70 Great Things to Do in New Hampshire
From mountains to seacoast to its delightful small cities, New Hampshire has a multitude of wonderful things to do, all years. Interesting places to explore like America’s Stonehenge
or the shops and theaters and Strawbery Banke Museum
in Portsmouth are among many of the attractions
that bring loyal visitors to the Granite State year after year, in all seasons.
A popular form of accommodations is resorts
– some in the mountains, some on the seacoast – because they typically welcome families and offer a wide assortment of entertainments and access to the tools (rented kayaks, canoes, snowshoes, for instance) for outdoor adventure.
Valley boasts winter wonderland of activities, indoors and outdoors
If you’re seeking a winter wonderland for a fun-filled family getaway or a couples weekend escape, look up: to the Mount Washington Valley, New England’s snow sports playground. With seven acclaimed alpine resorts, six Nordic and snowshoe centers, indoor and outdoor skating rinks, horse-drawn sleigh rides, dog-sledding and ski touring, there is literally something for everyone. You can snow-tube down a groomed snow chute, take an invigorating winter hike past frozen waterfalls, ice skate under a dome (then warm up by a rinkside campfire) or explore miles and miles of cross-country ski trails, many winding their way through the White Mountain National Forest. Inside fun ranges from resort pools and spas to brewery and distillery tours and loads of tax-free shopping.
357 Morningside Lane
Charlestown, NH, 03603
Find aerial adventure at Morningside Flight Park
Seeking adventure? Morningside Flight Park is the place. Learn hang gliding, paragliding or powered paragliding at the country's most complete flight park. We've been teaching students of all ages and skill levels for over 40 years. In addition to lessons we offer tandem flights, zip-line canopy tours, kayaking and outdoor laser tag. We're located in Charlestown, NH, an easy drive from Boston, Hartford, Portland, Burlington, Montreal and New York. Come for the day or stay all weekend at our expansive campground surrounded by old-growth forest. Pitch your own tent or enjoy more comfort in a platform tent or our hilltop cabin. Morningside's campground is complete with fire pits, swimming ponds, playing fields, picnic areas, kitchen, bathhouse and breathtaking views of the Connecticut River Valley.
64 Railroad Street
Lincoln, NH, 03251
There’s magic in the air at this castle made entirely of ice
The photos you will take from deep inside Ice Castles
will be almost as amazing as the attraction itself. Made of solid ice, the walls 10 feet thick, the castles have enchanted visitors with their intricate designs, featuring towers that look like they are right out of “Lord of the Rings,” tunnels, caves, sculptures, fountains – and slides! Thousands of icicles are harvested and planted every day to keep the castles beautiful. And the effect is heightened at night, when LED lights frozen into the ice turn different colors, synchronized to music. You don’t have to be a fan of “Frozen” to find the whole experience magical. Remember to dress warmly, but in case that's not enough there's an on-site concession stand serving up hot chocolate and apple cider! Tickets are guaranteed to sell out each weekend - be sure to buy yours in advance on our website!
Off Route 302
Bretton Woods, NH, 03589
Climb to the clouds on New Hampshire's Cog Railway
Step aboard the Cog Railway and get ready to climb to the Northeast's highest summit, New Hampshire's Mount Washington. The three-hour trip is always an adventure. The train travels the steepest railroad tracks in North America, passing through several climate zones before reaching the top. There, on a clear day, you'll see New England spread out before you. On other days you may be above the clouds, as if you're walking about in a fairyland. There's history on the train, too. Construction of the railway was a 19th-century engineering marvel. And you won't find engines like ours anywhere else east of the Rockies. Learn all about it at our Base Station museum, where you'll also find a restaurant and gift shop. Trains run late April through November.
85 North Policy Street
Salem, NH, 03079
Great expectations are met at this historic family fun park
With a century’s old history and an exciting approach to fun, Canobie Lake Park offers one of New England’s best family values. 85 thrill rides, family rides, water rides, and kids rides, plus indoor-outdoor games and an arcade await just 30 miles north of Boston. There’s live entertainment on two stages and the Dance Hall Theater, special events and attractions, and a dedicated Kiddieland area. More than 20 great places to eat will keep you well fed and there’s tax free shopping for souvenirs, everyday items and keepsakes. You’ll find discounts for school or company outings and summer lodging packages that include 2 tickets to the Park plus options for additional tickets at a discounted rate. Parking is always free.
Route 16, Pinkham Notch
Gorham, NH, 03581
So much to explore on the Highest Peak in the Northeast
Due to its remarkable location, weather and history, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is unlike any other driving experience in the Eastern United States. A trip on Mt. Washington Auto Road is a one-of-a-kind experience offering ever-changing weather extremes, panoramic views and the opportunity to pass through four distinct climate zones as you climb to the highest peak in the Northeast. The constantly-changing weather adds to the allure and mystique of the famous peak, often allowing visitors to experience high winds and dramatic cloud formations. No matter the weather, the entire family will love all there is to do on the legendary Auto Road.
288 Shaker Road
Canterbury, NH, 03224
The simple life made extraordinary by the Shakers
The Shaker religious sect is considered by many historians to be the most successful communitarian society in American history. Throughout the 1800s some 300 members of the Shaker sect lived at the Canterbury Shaker Village site in Canterbury, NH growing their own food and supporting the community through their crafts and trades. Come see how the community thrived. Step inside 25 restored original Shaker buildings. Discover Shaker artifacts and photographs amidst 700 beautiful acres of forest, fields, gardens and mill ponds. The site offers workshops on woodworking, letterpress printing, broom making and more. Enjoy a simple lunch at the Farm Stand and shop for products made by local artisans at the Museum Store.
