If you haven’t considered New Hampshire for your next trip, you better get out your bucket list and a pen. It’s time to do some updating.
Did you ever think you could experience the “Worst Weather In The World”? How about the world’s longest candy counter? Is “glamping” on your bucket list?
New Hampshire’s got you covered on all fronts.
The New England state is so much more than fall foliage and a bold slogan, although these are certainly major draws to New Hampshire. It’s a destination full of history, nature, serenity, and adventure, and it’s a uniquely East Coast experience that you can’t find anywhere else.
New Hampshire celebrates its independence with a state slogan of “Live Free or Die,” and the freedom is tangible throughout the state in its open roads, untouched nature, and limitless outdoor adventure.
Here are the top attractions to this picturesque state that make it a perfect destination for your next getaway.
The drives in New Hampshire are something out of a picture book. Rent a car from the airport (it’s an easy drive from Boston Logan International Airport) and then the open roads are yours to explore. The White Mountains are known for incredible scenery, with rolling hills and foliage as far as the eye can see. All you have to do is roll down the window, turn up the tunes, and soak in the views.
We were lucky enough to journey through the region in late spring when the trees were a vivid green, but we can only imagine how beautiful they would be in the fall! An autumn road trip in New Hampshire is definitely on the bucket list.
Since New Hampshire is spacious and not overcrowded, you can find yourself cruising solo for parts of the road — allowing you to soak it all in in peace (and not be judged for having a solo dance party behind the wheel).
But the scenic ride doesn’t stop in your own vehicle. Hop on the world’s first mountain-climbing cog train for a ride to the clouds, 1800s style. The three-hour round trip will stop at the summit of Mount Washington, which is known as one of the windiest places in the USA. It’s also affectionately known as the “Worst Weather In The World.” Learn from our mistake and make sure to dress for the weather — it’s definitely an experience!
Limitless outdoor adventure
New Hampshire’s outdoor scenery is something special. It’s a mix of the diverse offerings, stunning backdrops, and lack of crowds that make adventuring here worthy of a bucket list trip.
If you time it right, you may be able to find moments in between the masses of tourists to soak in the serenity as you hike around a stunning waterfall or paddle down a tranquil river.
Spend a day on Lake Winnipesaukee and you will not be disappointed. This scenic lake is where the woodsy mountains meet the water, and there could be no more majestic setting. The most peaceful way to explore the lake is by paddleboarding, which you can rent from SUP-NH right at the lakeside. Paddle under the bridge and through the river for a serene scene that feels straight out of The Notebook (sans Ryan Gosling, unfortunately).
New Hampshire boasts an impressive amount of waterfalls, each unique and captivating in its own way. Head over to the Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park to have your breath taken away at this masterpiece of Mother Nature, and make sure to take the two-mile loop to check out the covered bridge and picturesque pool. Views for days.
If you really want to immerse yourself in the outdoors through and through, there is only way to do it. That’s right, friends: it’s time to get your “glamp” on.
Originating in France, Huttopia White Mountains is a perfect spot for a romantic, family, or friends getaway. Stay right in the middle of nature, roast some s’mores on a campfire, listen to the rushing creek, and then crawl into a bed in your spacious chalet. “Glamping” is all of the camping fun with none of the fuss.
Delicious farm-to-table and sea-to-table eats
New England eats are at their absolutely best in New Hampshire, and you have to get your hands on their fresh seafood and other local ingredients.
A non-negotiable is The Pink House in Milton, which attracts boaters from the lake next door and visitors from all over the region. Their signature dish is a delicious lobster roll, best enjoyed with a side of their house-made chips. Wash that down with their local hand-made ice cream, including the best cookie dough scoops we’ve ever tasted. No exaggeration.
A trip to New Hampshire wouldn’t be complete without a stop in the quaint town of Portsmouth, which boasts a variety of trendy restaurants serving up some of the best eats in the state.
Kick off your day with a pastry at Cup of Joe, and dive into the pad thai at the Green Elephant for lunch. Sip on a sundowner at Martingale Wharf while the sun sets over the water, and for dinner, revel in the risotto at Black Trumpet.
You’re on vacation, so you definitely owe it to your taste buds to stop by the Woodstock Inn Brewery in North Woodstock. This cozy converted railway house is the epitome of countryside living, New Hampshire style. It also serves up a mean flight of craft beers, and an even meaner banana dessert. Just take our advice and share it with someone, because it is a large and filling dish but you will not be able to put the fork down until the plate is polished!
Rich history & culture
New Hampshire is one of the 13 original colonies of the USA, and was the first state to have its own state constitution — this independence is what shaped its motto, “Live Free or Die.”
You will sense the national pride all over the region, with American flags waving in the breeze on what seems like the majority of the region’s homes, locals who love to share the beauty of their homeland, and businesses and restaurants serving up the best and freshest goods.
While in Portsmouth, the Strawbery Banke Museum is a must. This is no stuffy indoor museum; it’s a step back in time, as you stroll through the daily life in New Hampshire from the Colonies all the way to the Cold War.
The grounds are beautiful and well maintained, and the staff is engaging and provides an immersive experience for visitors. It’s a popular spot for groups to visit during the day, with the historic houses staffed and open for touring from 10 am to 5 pm from May 1 to October 31. Even after the houses close for the day, the grounds remain open to stroll at your leisure, and in the winter, there is an outdoor skating rink until 9 pm. Check out the full hours of operation here.
Steps away from Strawbery Banke, settle in at the adorable boutique inn known as The Sailmaker’s House. With a convenient self check-in system, attentive staff, modern decor, and lush grounds, The Sailmaker’s House is the perfect home base for exploring Portsmouth.
We came to New Hampshire seeking outdoor adventures, which we got in spades, but what we didn’t expect was a little shopping spree to go along with it! New Hampshire is one of only nine states in the USA that doesn’t require its residents to pay state sales tax, which means you can treat yo’self tax- and guilt-free.
The quaint streets of Portsmouth are dotted with cozy boutiques offering clothing, home decor, and all the unique knick-knacks of the area. A personal favourite is Ganesh Imports, where you can find ladies boho clothing at affordable prices (even more affordable when you don’t have to factor in the tax).
Plus, while you’re checking “glamping” off your bucket list in Huttopia White Mountains, you might as well satisfy your retail craving on the way. Just a 15-20 minute drive will land you at Settlers Green outlet mall in North Conway, which attracts visitors from all over with its amazing retail offerings.