An aerial view of Franconia Notch State Park in the White Mountains, New Hampshire

Things to do in  New Hampshire

A tiny state with oversized adventures

From Mt. Washington’s rocky summit to wave-swept seacoast beaches, this small state offers big scenic beauty and things to do. Outdoor exploring is a year-round pursuit in New Hampshire, whether you’re skiing the White Mountains, canoeing the Lakes Region, spotting free-roaming moose, or soaking up the sun in fun-loving Hampton Beach. In New Hampshire cities, colonial-era heritage abounds. History buffs make a beeline for Portsmouth; its well-preserved mansions, museums, and walkable historic district are among the region’s finest.

Top 9 attractions in New Hampshire

#1
Mt. Washington Cog Railway (The Cog)

Mt. Washington Cog Railway (The Cog)

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An engineering marvel when it was built in the late 1860s, New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington Cog Railway (The Cog) was the first mountain-ascending train in the world. Today the same mechanization that ferried early tourists offers a unique alternative to driving or hiking to the wind-whipped summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States. The half-day journey is a great way to get a taste of both New England’s rich history and beautiful natural scenery.More
#2
Lake Winnipesaukee

Lake Winnipesaukee

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Beaches, forests, and vacation towns wrap New Hampshire’s largest lake, which sprawls across 72 square miles (186 square kilometers) of the state’s interior. This is where old-fashioned American resort culture meets opportunities for outdoor adventure, whether you’re cruising by boat, fishing for lake trout, or hiking up nearby summits such as Mt. Major, Belknap Mountain, or Gunstock Mountain.More
#3
Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway

Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway

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Take in aerial views spanning four states as you ride the glass-lined Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway to the top of New Hampshire's tallest mountain. The country’s first aerial tramway, the tram was created to give skiers mountaintop access. Today, you can ride the tram year-round, whether you're a hiker, skier, or sightseer.More
#4
New Hampshire State House

New Hampshire State House

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Opened in 1819, the New Hampshire State House in Concord is a state capitol where the legislature still meets in the original chambers. Built of New Hampshire granite in the Greek Revival style and topped with a gilded dome, it’s home to the Chambers of the State Legislature, the Governor’s Office, the General Court, and the Executive Council.More
#5
Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center

Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center

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Note: The Discovery Center is now closed.Explore the science of weather and climate at the Mount Washington Observatory Weather Discovery Center. Located in downtown North Conway, this interactive science museum offers a range of fun and educational exhibits for all ages, as well as daily live connections to the weather station at the summit of Mt. Washington.More
#6
Zorvino Vineyards

Zorvino Vineyards

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With inventive fruit and vegetable wines and more than 200 grapevines planted, New Hampshire's family-owned Zorvino Vineyards has a wine to suit every taste. The countryside vineyard specializes in reds, whites, blends, and dessert wines made from specialty fruits, such as pears, plums, blueberries, cherries, and mangoes. Some wines are finished with maple syrup, and most vary by season, including vegetable wines like pumpkin, beet, and rhubarb.Adorned with woodwork and a beautiful barn, the rustic winery and its surrounding 80 acres of New England forest create an idyllic background for bocce ball games in the garden and wine tasting outdoors. Go behind-the-scenes of your favorite Zorvino wine on a tour of the facilities, with samples—or make a whole day out of New Hampshire's most indulgent foods with a chocolate, wine, and lobster day tour of the area.More
#7
Squam Lakes Natural Science Center

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center

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Both a zoo and a wilderness educational center, the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is an open air exhibit featuring the wildlife of New Hampshire. Focused largely on teaching ecological concepts, the center operates in an expansive meadow, allowing for the nature of the area to serve as the classroom. Three hiking trails, a wide walking path suitable for families, and an outdoors playground for younger children make it fun and easy to explore. The outdoor exhibits allow for maximum interaction with the local wildlife.The science center grants the opportunity to observe the animals up close and learn more about their habitats and natural adaptations. As many of the animals have been injured, most are unsuitable for life in the wild. Everything from deer and foxes to black bears, river otters, mountain lions, and bobcats can be seen. Looking out on Squam Lake (or taking the boat cruise there) is a way to experience even more sightings of native birds.More
#8
Squam Lake

