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NEW HAMPSHIRE TRAVEL GUIDE

Ice Castles, New Hampshire AMC Hut, New Hampshire Arethusa Falls, New Hampshire

Welcome to the bigroads.com travel guide to New Hampshire! Hopefully this page helps provide some inspiration and tips to help you plan your next trip to New Hampshire.

Take note that I build and maintain this website as both a hobby and public service. I take joy in performing travel research and sharing my experiences and adventures. I do not make any profit from this website, and you will see no ads on it. Your constructive feedback about this site and its content is encouraged. Please email me if you have any suggestions or ideas for improvement.

Author/Contributor: Greg Parsons


OVERVIEW



Tourism is huge business in New Hampshire. Throngs of travelers gravitate to certain parts of the state, including the Lakes Region and the White Mountains region. The Lakes Region offers fantastic boating opportunities and many family-friendly attractions. The White Mountains region is one of the very best vacation destinations in the country, with more than a thousand miles of well-marked hiking trails, several great ski areas, lively mountain towns, and dozens of tourist attractions. New Hampshire also has has a few beaches and what is believed to be the world's second most climbed mountain in the world, Mt. Monadnock.

5-STAR ATTRACTIONS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE



Here is my opinionated list of 5-star attractions in New Hampshire, organized by major region. I believe each of these attractions should be on your New Hampshire bucket list since they are all noteworthy from a national perspective:

Northern New Hampshire
ATV/ORV-ing in Jericho State Park, Berlin - one of the best ATV/ORV trail networks in the Northeast
Beaver Brook Falls Wayside, Colebrook - one of the finest waterfalls in New Hampshire; roadside views of the towering falls
Dixville Notch State Park, Colebrook - includes a scenic drive, several waterfalls, and challenging hiking trails up to the rugged Table Rock
Mountain View Grand Resort, Whitefield - one of the largest resorts in the Northeast; there are gorgeous views right from the property
Pondicherry Wildlife Sanctuary, Whitefield - ponds, wetlands, forests, and scenic views of nearby mountains
Santa's Village, Jefferson - one of the best Christmas-themed amusement parks in the U.S.
Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, near Errol - some of the best lake canoeing/kayaking in New England; many remote camping sites

White Mountains: Western Region (including Franconia and Lincoln)

AMC White Mountain Huts - series of 8 well-constructed mountain huts that offer overnight lodging for hikers; along the Appalachian Trail
Basin, The, Franconia Notch State Park - fascinating geological features and waterfalls; access via parking area off I-93
Clark's Trading Post, Lincoln - live black bear shows and other (sometimes wacky) tourist attractions
Cannon Mountain, Franconia - one of NH's best ski/snowboard resorts
Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, Franconia - best aerial tram in New Hampshire
Echo Lake Beach, Franconia - sandy lake beach with boat rentals; gorgeous mountain views of Franconia Notch; take a hike to Artists Bluff
Flume Gorge & Visitor Center, Franconia Notch State Park - boardwalk & hiking trails through gorge & past several waterfalls
Franconia Notch State Park - beautiful state park with amazing hiking and biking trails; NH's best hike starts here (the Franconia Loop)
Ice Castles, near Lincoln - winter attraction where a giant ice park is created and visitors can walk (and sometimes slide) through it
Kancamagus National Scenic Byway (NH 112) - arguably NH's most scenic drive; connects Conway with Lincoln and passes many trailheads
Loon Mountain, Lincoln - one of NH's best ski/snowboard resorts
Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves, North Woodstock - extremely fun 0.75 mile trail passes through several boulder caves and by a waterfall
White Mountain National Forest - one of the U.S.'s finest national forests; 100s of things to see and 1,000+ miles of well-marked hiking trails