3 Crossing at Riverplace
North Woodstock, NH, 03262
A unique White Mountain culinary attraction
Plan a memorable event aboard the family owned and operated Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train. Rolling along the western slopes of the White Mountains, you’ll experience one of the region’s premier destinations majestic scenery and beautifully restored railcars, while sharing in a distinctive culinary experience. You’ll travel at a leisurely pace down and along the Pemigewasset River, through the woods, and return on the same track. Enjoy great service and plated fare highlighting quality seasonal and farm fresh ingredients from an inspired menu that offers an exceptional dining experience for you and your guests. Depart on your two-hour, 20 mile round trip in a convivial ambiance with classic cocktail offerings or one of the fine domestic or international wine selections.
200 Daniel Webster Highway
Nashua, NH, 03060
A Day of Play for the Whole Family
Time to PLAY! Fun World resembles a castle outside, but inside it’s a gigantic play space with tons of games and activities for kids from tots to the teens. More than 250 video and redemption games range in style from classic arcade favorites up to newer multiple-player games. Your kids are sure to end up happily tired after rumbling about in the three-story play space with lots of climbing structures and really long slides. Whew! Elsewhere, the Himalaya, roller coaster, and elegant Italian-built carousel will keep them fascinated and engaged. Games for older kids include Aliens, Terminator, Fast & Furious, Transformers, Ghost Squad, old-school air hockey tables and pinball games, and dance and sports games. The staff members are helpful; the cost is very reasonable.
61 Laconia Road
Tilton, NH, 03276
Lots to love, lots to do, when winter hits the lakes region
Summer’s not the only season to celebrate the glories of central New Hampshire’s lakes and mountains. When the temperatures drop and the snow falls, the Lakes Region is alive with skiers, snowboarders, ice-skaters, snow-tubers and skimobilers, visiting the nearby slopes; taking guided tours out onto the frozen lakes to catch a few fish; winter-hiking parts of the Northern Rail Trail; or enjoying sleigh rides across frozen fields. But you don’t have to be a sports enthusiast to enjoy winter here. Arrange for a spa day, take advantage of tax-free shopping in the region’s outlets and boutiques, explore a covered bridge, visit a winery or brewery; or just hunker down before the fire at one of many scenic inns.
60 Loon Mountain Road
Lincoln, NH, 03251
New England’s most accessible mountain resort destination
Pick a season and bring the family to Loon Mountain Resort – just 3 miles from I-93. In summer and fall, ride New Hampshire’s longest gondola skyride to the summit for breathtaking views of the White Mountains and great food at the Summit Café. Explore glacial caves and climb the observation tower. At the Adventure Center, swing through the Aerial Forest, soar across the Pemigewasset River on the zipline, beat the clock the LogJam Maze, or climb a 30-foot-tall spider web. Bunyan’s Bouncin’ Backyard has a bounce house. In winter, big mountain skiing and snowboarding features 2,100 feet of vertical with three peaks of terrain for all abilities – including an award-winning progression of terrain parks and New Hampshire’s only Superpipe. There’s also snow tubing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing.
196 Main Street
Gorham, NH, 03581
The seasons change the fun remains
Enjoy rolling dog sleds and exciting raft trips on Class II to Class 4 rapids. Muddy Paw sled tours allow you to meet the sled dogs, help the musher harness and hitch the team, enjoy the dog sled ride, and reward the sled dogs for a job well done. You’ll soak in the views and have plenty of photo opportunities. Raft NH is a family-friendly, rafting outfitter offering whitewater trips for ages 6 and up with or without experience. Trips from mild to wild offer an unforgettable adventure for everyone. The “Paws & Paddles” package combines daytime whitewater rafting and evening rolling dog sledding for a great day outdoors.
Route 171 - 455 Old Mountain Road
Moultonborough, NH, 03254
Inspiring Arts & Crafts House in the Mountains Transports Your Senses
Castle in the Clouds is an inspired name for this Arts & Crafts-style mansion in the Ossipee Mountain Range, overlooking New Hampshire’s gorgeous Lakes region. Built in 1914 by a wealthy shoe manufacturer and originally named Lucknow, the architecture displays hand-crafted details that honor natural forms. Take a winding road up to the property, passing vistas and a waterfall, and finish with a trolley ride from the parking area to the house. Explore the period furnishings and even the mistress’s wardrobe, find mementos in the gift shop, enjoy lunch at the Carriage House Restaurant, and browse a revolving display of artwork in the Art Gallery. Children are welcome. Hiking trails beckon you into the mountains and horseback riding is allowed. Open weekends through May and daily from June to October.
Visitor’s Center at Exit 32 Off I-93
North Woodstock, NH, 03262
Everything for a memorable vacation is here to enjoy!
Families, friends and the intrepid loner will love the White Mountains, a majestic and activity-filled area of northern New Hampshire. Pleasures and fun abound year-round in cozy hotels and resorts, great food, snowy mountain trails and pristine lakes. The best skiing, hiking and biking make any vacation memorable and so will amusement & water parks and nature walks. Explore the forests & caves along the mountainside and strap yourself in for zip lines and canopy tours. The vistas from aerial tramways, valley & mountain railroads and the famous Mt. Washington Auto Road will take you to the top of the world. And for shopping enthusiasts there's quaint family-run shops, traditional country & general stores, and modern discount outlets.
33 Village Road
Waterville Valley, NH, 03215
Full slate of activities means boredom is banned
Whether you are seeking an adventure or just a relaxing experience, the resort at Waterville Valley has the perfect activity for you. For daring guests, there’s rock-climbing, mountain biking (down 4,000-foot mountains), skiing and snowshoeing. For those who want something a little less adrenalin-inducing, there are 100 miles of well-maintained hiking trails, a scenic chairlift up Snow’s Mountain, a Splash Pad for kids (while adults enjoy poolside cabana service), award-winning clay tennis courts, disc and regular golf courses, a year round indoor ice arena and a skateboard and inline skating park. Enjoy the water via a pedal boat, canoe, kayak or paddleboard. Many activities are included in the price of your room with the Freedom Pass. Enjoy family time with trivia contests, bingo and live music.