Squam Lake

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Located in the Lakes Region of central New Hampshire, Squam Lake is the second largest lake in the state, encompassing Big Squam Lake and Little Squam Lake. A popular summertime destination, Squam Lake offers serene natural beauty, an abundance of wildlife, a variety of outdoor activities, and small town charm with plentiful amenities.More
#9
Manchester Historic Association Millyard Museum

Manchester Historic Association Millyard Museum

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Located in a renovated mill building of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company—once one of the largest textile mills in the world—the Manchester Historic Association Millyard Museum showcases nearly 11,000 years of history of the region. In addition to its permanent exhibit, the museum offers temporary exhibitions, school and family programs, lectures, and other special events.More

All about New Hampshire

When to visit

New Hampshire is a year-round destination, with weather that varies widely with the seasons. The summer months of June, July, and August bring sunny days and busy beaches, lakes, and hiking trails to match. Fall means cooler nights and bright leaves that peak in September or October. Ski season in the White Mountains generally lasts from mid-November through mid-April, though the most reliable snow arrives in January and February.

Getting around

Most visitors get around New Hampshire by car, as public transit is limited. Fortunately, the driving is gorgeous: The 34.5-mile (55.5-kilometer) Kancamagus Highway through the White Mountains is among America’s most scenic road trips. If you’re navigating more rural parts of the state, remember that many areas have limited cell service, so it’s a good idea to download directions or carry paper maps.

Traveler tips

Driving the winding Mt. Washington Auto Road to the top of Mt. Washington is a New England rite of passage, but it’s not the only option. Two major hiking trails—the Jewell Trail and Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail—also climb the 6,288-foot (1,917-meter) summit. Or, book a ticket on the Mount Washington Cog Railway, which opened in 1868 and whose biodiesel locomotives run year-round (although winter trains don’t go all the way to the top).

Local Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
EDT (UTC -5)
Country Code
+1
Language(s)
English
Attractions
9
Tours
34
Reviews
484
EN
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People Also Ask

How do I spend a day in New Hampshire?

Head to the White Mountains for some of New England’s most dramatic scenery. It’s a year-round destination, from summer hiking to winter skiing at resorts like Cannon Mountain. In fall, autumn colors peak sometime in late September or early October, adding extra pop to the scenic landscape.

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What is New Hampshire known best for?

New Hampshire is called the Granite State for good reason. Granite formations are visible throughout the mountains, with top sites including Flume Gorge, Cathedral Ledge, and Elephant’s Head. The most famous rock formation, Old Man of the Mountain, collapsed in 2003 but can still be spotted on the state quarter.

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What is the most visited place in New Hampshire?

Mt. Monadnock is one of New Hampshire’s most visited places, and is often called one of the world’s most climbed mountains. The 3,165-foot (965-meter) mountain in Monadnock State Park has great views of the surrounding landscape, but it’s also a challenging route that takes most visitors around three hours.

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Is New Hampshire worth visiting?

Yes, New Hampshire is worth visiting. The state combines a beach-lined seacoast with lakes, vibrant cities, and soaring mountains. Outdoor pursuits include hiking, skiing, canoeing, wildlife-watching, and cycling. For history-lovers a top highlight is Portsmouth, which is home to some of the best-preserved colonial-era architecture in New England.

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What is the best month to visit New Hampshire?

Fall foliage in New Hampshire peaks in early to mid-October, making this one of the best times to visit the state. Autumn’s warm days are great for exploring and are followed by pleasantly cool nights. October activities include apple picking, corn mazes, and gondola rides in the White Mountains.

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Why do tourists go to New Hampshire?

New Hampshire draws everyone from adventure travelers to history buffs. Outdoorsy visitors head for the Lakes Region, White Mountains, and seacoast beaches. The top destination for urban explorers is Portsmouth, a former maritime hub that was founded in 1653 and has well-preserved architecture dating back to the colonial era.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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