When to Go
From December - March the mountains of New Hampshire draw skiers and snowboarders from all over the country with 19 ski areas for every level and ability. New Hampshire is also home to one of the largest cross-country ski trails in the East. It can snow as early as mid. October in New Hampshire; but on average snow is most likely to be the deepest in February. The best time to ski is in December and January when fresh powder is the deepest.
At the end of March and into April and May the ground begins to thaw and the temperature begins to rise slowly. This is the time of year when maple syrup flows and the flowers begin to bloom. May is a beautiful spring month with pleasant temperatures in the 60s. Birding, hiking, kayaking, fishing, and other activities are popular. May is also a great month to beat the crowds.
June - August are considered the peak season in New Hampshire because of the warm sunny days with average temperatures in the 70s and 80s. New Hampshire’s beaches, lakes, and rivers are the best ways to cool down. If you like colorful festivals and concerts this is the time of year to visit with many special events taking place every weekend.
Autumn foliage begins in early September and lasts through October. In addition to fall foliage, there is a myriad of autumn activities that keep visitors busy from apple and pumpkin picking to country fairs and festivals. The month of October with warm days and brilliant fall foliage is one of the best times to visit. November is considered the end of the autumn season and the gateway to winter so remember to pack some wool and fannel. Sunny days are increasingly rare in November and this is the time of year that can witness the first snowstorms of the season.
New Hampshire is a diverse state that offers a wide variety of destinations and attractions from historic river valleys to the soaring peaks of the White Mountains, which are some of the highest in the Northeast. Here stonewalled roads lead to sleepy historic New England villages that offer amazing shopping and restaurants. There are miles of trails to hike on, serenely unspoiled lakes, a wealth of outdoor recreational activity, and Instagram-perfect landscapes.
Dartmouth & Lake Sunapee
This charming area has two distinct regions, the Upper Valley including Hanover and the home of the Ivy League Dartmouth College, and Lake Sunapee a favorite vacation spot with 18 miles of shoreline. The lake is lined with lovely homes, three lighthouses, and the picturesque Sunapee Harbor. In addition to Dartmouth College, one of the top attractions of this area is the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site that is the former summer estate of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Here visitors will find galleries exhibiting his work and 15 miles of trails. A photo perfect spot is the Cornish Windsor Bridge that spans the Connecticut River. At 450 feet, this covered bridge’s claim to fame is that it is the longest wooden bridge in the United States.
Great North Woods
This remote northern tip of New Hampshire, which is close to Quebec, is a nature lover’s dream with pristine lakes, conifer, maple and oak forests, the 80-foot tall Beaver Brook waterfall, and trails that are perfect for outdoor adventure. If you are into ATV adventure, this is the place to go because it has the Northeast’s largest interconnected ATV trail system. For wildlife lovers, the area between Pittsburg and the Canadian border is home to New Hampshire’s highest concentration of more than 4,000 moose making it the best place in the state to spot one of these magnificent animals. If you have geography on your bucket list, don’t miss the directional signage at the 45th Parallel in Clarksville! Two signs on Clarksville Pond Road indicate that you are standing halfway between the North Pole and the Equator!
The Lakes Region is New Hampshire’s summer hot spot with 250 lakes and ponds that can be found in the towns of Laconia, Meredith, and Wolfeboro, to name a few. Here you find the famous Lake Winnipesaukee that sits at the foot of the White Mountains. It is the most majestic body of water found in New Hampshire. This is the state’s largest lake. It covers an astounding 72 square miles and is home to more than 270 habitable islands. Surrounding the lake you will find more than 40 communities, shopping, restaurants, and gorgeous beaches to explore. Among the highlights are Weirs beach and croquet club in Wolfeboro, galleries, and boutiques in the restored Mill Village of Meredith, the antique center in Laconia, and a Shaker Village in Canterbury. One of the most popular attractions is the 1913 Castle in the Clouds Estate in Moultonborough. This 16 room mansion built in the arts and crafts style is a highlight of the area because of the remarkable views of the Lakes Region and the White Mountains. Another way to explore the area is by taking an excursion on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad. Built-in the 1800s this historic railroad was once part of the Boston, Concord, Montreal Railroad route. Today, passengers travel along the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee passing by some of the area’s most beautiful resort homes and scenery.