White Mountains: Eastern Region (including Jackson and North Conway)
AMC White Mountain Huts - series of 8 well-constructed mountain huts that offer overnight lodging for hikers; along the Appalachian Trail
Arethusa Falls, Hart's Location - arguably New England's best waterfall; access via trailhead off US-302
Bretton Woods - the largest ski resort in NH; extremely family-friendly; famous for its moderate terrain and glades (tree-skiing)
Crawford Notch State Park - beautiful state park with amazing hiking trails and scenic views
Diana's Baths, near North Conway - series of waterfalls, slides, and potholes; kids love this place
Downtown North Conway - walkable and attractive area with restaurants, shops, a playground, and more
Glen Ellis Falls, near Jackson - one of the most scenic waterfalls in New England; access via trailhead on NH 16 north of Jackson
Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, near Jackson - offers a variety of outdoor activities near Mt. Washington
Jackson Ski Touring Foundation - some of the finest cross country skiing in New England
Kancamagus National Scenic Byway (NH 112) - arguably NH's most scenic drive; connects Conway with Lincoln and passes many trailheads
Madison Boulder, Madison - supposedly the largest "glacial erratic" in New England
Mount Washington Auto Road, near Jackson - drive to the very top of New England (in season)
Mount Washington Cog Railway, near Bretton Woods - one of the steepest cog railways in the world
Omni Mount Washington Resort, near Bretton Woods - historic resort; grand views of Mt. Washington; great golfing and nearby hiking
Sabbaday Falls - one of NH's best waterfalls; access via the famed Kancamagus Highway (NH 112); also visit Lower Falls while in area
Story Land, Jackson - excellent family-friendly throwback amusement park; also has a separate aquarium (NH's best)
Tuckerman Ravine - famous backcountry skiing/hiking spot; dangerous in mid-winter due to extreme winter avalanche danger
White Mountain National Forest - one of the U.S.'s finest national forests; 100s of things to see and 1,000+ miles of well-marked hiking trails
Zeb's General Store, North Conway - excellent general store full of New England-based goods; located in quaint downtown North Conway

Southern & Central New Hampshire (including Portsmouth and the Lake Winnipesaukee region)
Andres Institute of Art - hiking trails past dozens of art sculptures
Anheuser-Busch Brewery, Merrimack - one of the best and most comprehensive brewery tours in the US
Canobie Lake Park, Salem - southern NH theme park with more than 85 rides, games, and attractions
Canterbury Shaker Village, Canterbury - historical exhibits & live demonstrations by costumed interpreters
Hampton Beach / Hampton Beach State Park - NH's most popular beach; good surfing
Lake Winnipesaukee - a boater's paradise; many quaint towns found along its edge
Market Square / Downtown Portsmouth - quaint downtown area with excellent shops & restaurants
Mount Monadnock State Park, Jaffrey - scramble up the most hiked mountain in New England; parking reservations need for most trailheads
Northern Rail Trail - arguably NH's best rail trail; travels 57.6 miles from Lebanon to Boscawen
Polar Caves Park, Rumney - boulder caves and hiking trails
Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, Holderness - part zoo, part playground, part hiking trail; the best zoo in NH
Strawberry Banke Museum, Portsmouth - outdoor American history museum
USS Albacore Museum, Portsmouth - tour a historic submarine near downtown Portsmouth
Wright Museum of WWII, Wolfeboro - one of the best WWII history museums in the U.S.

Are you aware of any other 5-star attractions in New Hampshire? If so, please email me at gparsons66@hotmail.com.

TOP 10 ATTRACTIONS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE



Are you short on time or struggling to choose something to do or see in New Hampshire? Here are my selections for the top 10 attractions or experiences in New Hampshire:

Stay in Conway or North Conway and explore various parts of the exceptionally scenic White Mountain National Forest
Take a hike in Franconia Notch State Park near Lincoln and Franconia
Walk, shop, and dine in downtown Portsmouth
Hike Mt. Monadnock, one of the most climbed mountains in the world (make parking reservations in advance!)
Take the kids to Story Land and/or Santa's Village, two of the best theme parks for young children in the U.S.
Climb through boulder caves at the Lost River Gorge or the Polar Caves
Drive, hike, or take a cog railway to the top of Mt. Washington
Seek out some of New Hampshire's 50+ covered bridges
Hit slopes at one of many great ski areas found in the central and White Mountains regions of the state
Drive the famous Kancamagus Highway (NH-112) during fall foliage (early October) between Lincoln and Conway

If I could pick only one place to visit in New Hampshire, I would choose North Conway. I would use that mountain town as a gateway to explore the White Mountain National Forest.

