things to do in new hampshire
Credit: Daniel J

The climb to the summit of New Hampshire's Mount Washington provides some of the best views in New England.

 The New England state of New Hampshire has something for everyone. Whether you like the outdoors, shopping, or history, you will not be disappointed. The state is home to breathtaking mountains, clear lakes, several beaches, and of course sales tax-free shopping. Here is a short list of things to do in New Hampshire.

Take a Hike

New Hampshire is home to over 4,000 miles of hiking trails with 1,200 miles in the White Mountain National Forrest and part of the Appalachian Trail. There are also 48 4,000 foot peaks that offer breathtaking views. The state offers a trail for every level of experience. Those new to hiking can enjoy an afternoon climbing Pack Monadnock in Peterborough, NH. More experienced climbers can trek up Mount Washington, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River and a preferred destination for those training for the Himalayas because of its erratic weather.

If hiking is not your idea of a good time, you can still appreciate the beauty of New Hampshire’s mountains. The Mount Washington Cog Railroad takes visitors by steam engine to the summit along the steepest railroad track in North America. You may also choose to reach the top via the auto road during the summer months. Even the view from the safety of your car as you drive through scenic Franconia Notch is well worth the trip into the White Mountains.

Visit America's Stonehenge

Located at the top of a large hill in Salem, America’s Stonehenge is one of the more bizarre attractions in the state. The site is the oldest and largest megalithic site in the United States and consists of man-made chambers, walls, tunnels, and ceremonial meeting places including large “sacrificial slab” with a gutter carved around its edge. Beneath the slab is a chamber that may have allowed a priest to speak as the voice of an oracle. Archeologists still do not know who constructed the 30 acre site or for what purpose. What they have determined is that the site is astronomically accurate in determining the solstices throughout the year. Whatever its original purpose was, America’s Stonehenge is well worth the visit.

A Healthy Dose of History

As one of the original 13 colonies, the state is home to several historical sites. Among them is the 10 acre Strawberry Banke outdoor museum. Here visitors can learn about everyday life in 17th, 18th, and 19th century America while wandering through the restored houses, exhibits, and gardens. Other historical sites include the home of America’s fourteenth president, Franklin Pierce, the Fort Constitution Historical Site from which colonist seized some arms later used at the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Robert Frost Farm Historic Site which was home to the famous author from 1900-1911. Given its colonial past, New Hampshire is home to dozens of other significant historic sites.

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A Day at the Beach

New Hampshire makes the most out of its 18 miles of coastline. Hampton beach is the state’s largest beach and is open to the public free of charge. Aside from the beach, there is no shortage of things to do in Hampton. During the summer, you can attend free concerts at the Sea Shell Stage, weekly fireworks displays, and stroll down Ocean Boulevard with its numerous shops, concession stands, and classic beach arcades. During the offseason, the town is quiet and hotel rates are extremely affordable. At this time you can visit some of the venues open year-round such as Ocean Gaming to play a variety of casino games with proceeds going to charity, attend a concert at the historic Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, or simply collect your thoughts while wandering the deserted beaches.

Anheuser-Busch Brewery and the Clydesdale Hamlet

Taking a tour of the Merrimack Brewery is a great way to spend an afternoon. One of five Budweiser breweries offering tours nation-wide, it is also home to a hitch of the famous Budweiser Clydesdales like the ones August A. Busch, Jr. gave his father to celebrate the repeal of prohibition in 1933. This tradition lives on in Merrimack where in addition to free beer at the end of the tour, the brewery offers visitors the opportunity to view the Clydesdales.

New Hampshire is a state with something for everyone. The best part is that because of the state’s small size, visitors can travel across the state to experience its multiple attractions within just a few hours. Depending where you are in the state, it is just a few hours’ drive to Boston, Quebec, or Montreal making it a must-see destination for anyone visiting New England.