If you want to visit the New Hampshire ice castle but don’t know where to start, this post is here to help. We will give you numerous tips to make your visit more enchanting.
The frozen attraction in New Hampshire is just one of the six across North America. Ice Castles are a breathtaking winter attraction that genuinely does bring fairytales to life.
The icicles used to construct Ice Castles are all hand-crafted by skilled ice sculptors. Spectacular LED lighting, icy thrones, tunnels, slides, and waterfalls are just a few of the features found in these fortresses.
It’s like wandering into a totally unreal frozen kingdom with epic ice sculptures, cool tunnels, and mind-blowing lights that’ll give you memories for days! These Ice Castles in New Hampshire simply aren’t to be missed.
Let’s dig deeper into this winter-only escapade. Here is your ultimate guide to visiting the ice castles in New Hampshire!
What Are The Ice Castles in New Hampshire?
The Ice Castles in New Hampshire are like stepping into a real-life fairy tale. Imagine a world where towering ice formations, glimmering tunnels, and enchanting sculptures come together to create a breathtaking winter wonderland. These ice castles are a sight to behold, drawing visitors from all over to experience the magic of frosty artistry.
Located in North Woodstock, the ice castles are crafted by skilled artisans who meticulously grow and sculpt icicles into intricate designs. As day turns to night, the castles are illuminated with colorful lights that dance and shimmer, adding an extra layer of awe to the already mesmerizing scene.
It’s like wandering through a frozen palace straight out of a storybook.
Whether you’re exploring handcrafted ice thrones, navigating through narrow ice passageways, or simply marveling at the sheer beauty of nature’s frozen art, the ice castles in New Hampshire offer an unforgettable adventure for visitors of all ages. It’s a place where winter dreams come to life and where you can truly embrace the magic of the season in a way that’s unlike anything else.
Some of The Ice Castle’s distinguishing features are huge turrets, curvatures, shafts, and ice slides. A new horse-drawn sleigh ride is now available for guests to enjoy.
Plus, the stunning LED-lit sculptures that decorate the entire venue further enrich the experience.
This is an awesome experience that definitely isn’t to be missed!
Many tourist destinations across the globe contain “ice” sculptures that turn out to be entirely synthetic, not pure ice. However, this isn’t the case at the Ice Castles in NH.
Everything you see within the New Hampshire Ice Castles is crafted entirely out of ice by a team of skilled ice artists, giving the illusion that you’re genuinely standing in a frozen wonderland.
At the attraction’s hot chocolate stand, guests can watch skilled ice workers spray racks and collect icicles through a window in the exterior wall, gaining a glimpse of the “magic” as it unfolds.
How Are These Ice Castles Created?
Perhaps you (like me!) are wondering how these Ice Castles rise since they are indeed ice. Below is a glimpse of the process of its creation:
The Ice Castles use their crew of ice artisans to “grow” hundreds and thousands of icicles. They are capable of producing over 10,000 icicles every day.
During the season, they move the icicles around the Ice Castles to various locations where the designer believes they may foster more ice growth. The icicles will then pave into place with a slushy compound.
Once the sprinklers activate, frosty structures will start to take shape. The creation of these stunning creations is not as simple as it may appear at first glance.
To put this in perspective, building one Ice Castle in New Hampshire takes about four thousand hours of work. Even once construction is complete, it requires upkeep because it is constantly vulnerable and reliant on the cold.
Furthermore, since the Ice Castles has multiple locations around North America, each has its unique team of ice designers who has creative freedom when designing the displays. Every design will be different, so it’s definitely worth visiting the NH ice castles even if you’ve seen ice castles in other states.
How To Get to the Ice Castles in New Hampshire?
Reaching Ice Castles in New Hampshire is a breeze.
If you are driving South on I-93, utilize Exit 33. Continue towards US-3 South, then turn right at the stop light heading into Lost River Road. From there, go approximately .7 miles until you reach Clark Farm Road. Make a right turn on Clark Farm Road and drive straight to the Ice Castles.
Alternatively, if you are driving North on I-93, use Exit 32. Head right on Hwy 112 afterward. When you reach the stoplight, head straight west on Hwy 112 to the Lost River Road. Then, drive about .7 miles to get to Clark Farm Road. Lastly, turn right, then continue straight towards the Ice Castles.
Either way, there are tons of signs and it’s pretty hard to miss!
Operating Hours of Ice Castles in New Hampshire
The Ice Castles are accessible from Tuesday through Thursday between 4 and 9 p.m. On Fridays, the attraction stays open a little longer, until 10:30 p.m.