BEST TOWNS & CITIES TO VISIT IN NEW HAMPSHIRE



These towns and cities in New Hampshire are generally regarded as the most interesting to travelers:

Conway/North Conway - mountain scenery; hiking trails; many ski resorts; gateway to White Mountain National Forest & Mt. Washington
Hampton Beach - beaches, surfing; seaside amusements and shops
Hanover - historic downtown; boutique shops; home of Dartmouth College; access to Appalachian Trail
Jackson - skiing/snowboarding; family-friendly attractions; hiking; waterfalls; camping; gateway to White Mountain National Forest
Keene - historic downtown; boutique shops; Mt. Monadnock is in nearby Jaffrey (Mt. Monadnock is one of the world's most hiked mountains)
Lincoln/Woodstock - skiing/snowboarding; family-friendly attractions; hiking; waterfalls; gateway to White Mountain National Forest
Meredith - lake activities (e.g. boating); boutique shops; lakeshore walk; world's largest arcade (Funspot) is nearby
Portsmouth - colonial buildings; boutique shops in historic downtown area (tax-free); Strawberry Bank Museum

Many would say that Alton, Gorham, Laconia, and Wolfeboro are also worth visiting. Although the towns themselves don't offer too many noteworthy attractions, I will say that they serve as good base camps for exploring interesting areas and various attractions nearby.

My favorite city in New Hampshire is Portsmouth - I recommend that first-time visitors spend at least 1-2 days here

My favorite small town in New Hampshire is Conway/North Conway - I recommend that first-time visitors spend at least 4-5 days here

If you like beaches, visit Hampton in July or August.
If you like hiking, visit Conway, Gorham, Jackson, or Lincoln from July through mid-October.
If you like skiing, visit Conway, Jackson, or Lincoln from December through March.
If you like waterfalls, visit Conway, Gorham, Jackson, or Lincoln from May through mid-October.
If you want to see blooming lupine flowers, visit Sugar Hill in early June.
If you want to see fall foliage, visit Conway, Gorham, Jackson, or Lincoln in early October.
If you want to visit the White Mountain National Forest, stay in Conway or Lincoln.

If I could pick only one place to visit in New Hampshire, I would choose North Conway so that I could explore the scenic White Mountain National Forest.

If I had one full week to spend in New Hampshire, I would fly into Boston, MA and drive to Portsmouth, NH. I would explore Portsmouth for half a day and then head to the White Mountain National Forest. I would stay in North Conway for the rest of the week and explore the various regions of the White Mountain National Forest from there.

Click here if you'd like to see a complete list of towns and cities that I find interesting across the entire U.S.

WHAT IS NEW HAMPSHIRE FAMOUS FOR?



Here are some things that New Hampshire is famous or well-known for:

alpine huts (e.g. AMC Lonesome Lake Hut, AMC Lakes of the Clouds Hut)
alpine zones
apple cider donuts
ATV/ORV-ing (e.g. Jericho, Pittsburg)
backcountry skiing (e.g. Tuckerman Ravine)
backpacking
boulder caves
children's theme parks (e.g. Canobie Lake Park, Santa's Village, Story Land)
covered bridges
cross country skiing
fall foliage
glacial erratics (e.g. Boise Rock, Glen Boulder, Madison Boulder)
grand resorts (e.g. Omni Mount Washington Resort, Mountain View Grand Resort, The Wentworth)
granite
hunting
hiking
lakes (e.g. Lake Winnipesaukee, Newfound Lake, Squam Lake, Umbagog Lake)
lupines
moose
motorcycling (e.g. Laconia Bike Week)
no income tax
no sales tax
outdoor recreation
rock climbing (e.g. Cathedral Ledge, Cannon Cliff, Rattlesnake Mountain in Rumney)
scenic parkways (e.g. NH-112 from Conway to Lincoln, US-302 from Lincoln to Twin Mountain, NH-16 from Jackson to Gorham)
scenic railroads
skiing/snowboarding
snowmobiling
swimming holes (e.g. Diana's Baths, Jackson Falls, Lower Falls)
waterfalls

