Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- Things You Should Know Before You Go: Ice Castles North Woodstock
- 2. Don’t be Late for Your Ice Castles NH Time Slot
- 3. Talk to the Kids about the Ice Castles Before You Go
- 4. Don’t Bring These Things to the Ice Castles
- 5. Visit the Ice Castles at Night for the Best Photos
- 6. Don’t Wait to Get in Line for the Ice Slide
- 7. Wear the Right Winter Gear
- 8. Experience All of the Activities
- 9. Plan to stay overnight in the White Mountains
New Hampshire is a great spot for family fun. Not only is there an abundance of skiing, hiking and natural beauty but it’s easily accessible from other New England states. Located near Loon Mountain, Waterville Valley and other New Hampshire ski resorts, the Ice Castles in North Woodstock are filled with magic.
Before you head to this winter wonderland, there are a few things that you need to know to make your visit go smoothly. We’re sharing our top tips on visiting Ice Castles and the lessons we learned the hard way.
For 2023-2024, there are five Ice Castle locations: Utah, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and New York. There was a location in Colorado but that one has closed. New Hampshire’s Ice Castle is located in North Woodstock. Sometimes you’ll see it listed as Lincoln, NH. It’s the same location. Tickets are weather dependent but generally visitors are welcome from December through early March.
Read More: 10 Best New England Ski Resorts for Families
Things You Should Know Before You Go: Ice Castles North Woodstock
For the 2023-2024 season, the New Hampshire Ice Castles offer a multitude of unique experiences. In addition to the ice slides, tunnels, caverns, crawl spaces and archways that the ice castles are known for, New Hampshire boasts the Mystic Forest Light Walk and a snow tubing hill. Feel like adding a little bit of extra pizzaz? You can upgrade and add a horse-drawn sleigh ride to your ticket.
Read More: 7 Tips for Taking Kids Snow Tubing
1. Buy Ice Castle Tickets Online
This isn’t a “wing it” type trip. The Ice Castles have capacity restrictions and timed tickets are required. Although they may sometimes have standby tickets available on site it isn’t guaranteed and standby tickets are priced higher. If you’re driving several hours from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont or New York, you don’t want your getaway to end with disappointment.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Looking to make the most of your travel budget while maximizing the fun? With a wide range of deals on local activities, dining, and experiences, Groupon helps you stretch your budget by offering discounted options near you.
For weekend visits, we recommend always booking in advance. It is the only way to guarantee your entry. The tickets go quickly as folks look for unique winter activities in the White Mountains and beyond.
When Can I Buy Ice Castle Tickets for the North Woodstock NH location?
Tickets will go on sale on November 28, 2023, in rolling 3-4 week blocks. This means that if you’re planning to visit in late February you’ll need to keep an eye on the ticket sale page to purchase when your dates become available in late January/early February. Subscribe to the newsletter at the bottom of the New Hampshire page to stay up to date.
2. Don’t be Late for Your Ice Castles NH Time Slot
Tickets for the North Woodstock Ice Castles are sold with a 30-minute entry window to manage capacities inside the ice castles. This doesn’t mean you only get 30 minutes inside! But it does mean that if you buy a ticket with a 4-430pm entry window, you need to enter during that time to be guaranteed admittance. If you miss your entry time, your ticket could be forfeited or you might have to wait until capacity allows your entrance. Once inside the ice castles, you may stay as long as you’d like.
For this reason, don’t underestimate drive time. Make sure your time block is realistic and that your whole party understands the importance of a timely arrival. Weather can be iffy during winter in the White Mountains, so plan to arrive in the area early!
3. Talk to the Kids about the Ice Castles Before You Go
The right time to talk to your kids about how cool the Ice Castles are and how they are created is BEFORE you visit. Once you get there they’ll be busy running around and exploring. When building the Ice Castles the process starts with just one icicle! It is watered and molded to other icicles until the huge structure takes form. The completed Ice Castles weigh about 25 million pounds and have frozen walls about 10 feet thick.