Since there are not so many hours of operation, you can count on a large influx of visitors any days the Ice Castles are open. As a result, you should go during the week instead of the weekend.
Mondays and Sundays are the only days the Ice Castles are not open to the public. Nonetheless, there are occasions when the administration decides not to allow guests, so I recommend you check the Ice Castles site before you actually decide to drive there. And of course, seeing the Ice Castles is weather dependent, so you’ll definitely want to check the site if it’s raining or a warm winter.
Ticket Prices of Ice Castles in New Hampshire
There is a fee to enter Ice Castles, but once inside, you will realize it was well worth every penny.
Tickets for visitors 12 and up are $20 throughout the week and $29 on the weekends for General Admission. During the week, kids 4-11 pay just $15, and on the weekend, they pay $22.
Guests should also have cash for other activities, such as the horse sleigh ride. The Ice Castles exit gift shop also has a wide variety of appropriately themed gifts for families to purchase on their way out. And of course, you may want to get hot chocolate!
Online sales of tickets are staggered at half-hour intervals. It is necessary to obtain your tickets online in advance, and either print them off or have them sent to your phone. Your visit is unlimited in duration, but once you leave, you can’t come back.
There may be a few tickets accessible at the door, but if you plan on going late in the day, on the weekend, or if you want to avoid the crowds, you should get your tickets in advance.
Never take a chance on getting into Ice Castles without first checking their online tickets page. If tickets are no longer accessible to purchase online, they may not be obtainable for purchase at the venue. This is a really popular attraction right now that sells out quickly!
Best Time to Visit Ice Castles in New Hampshire
There are only a few months out of the year when visitors can see the New Hampshire Ice Castles with its offshoots. Ice sculptors, naturally, can only work when temperatures are low, so when the Ice Castles finally open to the public, you should plan on getting there ASAP.
Since Mother Nature is both an ally and an adversary to Ice Castles, the best time to visit North Woodstock, New Hampshire, is in the dead of winter.
It is best to visit between the middle of January and the beginning of February.
When it reopens for the season, the ice castle will be open every day of the week, excluding Mondays.
Weekday prices and availability are typically lower for tickets. Tickets are sold in half-hour intervals so that visitors can select their preferred time of entry. The entrances open at 4 p.m. and stay open until 10 p.m.
Pick an earlier time slot, if possible. The blue light reflected off the ice makes the castles look even more stunning in broad daylight. However, the New Hampshire ice castle comes to life at night when it’s lit up from within. LED lighting makes the space seem otherworldly. I recommend going midday and staying until it’s dark out for the full experience.
Families with young children should visit during the day to avoid the crowds and enjoy the milder weather. On Saturdays, visitors can even pose for photos with the Snow Queen, so keep that in mind and make sure to show up early enough!
What To Expect at Ice Castles in New Hampshire
Upon entering this icy realm, any skepticism you may have had regarding the skill of ice artisans to build a world out of solid water will quickly evaporate in the face of the gorgeous structure.
icecastles.comVisitors are encouraged to freely roam the park, finding their way through the maze of tunnels, arches, and igloos topped with domes. There’s an ice slide, an ice palace for pretending you rule a winter country, and an ice bridge to get from one area to the next. The slide comes with protective mats.
The New Hampshire ice castle is one of six the firm constructs annually in the United States and Canada and the only one of its size in the Northeast. It is famous for its long, thrilling ice slide, which draws a large crowd. There is even a toddler-sized slide for the little ones.
You can see color within the sculptures during the day, but the entire tower sparks up from the inside at night.
Are you feeling cold? A snack stand serves hot chocolate, and multiple fireplaces are also accessible inside.
A knit hat, a t-shirt, and a plush yeti are just some of the souvenirs on offer. On-site credit card processing is available at the establishment.
What you just read is a small sample of what it has produced in the past. Keep in mind that each visit to this seasonal attraction brings something new. The next time it opens, it could surprise everyone by producing a truly original masterpiece.
Tips for Visiting Ice Castle
Here are several tips to help you savor each passing second while in the Ice Castles in New Hampshire.
1. Go Before Sunset and Linger After Dark
We highly suggest you visit the Ice Castles before sunset and stay after dark, as nighttime comes early to the northern side of the United States.
Midday is a stunning time to visit the Ice Castles. The sparkling crystal surface reflects the magnificent winter sun, creating a constantly shifting mix of lights and shadows. People smile as the sun reflects off the ice and illuminate the “windows” they gaze through.
However, the Ice Castles also shine at night. Internally, the structures radiate by a system of LED lighting that gradually changes colors, giving each ice wall its distinct look.