Two Great Locations
Chichester and Hooksett, NH
Golf, zoom around a go-kart track or fly through the air at fun parks
You might not really hit a hole-in-one on the giant mini-golf courses at Chuckster’s two New Hampshire locations. But you’ll feel like you did after spending time at the fun-filled activity parks. In Hooksett, tackle the 18-hole Fire Tower or Cave courses then let the winner buy cones at the ice cream barn. In Chichester, if golf isn’t your thing, no worries: There’s a go-kart speedway, a tree-to-tree Aerial Adventure and a TimberClimb where you can climb 50 feet up a tree. Feeling competitive? How about Shoot Four, a basketball version of “Connect Four,” or Shoot-N-Shower (guess what happens to the loser). Or play volleyball/basketball on trampolines or jump and flip up to 18 feet on Jumpster cables. Your little ones, 2 to 8, will love the kid’s bumper boats.
528 Presidential Highway
Jefferson, NH, 03583
Pure Joy. Family Style. Every Summer & Christmastime, too.
Enjoy the only New England park named one of the Top 25 Amusement Parks in the USA by TripAdvisor 2014 Travelers’ Choice Awards: Santa’s Village in Jefferson, NH. It’s home to Santa and his reindeer, and dozens of amusement rides and shows and other attractions for families with young children. It’s the joy and excitement of Christmas morning, and every bit as memorable for the entire family. One low admission price covers an entire day of memory-making. For over 60 years and three generations, from our family to yours – oh, what fun it is! Seasons: Open Memorial Day weekend to Christmas.
312 Daniel Webster Highway
Meredith, NH, 03253
Lakes region activities in a vibrant New Hampshire community
Discover great food, culture and the many pleasures of the Lake’s Region at this unique lodging on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. Four distinct Inns, each with views of the lake and surrounding mountains, offer smoke free rooms, coffee makers, refrigerators and Wi-Fi. Relax in indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, on sandy beach areas and there are docks for your boat. The Mills Falls Marketplace features 11 unique shops and 8 eateries serving tasty regional cuisine from morning til night. Savor the world class Cascade Day Spa and stop in at the EKAL Lake Activity Center for canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and chartered boat cruises. Be sure to walk Meredith’s vibrant Main Street Community adjacent to Mill Falls.
Thinking of getting away this winter? There’s plenty to do in New Hampshire’s Grand North
Plan your winter getaway in New Hampshire’s Grand North, where adventure awaits around every corner. Take a snowcoach tour up the Mt. Washington Auto Road to the summit, spend the day on the slopes at Bretton Woods, go dog sledding with Muddy Paws Sled Dog Kennel. Visit Santa’s Village or a toasty maple sugarhouse. Take a snowmobile tour in Pittsburg, or learn how to ice fish. Visit a microbrewery, theater, gallery or craft store after cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Or enjoy the things to do at a fabulous resort or rustic lodge, from spa days to time by the indoor pool or roaring stone fireplace.
38 Norcross Circle
North Conway, NH, 03860
All aboard the Conway Scenic Railroad in New Hampshire's White Mountains
At Conway Scenic Railroad, you’ll enjoy old-fashioned train rides, all departing from a beautiful 1874 Victorian Station in North Conway Village. Whether you choose a Valley route to Conway or Bartlett, or the legendary Crawford Notch excursion, you'll experience the fun of rail travel in the comfort of open or enclosed, restored passenger cars. Coach, First Class and elegant Dining Car seating are available on all routes. Trains run rain or shine, and round-trip excursions are from 1 to 5½ hours. Schedules vary, so be sure to call 1-800-232-5251 for details, or visit our website by clicking above. Valley Trains run April 15 through December 31. The Notch Train operates June 13 through October 28. This is a journey back in time the whole family will enjoy!
105 Haverhill Road
Salem, NH, 03079
Explore America's Oldest Known Structure
In fourteen hundred and ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue. But was he really the first European to reach North America? At America's Stonehenge in Salem, New Hampshire, some say there's evidence others got here first, perhaps by a thousand years. The pine woods here are full of stone megaliths like those built throughout Great Britain by Druid priests. Were they the first arrivals? Or maybe some other group with knowledge of astronomy and stone construction? Wander our woodland trails with your family, and let your kids see for themselves. We're near the New Hampshire seacoast, which makes America's Stonehenge a great destination for days when clouds keep you off the beach. We're got a picnic area, a museum, and a herd of friendly alpacas to greet you.
983 Upton Road
Errol, NH, 03579
Outdoor center has enough adventures to keep you and yours active all day
If you love adventures (and who doesn’t), you can take your pick from the offerings ELC Outdoors. Beginners to pros can experience the thrill of rafting down rapids on the Androscoggin, Megalloway, Rapid and Kennebec rivers. Or rent a canoe or kayak and paddle down the Northern Forest Canoe Trail or through the Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge (you might even see a moose). Want something a little ... higher in altitude? Check out the center’s two ziplines or the new 10-obstacle ropes course, suspended 12 to 40 feet above the ground. (Yes, that’s the White Mountains in the distance.) Knowledgeable and experienced guides are there to help you all the way, whether your chosen adventure is mild ... or wild.
Mountain View Road
Whitefield, NH, 03598
An historic resort offers endless White Mountain activities.
Offering great thing to do since 1865, this magnificent resort features elegant and relaxed lodging and an award winning Spa, state of the art Health and Wellness Center, a yoga studio, indoor pool, and a large dry sauna and hot tub. There are all day kid’s activity programs and a complimentary kids’ camp called the Mountaineering club. Dine all day at any of four restaurants with a 6300 bottle slate-lined wine cellar to peruse. Slip away for a romantic getaway or bring the whole family and enjoy four-season fun on the property including golf, tennis, indoor/outdoor heated pools, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snow tubing, and more. Located nearby are fishing, boating, hiking and Santa’s Village. Fall foliage tours await, too.
