New Hampshire : Safety by City
- Hampton Beach
- North Conway
- West Lebanon
I have to admit that my head is spinning with all the things to do in the White Mountain communities of Lincoln and Woodstock, known colloquially as LinWood.
There are ice castles in winter, waterfalls in spring, and water parks in summer, all within the shadow of giant mountains and deep caves.
Then there’s the dancing bear and rouge moose.
Loon Mountain Resort turns from a classic ski place to a summer activity resort.
All the while, around 3,000 people who live in these cities keep the activities going.
They are located on the western edge of the White Mountains, with each access to the interstate—great for those who don’t like navigating narrow, wintry roads.
You’re also less than an hour from Vermont and less than two hours to the beach.
You can surf and ski in one day!
With so many things to do, it helps to know where the safe activities are and the best guidance to keep your trip low-risk, from avoiding a moose on the road to protecting your personal property.
Warnings & Dangers in LinWood
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here as crime rates are far below the national average. Top that with so many things to do, you'll never be left wandering around in a potentially shady area.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
The White Mountain Flyer shuttle goes between Boston and the mountains, with a couple of stops near LinWood. Taxis and rideshares are available in the region, but you'll really need a car to explore this large region. You can also choose tours that come with transportation, like a wildlife drive to where moose are known to hang out.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Over the past five years, not a single pickpocket or purse snatching was reported in either town. The risk is low, but the potential is there in such a big tourism area.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
You'll really need to stay on top of weather forecasts here, as hurricanes can approach from the coast, storms can bear down from the west, and nor'easters can swirl between October and May. Winter storms can drop feet of snow and bring dangerously cold weather. Even summer thunderstorms can cause flash flooding and lightning risks.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
This is another low risk, and I can't even find a single one that made headlines in the past few years.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Mark this as a low risk, too, with the understanding that random gun violence can happen anywhere in the U.S. Homeland Security issues a terrorism advisory bulletin every few months. There's just nothing in LinWood that would be considered a potential target.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The New Hampshire Consumer Education Partnership keeps an updated list of common scams in the state. Most scammers are easy to detect if you know what to look for, and you can read more about how to avoid fraud on the FTC's website.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
The towns are as safe for women traveling in groups, solo, or with kids. Attractions are available to appeal to each group as well. If you are traveling alone, find a hiking group or tour to go with in the mountains. Hiking alone can raise the risks.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The biggest concern about water quality here is the aging infrastructure. Each town has its own annual Water Quality Report posted online and what's being done to upgrade the systems. While there's a low risk, and both communities are excellent at sending out water notices when there's an issue, it's still worth reading the report to learn more about the process.
Safest Places to Visit in LinWood
Use the White Mountains tourism site or the Western White Mountains Chamber of Commerce to get the before information on secure websites.
Since this area is so popular, some websites might have spam or misleading links.
It’s always best to use websites from the organizations in the state and area.
The Ice Castles in Lincoln create a magical frozen wonderland worthy of Elsa.
The castles are hand sculpted each year by “growing” icicles and putting them together to build a t 25 million pound attraction.
It’s amazing when you see the scope to think back at how this started as a man trying to keep his kids active during a cold Utah winter.
Now, it’s a franchise that fits right in this New Hampshire wonderland.
Franconia Notch State Park is just up the road and might not be as crowded as the White Mountain National Park, but there will still be plenty of people looking at the Flume Gorge, the Old Man of the Mountain site, and numerous hiking trails.
Make a note to visit the Old Man site, as his “face of rock” fell off earlier this century.
For those in New Hampshire, it was just as emotional as it would be for any American if Mount Rushmore crumbled.
Loon Mountain is a popular ski resort just down the road from LinWood.
Loon Mountain offers skiing and snowboarding in the winter months.
During the summer, the mountain transforms into an adventure park with activities such as ziplining, mountain biking, and scenic gondola rides.
See a dancing bear or two at Clark’s Trading Post. One ticket gets you full access to the amusement park, which also includes water rides, a rock climbing wall, five museums, a train ride and so much more.
Whale’s Tale Water Park is another place to cool off and enjoy water rides.
There’s something for everyone with slides, wave pools, lazy rivers, and interactive water features for all ages and swimming levels.
Take a tour of the Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves to navigate caves and rugged paths.
Buy your tickets in advance since this attraction sells out quickly.
Different tours cater to those who want to go deeper in the cave.
Kids will love sluicing for gems.
Ride the Hobo & Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad to get unmatched tours of the wilderness in an old-fashioned railcar.
Fall foliage is stunning by train and Santa shows up for the express train during the holidays.
You can also ride a bike along the rail line in a custom-tailored ride.
Sadly, I’ve only been able to scratch the surface of things to do here.
Every attraction and park comes with special spaces for all skill levels and ages.
Places to Avoid in LinWood
One of the things I like best about this area is the interstate that makes travel easy, even during winter storms.
Some communities in the White Mountains will require driving challenging narrow roads.
You still have to take precaution when it comes to the weather here.
The position of the White Mountains makes it vulnerable to storms from all angles and the winds blowing off the peaks and through the canyons can make even taking a few steps challenging.