Named after the river that runs through this valley, visitors find the state’s capital city, Concord, here as well as the cities of Manchester and Nashua, making it the state’s most populated area. There are bustling downtowns filled with performing arts centers, museums, galleries, boutiques, and excellent restaurants. The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester features European and American paintings, including works by Matisse, Picasso, Monet, and many others. Owned and operated by the Currier Museum, the Zimmerman House is the only house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright open to the public in New England. This architectural treasure is one of the few Wright designs located in the northeast. In Concord, you can visit the home of the 14th President of the United States, President Franklin Pierce. For shoppers don’t miss the chance to visit the Concord Antique Gallery, where you can browse the wares of more than 155 different dealers.
This area is named after Mount Monadnock, one of the most visible mountains in southern New Hampshire is crisscrossed with hiking trails that are said to be some of the most popular in the state. The Monadnock area consists of 40 towns with scores of outdoor recreational offerings, historic houses, farms, theaters, and museums. The Stonewall Farm in Keene allows visitors to watch daily milking - a perk is to look at their exhibit of farm equipment. They also offer sleigh and horse-drawn wagon rides. If you love flowers, make sure to visit Rhododendron State Park in July when its’ 16-acre grove of rhododendrons is in bloom.
The southeast corner of New Hampshire borders the North Atlantic and has the smallest coastline of any state. Small yes, but this area has a boardwalk that won “Best Beach Boardwalk in America” by Coastal Living Magazine. The highlight here is Portsmouth, a dynamic port city at the crossroads of New England. Situated at the mouth of the Piscataqua River, this thriving historical port town offers many museums and historic homes that delve into the town’s nautical and colonial past. Visitors enjoy wandering down meandering streets lined with monuments and mansions in addition to an assortment of boutiques, restaurants, and galleries.
A highlight of Portsmouth is the Strawbery Banke Museum where costumed guides take visitors through historic homes, some that date back 400 years to the founding of the city. See the homes of both famous Americans and local merchants that have splendid exhibits and artifacts that tell the story of this town. A harbor cruise and a visit to the USS Albacore, a retired sub that is now an aquarium add to the fun.
Named for the fabled mountains that cover about a quarter of the state, the White Mountains are quintessential New England. Here you will find nine of the state’s ski mountains, miles of hiking trails, and the scenic Kancamagus Highway that stretches 34 miles from Conway to Lincoln and cuts through the White Mountain National Forest. This highway is a must because of its breathtaking scenery around every curve. On the way don’t miss a photo opportunity at the iconic Albany Covered Bridge or the cascading waterfalls known as Diana’s Baths. The White Mountain National Forest is home to 6,288 - foot Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeast.
The pastel-colored Victorian village of North Conway in the heart of the White Mountains looks much the same as it did 100 years ago. The nostalgic vibe continues on a scenic train ride on the vintage Conway Scenic Railroad that goes through Mountain Washington Valley and Crawford Notch.
When on a guided group tour of New Hampshire, if you want to see the summit of Mount Washington, take the Mount Washington Cog Railroad, the world’s first “mountain-climbing cog” that has been taking passengers to the summit since 1869. Franconia Notch State Park in Lincoln offers an interactive two-mile trail loop of Flume Gorge as well as a short path leading straight to this breathtaking natural wonder. Several waterfalls, natural cave-like rocks, and a classic covered bridge dating to 1886 add to the magic of walking through the gorge. A spectacular option that offers a birds-eye view of the area is the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway that takes passengers up and down Cannon Mountain.