Best 9 places to visit in New Hampshire

Are you longing to experience rugged coastlines to soaring mountains at the same time?

You definitely want to check out this heaven for nature enthusiasts. This northeastern state can prove to be the best retreat with a unique mix of both mountains and a coastal vibe.

This place beholds the best of nature right from beautiful ocean and lake beaches to long stretches of hikes in the Appalachian Trail, kayaking, sailing on mountain-ringed lakes, fun-filled water parks, exciting rides to mountain tops, and tours of historic houses. 

New Hampshire is a treasure land located in the northeastern side of The United States of America, exhibiting a unique amalgamation of scenic beauty, recreational activities, culture, and food amidst the White Mountains.

It has the shortest Atlantic coastline in the US that is only about 18 miles long; capped by Portsmouth.

It is also known as Granite State, because of its numerous state quarries. It is a well-preserved colonial town with a group of excellent restaurants and comfy inns.

Inland, there are more than 1300 lakes; the largest, Lake Winnipesaukee, is surrounded by both tourist resorts and quiet villages.

The magnificent White Mountains spread across northern New Hampshire, culminating in the highest peak in New England, the formidable Mount Washington.

A trip to New Hampshire is definitely going to be an offbeat one! Your driving might just be the best part of the visit – driving through both forestry and coastal shorelines is going to make it a memorable one.

After one of the most scenic drives, you’re going to enter a home to close to 100 state parks, 40 plus museums, 19 ski resorts, five state-managed beaches, and a huge variety of food.

Here are the broader segments of history and nature to explore within the mainland; you can find spectacular tourist attractions under both and plan your trip accordingly-

Historically Rich places in New  Hampshire

#1 Concord

Being the capital of New Hampshire, Concord is one of the most gorgeous cities defining a rich mix of cultural and historical attractions awaiting to take your breath away!

Famous for its carriage-making since the 19th century, Concord still astounds all of its visitors making it a globally acclaimed travel destination.

Danforth Bay Camping & RV Resort

Taking a stroll around the city will help you discover the major eateries and places of historical importance that include – New Hamshire Historical Society Museum, NH State House, Capitol Center for Arts, McAullife-Shepard Discovery Center – an interactive science museum honoring astronauts; and many more exciting places. 

#2 Jackson

A resort town in the heart of the white mountains; making it a perfect spot for a relaxing winter or summer getaway and one of the most happening cities in New Hampshire.

During winters Jackson becomes super famous for Skiing, snowshoeing, and romantic holiday destinations while hiking becomes a popular activity during summers. 

Jackson

Some of the interesting things to do for snow sports lovers are- to take skiing lessons at Jackson Ski Touring Foundation which maintains close to 100 miles of trails throughout Jackson and White Mountain National Forest. 

Also, a drive to Mount Washington Auto Road is perfect to witness the astounding views but this drive is only for the daredevils as the roads are immensely difficult to drive on.

The road is only open from May to October due to adverse weather conditions. 

#3 Manchester

The largest city in New Hampshire is situated along the Amoskeag Falls of Merrimack River, which provides hydroelectric power to most of Manchester.

Manchester

Home to unique museums, like- the Currier Museum of Art, tour the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Zimmerman House. For art lovers, there are classes at Studio 550 Art Center.

This city plays a significant role historically as well- it was the world’s largest marketplace for cotton goods and was called “Cottonpollis” and “Warehouse City” during the Victorian Era; making it an attractive tourist spot for lovers of history and culture. 

#4 Portsmouth

As the name suggests it’s one of the major port cities located in New Hampshire on the Piscataqua River. This city is very rich both culturally and historically, being not only the oldest settlement of New Hampshire, but also the second oldest city, the first capital, and the only seaport in New Hampshire.

Portsmouth

Some of the predominant places to visit are- Strawberry Banke Museum which exhibits over 40 buildings put together to represent Portsmouth Life from 1695 to 1950, USS Albacore Museum to witness an old US Navy submarine offering tours, and finally, the Market Square.

It is the heart of the city and the center of activity with art galleries, book stores, antique shops, ethnic restaurants and buildings of the 17th century. 

