Easily one of the most photogenic states in the USA, especially during the Fall, New Hampshire offers an almost perfect slice of North American life. With its serene valleys, towering peaks, pristine lakes, gorgeous coastline, and impossibly pretty small towns, the East Coast state it’s also seemingly made for lovers of the outdoors. From fruit-laden orchards just waiting to be picked to some of the most scenic road trips in the country, here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in New Hampshire…
1. Kancamagus Highway and White Mountain National Forest – one of the best Fall Foliage viewing areas in the country
If you want an attraction that offers something for everyone, this is the place you want to be. It is filled with 34 miles of quaint towns, beautiful scenery, interpretive signs, and places to take leisurely strolls.
The highway goes through the White Mountains and therefore you never run out of gorgeous views to look at, and you can stop anywhere along the way to enjoy what is in that particular location. This area is especially popular in the fall when the colorful leaves are blooming, but you can visit it any time and thoroughly enjoy yourself.
2. Portsmouth – one of New England’s prettiest and most popular port towns
Located in Rockingham County, this lovely town is a popular tourist destination in the summer months and is home to roughly 21,000 residents. Covering only 16.8 square miles, it is home to attractions such as the 900-seat Music Hall, the USS Albacore Museum and Park, and lots of churches, theaters, libraries, art galleries, and even public sculptures.
If you enjoy seeing a bit of nostalgia along with a beautiful town, you need to visit Portsmouth. It offers something for everyone and is one place you’ll never forget.
3. Hampton Beach State Park – a gorgeous sandy beach to explore in New Hampshire
Located on the southeastern edge of New Hampshire, this state park features a large beach, an amphitheater, a playground, and a pavilion, allowing you to swim, picnic, or camp with your RV.
It is a 50-acre park that is as gorgeous as it is fun, and you can visit in the wintertime to enjoy activities such as snow-skiing, snow-shoeing, and snowmobiling, among others. It is truly a place that you can enjoy all year long, so whether you want to lie on the beach and work on your tan or take a nice long hike, this place will never disappoint.
4. Franconia Notch State Park – one of the most stunning places to visit in New Hampshire
This is a stunning park that features Cannon Mountain, the naturally formed Flume Gorge, a convenient tramway, and places to swim and hike the day away. You can go fly fishing at Profile Lake, climb the Cannon Cliffs, or explore what makes the Appalachian Trail so spectacular.
It is especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves are in full bloom, and even if you just want to sit on the side of the lake and relax under the sun, you won’t be disappointed when you visit this park. When you’re in New Hampshire, this park needs to be on your list of things not to miss.
5. Swift River – a beautiful river spanning over 25 miles in the White Mountains
Also called the Saco River Tributary, the Swift River is 25.6 miles long and is considered part of the White Mountains. It flows into a broad valley surrounded by mountains called the Albany Intervale, and it even goes through the town of Albany to the Saco River at Conway.
It is notorious thanks to its length and its beauty, so if you want to enjoy a leisurely activity that allows you to view some incredible scenery, this is it. You can even follow the Saco River until it flows into the Atlantic Ocean in Maine.
6. Exeter – a lovely city boasting tree-lined streets and plenty of historical architecture
Exeter is a town in Rockingham County and has a little more than 14,000 residents. Named for a city in Devon, England, it is situated in between the Exeter and Squamscott Rivers.
If you love small towns that have a lot of charm, visiting Exeter will not let you down. Some of the attractions found there include the Exeter Historical Society and Museum, the American Independence Museum, Phillips Exeter Academy, and the Congregational Church, which has been around since the 1630s.
7. Lake Winnipesaukee – of the most beautiful places to explore and relax in New Hampshire
This lake is located at the foot of the White Mountains, and it is 21 miles long and between one and nine miles wide, depending on the exact location. Interestingly, the lake contains more than 250 small islands and is surrounded by several peninsulas.
Some of the larger islands include Bear Island (780 acres), Long Island (1,186 acres), and Cow Island (522 acres). The smaller ones include Birch Island and Mink Island, both of which cover only around 25 acres. If you love natural wonders and the beauty of the outdoors, visiting Lake Winnipesaukee should be on your to-do list.