Click here if you'd like to learn what other U.S. states are famous for.

NATIONAL PARKS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE



There are no national parks in New Hampshire, but there are a few other federally-managed parks and properties in New Hampshire, including:

National Forests
White Mountain National Forest - one of the finest national forests in the U.S.; more than 1000 miles of hiking trails and hundreds of waterfalls

National Wildlife Refuges
Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge
John Hay National Wildlife Refuge
Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge
Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge
Wapack National Wildlife Refuge

National Historical Parks / Other National Parks
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park

The White Mountain National Forest is one of the premier national forests in the United States. It could easily be a national park if the powers at be wanted it to be. There are more than 1,000 miles of trails there, leading to hundreds of waterfalls and many scenic views. There are lively base towns nearby that offer many attractions, restaurants, and lodging too, such as Lincoln, Conway/North Conway, and Jackson.

For more information on New Hampshire's national parks, visit the New Hampshire page of the National Park Service. For more information on the White Mountain National Forest, visit the website of the USDA Forest Service. For an overview of all U.S. national parks, click here.

STATE PARKS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE



New Hampshire has more than 90 state parks. Many would agree that these represent New Hampshire's finest state parks:

Flagship / Premier State Parks:
Crawford Notch State Park - outstanding hiking and backpacking; scenic driving (US 302); campgrounds and waterfalls
Franconia Notch State Park - geological attractions, hiking, backpacking, scenic driving, camping, waterfalls, snowmobiling
Monadnock State Park - hike/scramble up one of the most climbed mountains in the world; campground
Mount Washington State Park - hike one of the hardest mountains in the East; backpacking, backcountry skiing; scenic driving and views

Other Notable State Parks:
Cardigan Mountain State Park - hiking, backpacking
Dixville Notch State Park - hiking, backpacking, waterfalls
Echo Lake State Park - swimming; picnicking
Jericho Mountain State Park - arguably the ATV/ORV-ing park in New England; snowmobiling; hiking and at least one waterfall
Umbagog Lake State Park - canoeing/kayaking, remote camping
Wellington State Park - swimming; canoeing/kayaking; picnicking

My favorite state park in New Hampshire is a tie between Crawford Notch State Park and Franconia Notch State Park. Both offer outstanding hiking, waterfalls, and views from fine mountain summits.

Monadnock State Park is a fun place to hike and rock-scramble, but it now requires advance parking reservations. Visit the state park website well in advance to secure your parking permit for the "Headquarters" area. Mt. Monadnock is one of the most climbed mountains in the world, and nearly everyone that grew up near it has hiked it at least once. Many people hike it regularly (my family included).

You can hike, drive, or take a cog railway up to the summit of Mount Washington within Mount Washington State Park. The road is a bit steep and scary at times, but just about any vehicle can make it as it is now fully paved. This is the highpoint of New Hampshire. The scenic drive and cog railway are open seasonally.

Jericho Mountain State Park is probably the premier ATV/ORV-ing area in New England. It offers more than 85 miles of trails, and most are well marked. Several rental agencies can be found in the towns of Berlin and Gorham.

To see my list of the top 100 state parks in the country, click here.