153 Main Street
Jackson, NH, 03846
Discover the best cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the northeast.
Ski the finest cross country ski trails in the eastern United States in and around the charming village of Jackson, NH. Glide though old growth forest, skate ski all out on an international race course, and stop at the on-trail warming cabin and Cocoa Café. You can also walk 25 miles (40km) of self-guided snow shoe trails or take guided snowshoe tours with knowledgeable and entertaining local guides. Trail passes are available for the day, late-Day, multi-day or the season. The Jackson X-C Ski School offers beginner, private and group lessons with PSIA certified instructors. Rent top of the line equipment , stay in cozy and hospitable lodgings , and enjoy great food in establishments on and near the trails.
545 Beach Road
Pittsburg, NH, 03592
Pick your own ATV adventure in the Great North Woods with Bear Rock Adventures
Embrace your inner trailblazer with New Hampshire’s premium Polaris outfitter, Bear Rock Adventures. As “Your Guide to the Wilds,” Bear Rock Adventures offers fully-equipped top-of-the-line ATVs and side-by-sides (2, 4 and 6-seat options) with electric start, reverse, 4-wheel drive, automatic transmissions and power steering. Get ready to experience over 1,000 miles of Ride the Wilds interconnected trails throughout Northern New Hampshire where you are free to explore the Great North Woods on half, full, or multi-day excursions. Pick your own adventure with customized itineraries, perfect for families and thrill-seekers alike. Bear Rock Adventures is open May 26 through September 30, 2017. Book online today and receive 15% off with code Visit17 - just click our link or photo above.
Enjoy endless activities from New Hampshire’s campgrounds
Get away from the everyday with a visit to a New Hampshire campground. Stay in a tent, RV, cabin, cottage, lodge – even a yurt! – and enjoy activities from horseshoes and fishing to snowmobiling and snowshoeing. Hike, bike or take a cog railroad up a pine-scented mountain or kayak a pristine pond, river or lake. From your camping site in the woods, near the ocean or in a meadow, check out the Granite State’s historic sites, quintessential New England towns and acres upon acres of natural splendor. Visit our website for a handbook with all the details for individual parks, from whether they are pet-friendly to which ones have cottage rentals, pools, fireplaces, tennis courts, live music – or cable TV.
135 Main Street
North Woodstock, NH, 03262
Join us for one of our famous Brew Tours!
Learn about the history of the Woodstock Inn Brewery while you tour this 30-barrel, state-of-the-art solar fed brewery and production facility. Learn how we craft and bottle our delicious award-winning ales—each inspired by the characteristics of the area’s stunning scenery and clear mountain streams.
The Woodstock Inn Brewery is located in the heart of New Hampshire's White Mountains. Brewery Tours are offered daily, reserve online. After your tour, take a refreshing dip in adjacent Cascade Park, browse North Woodstock’s charming Main Street and our company store, or visit one of the many nearby attractions.
Small Engineering Gems
This region of New Hampshire is wealthy with covered bridges
. We have a tender spot for the puckishly named Blow Me Down Bridge in Cornish. The most famous of the region’s bridges is the Cornish-Windsor Bridge, the longest wooden covered bridge in the United States. Shutterbugs: try the interesting viewing challenges on both the New Hampshire and Vermont ends of the bridge.
Hanover Region Is Full of Interesting Things to See and Do
is home to Dartmouth College and it has a fun business district of good, casual dining and cool shopping for books, clothing, and art. If you love fine furnishings, Simon Pearce
in Hanover designs elegant glassware, handcrafted by artisans. The old and respected League of New Hampshire Craftsmen
has a retail gallery in Hanover. Saint Gaudens National Historical Site
will school you in the work of one of America’s greatest sculptors. Theater is live at the 800-seat, historic Lebanon Opera House
. Regional artists display work at Gilded Edge, a gallery in Lebanon. The Enfield Shaker Museum
welcomes you to explore a society of people living a unique and low-tech way of life for hundreds of years.
Get yourself and your family out of electronic isolation and go out to play games. Actually, to play these games, you go out and go back indoors, at Diversions Puzzles & Games
at 123 Congress Street in Portsmouth
. The store stocks new and classic games and high-quality puzzles for every age and interest. And,
it has lots and lots of open game days and nights, like family game times on Sundays, weekly board games on Thursdays, and more. Learn or introduce your family to games like Wits & Wagers, Dixit or Qwirkle. Try Rush Hour or Scrambled States of America. Or stick with the classics, like chess, backgammon, checkers and cribbage. Staff members can teach you how to play one of our many demo games. Open daily.
Many waterfalls in the White Mountains have parking near trailheads and accessible paths. Some allow swimming and picnicking.
Sabbaday Falls, Conway: There are three drops in the falls and lovely pools. Handicapped accessible path.
Glen Ellis Falls, Pinkham Notch: The deep green pool of water below is off limits to swimmers. Read signs that describe the geology.
Arethusa Falls, Bretton Woods: This plunge seems to fall from the sky. Powerful in spring; a trickle in summer.
Flume Cascade, Crawford Notch: Small plunges end up in the Saco River.
Jackson Falls, Jackson: Popular swimming holes on a summer day. Easily accessible.
Diana's Baths, Conway: Perfect for a little moonlit skinny dip! You need to hike about a half mile in.
Colonial Theatre is a Class Act
The Colonial Theatre
is a classy, restored entertainment palace that brightens Main Street, Keene
with a bit of historic swagger. The theater opened in early 1924 and hosted movies, vaudeville, opera and live theater. Guests included opera stars, novelists, and even Amelia Earhart. Since its restoration in 1995, audiences have enjoyed more than 350 live performances. have entertained audiences. 603-352-2033.
