not ADA compliant, Jackson Public Library has been completely renovated to be heated to keep patrons cozy on chilly winter days.

Make Yourself at Home at Whitney’s Inn at Jackson

Surrounded by charming farmland, the Inn at Whitney’s Farm, located in Jackson, New Hampshire, offers 12 acres of comfortable lodging for families and couples looking for a quiet escape to visit nearby attractions or ski at the resort below.

Located just steps from Black Mountain Ski Resort, this 3-star hotel offers an intimate setting that is perfect for couples looking to have a more distinctive experience than the typical hotel room.

In addition to our bedroom-and-breakfast charms, they also have an adjoining pub in case you want to soak up the game.

So when you’re not out exploring during summer, you can take up your fishing line and drop a lucky lure into their pond and make it big.

These guys even have a heated swimming pool overlooking an awe-inspiring mountain to help you work on those suntan skills.

They also provide kayaking trips where you can see brook trout rise around you and hiking trips in a trail that goes up along one of New Hampshire’s perkiest mountains.

In the winter months, you can hit the slopes right from their area towards East’s best cross-country skiing – the Jackson Ski Tour trails!

Other facilities offered at Whitney’s Inn at Jackson are an onsite skating rink and sleigh rides performed in surrounding regions such as Nestlenook.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Create Magical Stories at Story Land

Colorful houses at Story Land.

Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Story Land began its magical journey in 1954, and now that they’ve grown, it even has more characters, shows, rides, play areas, and dining options.

From thrilling coasters and water slides to interactive adventures and live shows, Story Land has more than 30 kid-friendly attractions that will surely put children at the center of their favorite stories.

Their Bamboo Chutes is the only one of its kind in New Hampshire and provides the ultimate fun ride experience with Roar-O-Saurus, the most sought-after wooden roller coaster in this part of northern New England.

Signage of Story Land

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

There’s their Crazy Clock Circus that features a barrel you and your kids can hop into together and go spinning around.

It’s also important to note that Story Land hosts the only Spinning Barn amusement in all of the United States.

Rides at Story Land

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

You won’t find any other attraction in New Hampshire that’ll let you meet Mother Goose and listen to her tales, bear hug Humpty Dumpty, have a meal with Cinderella, and experience just about everything on the same day!

All those adventures in Story Land waiting for you and your kids to experience is only 5 minutes (2.6 miles) away south of Jackson.

Clock tower at Story Land

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

Experience Marine Life Up Close at Living Shores Aquarium

Located at Glen, New Hampshire, within Story Land, Living Shores Aquarium is just 2.7 miles away south of Jackson (it takes five minutes to reach via NH-16 S) and has a reputation for being one of the best aquariums around.

And to top that off, it’s also New Hampshire’s first aquarium ever!

This magnificent aquarium is home to over 32,000 square feet of fun and interactive, hands-on exhibits that allow you to get up close and personal with the marine life.

The facility offers a one-of-a-kind experience chock full of hands-on exhibits, in which kids can pat stingrays, touch a shark, feed tropical birds, and get up close to friendly otters.

In the digital sandbox exhibit, kids can dig up information about the creatures found on New England’s coastline and learn how to create their underwater ecosystem.

For budding artists, there is also a station where they can draw their favorite marine life and see how it moves through its home in this new picture book.

There’s also a critter wall your little ones are sure to love with the exotic and friendly axolotls on display.

At the aviary, they can pinpoint tropical lorikeets perching from branches and a vast collection of amphibians and reptiles in their habitats.

They’ll also be familiar with the many “Nemos” fishing around at the clownfish exhibit.

At the end of the day, the indoor walkthrough sea life is a journey worth retelling, and that’s why you shouldn’t waste a minute while in New Hampshire without checking this place out.

Final Thoughts

Jackson offers its visitors a myriad of recreational opportunities and is an appealing place to visit for families, professionals, or groups throughout the year.

You can find all sorts of activities, restaurants, and attractions in Jackson, so even if you’re not big on winter sports, you’ll still be able to have an amazing time in this magical mountain town.

Make this list your guide to be sure that you don’t miss the most exciting highlights on your itinerary!

Discover More of Carroll County, NH

Best Things to Do in Wolfeboro, NH

Best Things to Do in Ossipee, NH

© All rights reserved.