New Hampshire — Overview
If you think those state license plates claiming Live Free or Die is just a bunch of outdated grandstanding, you better think again. New Hampshire is indeed a land of highly determined individualists who love their wild landscape and prefer the federal government keeps its ideas to itself. This all may sound a bit cantankerous, but in fact it’s gorgeously authentic and the underlying attitude of New Hampshire residents.
While there are certainly more than a few lovely historic towns dating back to the American colonial era, New Hampshire is best known for its outdoor recreation. The White Mountains stand watch over the central part of the state, offering a million acres of rugged wilderness adventure. But drive an hour or two east to the coast and you can wiggle your toes in five pleasant beach state parks.
New Hampshire’s modest size is one of its attributes. You can hop from the sea to the mountains in half a day, ski the slopes in the morning and feast on lobster in Portsmouth for dinner. This isn’t a state where you’ll find modern luxury amenities pouring from the cracks, but there are plenty of cozy historic inns and awesome dining in the old fishing towns. For the most part you’ll find that your dollar goes pretty far in New Hampshire.
The extent of your New Hampshire adventure is only limited by your courage. The North Country is as wild, remote, and rugged as anything in New England. But the White Mountains have 1,000 miles of hiking trails that encourage everyone to experience the wonders of this state’s nature. Outdoor recreation is the main focus for most visitors, and there’s little to hold you back.
But with remote rural seclusion comes a total lack of public transport. In New Hampshire a car is an absolute necessity. Its towns will only hold your attention for a day or two. The thrill of this state is driving its insanely scenic back roads between historic villages and up to hiking trailheads or hidden lakes. This mode of travel reaches its climax each fall when the state decides to strut its colors like few other places on earth.
- Walk the historic downtown of Portsmouth, one of New England’s finest examples of what life looked like in the 17th century
- Summit the peak of Mount Washington if you can, or simply enjoy some of the 1,000 miles of hiking trails in the White Mountains
- Hit the slopes of the 20 family-friendly ski resorts spread across New Hampshire for a mellow ski holiday
- Walk the village green of Hanover and mingle with the great young minds coming up in Dartmouth College, one of America’s best
- Take a steamer cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee, a behemoth of a lake right in the heart of the state
- Head to Monadnock region in the southwest for a taste of that classic New England scenery
- Escape any trace of humanity in the North Country, a finger of wonderfully empty wilderness, lakes, and rivers where moose outnumber humans