Winter storms can block roads and shut down trails, even with the robust snow plow teams.
You can’t assume you know better than the meteorologists that issue storm warnings or think you can “power through” a snowy trail.
Flash flooding in canyons can creep up quickly.
You can visit any part of LinWood without running into a bad part of town.
Be on the lookout for moose on the roadways.
If there’s a Moose Crossing sign, trust it!
I’ve researched Maine and New Hampshire in-depth, and the number of moose collisions is shocking.
Moose are so big that their eyes won’t reflect in headlights, so use extra caution at night when the roads are dark and the moose blends in with the landscape.
Safety Tips for Traveling to LinWood
- Lincoln and Woodstock are both towns with around 1,500 people, but they each have their own police department. It’s best to follow both cities and departments on social media to stay informed no matter which part you visit.
- Sign up for emergency alerts through the CodeRED system. This covers weather warnings and local impacts of the weather, like road closings and other emergencies.
- The New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands will update the fire danger daily. There is no real “fire season,” as fires can happen at any time of year. You can also call 1-866-NH-FIRES (866-643-4737) to get the daily update.
- Hike Safe cards are available through the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department. This state is one of just a few that will make you pay for the costs of your own rescue in the wilderness, but purchasing a Hike Safe card for $50 will cover the costs of a rescue. No reckless behavior will be covered, but it’s a small price to pay for a big insurance policy in a somewhat dangerous landscape.
- Each town has a website section where you can report an issue, like a pothole or storm damage. Use this form to help keep the community safe for everyone.
- New England 511 is the website and app to check road conditions in the state. You’ll be able to see real-time traffic, construction zones, and live cameras of hundreds of locations. This shouldn’t be a replacement for a paper map, as you’ll need one of those in the wild. Assume you won’t have mobile service in the parks and on the trails.
- Check each park’s website you plan to visit, as some attractions, campsites, and trails will require reservations or permits. Pets have limited access to the New Hampshire state parks. White Mountain National Forest is a little more liberal with dog rules, but certain restrictions must be followed.
- Winter guests show know the limitations of their accommodations before booking. For example, does your hotel have a backup generator in case of a power outage? Will fresh water be supplied if the pipes are frozen? What refunds will you get if a storm prevents you from getting to the hotel or if you want to leave early due to an incoming storm?
- Never drive through a flood roadway, even if it doesn’t look that deep. Check out the video of the Kancamagus Highway from May 2023 to see how even heavy rain can tear up one of the most traveled roads in the region. It only takes six inches of flowing water to knock you over or carry a car downstream.
- You must take all precautions against bears in this region. Don’t feed bears. If you do, they can become a danger to people and then be put down. You’ll need bear spray and bear-proof containers. Don’t throw food trash in a regular trash can. Use the bear-proof containers in the parks and ALWAYS lock it afterward.
So... How Safe Is LinWood Really?
You might be wondering which town is safer—Woodstock or Lincoln?
Well, here’s an example of why crime data context is so important.
You are three times as likely to be the victim of a violent crime in Lincoln.
However, that is only to say that Woodstock had one violent crime in 2021, and Lincoln had three.
In neither city was a stranger the victim of a crime.
How about theft?
Lincoln had twice as many thefts in 2021 and nearly 2.5 times as many thefts over the past five years.
However, the raw data shows 31 thefts in Lincoln and 16 in Woodstock.
That said, each city had 35% of its thefts over five years related to car break-ins or accessory thefts.
You don’t even need to know that to understand that locking your car and removing personal belongings is the best theft prevention you can find.
Any crime rate comparison here doesn’t even include the thousands of people who visit each year, as crime data rates are only figured by raw data vs the population of tax-paying citizens.
So, chuck crime data rate comparisons out the window.
I’ve done the math and the research. More headlines of lost hikers and car accidents appear than crimes against tourists or strangers.
Major crimes will shock the community as it’s just not the kind of place where “that” happens.
No community is immune from violent crime, but you’re in about as safe of a place statistically and historically as you’ll find in the United States.
As long as you can handle the elements and the wildlife, you should have one of the best vacations of your life.
How Does LinWood Compare?
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- Visas - Anyone visiting from outside the United States, including Canadians, will need a passport and a visa or visa waiver. The U.S. State Department regularly posts updates about visa processing times, so start there.
- Currency - Only the U.S. Dollar is accepted in this country. You should take care of any currency exchange before you leave home to get the lowest fees or look for options at your airport of choice.
- Weather - Bundle up big time in the winter, but you can rent ski equipment if you prefer not to bring yours along. You'll still get a chill in the air in fall and spring, with possible spring snowstorms, so don't pack all warm-weather clothing until June. Hiking boots, UV-blocking clothing fabrics, and hats will go a long way to protect your skin. Don't forget the bug spray.
- Airports - Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (not Boston-Logan) is about an hour south with all interstate driving. Portland International Jetport is two hours away through some beautiful scenic areas of western Maine. Boston Logan International is just over two hours away.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance and adventure insurance are important here. You want to be protected against basics like weather delays and cancelations, but also the costs that could come with a broken leg while skiing or a heat illness.
LinWood Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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