BEST WATERFALLS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE



New Hampshire has more than 300 natural waterfalls. Here are some of the best waterfalls in New Hampshire:

Northern New Hampshire
Alpine Cascades near Berlin
Beaver Brook Falls in Colebrook
Garfield Falls near Pittsburg

White Mountains Region
Ammonoosuc Ravine on Mt. Washington
Arethusa Falls off US-302
Beaver Brook Cascades on Mt. Moosilauke
Bridal Veil Falls near Cannon Mountain
Crystal Cascade on Mt. Washington
Diana's Baths near North Conway
Dry River Falls off US-302
Falls on the Basin-Cascades Trail ("The Basin")
Falls on the Falling Waters Trail in Franconia Notch
Falls on the Flume-Pool Loop in Franconia Notch
Glen Ellis Falls off NH 16 north of Jackson
Ripley Falls off US-302
Sabbaday Falls on the Kancamagus Highway
Silver Cascade off US-302
Thirteen Falls near Lincoln

For a listing of all known waterfalls in New Hampshire, visit the World Waterfall Database or the New England Waterfalls website.

BEST SCENIC DRIVES IN NEW HAMPSHIRE



There are a few outstanding scenic drives in New Hampshire, including these personal favorites:

I-93 from Lincoln to Franconia through Franconia Notch
Kancamagus Highway (NH-112) from Lincoln to Conway/North Conway
Mount Washington Auto Road from NH 16 to the summit of Mt. Washington (open seasonally)
NH-16 from Jackson to Gorham
US-302 from Twin Mountain to Conway/North Conway

Other than the Mount Washington Auto Road, all of the scenic drives I mention above are open year-round. Major snowstorms or serious icing conditions can temporarily close any of the roads, but they are usually re-opened within a few hours.

BEST RAIL TRAILS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE



Here is a list of some of the best rail trails (or similar cycling paths) in New Hampshire:

White Mountains Region
Franconia Notch Recreation Path
Presidential Range Rail Trail - take note that some sections are not well-maintained

Central New Hampshire
Northern Rail Trail

Southern New Hampshire
Ashuelot Recreational Rail Trail
Derry Rail Trail
Londonderry Rail Trail
Nashua River Rail Trail
Windham Rail Trail

For detailed information on all known rail trails in New Hampshire, visit the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy website.

BEST AMUSEMENT PARKS / THEME PARKS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE



There are a few great amusement parks in New Hampshire:

Canobie Lake Park in Salem
Santa's Village in Jefferson
Story Land in Jackson
Water Country in Portsmouth
Whale's Tale Waterpark in Lincoln

Canobie Lake Park has the best roller-coasters in New Hampshire. It has more than 80 rides, games, and attractions.

Santa's Village is the best amusement park in New Hampshire for young kids (sorry Story Land!). It's absolutely magical near Christmas.

Water Country is arguably the best outdoor water park in New England. It can get insanely busy on weekends though.

BEST MUSEUMS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE



New Hampshire only has a few notable museums. The best museums in New Hampshire include:

Canterbury Shaker Village, Canterbury
Children's Museum of New Hampshire, Dover
Currier Museum of Art, Manchester
New Hampshire Telephone Museum, Warner
Strawberry Banke Museum, Portsmouth
USS Albacore Museum, Portsmouth
Wright Museum of WWII, Wolfeboro

BEST DAY HIKES IN NEW HAMPSHIRE



New Hampshire has thousands of miles of hiking trails, and there is good hiking to be found all over the state. Here are some of the best day hikes in New Hampshire:

