Like most of New England, New Hampshire suffers from the mercurial temperament of the regional climate. Precipitation falls evenly throughout the year, without letting up outside of a period in the fall when the skies turn a brilliant blue and the leaves become a rainbow of color in celebration of the changing of the seasons. In winter this means buckets of snow, especially in the mountains, while summer brings frequent rain that keeps the weather on the humid side.
Summers aren’t bad though. Daytime highs rarely get much hotter than the low 80s°F between June and August, and the mountains are naturally much cooler than the lowlands. In general, the southeastern region around Portsmouth and Manchester is wetter and warmer than the North Country, which is drier and colder.
Winter is a mixed bag. January brings cold, windy daytime highs that only reach 32°F on the coast and 0°F in the interior mountains. Even if you love a white winter environment, New Hampshire’s version may be a tad harsh for you. When strong northeastern storms blow through they can dump up to four feet of snow at a time or create ice storms that drop trees and power lines like glass.
Best Time to Visit New Hampshire
There’s little argument that fall is the time when New Hampshire really shines. It is well-known as one of America’s premier destinations for impressive fall foliage, with colors that blanket the thick hardwood forests. The southwest region is particularly pretty thanks to its mix of rolling farmland and forested hills. This is a very busy time of year, so don’t expect to admire nature in peace. Book your rooms and rental cars well in advance to avoid disappointment.
If you want to visit New Hampshire and save money on lodging you’ll need to come during the winter shoulder seasons or spring. These are reliably miserable times of year in terms of weather, so few visitors can handle the cold. Most inns are still open and welcome any business. If you like to hunker down inside with a warm fire and a long book, this could be an ideal season for you.