As the colored lights change and cast moving shadows on the sculptures, they appear to transform right before your eyes. Colors in caves range from a gentle yellow light through vibrant blues and greens, and finally, to a deep purple.
From within, the ice glows, enveloping you in a deep, multi-hued rainbow. A sense of being surrounded by shifting colors can make a person feel happy, surprised, and at ease.
2. Layer up for the Cold
The name gives away the fact that this is a tourist hotspot full of ice sculptures or other crystalline displays. You can explore the outside of these massive snow and ice mounds while you take in the chilly beauty of the ice castles from all angles.
Even if you’re not planning on spending the night, you should still bring enough warm clothing to New Hampshire because the temperature drops well below freezing at night.
Management at the Ice Castles recommends visitors bring snow gear such as boots and pants. You should also dress a warm coat and a hat. Wear wool socks, and thick boots will be much more bearable.
Ensure the kids have enough blankets and other warm clothing if you take them to the ice castles. For one, it will keep them toasty the entire time. And two, it will be inconvenient to pack up the kids and leave the attraction if they start to feel the chill since the place doesn’t allow re-entry.
Don’t forget to bring a pair of warm winter boots, as this is one of the most vital things to remember if you want to enjoy Ice Castles in New Hampshire.
FAQs About Visiting The Ice Castles In New Hampshire:
What’s the deal with these Ice Castles in New Hampshire?
Oh, you’re in for a treat, my friend! The Ice Castles in New Hampshire are like stepping into a real-life frozen fairy tale. These mind-blowing structures are crafted with icicles, and they’ve got everything – from epic ice sculptures and tunnels that’ll make you feel like you’re in a fantasy movie, to enchanting lights that light up the night. It’s a winter wonderland that’ll seriously blow your mind.
Alright, but where exactly are these ice castles located?
They’re chilling in North Woodstock, New Hampshire, nestled in the heart of the White Mountains. You won’t have to go on some epic quest to find them – they’re pretty easy to spot and totally worth the journey.
Is it just a bunch of ice, or is there more to it?
Way more! These ice castles are basically a whole icy kingdom waiting for you to explore. Picture yourself wandering through tunnels, checking out handcrafted ice thrones, and being surrounded by towering ice formations. And when the sun goes down, the whole place lights up with crazy cool LED lights, adding an extra layer of awesomeness to the experience.
When can I visit these icy wonders?
They usually open up shop in late December or early January, depending on Mother Nature’s plans. The icy adventure usually continues through February or March, again depending on those frosty vibes. Just keep an eye on their official website for the latest updates on opening dates and stuff.
I’m sold! How do I get my hands on some tickets?
Easy peasy! You can snag your tickets online through their website. It’s a popular spot, so I’d recommend booking ahead of time to make sure you don’t miss out on the icy fun.
Anything else I should know before I go freeze my socks off?
Dress warmly, my friend! We’re talking winter jackets, hats, gloves, the whole shebang. And wear some comfy boots – you’ll be walking around on snow and ice, after all. Oh, and don’t forget your camera! You’re gonna want to capture every jaw-dropping moment of your icy adventure.
Can I bring my little bro and sis to these ice castles?
Absolutely! These ice castles are like a dream come true for kids. They’ll be wide-eyed and grinning from ear to ear as they explore the magical icy world. Just make sure they’re bundled up nice and warm – you don’t want any chilly kiddos on your hands.
I’m all about that insta-game. Can I take pics and stuff?
Oh, you better believe it! In fact, snapping pics is practically mandatory here. The ice castles are basically a photographer’s paradise. Capture the intricate ice designs, get selfies with glowing ice sculptures, and make your followers super jelly with the breathtaking shots of the entire frosty wonderland.
Here are the must-get shots at the Ice Castles in New Hampshire that’ll have your Instagram blowing up:
The Grand Entrance: Start off strong with a shot at the entrance – those towering icy gateways make for a seriously majestic backdrop.
Tunnel of Light: Capture yourself strolling through one of those enchanting ice tunnels with all those vibrant lights – it’s like stepping into a whole new dimension.
Ice Throne Selfie: Channel your inner royalty and grab a seat on one of those intricate ice thrones – trust me, you’ll feel like an ice queen or king!
Frozen Waterfall: Don’t miss the stunning frozen waterfalls – they’re like nature’s own ice sculptures. Get up close for the details and snap away.
Through the Archways: Those elegant archways make for an artsy shot. Frame yourself or your squad in between the icy curves for a seriously cool composition.
Under the Lights: When the sun sets, the ice castles light up with a kaleidoscope of colors. Capture the castles aglow against the night sky – it’s pure magic.