White Mountains Region
Arethusa Falls - hike to one of NH's tallest and arguably most beautiful waterfall; access via US 302
Artists Bluff - short but steep hike to one of the best scenic views in NH; a fall foliage classic; access via Cannon Mountain parking area
Baldface Loop - hard but rewarding hike/light rock scramble in Evans Notch; 10+ miles round-trip; swim in Emerald Pool at the end
Diana's Baths - fun pools and potholes; parking is very limited; near North Conway
Flume Gorge - waterfalls and gorges on a 2-0 mile loop in Franconia Notch; reservations required
Franconia Ridge Loop/Mt. Lafayette/Mt. Lincoln - hard but incredible hike in Franconia Notch
Glen Ellis Falls - gorgeous waterfall near Mt. Washington; access via NH 16
Lonesome Lake - beautiful remote lake near Cannon Mountain; access via hike from Franconia Notch
Mount Adams - hard climb to open 360-degree view summit; access via US 2 in Randolph
Mount Chocorua - classic hike off the Kancamagus Highway (NH 112)
Mount Pemigewasset - one of the best moderate day hikes near Lincoln; same trailhead as the Flume Gorge
Mount Washington - highpoint of New Hampshire; you can drive, hike, or take a cog railway up to this summit; the hike is difficult
Mount Willard - amazing views of Crawford Notch; parking can be a challenge
North & Middle Sugarloaf - moderate hike to beautiful open ledges
Sabbaday Falls - pretty falls off the Kancamagus Highway (NH 112)
Welch & Dickey Loop - fun hike near Waterville Valley

Central New Hampshire
Mount Cardigan - moderate hike to awesome views in central NH
Mount Kearsarge
Mount Major - awesome views of Lake Winnipesaukee
West Rattlesnake - relatively easy hike to wonderful views of Squam Lake

Southern New Hampshire
Mount Monadnock - one of the most hiked mountains in the world; located in Jaffrey in the southwestern corner of NH
Pawtuckaway State Park trails

My favorite day hikes in New Hampshire: Arethusa Falls, Baldface Loop, Franconia Ridge Loop, Mount Monadnock, Welch & Dickey Loop
My favorite day hikes in or near Lincoln: Flume Gorge, The Basin, Franconia Ridge Loop, Lonesome Lake, Franconia Falls, Mt. Pemigewasset
My favorite day hikes in or near Conway / North Conway: Mt. Chocorua, Diana's Baths, North Moat Mountain, Boulder Loop
My favorite day hikes in central New Hampshire: Mt. Major, Mt. Cardigan, West Rattlesnake, Mt. Morgan/Mt. Percival Loop, Mt. Kearsarge
My favorite day hikes in southern New Hampshire: Mt. Monadnock, North Pack Monadnock

The highpoint of New Hampshire is Mount Washington (6,288'). In season, you can drive or take a cog railway to the top. You can also hike the mountain from several different trailheads. All hikes are very difficult but they are also highly rewarding as much of the terrain is above treeline in the famed "alpine zone".

To find more hikes in New Hampshire or to learn more about the hikes I've listed above, I recommend purchasing hiking guidebooks on Amazon (or from your local retailer). Another option is using alltrails.com, but you have to be very careful when using that website as its information is often wrong or incomplete. Published hiking guidebooks will likely always be significantly better than the information you find online.

BEST BACKPACKING TRIPS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE



New Hampshire offers many outstanding backpacking opportunities. Some of premier backpacking routes in New Hampshire include:

Northern New Hampshire
Cohos Trail - 170 miles from Crawford Notch State Park (US 302) north to the Canadian border

White Mountains Region
Appalachian Trail - 161 miles from the Vermont border to the Maine border; passes by 8 AMC mountain huts (reservations required)
Cohos Trail - 170 miles from Crawford Notch State Park (US 302) north to the Canadian border
Franconia Ridge / Franconia Range - White Mountain National Forest near Lincoln, NH
Great Gulf Wilderness - White Mountain National Forest; access from NH 16 between Jackson and Gorham, NH
Pemigewasset Wilderness ("Pemi Loop") - White Mountain National Forest near Lincoln, NH
Presidential Range-Dry River Wilderness - White Mountain National Forest; access from US 302
Presidential Range Traverse - White Mountain National Forest; hike from US 302 to US 2
Thirteen Falls - White Mountain National Forest near Lincoln, NH
Wild River Wilderness - eastern section of White Mountain National Forest
Wildcat-Carter-Moriah Range - White Mountain National Forest near Jackson, NH

Central New Hampshire
Appalachian Trail - 161 miles from the Vermont border to the Maine border; passes by 8 AMC mountain huts (reservations required)
Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway - 50 miles from Mt. Monadnock to Mt. Sunapee

Southern New Hampshire
Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway - 50 miles from Mt. Monadnock to Mt. Sunapee

If you want a wilder and more remote backpacking experience, hike a section of the Cohos Trail. Expect mixed trail conditions (well-maintained in some areas, not so much in others).

