New Hampshire may be small, but the Granite State has a lot to offer. The eastern side borders the Atlantic Ocean, so there are plenty of beaches and quaint New England seaside towns to visit, but if you are looking for something a little more exciting and outdoorsy, like rock climbing, camping, hiking, or cross-country skiing, you will find plenty of opportunities to indulge your outdoorsy side, too. Some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country exist in New Hampshire.
Kancamagus Highway is not your typical Sunday drive. Located in northern New Hampshire, in White Mountain National Forest, the Kancamagus Highway is a 34-mile stretch of road that is a destination for hundreds of thousands of people every year. A drive through the area in the fall is simply stunning as the leaves change to fiery red, orange, and yellow. If you want the full experience, make some stops along the way to check out the trails, waterfalls, and scenic views.
Lake Winnipesaukee is New Hampshire's largest lake, located just east of the center of the state. It is a great place to take in the view and relax, but there are a lot of outdoor activities available here, too, including beaches, sightseeing cruises, a nature center, and much more. The fun continues into the winter, too, with downhill and cross-country skiing, tubing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing.
Just outside Concord is the Canterbury Shaker Village. This National Historic Landmark was founded in 1969 as a way to preserve the heritage of the Canterbury Shakers. It includes four reconstructed buildings, 25 restored original buildings, and more than 690 acres of fields, gardens, forests, and nature trails. Here you can take a tour to learn more about the Shakers and see demonstrations of traditional broom making, woodworking, weaving, spinning, letterpress printing, and much more.
If you want to experience city life in New Hampshire, head to the capital. In downtown Concord, you'll find unique shopping and dining opportunities as well as galleries, theaters, and live events. It is located in the middle of lush forests and lakes and is the perfect place to stop and grab a bite to eat when making your way from outdoor adventure to the next.
Historic Portsmouth is located on the coast of New Hampshire, just south of the Maine border. Once a busy sea village, Portsmouth is now a protected historical and archeological site. The school, post office, general store, and Methodist Church are open to the public seasonally. There are also nature trails to explore and a beach perfect for hunting seashells and swimming. Tent camping and rustic cabins are available for overnight stays.
Just north of Woodstock, in the White Mountain National Forest, is Flume Gorge, one of the most photogenic places in New Hampshire. A two-mile loop trail follows wooden boardwalks and stairs right into the rock formations, so you get up close and personal with moss, lichen, and gorgeous waterfalls. Along the way, stop to take a selfie at the Flume Covered Bridge, one of the oldest covered bridges in the state. Check out Table Rock, the Old Man of the Mountain, and explore the Bear Cave if you have time.
We have mentioned White Mountain National Forest as a home to several landmarks and interesting places, but do not forget to spend time exploring the mountains themselves. There is so much to do here: golfing, horseback riding, hiking, rock climbing, mountain streams and lakes for fishing, and beaches for swimming. In the winter, there is a range of downhill skiing courses to choose from and several resorts to spend the night.
New Castle is the smallest town in New Hampshire. It is also the farthest east, and the only one contained entirely on an island. All excellent reasons why it is a must-see. The idyllic location makes it a perfect place for sandy beaches and relaxing vacations, and the charming scenery is any photographer's dream.
Hampton Beach is located on the coast, just north of the Massachusetts border. It is the perfect beach town and an idyllic destination for a relaxing family vacation. Discover everything from arcades, waterslides, and mini-golf to family campgrounds, golf resorts, and galleries. And don't forget about deep-sea fishing and whale watching.
In the eastern side of the state just north of Massachusetts is Nashua, the second largest city in northern New England. It was named "The Best Place to Live in America," so it is definitely worth seeing what all the fuss is about. Nashua is a quaint town with gorgeous architecture and plenty to do to keep you busy. Check out Mine Falls Park for 325 acres of forest and wetlands right in the heart of the city, or stop by the Djinn Spirits distillery and sample a spiced honey liqueur based on a 500-year old recipe.