New Hampshire — Things to Do
New Hampshire is one of New England’s most adventurous states, featuring its highest peak at Mount Washington and a vast wilderness in the White Mountains. Every kind of outdoor activity is available here, from hiking and boating in the summer to skiing at one of the state’s 20-odd mountain resorts. The state has a long tradition of guiding visitors, so it’s never hard to find a professional who specializes in one area or one sport.
The White Mountains are easily the center of the action due to their accessibility and location right in the heart of New Hampshire. From here, rivers run eastwards to the sea, providing great fishing and kayaking terrain. The locals are by and large outdoorsy types, and the state thrives on its tourism industry. Put the two together and you’ve a solid support base for just about any kind of outdoor adventure you want.
New Hampshire is heavily covered in mountains and forests, much of it protected by state and national parks. There are trails all over the state, from short beauties like Mount Monadnock to epic ones such as the Appalachian Trail. If you need a little help planning a hiking holiday use the experience of New England Hiking Holidays or Country Walkers to arrange all the details.
This is also prime territory for biking excursions, especially in the southwest part of the state where the landscape is peppered with quiet back roads. Use towns like Greenfield or Hancock as a base for road biking outings or mountain bike runs around Mount Monadnock. Up north, Bike the Whites is a great outfit that carries your baggage from inn to inn while you bike in unfettered bliss.
New Hampshire has a lot of water to lure folks who enjoy canoeing, kayaking, or rafting when the weather is warm. Most of the lakes and rivers are in the southern region, where majestic rivers like the Merrimack and Connecticut offer a paddle-friendly place for boaters of all levels. Outfitters like North Star Canoe Rentals can get you on the river, while Amherst Kayak and Canoe covers big lakes like Winnipesaukee in the north.
A long tradition of fishing in New Hampshire has resulted in one of America’s best river and lake stocking programs. Several species of trout are abundant here, as are bass, walleye, and salmon. You’ll need a license to fish the fresh water, but there are professional guides like New Hampshire Rivers located at every major body of water to organize all the details.
In winter the rugged mountains of New Hampshire open up for skiing and snowboarding. There are more than 20 resorts in the state, and some are very decent, such as Bretton Woods and Loon Mountain. But in general, these hills are mellow, catering more to families than hardcore powder hounds. Companies like Alpine Adventures Outdoor Recreation can take you into the backcountry for a more challenging winter experience.
As a bonus to the mountains, New Hampshire also has a coastline with five lovely State Park beaches including Hampton Beach, North Beach, and Wallis Sands. These are best enjoyed in the summer between May and September, when the weather is ideal for sea cruises and other fun nautical activities. Malgar Group Sailing Charters is just one of the many outfitters along the coast running scenic cruises along this pretty stretch of New England.