For more information on backpacking in NH, visit the New England Waterfalls website.

CLASSIC OUTDOOR ADVENTURES IN NEW HAMPSHIRE



New Hampshire offers many excellent adventures, including these classics:

Northern New Hampshire
ATV/ORV-ing in Jericho State Park near Gorham/Berlin
ATV/ORV-ing in Pittsburg
Backpacking the Cohos Trail
Canoeing the Androscoggin River
Canoeing the Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge
Snowmobiling on any of NH's 7,000 miles of trails

White Mountains Region
Backcountry skiing near Cannon Mountain/Mittersill
Backcountry skiing the Sherburne Ski Trail on Mt. Washington
Backcountry skiing Tuckerman's Ravine on Mt. Washington
Backcountry skiing other areas in/around the White Mountain National Forest
Backpacking Mahoosuc Notch (the "hardest mile on the Appalachian Trail")
Backpacking the Appalachian Trail
Backpacking the Cohos Trail
Backpacking the Pemi Loop
Backpacking the Presidential Range (also called a "Presidential Traverse")
Backpacking to one or several of the AMC High Huts
Backpacking to one or several of the RMC shelters
Backpacking to other areas in the White Mountain National Forest
Boulder caving at the Lost River Gorge
Canoeing the Saco River
Cliff jumping from swimming holes in the White Mountain National Forest
Cycling the Kancamagus Highway (NH 112)
Day hiking the Baldface Loop
Day hiking the Franconia Ridge Loop/Mt. Lafayette/Mt. Lincoln
Day hiking Mount Chocorua
Day hiking Mount Washington
Driving up Mt. Washington (the tallest peak in New England)
Ice climbing Arethusa Falls
Ice climbing on Cathedral Ledge
Mountain biking at one of NH's ski resorts
Rock climbing on Cannon Cliff
Rock climbing on Cathedral Ledge
Rock climbing on Mt. Washington
Snowmobiling on any of NH's 7,000 miles of trails

Central New Hampshire
Backcountry skiing Cardigan Mountain
Backpacking the Appalachian Trail
Boulder caving at the Polar Caves
Cycling the Northern Rail Trail
Day hiking Cardigan Mountain
Mountain biking the Highland Mountain Bike Park
Rock climbing in Rumney (e.g. sport climbing on Rattlesnake Mountain)
Snowmobiling on any of NH's 7,000 miles of trails

Southern New Hampshire
Backpacking the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway Trail
Cycling the Nashua River Rail Trail
Day hiking Mount Monadnock
Hot air ballooning in Chester
Surfing at Hampton Beach

BEST SKI RESORTS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE



There are roughly 20 actively-operating ski resorts in New Hampshire. These ski resorts are generally considered the best:

Premier Ski/Snowboard Resorts:
Attitash Mountain Resort - 68 trails; 1,750ft vertical drop; 2,350ft summit
Bretton Woods - 98 trails; 1,500ft vertical drop; 3,100ft summit
Cannon Mountain - 97 trails; 2,180ft vertical drop; 4,080ft summit
Loon Mountain - 61 trails; 2,100ft vertical drop; 3,050ft summit
Mount Sunapee - 67 trails; 1,510ft vertical drop; 2,743ft summit
Wildcat Mountain - 48 trails; 2,112ft vertical drop; 4,062ft summit

Other Notable Ski/Snowboard Resorts:
Black Mountain
Cranmore Mountain Resort
Crotched Mountain
Gunstock Mountain
Pats Peak
Ragged Mountain
Waterville Valley

My favorite ski resort in New Hampshire is Bretton Woods. However, I tend to prefer intermediate terrain, which Bretton Woods is famous for. Expert skiers seem to enjoy Cannon Mountain and Wildcat Mountain the most. Loon Mountain has the worst crowds I've ever seen at any ski resort. Avoid Loon on weekends/holiday weeks.