Beach Life with Glitter at Weirs
(“Where Lake Winnipesaukee Begins!”) in Laconia
offers a wide, sandy beach and lots of summery beach activities for people who aren’t looking for too much serenity. The attached park is landscaped with picnic areas and play areas as well as a jetty for watching an endless parade of boats A real wooden boardwalk jumps with fun: arcades, boat cruises, railroad rides, waterslides, miniature golf, go-carts, balloon flights, a drive-in movie theater, fireworks, live music, and special events. A family favorite for generations.
Wear Out Those Kids at Canobie
If it’s summertime and you have a passel of kids brimming with energy to burn, here’s the solution: a day at Canobie Lake Park
. The amusement-and-water is doing a huge expansion of its water park for the summer 2018 season. Wear out those kids on a new 60-foot-tall water slide as adults relax in the cabana. Of course, the park has plenty of rides and games for smaller and less-adventurous children, along with plenty of classic summertime food. It will be the height of your summer! Open early May to late October; weekends only in Mary, September, and October. 603-893-3506
Combine Bike Work and Relaxation in the Whites
If you enjoy bicycling and luxury, plant a three-day bike tour, with overnights at three delightful bed-and-breakfasts in the White Mountains. Bike the Whites
offers the bike-and-rest tours from Tuesdays to Fridays, May through October. Starting at the 1785 Inn in North Conway
, you will travel to the Inn at Crystal Lake in a Eaton Center
, and the Darby Field Inn in Albany
, and then returning to the 1785 Inn. Tours are self-guided with route maps provided by the innkeepers. Each route is 25 miles per day of easy to moderate terrain. The package includes three nights of lodging, two dinners, three breakfasts, transportation of luggage, maps, route planning, and road service as needed. Bike rentals are provided for an additional fee. Phone: 603-356-9025
Visit Writer’s Famous Garden on Isles of Shoals
Celia Laighton Thaxter (1835-1894) grew up on the Isles of Shoals, off of the Maine and New Hampshire coastlines, where her father was the lighthouse keeper on White Island. She became a popular writer of stories and poetry, and, in middle age, was the hostess of her father's hotel, the Appledore House, on Appledore Island. Today, Appledore is an operating station of the Shoals Marine Laboratory, and it is most uninhabited, but tours are offered to see Celia’s famous gardens. Boat tours
are offered on specific dates in summer 2018 from late June to mid-August via the R/V Gulf Challenger. Tours depart from the Judd Gregg Marine Research Complex adjacent to the U.S. Coast Guard Station New Castle
, NH. Reserve early!
Hannah’s Here to Help With Creative Shopping
Hannah Grimes Marketplace
on Main Street in Keene
is a education center and incubator for New Hampshire products, crafts, and artwork. For visitors, the Marketplace is a great place to browse for local foods, including maple syrup, children’s books, and luxuries from fancy shampoos to original art. Think about your gift shopping for the next several months, and go explore what Hannah has to offer. 603-352-6862.
History Along a River Trail
New Hampshire Heritage Trail
is a 230-mile walking trail across New Hampshire from Massachusetts to Canada. Plymouth’s portion of the Heritage Trail, a 5.6-mile loop with 16 points of interest, begins at the Railroad Depot, constructed in 1909 for the Boston and Maine Railroad. Other highlights are a cottage where Robert Frost lived while teaching at Plymouth Normal School and Silver Cultural Arts Center, once a stop on the underground railroad. Park at the Plymouth Regional Senior Center on Green Street. The trail begins north of the Senior Center, past the District Courthouse. Follow the brown Heritage Trail directional signs. 603- 536-1001.
Unique Beer & Mead Tastings Just Off the Highway
The towns of Derry
off I-93 in southern New Hampshire are home to no fewer than four craft breweries and an internationally recognized meadery. Travelers driving between the state’s beautiful lakes region and White Mountains can take a short hop off the highway for a tour or tasting at these small places of large expertise. Rack cards describing the Beer and Mead Tour
at nearby welcome centers give locations and more details.
Behind the Scenes of High-Volume Beer Making
Whether or not you are a beer aficionado, a visit to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery
at 221 Daniel Webster Highway in Merrimack
is a fun and interesting behind-the-scenes exploration into the brewing industry at it best. Free tours of the brewery include a visit to the Clydesdale Hamlet, home to the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales. At the Brew Hall, guests discover how the world's greatest beers are carefully crafted using the highest quality ingredients and packaged in a state-of-the-art facility. If you are 21 years of age or older, sample our products in the Hospitality Room. Choose from a variety of brews including our seasonal brands and new products. Phone: 603-595-1202.
Escape to Laconia; Escape In Laconia
In summer, especially, we escape to Laconia
because, well, it’s on Lake Winnipesaukee… and need we say more? For a deeper adventure (it’s indoors, so good for a rainy day) try the Escape Room Experience
at 555 Main Street. You’re heard of escape rooms: they present a physical adventure game in which players are locked in a room where they receive clues to solve a series of puzzles and escape within a set time limit. Great fun for families, couples, and groups. The Laconia escape room offers various themes, like solving a puzzle initiated by the mysterious Leonard DaVinci or unraveling the escapades of a lost night in Vegas. Get some pals together and find your inner Indiana Jones. 603-366-6296.
Good Cheese in the Mountains
We may want
cheese all year long, but we need
cheese in winter. Harman’s Cheese and Country Store
, at 1400 Route 117 in Sugar Hill
, has been arming its customers against hunger since 1955, serving a snappy, well-aged cheddar that is good for the soul. Visit the store in the sweet mountain community of Sugar Hill – near beautiful Franconia -- and browse for other delights and necessities: moose humor and mementos, crackers, jams, local crafts, totes and t-shirts. 603-823-8000.