Looking back on the story of how the ice castles came to be can be fun for kids. Dad Brent Christensen built an ice cave for his daughter in his front yard in Alpine, Utah. From there, the idea evolved.
SheBuysTravel Tip: The restroom facilities at the Ice Castles are portable in nature and located near the entrance/exit. It’s always a good idea to review restroom info ahead of your visit so that the “go before we go” directive is taken seriously. You don’t want to have to be trekking back and forth to heed the call of nature.
4. Don’t Bring These Things to the Ice Castles
There are some items that aren’t allowed in the Ice Castles. Be sure to check out the list so that you don’t delay your entry.
Items that aren’t allowed include:
- Firearms, weapons or toys that look like either
- Extra camera equipment like tripods or lighting
- Strollers (baby backpacks are allowed)
- Pets (service animals are allowed)
- Outside food and beverage
- Inappropriate or obscene clothing
5. Visit the Ice Castles at Night for the Best Photos
Honestly, this one isn’t hard to do. It gets dark in New England pretty early during the winter. Because the ice castles are illuminated from within by thousands of LED lights, visiting in the dark feels almost like being in a fairytale. The scenery becomes truly magical. Over the course of the evening, the LED lights periodically do a choreographed “dance” to music. As it gets later, the ice castles get busier. We recommend arriving for an earlier entry time slot like the 4p-430pm one. This way, you’ll be inside just as it gets dark and can jump in line for the ice slide early.
Don’t make our winter error! Bring water resistant TOUCH-SCREEN friendly gloves. Otherwise every time you want to snap a picture on your phone you’ll need to take your gloves off, brrrr.
6. Don’t Wait to Get in Line for the Ice Slide
Sliding through an ice castle is a pretty awesome experience. Trouble is, everyone wants to do it, so the line can build quickly.
Fellow SheBuysTravel contributor Jenn Mitchell waited roughly 45 minutes for her turn to slide. Since the sliding itself only lasts about 10-20 seconds, the time value equation there is a delicate balance. Her tween kids still thought the wait was worth every second.
To avoid the long wait, ride early. One recommendation that we heard over and over was that us grownups should make sure to protect our butts. Put a coat under your bum or wear snow pants so that you don’t end up with a bruised tailbone (and dignity).
7. Wear the Right Winter Gear
Even if the winter temperatures are mild, you need to keep in mind that you’re walking into a structure made out of frozen water. Dress for winter. The temperature inside the castles can be lower than the surrounding area temperature.
Wear waterproof winter boots. You’ll be walking on ice and, due to the volume of visitors, slushy areas can develop. You don’t want to end up with wet feet! If you don’t own winter boots, buy a set of YakTrax. They slip on over other shoes and provide traction. Snow pants are your best option for the kids. Everyone will have a better visit if they stay dry.
Bring a change of clothes and footwear for after! Don’t end the visit grumpy and wet.
8. Experience All of the Activities
The ice castles are filled with surprises and the ice architects add new experiences and details every season. Sometimes you won’t notice things on the first go. You might find an ice sculpture or ice tunnel that you didn’t see the first time.
Pay attention to everything, even the ceilings. There are sparkling icicle details in some of the areas. Ice thrones, frozen orbs that glow and more are sprinkled throughout. Around every corner, there are hidden surprises.
If you get cold go warm up near the fire pits. Yes, that’s right — there are fire pits inside the ice castle!
Hungry? You can purchase treats like cinnamon rolls, hot cocoa and cookies. Mobile pay is available.
9. Plan to stay overnight in the White Mountains
The White Mountains offer a variety of options for multi-day visits from skiing to Attitash Mountain to the Conway Scenic Railroad. Because the Ice Castles experience is at night, planning to stay overnight is a smart option. You don’t want to rush the experience because you have a long drive home.
And if you stay overnight, you do more of these fun things to do in New Hampshire the next day!