Do you want to discover a wintery fairytale in New England? In this post, I am sharing the ultimate guide to a weekend trip to Ice Castles in Lincoln, New Hampshire. This attraction is perfect for families with kids looking for an unforgettable winter adventure. Find out everything you need to know about your visit below. Where to stay, what to do, and where to eat.
NH Ice Castles are open seasonally and offer fun mazes, slides, sculptures, fountains, sleigh rides, and a forest trail with LED lights.
A Little Story Behind Ice Castles
Ice Castles originated in Utah in 2011 when Brent Christensen, a father of 6 kids, came up with the idea. One day Brent decided to build an ice structure to entertain his children outside the home. His invention was a hit among his children and all over the neighborhood kids. They would all come together to play in a new invention called “Ice Castles.” This is how the name and idea came to life. Is not it cool?!
Currently, the Ice Castles drives thousands of visitors each year and brings beautiful memories and adventure to many families, including us.
You can visit Ice Castles in 4 different locations in the USA
- New Hampshire
- New York (New!)
How Ice Castles are Made
Making Ice Castles takes up to 2 months. Brent Christensen remains the main Artist who designs new, unique castles every year along with 20-40 additional ice artisans who hand make around 12,000 icicles every day. No wonder the experience you will get is so unique and beautiful.
But this is not all! Artists also installed LED lights inside the ice structures, fountains, and a nearby trail. They all light up during the evening hours, and everything becomes bright and colorful.
We could not purchase both day and evening tickets because of the limited admission. However, if you are lucky and get both one day, you won’t be disappointed. Just make sure you are well prepared for a long, cold day.
Ice Castles in NH: Tickets
Always refer to their website to purchase tickets for Ice Castles in New Hampshire or other locations. While you can buy stand-alone tickets when you arrive there, I would not recommend risking it. You may end up disappointed, as tickets generally sell out ahead of time. Besides, onsite tickets are subject to higher rates.
You may choose to purchase tickets during the daytime, the evenings, or both. Each provides a unique visual experience.
To guarantee yourself a ticket, purchase online your desired time slot. It is ok to arrive slightly earlier than your time slot but beware not to be too late.
When to Visit Ice Castles in Lincoln New Hampshire
The exact opening and closing dates of Ice Castles depend on the weather. Usually, they open when it starts to get colder for apparent reasons. The 2022 season is expected to open on January 14th.
NH Ice Castles open at the End of December or Early January and stay open until late February or early March.
For more accurate dates, keep checking their website regularly and sign up for their newsletter. Once it opens up for the public, tickets fly by very quickly. If we had signed up for a newsletter, we would have gotten night tickets. I hope you can plan the trip better than we managed.
How to Dress At Ice Castles NH
You should dress warmly. This is another essential thing you need to take care of besides tracking and purchasing the tickets.
Consider wearing thermal warmers underneath layers. These warmers keep a warm body temperature much better than regular clothes.
Wear waterproof boots. There is a lot of snow on the ground, and the last thing you want is to get your shoes wet.
I removed my jacket and accessories for only a few minutes. Otherwise, I was all bundled up. The temperature inside the Ice Castles is a few degrees cooler than outside. This is due to the place being entirely immersed in ice.
If you get too cold, you can warm up near the fire pits around.
What to do in Ice Castles NH
Have fun! The caves, mazes, slides are for everyone. Enjoy your little child in yourself and explore frozen adventures.
Take Photos. Try to gather as much of this beautiful place in your camera as possible. You will not regret capturing these moments.
Explore a forest trail. The 1/4 mile path enchanted trail is arranged with lights, music, and magical vibes. Although we visited during the day, we could still see twinkling lights around the track. True fairytale.
Sign up for a sleigh ride. A 15-minute Horse-drawn sleight ride is another way to get the most out of the trip. Get more details below.
Ice Castle Sleight Rides
A horse-drawn sleigh ride is a bonus when visiting the Ice Castles in NH. Tickets to sleigh rides are purchased in addition to the general admission fee. You can add it during your checkout. Dates and times may vary. If you have already purchased the tickets and looking to add the sleigh ride, I would recommend buying them online through their website. Purchasing them onsite may work. That is how we did it. But, we were a bit lucky to get the tickets as the rides were almost entirely sold out.
Sleight rides last approximately 15 minutes long. It will take you through the woods around the castles. It is a breathtaking and peaceful experience. Our toddler loved it as well.
Besides visiting the main attraction for the weekend, there are other fun things to do in Lincoln, NH, in winter. I recommend staying at least two nights in the area.
Hotels Near the Ice Castles in Lincoln New Hampshire
When you are planning a visit to Ice Castles in NH, try to find hotels nearby. Both are only minutes away from NH Ice Castles. If you need some ideas about other attractions, below are my top recommendations in the area.
1. Riverwalk Resort at Loon Mountain
If you are looking for an upscale family resort in Lincoln, NH, consider Riverwalk Resort at the Loon Mountain. For disclosure, we have not stayed here overnight but toured the property during the day.
Riverwalk Resort is a luxury family resort. It is located only 7 minutes away from Ice castles.
Because of an ideal location in the white mountains, tourists can enjoy all winter activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobile, cross country skiing, and snow tubing. In addition, the resort offers the ice staking rink in its backyards during the winter months, surrounded by a heated pool and fire pits. It is undoubtedly a perfect little escape for the family.
If you are not looking for any winter activities, here is what you can find inside the resort: A game room for the whole family, a day spa, Inside a resort winery, and the resort’s Italian cuisine.
Hotels near Ice Castles: #2 InnSeason Resorts Pollard Brook
If you are looking for a little more budget, stay but a very family-friendly resort, Innseason Resorts Pollard Brook is another option for you to consider when visiting Ice Castles in NH.
Huge rooms equipped with a kitchen. In addition to massive rooms, there are many options for kids and families to enjoy on your short stay here, including the game room, gym, pool, and a heated jacuzzi. Most importantly, this resort is only a few minutes away from NH Ice Castles. We spent two nights here.
There are no onsite restaurants at the Riverwalk resort. However, there are a few excellent spots nearby where you can eat. I am listing our favorites below.
Restaurants Near Ice Castles NH
Here are some of the best options to eat near Lincoln, New Hampshire, during your weekend trip to ice castles:
- White Mountain Bagel Company: A good option if you are looking for quick bagels and some refreshments on the go.
- Woodstock Inn Brewery: This local restaurant is very popular in town. Expect a bit of wait line but it is totally worth it. The food is exactly what we needed after a long wintery adventure. Besides, they have a kid menu and plenty of options. The place is super casual and loud so if you are traveling with kids, this is the place for wild little humans.
- Flapsjack Pancake House. This place is considered the most popular breakfast place in the area. It is first come first serve. We recommend getting there as early as possible the opening to avoid long lines. Definitely recommend it if you want to start a day with a good country style breakfast.
Have you ever been to NH Ice Castles or any other locations? How was your experience? Leave comments and let me know if you have any additional questions regarding our weekend trip.