Giddyup the Mountain
What does the Wild West have that we don’t have? Black Mountain Stables
, at 373 Black Mountain Road (Route 16B) outside Jackson Village
, offers scenic trail rides, pony rides, and trail ride lessons on the mountain, including day rides, overnight rides, and group trips. The base of Black Mountain is at 1250 feet and trail rides venture up to elevation 2,000. The views at this altitude are breathtaking. For the equestrian (or wannabe) who enjoys the mountainous outdoors, this is a best of all possible White Mountains adventures. Phone: 603- 383-4491.
Four Centuries of Daily Life
Strawbery Banke Museum
on Hancock Street in Portsmouth
is a community composed of restored and furnished houses, exhibits, historic landscapes and gardens, and costumed role players. Together, these elements bring to life the daily activities of New England people from European settlement in the 17th century to the mid-20th century. In addition to ongoing exhibits, lots of special events take place during warm weather. Phone: 603-433-1100.
Wholesome Living With the Shakers
A fascinating day of history and fine dining awaits the curious visitor at the Canterbury Shaker Village and Shaker Table Restaurant
at 288 Shaker Road in Canterbury
. This National Historic Landmark preserves 200 years of Shaker life on 694 acres, 25 original buildings, gardens, and trails. Known for its tranquil beauty, the village offers tours, exhibits, workshops, family programs, hiking trails, unique shopping and dining. There is a great museum store, and the Shaker Table Restaurant features Shaker-inspired cooking using fresh ingredients. Hours: Open daily, May 16-October 24; weekends in November for guided tours only. Phone: 603-783-9511
Plenty to Entertain You at the Hop
Whether you attend Dartmouth College, send a child there, or just find yourself in Hanover
with a yen to enjoy some performance art, you should know about the Hopkins Center for the Arts
at 2 East Wheelock Street. This elegant building, designed by the architect of Lincoln Center and the United Nations Building in New York, is the cultural hub of the Dartmouth campus and the entire Upper Valley region. Each year the Hop hosts 100 or more live performances in music, theater and dance, along with film screenings and other events. The Hop brings in lots of great acts of all genres and has good comfort food. Also at the Hop are jewelry studio, woodshop, pottery studio, and library. If you just want some quiet while people-watching, relax at the Top of the Hop. 603-646-2422
Blooms Abound at this Rhododendron Park
Come of southern New Hampshire in June and July for rhododendron delight. At Rhododendron State Park
at 424 Rockwood Pond Road (Route 119W) near Fitzwilliam
, wildflowers and glorious rhodies bloom throughout the 2,723-acre park from early spring to the first frost. A wildflower trail winds through the forest. The park also is home to a 16-acre grove of Rhododendron Maximum, which bloom in mid-July. Phone: 603-532-8862
History, Horticulture, and Hiking in One
The Fells at the John Hay National Wildlife Refuge
was the summer retreat for Secretary of State John M. Hay, archaeologist Clarence Hay, and nature writer John Hay. The 164-acre estate at 456 Route 103A in Newbury
includes historic houses that are open for tours during the summer and hiking trails along Lake Sunapee that are open year-round. The big draw for visitors is the magnificent gardens: a 100-foot perennial border, a formal rose terrace, a Japanese water lily pool, and a walled secret garden. Phone: 603-763-4789.
The Stonehenge Is a Spooky Exploration
, at 105 Haverhill Road in Salem
, is a large wooded property filled with mazes of man-made chambers, walls, and ceremonial meeting places, probably more than 4,000 years old. Like Stonehenge in England, America's Stonehenge was built by ancient people well versed in astronomy and stone construction. It has been determined that the site is an accurate astronomical calendar. For the rest of us, America’s Stonehedge is a fun place to explore and marvel, even in the winter. Snowshoeing trails wind through 105 acres of woodlands filled with wildlife. The property is open for snowshoeing daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and snow shoes are available for rent. 603-893-8300.
Riding in the Clouds at Castle in the Clouds
Many of us are acquainted with Castle in the Clouds
(the Lucknow estate) in Moultonborough
, a 1913 house composed of a unique and charming mix of Arts and Crafts architecture. Do you know you can take a horseback ride
on the grounds of this mountaintop estate. Guided horseback trail rides through the wooded property are offered year-round. The trail ride passes Shannon Pond, small waterfalls, and displays gorgeous views high above Lake Winnipesaukee. Rides are about one hour long in duration and are a relaxing walk only. For riders age 8 and older. Reservations are required, at 603-476-8350.
Cottage in the Forest
The sweet little cottage at Pickity Place
on Nutting Hill Road in the town of Mason
has stood for more than 200 years (historic note: Pickity is the setting for Little Golden Books’s 1948 version of “Little Red Riding Hood”). These days, the cottage is a place to enjoy peaceful gardens, a greenhouse shop, and elegant gourmet luncheons accented with herbs and edible flowers. Open daily, year-round. 603-878-1151.
Artists of Needle and Loom, Take Note
Dorr Mill Store
at 22 Hale Street in Guild, is a national center for wool and has had manufactured an extensive line of 100 percent wool for the time-honored crafts of traditional rug hooking, braiding and quilting. Dorr produces white and natural wools for those who wish to dye their own colors, thousands of yards of woolen textures and solids, and a full line of accessories and the latest patterns from noted designers. Fiber artists find Dorr’s wide selection of fabric designs, textures, wools, and blends irresistible. Open year-round. 800-846-3677.
Chocolates in Monadnock
Vacation is time for indulgence, and New Hampshire has a chocolate and martini road trip that can guide you through some fabulous flavors of both of these intoxicants. In the Mondanock region, a good place to start is the town of Walpole, home to
L.A. Burdick Chocolate Shop and Café
at 47 Main Street in Walpole
. The cafe offers an extensive variety of pastries and drinks in a serene environment. It's also the location of Burdick’s chocolate and pastry production facility (603-756-2882). Also in Walpole, stop at Bellows House Bakery
for one of its famous Whoopie Pies and other prize-winning baked goods (800-358-6302).
