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Few camping experiences can compare to the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire. It’s a place removed from the usual bustling pace of New England, and except for peak tourist season, is relatively uncrowded. While bigger cities like Montpelier and Manchester are within a two-hour drive, here, you can disappear into the wilderness near White Mountain National Forest. This region is a place to experience nature in its most raw form: soaring granite peaks, crystal-clear rivers flowing between them, and lush green pine trees. Twin Mountain/Mount Washington KOA sits amidst all of this beauty and is one of the best places to go camping with an RV.
Twin Mountain/Mount Washington KOA sits just off Highway 3, near the town of Carroll, and about a 20-minute drive from Crawford Notch (the western starting point for hikes summiting Mount Washington). When staying at this RV campground, you’ll have access to full hookups for your RV rental, including 50-amp electrical service. Sites can accommodate 90-foot-long vehicles, and there are propane and firewood for sale to help with firing up the grill.
Camping at Twin Mountain/Mount Washington KOA is a rather luxurious affair as far as motorhome camping goes, with a great swimming pool for cooling off on hot days and a designated dog walking area where you can take your furry pals for some exercise. One of the best things about staying at the KOA, though, are the planned activities, where you can socialize with fellow travelers. Weekly pancake breakfasts are a staple at the campground, but if you’re bringing the kids along on this campervan rental adventure, there are also hayrides, gem-mining excursions, and train rides for the youngest ones.
Mount Washington looms large (literally) in the outdoor recreation scene of northern New Hampshire. Several trails access its summit, ranging in difficulty from strenuous to technical and incredibly dangerous. Their difficult nature is due in no small part to the violent weather systems that plague the region and cause daily temperature variations of over 50 degrees and winds that have gusted to over 200 miles per hour.
If you would prefer to take the easier way up, the Mount Washington Auto Road is a popular sightseeing trip (RVs aren't allowed though, so this is only suitable for campervans and traditional vehicles). It takes about 45 minutes to ascend the mountain, but the breathtaking views might necessitate stopping multiple times for photos. There’s also the option of taking the Mount Washington Cog Railway, which was built all the way back in the 1860s. It leaves from near Crawford Notch State Park and takes a little over half an hour to summit if you ride one of the diesel trains, or 45 minutes taking one of the older steam locomotives.
Though the White Mountains are certainly the centerpiece of this part of New Hampshire, hiking and climbing aren’t the only recreational opportunities. Thrilling whitewater-rafting adventures can be had on the Androscoggin River, near the towns of Gorham. Trips can include anything between Class II and IV rapids depending on your level of experience and tolerance for danger.
The nearest town to enjoy when you book an RV in Coos County is the tiny community of Carroll. While Carroll might not ring a bell for you, the village of Bretton Woods at its center probably will. This was the site of the United Nations Monetary and Financial Systems Conference that took place after World War II, where the “Bretton Woods System” of economics was put into place at the Mount Washington Hotel. A self-guided tour of the historic hotel is available for non-guests.
For more extensive urban amenities, you’ll need to head over to the town of Littleton, a little less than half an hour's drive away. Here you’ll find a variety of cute shops and restaurants, but also grocery stores and service stations where you can fill up your rental RV. One of the more exciting establishments to check out is Chutters, which is billed as the “World’s Longest Candy Counter.” With over 500 different types of candy to choose from, you can stock up for the road trips ahead. For a tasty brew, stop in at the brewery on the banks of the Ammonoosuc River; they make some excellent pizzas and pretzels too if you’re hungry.
To learn about the history of Littleton and the Mount Washington region, check out the Littleton Area Historical Museum. Like many small-town museums, this one is a charming mash-up of local artifacts, personal history, and a little bit of chaotic kitsch, but through it all, you’ll get a glimpse of what life in the Whites has been like over the past century. The high mountain peaks served as an isolating factor that restricted movement and created a culture for the residents that is uniquely their own.