Mirror Reflections: If there’s any melted ice creating a reflective surface, use it to your advantage. You can snap some mind-blowing shots with the icy sculptures mirrored in the water.
Exiting the Castle: As you bid adieu to this icy wonderland, grab a shot of yourself leaving the castles – it’s a perfect ending shot that captures the entire experience.
Check out some of the top photos of the NH Ice Castles on Instagram here.
What if I’m feeling a bit peckish after all that icy exploring?
No worries, they’ve got you covered! You’ll usually find some snack shacks or food trucks around the ice castles, serving up yummy treats to warm you up. Think hot chocolate, comfort food, and other winter delights. It’s the perfect way to refuel after your icy adventure.
Where can I grab a bite outside of the Ice Castles, in nearby towns?
You’re in luck, my hungry friend! After exploring the Ice Castles in New Hampshire, there are some awesome restaurants nearby where you can refuel and satisfy those taste buds:
Gordi’s Fish & Steak House: If you’re craving some hearty comfort food, Gordi’s is the place to be. From seafood delights to mouthwatering steaks, you’ll find a range of options to satisfy your hunger.
Woodstock Inn Station & Brewery: A local favorite, this spot not only serves up delicious eats but also brews their own craft beer. Try out their diverse menu, from pub-style bites to more sophisticated dishes.
Truant’s Tavern: Looking for a cozy spot with a warm atmosphere? Truant’s Tavern has you covered. They serve up a variety of comfort food and offer a great selection of beers on tap. This is definitely one of our favorite spots to warm up after a day spent at the NH Ice Castles.
Black Mtn. Burger Co.: Burger lovers, rejoice! This joint is known for its creative and mouthwatering burger creations, along with a selection of local beers to wash it all down.
The Common Man: A classic choice with a menu to please everyone in your crew. From sandwiches and salads to heartier options, you’ll find a range of dishes in a welcoming setting.
Half Baked & Fully Brewed: If you’re all about that coffee and baked goods life, this charming café is your go-to. Grab a cup of joe and treat yourself to some delectable pastries.
Peg’s Restaurant: A local gem offering a mix of American and Greek cuisine. From breakfast to dinner, you’ll find a variety of options to satisfy your cravings.
One Love Brewery: If you’re looking for a laid-back vibe and a diverse menu, check out One Love Brewery. They serve up a mix of American and Caribbean-inspired dishes along with their own craft brews.
Cascade Coffee House: Need a cozy spot to warm up with a cup of coffee or tea? Cascade Coffee House offers a relaxed setting and a variety of beverages to choose from.
Café Lafayette Dinner Train: For a unique dining experience, hop aboard the Café Lafayette Dinner Train. Enjoy a meal while taking in scenic views of the surrounding area.
I’ve heard about these icicle things falling off. Is that, like, a real concern?
Safety first, my friend! The crew at the ice castles take all the necessary precautions to make sure you’re safe and sound. They regularly inspect and maintain the icy structures to minimize any risk. Just follow the rules and stay within the designated areas – you’ll be good to go.
I’m thinking of making a whole day out of it. Any other cool stuff around the area?
Totally! The White Mountains have a bunch of awesome stuff to offer. You can hit the slopes at nearby ski resorts, go hiking on scenic trails, or even explore charming little towns nearby. It’s like a winter wonderland playground all around. Scroll further down and we’ll share our favorite activities!
Is it best to visit the Ice Castles during the day or at night?
Both times offer a unique experience! During the day, you’ll see the intricate ice sculptures in natural light, while at night, the castles come alive with dazzling LED lights, creating a magical atmosphere. If you can swing it, why not do both?
Are the ice castles accessible for people with mobility issues?
They do their best to make the experience accessible. However, keep in mind that the terrain can be uneven, and some areas might be challenging for those with mobility concerns. It’s a good idea to check with the staff for specific details before planning your visit.
Can I buy tickets on-site or do I have to pre-book?
While they might have some on-site ticket availability, it’s recommended to pre-book your tickets online. The Ice Castles can get pretty popular, especially on weekends, so securing your spot in advance is a smart move.
Can I bring my furry friend along for the icy adventure?
As much as we love pets, the ice castles typically don’t allow furry companions, except for service animals. It’s best to double-check their policy before heading over.
What’s the weather like around the ice castles? Should I dress like an Eskimo?
The temperatures can be pretty chilly, especially in the evening. Dress warmly in layers – think winter coats, gloves, hats, and good boots. You’ll want to stay toasty while exploring the icy wonderland.
Are there any special events or activities happening at the ice castles?
