The BEST Winter Camping in New Hampshire (9+ Best Sites)

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Once the leafs of fall have fallen from New Hampshire’s trees, the season quickly changes to winter. For most, this means hunkering down indoors with a cozy mug of hot chocolate. However, for the hardy New England campers out there, winter provides a whole new set of outdoor experiences to embark on.

New Hampshire is home to an incredible variety of winter camping destinations. This includes remote backcountry trails through the White Mountain National Forest, and cozy RV camping just down the road from popular ski areas. There is something for every winter camper in New Hampshire, and we’ve curated our 9 favorite sites in this comprehensive guide.

In this Guide

New Hampshire Winter Camping Destinations

The following are our 9 favorite places for winter camping in New Hampshire. Check out the map below for a general overview of each campground’s location or jump into the next section for the must-know intel on each option.

A campsite in New Hampshite during winter.

Danforth Bay Camping & RV Resort

Camping Option: RV Sites

One of the largest and most popular RV campgrounds for winter camping in New Hampshire is the Danforth Bay Camping & RV Resort. Situated right on Danforth Bay and near Lake Ossipee, you’ll find spacious RV sites here that are available all winter long.

Water hookups are turned off during the cold months, but you can still access the amenities found at the main building. Come prepared with your own shovel and salt/sand, as you are responsible for clearing ice/snow from your own site while staying here.

In terms of activities, snowmobiling and snowshoeing are both popular during the winter. You’re also well located here for exploring deeper into the White Mountains and all they have to offer during the winter months.

Barnes Field Campground

Camping Option: Tent & RV Camping

For a more basic winter camping experience, the Barnes Field Group Campground in White Mountain National Forest is our favorite option in the state. During the summer months, this popular campground tends to book out for months in advance, making it difficult to secure a site. However, once the calendar turns over to the winter months, all of the campsites become first-come, first served.

You’ll need to be self-sufficient here during the winter, as none of the facilities or amenities are available. However, you will have access to the large campsites and be able to enjoy the extensive network of cross country ski trails in the area. You’re also not far from Mount Washington or skiing at Wildcat Mountain.

This is a great introduction to winter camping in New Hampshire as you’re in a easily accessible area with other winter campers close by.

Hancock Campground

Camping Option: Tent, RV Camping

The Hancock Campground in White Mountain National Forest is one of the most popular winter camping areas in the Granite State. Part of the reason is that you’re just a short drive from Loon Mountain, making this a fun place to park your heated ban or RV for a ski weekend.

You’re also primed to explore the main snowshoe and ski trails in the national forest that leave directly from the campground, or are closeby.

As you’d expect, there are no services at the Hancock Campground during the winter months, so you’ll need to come prepared to be fully self-sufficient. There are 56 campsites available here, and all are first-come, first-served. You shouldn’t have any issues securing a site during the winter, however.

Apple Hill Campground

Camping Option: Tent, RV Camping

Another classic New Hampshire camping destination that is well worth checking out in the winter is the Apple Hill Campground, just outside the town of Bethlehem. This family run site welcomes both tent campers and RVs/trailers throughout the year, and gets rave reviews for the friendly atmosphere.

During winter, the campground is especially popular for outdoor enthusiasts with tons of nearby cross country ski trails, snowshoe trails, and the Cannon Mountain ski area. Hookups are available year-round, which is another benefit to this wonderful campground.

Check out a review of all the facilities in the video below:

Lafayette Place Campground

Camping Option: Tent & RV Camping

Located in the Franconia Notch State Park, the Lafayette Place Campground is another great New Hampshire winter camping destination. This popular campground has a reservation system for the busy summer months, but turns to a first-come, firs-served campground during the winter off season.

You won’t find any of the typical services available after October, but you will find a quiet tranquility that makes winter camping all the more enjoyable. Be prepared for freezing cold temperatures and potentially deep snow as well.

This is a relatively popular winter campground given the easy access right off Highway 93. As with many of our recommended winter camping areas, there are tons of nearby trails for snowshoeing or cross country skiing. You’re also close to Loon Mountain if you’re looking to get a few turns in on your downhill skis.

