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Top 17 hidden gems to visit in New Hampshire

  1. Franconia Notch State Park: Discover a world of natural beauty in Franconia Notch State Park, nestled in the heart of the stunning White Mountains. With trails to suit all abilities, you can explore the park’s breathtaking vistas and iconic landmarks, from the dramatic heights of Cannon Mountain to the tranquil cascades of The Flume Gorge. Take a ride on the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway for an unforgettable birds-eye view and uncover the history of New England skiing at the fascinating New England Ski Museum.
  2. White Mountain National Forest: Get ready to immerse yourself in the wilderness with a visit to the White Mountain National Forest. Spanning a staggering 750,000 acres, this Northeastern gem offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventure. Hike the legendary Appalachian Trail, lose yourself in pristine forests, and marvel at scenic waterways. Whether you’re a camping enthusiast or a winter sports lover, this national forest has something for everyone.
  3. Portsmouth Harbor Trail: Step into the world of Portsmouth like a local with a leisurely stroll along the charming Portsmouth Harbor Trail. Take in the picturesque views of the bustling Piscataqua River, admire the town’s historic buildings, and soak up the atmosphere of the marina. Make sure to keep an eye out for a glimpse of the magnificent Atlantic Ocean, too.
  4. Mount Major: No trip to New Hampshire is complete without a visit to Mount Major, a hiking destination that promises to take your breath away. This moderate hiking trail is perfect for hikers of all levels, with the summit offering panoramic views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the surrounding region. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, this is a must-visit attraction that will reward you with stunning vistas and memories that will last a lifetime.
  5. The Flume Gorge: If you’re a lover of natural wonders, you won’t want to miss The Flume Gorge in Franconia Notch State Park. This narrow canyon is a feast for the senses, with cascading waterfalls, towering granite walls, and lush vegetation that will take your breath away. Follow the boardwalk trail through the gorge, and prepare to be wowed by this truly remarkable geological formation.
  6. The Kancamagus Highway: A scenic drive through the heart of the White Mountains, the Kancamagus Highway is a must-see attraction for any road trip enthusiast. As you wind your way through this breathtaking mountain pass, you’ll encounter soaring peaks, lush forests, and crystal-clear rivers that will leave you in awe. Keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife, and be sure to have your camera at the ready to capture the stunning views around every turn.
  7. The Lakes Region: A popular vacation destination in central New Hampshire, the Lakes Region is a true paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. With over 270 lakes and ponds, this region offers a wealth of recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and hiking. And for those looking for a more relaxed experience, take in the stunning views and soak up the serene atmosphere.
  8. Castle in the Clouds: Perched atop the Ossipee Mountains, Castle in the Clouds is a true New Hampshire treasure. Take a tour of the historic mansion and learn about its rich history, and explore the picturesque grounds and gardens. And don’t forget to hike one of the many trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding region.
  9. The Mount Washington Cog Railway: A truly unique experience, the Mount Washington Cog Railway offers visitors the chance to ride to the summit of the Northeast’s highest peak. This historic railway provides breathtaking views of the White Mountains, while the summit offers sweeping panoramic views of the surrounding region. A true bucket-list experience for any traveler.
  10. The Squam Lakes Natural Science Center: located in the beautiful Squam Lake region, the natural science center is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. The center features miles of hiking trails that offer stunning views of the lake, forests, and wetlands, as well as opportunities to observe wildlife such as black bears, mountain lions, and bald eagles in their natural habitat. Educational programs and interactive exhibits provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the ecosystems and habitats of New Hampshire.
  11. Fancy yourself a bit of a history buff or political enthusiast? Then the New Hampshire State House in Concord is a must-see. Take a guided tour to explore the impressive building’s architecture, artwork, and government workings, as well as exhibitions on the state’s past. Who knows, you might even spot a politician or two in their natural habitat.
  12. If you want an introduction to the stunning White Mountains, head over to the White Mountains Visitors Bureau in North Woodstock. Not only do they have all the information you need on the area’s attractions, but their museum offers exhibits on the region’s natural history, complete with interactive displays and multimedia exhibits for all ages. It’s like a fun classroom field trip, but without the homework.
  13. Toot toot, all aboard the Conway Scenic Railroad! Looking for a unique way to experience the White Mountains? This vintage train offers a variety of scenic rides through the stunning landscape, including trips through Crawford Notch and the Saco River Valley. It’s like a time machine that takes you back to a simpler, more charming era.
  14. Calling all skiing enthusiasts! You won’t want to miss the New England Ski Museum in Franconia Notch State Park. With exhibits on the history of skiing in New England, complete with interactive displays and multimedia exhibits for all ages, it’s like a snowy wonderland. Plus, it’s the perfect way to warm up after a day on the slopes.
  15. For a taste of traditional New Hampshire farming, the New Hampshire Farm Museum in Milton is a fascinating destination. The museum offers exhibits on the equipment, techniques, and culture of farming in the region, as well as demonstrations of traditional skills such as blacksmithing and spinning.
  16. If you’re looking for a cultural celebration, the New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival in Lincoln is an annual event that should not be missed. This festival celebrates Scottish and Celtic culture with live music, dance, food, and athletic events.
  17. Lastly, the Canterbury Shaker Village offers a unique glimpse into the lifestyle and culture of the Shaker religious community. This living museum offers guided tours of the village, demonstrations of traditional crafts, and a café serving traditional Shaker-inspired cuisine.