Oh, for sure! Throughout the season, they often host special events like fire performances, ice princess appearances, and even themed nights. Keep an eye on their website or social media for the latest updates on these cool happenings.
Can I bring my own snacks or drinks to the ice castles?
Typically, outside food and drinks aren’t allowed. But don’t worry, you’ll usually find some snack shacks or food trucks nearby where you can grab a bite to eat.
Can I touch the ice sculptures or climb on them?
While you can explore and walk around the sculptures, climbing on them or touching them directly might not be allowed. The staff takes care to maintain the structures, so it’s best to admire from a respectful distance.
Is there parking available near the ice castles?
Yep, they usually have designated parking areas nearby. Be sure to check their website for parking details and any associated fees.
Where To Stay Near The Ice Castles NH:
If you’re looking for cozy places to crash near the Ice Castles in New Hampshire, check out these cool options:
Woodstock Inn & Brewery: This place is a total gem. Not only do they have comfy rooms, but they also brew their own craft beer – talk about a win-win! Plus, it’s just a stone’s throw away from the ice castles, so you can easily pop over and dive into the icy magic.
Franconia Notch Motel: Nestled in the heart of the White Mountains, this motel is perfect for adventure seekers. It’s got that rustic charm and is super close to the ice castles. You’ll wake up surrounded by breathtaking nature, ready to tackle another day of icy exploration.
Indian Head Resort: This spot is all about those breathtaking mountain views. Imagine sipping your morning coffee while soaking up that scenery – not a bad way to start your day before heading to the ice castles, right?
Kancamagus Lodge: If you’re after that classic New Hampshire vibe, this lodge is your go-to. It’s got that cozy cabin feel and is conveniently located near the ice castles. After a day of icy adventures, you can warm up by the fireplace – ultimate hygge vibes! Plus, the drive up the Kancamagus highway is absolutely gorgeous if you have an extra day.
Woodwards Resort: Want a place that’s not only close to the ice castles but also has awesome amenities? Look no further. Indoor pools, game rooms, and even a pub – they’ve got you covered for a wicked good time.
Lincoln-Woodstock KOA: If you’re up for some camping fun, this KOA is a blast. They’ve got RV sites, cabins, and even tent spots if you’re feeling adventurous. Plus, it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the icy wonderland.
If you want more to add to your trip to New Hampshire, consider these locations:
The White Mountains Attractions Visitor Center, located at Exit 32 off of I-93 in North Woodstock, is the best place to begin your trip to the White Mountains.
A wealth of complimentary brochures, maps, and other materials are available, and helpful staff can fill you in on all the details. The White Mountains Visitor Center is also a place to purchase a Recreation Pass.
Stop by its Gift Shop while you’re here to pick up a souvenir to remind you of your stay in the region. In the connected genuine post-and-beam barn, you’ll find the White Mountains Interpretive Center, where you can get a taste of everything from the local flora and fauna to the art of stone wall construction.
Explore this site for local info before you go out on your journey!
Since you are going in winter, you might want to experience Muddy Paws Dog Sledding.
From its stable in Jefferson, New Hampshire, the company runs a range of dog sledding tours on most Tuesdays through Sundays during the winter (middle of December to early March).
It offers a variety of winter trips for tourists aged two and up, from essential experiences to interactive clinics.
Even though the duration of the winter excursions varies, they all aim to be more than a “ride.” The participants can meet and greet the sled dogs and even help to get the team ready for the path, depending on the guest’s degree of comfort.
The money made from such winter tours goes toward paying for the costs associated with housing and caring for these extraordinary canine athletes.
A trip to the area will not be complete without visiting Woodstock Inn Brewery, just about a mile away from the Ice Castles.
You can’t get any of New Hampshire’s most beloved restaurants, attractions, or retreats elsewhere.
The place has 40 guest rooms spread among five ancient structures, many of which feature fireplaces and Jacuzzi tubs.
There are two dining options: the formal Clement Room Grill is open for breakfast, and the more relaxed and casual Woodstock Station was named a Hidden Gem by The Phantom Gourmet.
A brewpub, a lounge, entertainment, a beer garden, and free use of an adjacent indoor pool and spa are also accessible to guests.
Plus, Loon and the other ski resorts in the White Mountains are within easy driving distance, so don’t hesitate to go!
The New Hampshire Ice Castles are an unforgettable experience. If you find yourself in the Granite State, you owe it to yourself to see this. Its enviable position near other points of interest is also another plus.
We hope you’ll find the details provided here advantageous during your time at this Ice Castle. The tips we included in this guide for visiting the ice castles in New Hampshire will surely be helpful! Enjoy your winter getaway!