Keyser Pond Campground

Camping Option: Tent & RV Camping

Heading south in New Hampshire and out of the White Mountains you’ll still find plenty of options for winter camping. One of our favorites is the Keyser Pond Campground, just outside of Hopkinton.

This family-friendly campground keeps just a few sites open during the winter months, but you’ll still be able to enjoy a few of the amenities, such as the indoor rec hall, during your visit. An abundance of snowmobile trails are accessible adjacent to the campground and downhill skiing is available at nearby Pats Peak.

Cardigan Lodge & Campground

Camping Option: Tent

A unique winter camping experience in New Hampshire is the Cardigan Lodge & Campground. Owned by the Appalachian Mountain Club, this is a popular destination for any number of outdoor activities. The lodge is staffed during the summer months, but in the winter the lodge itself is self-service only and it is also possible to rent the entire lodge.

The campsites remain open throughout the winter, although they do require a bit of a walk in from the parking area. This is a great opportunity to test your mettle for winter camping without having to be too far from your car or the warmth of the lodge.

You’re directly adjacent to Cardigan Mountain State Forest when camping here, so there are miles of snowshoe, snowmobile, and cross-country ski trails available. You can check out some of these excellent winter trails in the video below:

Blackberry Crossing Campground

Camping Option: Tent & RV Camping

For a basic winter camping experience we recommend checking out the Blackberry Crossing Campground in White Mountain National Forest. Located near Conway, NH, this campground has 26 first-come, first-served campsites that are available throughout the winter. The vault toilet remains accessible, but the water is turned off, so you’ll need to pack all that you need.

The campground was originally built in the 1930s as part of a Civilian Conservation Corps project, and there is an informative self-guided tour explaining much of this history at the site. The nearby Nanamocomuck Ski Trail is popular in the winter, making this a great place to camp before exploring further into the National Forest.

Pemigewasset Wilderness

Camping Option: Backcountry

For experienced winter campers looking to head into the New Hampshire backcountry, the Pemigewasset Wilderness presents several excellent options. Top among them in our view is a three-day loop beginning at the Lincoln Woods trailhead. To do something similar, you’ll need to be prepared for freezing temperatures, snow, ice, and the full host of winter backpacking conditions.

However, for those with the experience and proper equipment, you’ll experience a side of the White Mountain National Forest that few get to see. The wilderness is completely transformed in the winter, with a sense of calm, quiet, and tranquility that you won’t find during any other season.

Be sure to check conditions with the Pemigewasset Ranger District prior to heading out and always be sure to Leave No Trace when venturing into the backcountry.

Winter Camping Preparation & Must Know

Winter camping, especially in New Hampshire, comes with some extra preparation and gear compared to your typical summer camping trip.

Check out some of our top gear picks to make your trip more comfortable:

  • Four season tent: If you’re camping in a snowy, cold environment, a four season tent is an absolute must. This version from REI offers a great value. Alternatively, a winter tent with a stove jack can provide extra warmth from wood burning stove.
  • High insulation sleeping pad – You’ll typically want a higher R-value (warmer) sleeping pad for winter camping. This version from Exped is sure to keep you warm.
  • Hand warmers – Sometimes the simplest items have the biggest impact. A few pairs of hand warmers can make all the difference on your winter camping trip.
  • Wool Socks – Keeping your feet comfortable and toasty is essential for any winter camping trip. We recommend the wool mountaineering socks from Darn Tough.
  • Winter Camping Blanket – If you want to increase the comfort of your sleep system, consider adding a down or synthetic winter camping blanket.

In addition, give the video from Outside Magazine below a watch for essential tips on winter camping:

Have a great trip!

That’s it!

We hope we’ve provided all of the information you need to plan the perfect winter camping trip in New Hampshire and we know you’ll find the perfect campsite for your upcoming adventure!

Be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have any questions and be sure to tell us about your trip!

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