Craggy Beauty, 90 Feet Tall
The Flume Gorge at Franconia Notch State Park
off Daniel Webster Highway near Lincoln
in the White Mountains National Forest is a natural granite gorge extending 800 feet at the base of Mount Liberty. The towering granite walls on each side of the gorge rise to a spectacular height of about 90 feet. Footpaths and bridges allow walkers to move among towering moss-covered granite walls, past cascading waterfalls, historic covered bridges, glacial boulders and much more.
Haunted Pubs of Portsmouth Tour
It’s hard to think of Portsmouth
– a bright, cheery historic town on a bustling river – as scary, but the people at New England Curiosities do their best to spook guests on the Haunted Pubs of Portsmouth Tours
, which serve up an eerie brew of Portsmouth's fascinating tavern history and ghost stories. The two-hour walking tour includes stories about a mischievous ghosts all varieties, Portsmouth was home to the largest brewery in the United States in the 19th century and the city still retains a vibrant pub atmosphere. Make a reservation! 603-343-7977.
Follow the Beasts of New Hampshire
It can be hard to see wildlife – like moose, raptors and other birds – because they know how to hide in their habitat better than you know how to find them. Good news: New Hampshire publishes an excellent
New Hampshire Wildlife Viewing and Birding Trails
guide that takes you to magnificent public-access properties where you can see and photograph animals at home. The guide ranges from remote places near in the Great North Woods
near the Canadian border to easily accessible state parks in every part of the Granite State. The guide includes a great map and many viewing tips. Fine activity for families and kids.
Get a Case of the Chills at Madame Sherri Forest and Castle Ruins
You can hike in a beautiful forest and also explore the ruins of a notorious Jazz Age doyenne at the Madam Sherri Forest
and Castle off of Gulf Road in Chesterfield
. The forest is named for Madame Antoinette Sherri, who worked as a costume designer for the Zigfield Follies in the 1920s and built a stone-walled estate in the woods of Chesterfield. She threw lavish parties and horrified locals by driving about in a fur coat with none of the trimmings. Much of the rubble of her “castle” is in the woods and is an eerie exploration.
The Madame Sherri Forest is the jumping off point for the Ann Stokes Loop Trail and several other local hiking trails.
Vroom Vroom at NH Motor Speedway
Notice to Dixie: You don’t own NASCAR. The New Hampshire Motor Speedway
at 1122 Route 106 North in Loudon
welcomes about 500,000 visitors every season, most of them for two NASCAR weekends in July and September. Also, every month, the Loudon Road Race Series and Granite State Legends Cars arrive for a race weekend. The two series provide some of the premier racing at NHMS outside of NASCAR weekends. The pinnacle of their season is the Loudon Classic, which runs in June as a wrap-up for Laconia Motorcycle Week. Phone: 603-783-4931
Stretch Out on the Sand
For a day trip to the beach or for overnight camping, local people recommend Ellacoya State Park
at 280 Scenic Drive in Gilford
on Lake Winnipesaukee. The long sandy beach, with views of the Sandwich and Ossipee mountains, is just right for family swimming and picnicking. There is a bathhouse, a souvenir store, and a small boat launch. The campgrounds offer RV hookups and showers.
It’s an Island; It’s a Playground
We love strolling the streets of Portsmouth
but, let’s face it, sidewalks get hot in summer. Solution: Escape to Peirce Island
, a 27-acre island in the Piscataqua River, an easy hop across a bridge from the south side of the city (the island is part of and managed by the city). The island has a glorious public pool, 100 yards longs, 33 yards wide, and 14 inches down to 6 feet in depth. The public is welcome, from end of June through August. Walking trails take you to five waterfront overlooks, of Naval Shipyard, the south end of Portsmouth, and the three Piscataqua bridges. There are public boat launches and a playground. It’s like a summer day in the country next to a great small city.
Stop to Shop
The Seacoast region has wonderful shopping for beautiful and unusual items. The Fox Run Mall in Newington is a place to start for national names, followed by a trip to Boardwalk Strip at Hampton Beach. The cream of the shopping experience has to be Portsmouth's Market Street
, crammed with art, toys, home decorations, clothing, hardware, jewelry, flowers, and more. Voted one of New England's Best Shopping Streets by Travel and Leisure Magazine.
Antique Goods in an Antique Location
The Laconia Antique Center
at 601 Main Street in Laconia
is appropriately housed in a former Newberry’s Department Store built in the 1950s. What can you find here? Take a breath: vintage books (in a comfortable reading area); furniture, lamps, glass- and dishware, include Depression glass; primitives; estate jewelry; coins; ephemera, and on and on. One last enticement: the store has an ice cream and soda fountain and juke box. Open year round; hours vary by season. Phone: 603-524-9484.
Drive and Nibble; Drive and Sip
There’s no reason to be craving fine chocolate, cheese, or wine on a visit to the Granite State. The state’s tourism and farming people have creating a marvelously helpful and also beautiful brochure -- available as a pdf -- of New Hampshire’s Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Trails
. A simple and useful map heading the brochure is followed up by detailed listings of wineries, vineyards, cheese makers and chocolatiers. Drive and taste, drive and nibble, year-round. Fall brings bright foliage but all the seasons have great visuals from the car.
A Haven for Weavers and Knitters
This place is a gold mine for weaves and knitters. Harrisville Designs
on Main Street in Harrisville
is a family-owned and -operated business founded in 1971 to preserve and re-establish the economic vitality of the historic 18th century textile village of Harrisville. Woolen yarn has been spun in the water-powered, mill town of Harrisville since 1794. This village in the Monadnock Highlands is the only industrial community of the early 19th century that still survives in America in its original form. 603-827-3996.
