It’s no secret that New Hampshire has some pretty amazing places to visit year-round, and White Lake State Park in Tamworth, NH is no exception. While only about 900 acres, this small park has plenty to do to keep you busy for a full day. And if you like to camp, then spending a couple of nights here is a great option if you want to use this as a base for exploring the incredible outdoor recreation nearby or local shopping.
This park is tucked away in the woods but still located near a few major roads, making it very accessible. That means that while the park won’t have any road noise, it does get pretty busy if you are here on a weekend or holiday in the summertime. Still, it’s very much worth visiting and staying at if you are looking for a great New Hampshire location!
While our guide certainly won’t cover everything, we hope it provides a starting point on What to See and Do in White Lake State Park in New Hampshire!
Ahead of your trip, be sure to download a copy of our White Lake State Park itinerary. We cover the best hikes, expected weather in the park, what to bring, sample daily itineraries, what to see in the area and the best activities.
WHITE LAKE STATE PARK HISTORY
White Lake State Park was established in 1933, and it was an immediate hit. It quickly became (and still is) one of the state’s most popular campgrounds. It started as only a 259-acre park and received assistance from the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) after it was established, who built a bathhouse, concession stand and the area campground. A new shelter was built in 1955-56 by the maintenance crew, and that shelter still stands today. At that same time, a trail was carved around the lake.
Since its inception the park has continued to see upgrades, including additional buildings, bathhouses and places to stay for staffing.
You can read more about the history of the park and other parks in the NH State Parks Mid-Century Modern Historic Study, offered by NH State Parks.
WHITE LAKE STATE PARK PITCH PINE
A little-known fact about White Lake State Park is that it contains a National Natural Landmark (established in 1980), which is a 72-acre section of pitch pine trees. These trees are known for being very straight and tall, and up to about 20 inches in diameter. You can see these trees if you take the hiking trail.
ACTIVITIES IN WHITE LAKE STATE PARK
White Lake State Park map, courtesy of New Hampshire State Parks
The activities in White Lake State Park are largely centered around the lake (surprising, I know!). But even if you aren’t into swimming or fishing, there are plenty of places to explore.
When visiting White Lake State Park, our recommended activities include:
- Hanging out on the Beach and Swimming. White Lake itself is 125 acres. While not large, this glacially formed lake does get to 48 feet deep, so be sure to keep an eye on your kids. Still, the lake is mostly very shallow with a sandy bottom, particularly near the shore. The water is clear and great for swimming. The beach is large with plenty of picnic tables and grills for cooking. The sand is excellent for kids, and there is plenty of shade on the beach. The beach faces the northeast, meaning that you’ll have plenty of shade options in the afternoon. Now, the beach does get to be a bit crowded on weekends and holidays, so they do offer beach reservations.
- Kayaking or Canoeing. White Lake State Park offers boat rentals, or you can bring your own non-motorized boat. The quiet waters of White Lake are extremely peaceful and great for fishing.
While White Lake State Park has access to many nearby trails, there is only one main trail in the park:
- The White Lake State Park Loop Trail travels around the banks of White Lake. This hike offers wonderful views of the lake and a bit of peace if the beach is crowded. The path is well worn as you get close to the beach but a bit less traveled on the north side of the lake. In total, this hike is 2.0 miles with only a small amount of elevation change (less than 30 feet). You can do this hike in sandals if you are careful, but we recommend close-toed shoes or at least hiking sandals to be safe. All in all, the trail will take a little under an hour, with stops for photos or a snack. To get to the trail, as you look at the beach, head to the waterline and continue to the left. The trail is a worn path that is easy to spot.
White Lake State Park Loop Trail map, courtesy of the NH Department of Safety
HOW TO GET TO WHITE LAKE STATE PARK AND OTHER TRAVEL INFORMATION
As mentioned earlier, White Lake State Park is near several larger roads. Traffic in New Hampshire is hit or miss-if you are heading up here on a Friday or for a holiday weekend, expect some delays on the Interstates in particular.
- Here are the directions from Boston to White Lake State Park. The drive will take about 2 hours total if there isn’t much traffic.
- If you are coming from the east on backroads, here are directions from Portland, Maine to White Lake State Park. This will take about 90 minutes and is on state highways, which are almost exclusively two-lane roads.
ENTRANCE FEES AND REQUIRED PASSES FOR WHITE LAKE STATE PARK
To enter the park there is a nominal fee that they ask for at the front gate.
WHITE LAKE STATE PARK CAMPING
- Accessible via: Car.
- Reservations: Offered in peak season only (from late May to October) White Lake State Park Campground Reservations.
- Capacity: 193 sites (plus 17 horse sites and 6 yurts).
- Electricity / Water Hookups / Dump Station: No / No / Yes.
- Toilets / Showers: Flush toilets and showers.
- Nearby: If you are coming to camp in New Hampshire, it’s likely that you are looking to get away from it all and enjoy the outdoors. Spending a day at White Lake State Park is great, but if you are in need of more activities, then check out one of the many hiking opportunities nearby in the Ossipee / North Conway area. If it’s raining, a popular activity is to head to the outlet malls in North Conway, where shoppers take advantage of the tax-free shopping all year round.
- Additional details: The White Lake State Park Campground has a ton of sites with a camp store as you enter the park. Most of the sites are wooded and separated well. The facilities are kept very clean.
BEST TIME TO VISIT WHITE LAKE STATE PARK
White Lake State Park is open all year, but the best time of year to visit the park is in the summer after the black flies leave (usually around Father’s Day). The fall is wonderful in New Hampshire, and while the nights can get cold, the colors more than make up for it.
As stated earlier, weekends can get very busy, so if you have the ability to visit during the weekdays, it’s likely you’ll have a more enjoyable experience.
VISITING WHITE LAKE STATE PARK IN THE WINTER
White Lake State Park is open in the winter, but you can expect many of the gates to be closed. While access is a bit more challenging, it’s great for snowshoeing. It is even open for snowmobiling.
ARE PETS ALLOWED IN WHITE LAKE STATE PARK?
Pets are allowed in White Lake State Park only in the off-season (November 1 through April 30). This includes camping-pets are not allowed to accompany campers.
RELATED INFORMATION ON NEW HAMPSHIRE FROM JUST GO TRAVEL STUDIOS
- Before your trip, check out and download our White Lake State Park itinerary.
- We love New Hampshire (it's where we live!) and have a number of New Hampshire blogs that you may be interested in checking out! One park in particular that is nearby that is also worth a look is Moose Brook State Park.
- When you get back from your trip, one way of remembering your vacation is by sending us a photo or two and we can turn it into a custom, vintage travel poster, including customized wording!