Retreat for Nature Lovers-

#1 Franconia Notch State Park

Tucked away in the remote part of the White Mountains, Franconia National State Park is a beautiful serene piece of nature boasting a massive area of 6440 acres, providing a huge opportunity for mesmerizing hiking trails.

Franconia Notch State Park

The best time of the year to visit is during September and October to witness the charming fall colors. Summertime is another popular time to travel to this wonderful place if you want to do outdoor activities like camping, fishing, kayaking, and hiking.

This place offers a multitude of options to stay ranging from camping and cabins to motels and hotels.

The two most popular areas with good hotels are Lincoln in the south and Franconia in the north.

Another unique tourist attraction spot is Flume George, to reach here there’s a 2-mile-long trail passing through covered bridges, giant boulders, and a cave leading through a tall canyon wall overgrown with ferns and mosses.

Popular Hotels in Lincoln:

The Notch Hostel

Holiday Inn Express and Suites

InnSeason Resorts Pollard Brook

Popular Hotels in Franconia:

Sugar Hill Inn

Franconia Inn

#2 Hampton Beach State Park 

After experiencing a lovely time in the mountains, now comes the time to explore the beaches that New Hampshire has to offer. Hampton Beach State Park is located near the stretch of the mellow and sun-drenched coastline, providing year-round recreation, overlooking the Atlantic ocean.

Hampton Beach State Park 

This can be a perfect destination for the campers as they are allowed to bring their tents or Recreational Vehicles(RV) to the campsite situated on the beach. Blue with a tinge of green sea waters, makes it an ideal place for lovers of the ocean.

Long stretches of super-clean and grainy sand, makes it one of the best coasts for swimming and fishing.

Nearby attractions also include- whale-watching tours, parasailing, surfing, and stand-up paddling.

#3 Lost River Gorge and Boulder Cave

Another one of nature’s marvels made by the sculpting effects of weather and time is the Lost River George and Boulder Cave.

About a ¾ mile-long trail through the gorge can leave you enthralled by presenting experiences like bird watching, hiking, etc.

You can either choose to stay on broadway and watch birds or you can be bold and discover the caves. There are a couple of guided tour packages like – Lantern Light Tours that you can join to visit Boulder Caves. 

Lost River Gorge and Boulder Cave

Along with the actual broadway, if you are interested in hiking there are a bit of challenging trails like Kinsman Notch Ecology Trail, and Nature Garden Walk, and the most challenging among them all is the Dilly Cliff Trail. If you’re traveling with kids, there are interesting courses like the Junior George Guide program.

The George stays open from May to October, and the best time to visit is between May and June. 

#4 Isles of Shoals

The Isles of Shoals is situated approximately 7 miles out to the sea on the watery border of New Hampshire and Maine, which is a cluster of 9 islands, including the Star Island with its magnificent Oceanic Hotel which was built in 1873.

Other than Star Island most of the islands are privately owned and thus are off-limits to visitors. 

The only way to reach Star Island is to take a cruise during the summer months, the most popular one is the Isles of Shoal Steamship Company Cruise.

Isles of Shoals

After reaching the island you can go on a guided walking tour to explore it. Thus making it one of the rare cruise experiences. 

#5 Sabbaday Falls

Only a 15-minute short hike along Sabbaday Brook Trail, will take you to one of the most scenic waterfalls in less than half a mile distance. The location is a bit off route via Kancamagus Scenic Byway but provides proper parking facilities and walking trails.

Sabbaday Falls

The falls are a sight to behold- a series of cascades present in a narrow gorge.

The formation of these waterfalls is all of nature’s miracle – through Ice Age Glaciers carving deep grooves in the earth’s surface. You can follow the paved path to witness all three sections of the waterfall, which ends in a natural rock pool at the base. 

FAQs – 

Best duration to visit New Hampshire?

The months of April to June qualify to be the best time to visit NH with a perfect temperature of 58 degrees F. 

Top tourist attraction?

Mount Washington Auto road is the most popular and most visited place in NH, with a scenic stretch of 8 miles.

Famous food options available in NH?

Apple Cider Donuts, Spiked Cider, Clam Chowder, Apple Pie, Spiked Cider, Maple Syrup, Yogurt, Mead, Fried Lake Bass and Chocolate Mice. (Source) 

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