Get Lost at the Gorge
The story of the Lost River in North Woodstock
began many millions of years ago, with the formation of mountains of igneous rock in present-day New Hampshire. A thick ice sheet of 150,000 to 25,000 years ago ground down the mountains and tumbled the rocks, creating the Lost River Gorge and partly burying its river. Today, you can visit the Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves
at 1712 Lost River Road (Route 112W), walk the three-quarter-mile boardwalk into and through the gorge, explore the caves, and climb up the Dilly Cliff. Lantern tours offered at night, Kids enjoy the Lost River Mining Sluice, which replicates the work of sifting for gems. Open early May to mid October. Phone: 603-745-8031.
Think Outside the Room
Test your group’s communication, planning and leadership skills at Portsmouth Escape Rooms
These scenarios require different types of skills and are suited to cater to all types of personalities. Bring your coworkers, friends or family to this immersive setting to solve word riddles, logic puzzles and scavenger hunts. The only way out is to think outside the box, so get creative! Ages 10 and up, under 15 must be accompanied by an adult. Phone: 603-610-2441
The Isles of Shoals Steamship Company
offers a boat tour of Portsmouth
harbor that takes visitors deep into the heart of a working waterfront of tugboats, tankers, forts, and lighthouses. This fascinating tour takes visitors past the oldest naval yard in the country, five forts, two lighthouses, and the Olde Port waterfront. Another tour offered by the company takes visitors seven miles offshore to visit the historic and romantic Star Island, once the home of a grand hotel of the 19th century. "Walkabout" or "Stopover" cruises to Star Island offer a one-to-four-hour stopover, with time to stroll past ancient hotel buildings and a historic garden. Steamship company boats docked at 315 Market Street. 800-441-4620
Hold on to Your Helmet
Descending over 1000 feet of elevation, the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour
on Route 302 in Bretton Woods
takes nature-lovers and thrill-seekers across a series of treetop zip lines, and is one of the longest canopy tours in the continental United States. High-flying suspension bridges and hiking trails connect the zip lines, and the tour concludes with the Williwaw Racing Zip, a dual, side-by-side zip line leading right into the Bretton Woods base area. Designed and constructed by Bonsai Design Inc., this unique canopy tour features a dual-cable construction and coated cables to reduce noise. On the tour, guides describe the local flora and fauna, the natural history and White Mountain lore. Wow! Information: 603-278-4947.
Portsmouth Harbor Trail Walking Tours
Portsmouth is a delightful riverside city today, with a low-profile downtown, lots of dining and shopping, and a gorgeous park on the Piscataqua River. Its history reaches to Colonial times, when it served as a deep-water port for fishing and shipping timber from inland to the sea. This history is on display through three walking tours
of the Portsmouth Harbor Trail. Guided tours are offered from June through October (call 603-610-5518). Three walks take you through or past Market Square, the heart of downtown; Prescott Park on the river; Strawbery Banke, a living history museum encompassing 400 years of the town's story; tug boats at the docks; views of the river; and several historic churches and mansions.
Explore Squam by Pontoon Boat
Squam Lakes Natural Science Center hosts these fun and informative cruises
of this pristine lake of northern New Hampshire. Learn about the natural history of the lake, its plants and animals, and the people who have lived in this region for more than 5,000 years. See scenes from the movie “On Golden Pond.” Watch for loons, bald eagles, and other wildlife. Cruises are an hour and a half in duration, on canopied pontoon boats, leaving from the dock on Route 3 at the bridge, next to Walter's Basin Restaurant in Holderness
. Binoculars are available for free. Reservations are recommended. Fees are $21-$25. Daily, May 17 to October 13. 603-968-7194.
Currier Fills an Afternoon With Interesting and Varied Art
The Currier Museum of Art
at 150 Ash Street in Manchester
is an art museum and dynamic member of the community, hosting classes, events, and ways to welcome people into fine art. The museum has a permanent collection of European and American artists, decorative arts, photographs and sculpture by Wyeth, Monet, Picasso, and Georgia O’Keefe. The building itself was unique, interesting architecture and easy to navigate. There’s a café for refreshment for browsers. From April through December, the museum offers tours of the nearby Zimmerman House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Many changing exhibits run throughout the year. 603-669-6144.
Formal Estate Gardens Near the Sea Are Pure Delight
Gardens , at 10 Willow Avenue in North Hampton
is a public display garden, located on the ocean, with 1,700 rose bushes, formal English perennial borders, a Japanese garden and Koi pond, and a tropical and desert conservatory, all designed in the Colonial Revival style. The gardens were once part of an estaste, located a stone’s throw from the ocean. In May there is an extensive tulip display; perennials, annuals, and roses, bloom through October. Garden are open to the public daily, mid-May to October. There is an admission fee. 603-964-5414.
Come See the Birth Place of Pig’s Ear Brown
Warm up your visit to the White Mountains with a pop-in visit to the Woodstock Inn Brewery
at 135 Main Street in Woodstock
. Brews with names like Red Rack, Pig's Ear, and Loon Golden Ale are produced through a traditional seven-barrel system using premium hops and English grains. The prize-winning brews are on display during a free tour of the brewery every day at noon. Woodstock Inn Brewery has won several national awards for its ales; Pig's Ear Brown that has won the National Beer Tasting Championships two years in a row. Come by and get acquainted. Phone: 800-321-3985.
Beautiful Lakes; Beautiful Shopping
The Lakes Region of New Hampshire is a place of great natural beauty year-round. For people who want to or need to shop
, the interior sights are grand, also. Visitors find excellent (and sales-tax-free) shopping at places like Tanger Outlets in Tilton, with 50 designer outlet stores, and, at the other end of the spectrum, antique shops in almost every town. A vast quilting store is Keepsake Quilting in Center Harbor, with its adjacent knitting supply store, Patternworks. Mill Falls Marketplace in Meredith, right at hand, has 14 shops (including a candy store, clothing stores, and a bookstore) in a historic mill. The Kellerhaus in Weirs Beach, is one of the few candy makers still making ribbon candy and candy canes onsite. Drop in to taste the homemade ice cream and make-your-own sundae.