The best ski resort in southern New Hampshire is Mount Sunapee.

Lincoln and Conway/North Conway are both excellent ski towns. There are seven major ski areas near Conway/North Conway, making it one of the best ski towns in the United States. Lincoln is typically used to ski Loon Mountain or Cannon Mountain.

The prime NH ski season is generally December through March. Some NH resorts may also be open in Oct/Nov and April/May. Bretton Woods usually stays open the longest.

NEW HAMPSHIRE TRAVEL TIPS



For offbeat and unique New Hampshire attractions, visit one or both of these amazing websites: Atlas Obscura and Roadside America

The "bug season" for New Hampshire is mid-May through the end of June. Avoid forested areas during this time, or wear full clothing with a bug net over your head and face. The black flies during this period can be brutal, especially in the northern half of the state. Even the best bug spray (e.g. 100% Deet) often isn't enough to combat these evil creatures. I personally avoid the White Mountain National Forest area entirely during this season.

Many of the roads in the White Mountain National Forest are closed in winter (typically from November to late April/early May). Check the USFS website for road conditions.

If you enjoy antiquing, look into the "NH Antique Alley", which generally follows NH 4 from Concord to Portsmouth.

UNIQUE / SPECIALTY FOODS TO TRY IN NEW HAMPSHIRE



Here are some unique/specialty foods to try while you are in New Hampshire:

beach pizza
fried clams
lobster / lobster rolls
maple syrup
pancake houses / pancake parlors
poutine

For a list of unique foods and mom-and-pop type eateries and restaurants in New Hampshire (or any other U.S. state), visit the Roadfood.com website.
For a list of unique foods to try in each of the 50 U.S. states, click here.
For a list of the top-rated beers to try in New Hampshire (or any other U.S. state), visit the Beer Advocate website.

OTHER KEY NEW HAMPSHIRE INFORMATION



Capital = Concord
Major airports = Manchester and Portsmouth; take note that many people will fly into Boston, MA or Portland, ME and then drive into NH
Largest cities = Manchester (116,860), Nashua (92,288), Concord (44,232), Dover (33,291), Rochester (33,040)
Primary U.S. interstates = I-89, I-93, I-95
State highpoint = Mount Washington ((6,288'); you can hike, drive a seasonal road, or take a seasonal cog railroad to the top
Professional sports teams = none

Take note that in general this travel guide intentionally excluded restaurants, lodging/hotels, breweries, wineries/vineyards, and certain other types of attractions (like arcades, ax-throwing, bowling alleys, and escape rooms). These types of places tend to come and go, and keeping up with that would be too challenging. I encourage you to use Google Maps, Tripadvisor, Yelp, and other travel sites that have reader reviews to find the latest and greatest places that I haven't covered here.


Ice Castles near Loon, New Hampshire
Ice Castles near Loon, New Hampshire

AMC Galehead Hut, New Hampshire
AMC Galehead Hut, New Hampshire

Arethusa Falls, New Hampshire
Arethusa Falls, New Hampshire

Glen Ellis Falls, New Hampshire
Glen Ellis Falls, New Hampshire

Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

Artists Bluff, New Hampshire
Artists Bluff, New Hampshire

Cog Railway, Mount Washington, New Hampshire
Cog Railway, Mount Washington, New Hampshire

Madison Boulder, New Hampshire
Madison Boulder, New Hampshire

Franconia Ridge, New Hampshire
Franconia Ridge, New Hampshire

Mt. Adams, New Hampshire
Mt. Adams, New Hampshire

USS Albacore Museum, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
USS Albacore Museum, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

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