8. New Hampshire State House – one of the most spectacular buildings in New Hampshire
Located in Concord, the New Hampshire State House is a sight to behold. Topped with a beautiful gold dome, it is an exquisite-looking building that houses the state government. The grounds cover 2.6 acres and are encircled by a granite fence. Inside, the Governor, General Court, and Executive Counsel are housed.
The building is truly an architectural wonder, but even those not interested in architecture will enjoy touring it because of everything it has to offer. Made out of granite rocks, it even has a few rectangle-shaped windows, not to mention several statues and an octagonal drum.
9. Odiorne Point State Park – a gorgeous beauty spot and one of the best places to visit in New Hampshire
When researching places to visit in New Hampshire, you’ll notice that state parks are very popular, and this park, which is located in Rye, is a great place to spend the day with your family or friends. Whether you love history, nature, or just being outdoors, you’ll love visiting this park, especially if you’re interested in marine life.
The Seacoast Science Center is there to help you research the area more deeply, and there are even areas that are undeveloped and therefore of interest to nature-lovers. It’s a perfect park for a picnic, hike, and so much more.
10. McDougal Orchards – a seventh generation family farm located in the beautiful village of Springvale
Located just 45 minutes from Portsmouth, the McDougal Orchards allow you to pick your own apples, pears, plums, and fall raspberries, and their immaculate store provides items such as winter squashes, mums, hand-pressed apple cider, peaches and nectarines, pumpkins and gourds, and jams, jellies, and vegetables.
If you want lots of fresh foods and homemade goodies, this is where you want to be. It is also one of the most beautiful orchards you’ll ever see, offering something for everyone because they change up their inventory on a regular basis so that you always have something new to enjoy.
11. Flume Gorge – a unique and beautiful spot to explore in New Hampshire
This is a natural gorge found at the base of Mount Liberty and extending 800 feet. The gorge is part of Franconia Notch State Park and was discovered in 1808 by a woman who accidentally found it while fishing.
It looks different today, and there is even a covered bridge and pool that have been added to the area. When you get to the top of Flume Gorge, you can easily view Avalanche Falls, a 45-foot waterfall which is worth the trip out there on its own. The gorge is a must-see attraction whenever you’re visiting New Hampshire, and you’ll enjoy all of the activities close to the area as well.
12. Echo Lake – a stunning place to take the family for a swim and picnic
Echo Lake and Echo Lake State Park are at the top of the list for people wanting to visit premier attractions in New Hampshire. Located in Conway, not only is the lake spectacular but surrounding it is a trail that provides gorgeous views and opportunities to hike and go rock-climbing.
You can also ride your boat, fish, and swim on the lake, and when you’re ready to get off the water, you can visit the park and enjoy some “dry” activities. This is a beautiful area that allows for some very scenic views, creating memories that are certain to last a lifetime.
13. Mount Washington State Park – a great outdoor recreational area to visit in New Hampshire
Mount Washington is the highest peak in the northeastern part of the United States, and Mount Washington State Park offers everything you love about parks and then some. It covers a little more than 60 acres and is open from May through October.
On the site is a museum, gift shop, and observatory, as well as numerous hiking trails and the Mount Washington Cog Railway. If you like history and state parks, you’ll love Mount Washington. It is beautiful and allows you to get some fresh air and exercise, along with a little bit of history regarding the state of New Hampshire.
14. Chocorua Lake – one of the most beautiful lakes to explore in New Hampshire
Located in east-central New Hampshire, Lake Chocorua is one mile long and only 3,500 feet wide at its widest point. It covers 222 acres and at its deepest is only 27 feet deep. One of the things that makes the lake so unique is that the area surrounding it is undisturbed by buildings and technology, allowing you to enjoy a very serene setting indeed.
You can swim, canoe, or kayak on the water, as well as hike and camp. In the waters, you’ll also have access to rainbow trout, catfish, brook trout, and smallmouth bass, among others.
15. Quincy Bog – a beautiful nature preserve to visit in New Hampshire
Located in Rumney, Quincy Bog is a beautiful natural area to visit in New Hampshire. It’s a non-profit place run by Rumney Ecological Systems and this unique geological wetland makes a fantastic and educational spot to explore with your family.
Here you can go on a nature study, observe wildlife in their natural setting or just gaze in awe at the incredible New Hampshire scenery. Visit during the Fall and you’ll also be treated to some seriously spectacular foliage. Enjoy!
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