Get us in your inbox

Photograph: Visit New Hampshire
Photograph: Visit New Hampshire

Ten perfect New Hampshire getaways

Whether you’re seeking adventure or romance, these New Hampshire getaways will surprise you

Written by Keith Flanagan in association with Visit New Hampshire

Flourishing with tree-lined lakes, historic port towns, sweeping valleys and snow-capped peaks, the sheer range of New Hampshire getaways is astounding for such a small state. And yet the landscape leaves plenty of room for surprises, too, with a popular seacoast and bite-size towns packed with big-city flavors.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic lakeside escape or a remote mountain adventure, one of these New Hampshire getaways is bound to get your heart pumping.

Discover more about New Hampshire

Tyler McGill: part of the 'How I Live Free' series by Visit New Hampshire.

1. Slide into this serene surf town for a swell time

Images of New Hampshire recall mountains, valleys, and lakes. But did you know the state has about 18 miles of shoreline? While most travelers flock to Hampton Beach—a classic boardwalk experience—serious surfers head up the coast toward Rye. Whether or not you’re on board for the rocky break (which surfers frequent through snow or shine) the town has plenty of ways to experience its salty Atlantic perch. Wake up early for a third-wave brew at the Colombian La Mulita Coffee, soak up views of the Isles of Shoals from Wallis Sands Beach, and sample oceanside flavor (and a raw bar!) at The Carriage House. And if you’re staying the night, head to Rye Motor Inn, a reimagined 1950’s motel that recently made a major upgrade: its pool is now heated.

Fill up on local treats in this scrumptious small town
Photograph: Visit New Hampshire

2. Fill up on local treats in this scrumptious small town

Sandwiched between the Connecticut River and the northern edge of the White Mountains, Littleton is one of those itty-bitty towns that belongs on a postage stamp. Covered bridges cross the Ammonoosuc River while the town’s quaint Main Street is chockablock with curious boutiques. In addition to miles and miles of nearby hiking trails, the town is jam-packed with surprisingly high-quality eats: Crumb Bum Bakery churns out perfectly laminated pastries in a converted antique shop, while Schilling Beer Company serves up European-inspired craft beer and wood-fired pizza inside a historic gristmill. Oh, and don’t be afraid to sleep where you eat—at The Beal House tavern, a handful of snug suites are available after you tuck into contemporary pub fare.

3. Head toward outdoorsy adventure in the mountains

If you’re looking for adventure, you can’t go wrong in North Conway, the go-to destination in New Hampshire for outdoorsy pursuits like skiing, hiking, and scene-stealing nature. Up for a challenge? The 18.9-mile Presidential Traverse is a northeast bucket list for hikers, while a range of nearby resorts, like Attitash Mountain, offer peak pleasure for skiers. Taking it easy? The 1.2-mile Diana’s Baths trail rewards hikers with waterfalls and swimming holes. Taking it extra easy? Book a journey on the Conway Scenic Railroad, one of the best winter train rides in the USA. Sticking around? White Mountain Hotel & Resort just received a multi-million dollar makeover. 

4. Book yourself a romantic boutique stay in the Lakes Region

The Lakes Region, which commands the east-central stretch of New Hampshire, is a classic reprieve for outdoor adventure, sun-soaked scenery, and fall foliage. You’ll find it all along Winnipesaukee, where the state’s largest lake is mottled with over 250 islands and nearly 200 miles of shoreline. Anchor yourself at the Pickering House, a converted 1813 property in the lakeside town of Wolfeboro that’s quickly become New England’s most coveted booking. The luxuriously laidback boutique, which sits right on the charming Main Street and recently opened a next-door restaurant, is known for its decadent breakfast—even guests without a sweet tooth will find it hard to say no to the chef’s sugary, fresh morning buns.

Culture-seekers thrive in this chockablock coastal town
Photograph: Visit New Hampshire

5. Culture-seekers thrive in this chockablock coastal town

When you need a creative boost, head to the Piscataqua River where Portsmouth reels in the charm. The port town has plenty of history—18th-century colonials are ten a penny—while its packed streets are abuzz with hip cafes, galleries, and restaurants. Grab a scratch-made blood orange danish at Elephantine Bakery, browse cutesy boutiques like Gus & Ruby (perfect for letterpressed stationary), tour historic houses at the beloved 10-acre Strawberry Banke Museum (home to one of the best ice skating rinks in the U.S.), and bunker down at The Hotel Portsmouth (housed within a 138-year-old downtown mansion).

6. Bargain hunters take stock along this historic highway

If you’re an antique lover, prepare yourself: New Hampshire is home to New England’s oldest antiques shopping district. You’ll find it along Route 4, a scenic highway flanked with farmhouses, old-school diners, and Cape Cod-style houses. Called Antique Alley, the route stretches several miles in between the towns of Chichester and Lee, where plenty of antique shops offer vintage oddities—don’t skip a pitstop at R.S. Butler’s Trading Company, housed within two picture-perfect pink barns, and Parker-French Antique Center, the area’s original antique shop since 1976. Refuel at Northwoods Brewing Company (which cranks out delicious crullers and handmade pizza), and round out your stay in a bonafide antique: Meadow Farm Bed & Breakfast is housed within a historic 1770 New England Colonial.

Brilliant minds gather for art and adventure
Photograph: Visit New Hampshire

7. Brilliant minds gather for art and adventure

Hanover, the home of Dartmouth, is an unmistakable college town. Luckily for travelers, that’s a perk: there’s plenty to keep academic minds active here. Start with the college’s free Hood Museum of Art, where a group of Assyrian stone reliefs dating back to around 900 BCE are just a taste of over 65,000 objects. Then, explore the outdoor attractions that change with the seasons. Head to the Dartmouth Cross Country Ski Center, which turned an old golf course into 30 kilometers of groomed trails, or take advantage of Hanover’s perch right along the Connecticut River (kayaking, anyone?). For a classic stay, Hanover Inn’s historic downtown location is hard to beat—it overlooks Dartmouth’s iconic college green.

8. A getaway for getting away from it all

When you want to escape the crowds—and people in general—the rule of thumb has always been to head north. That’s certainly the case in the Great North Woods, a rugged expanse that flirts with Quebec’s border. Here, you’ll find every outdoor adventure that everyone else is missing: blue lakes, flush rivers, thick forests, empty trails, and remote cabin rentals where there’s never a need for a “do not disturb” sign. For lodging, your best bet might be Pittsburg, where lakeside lodges—like this newly built Airbnb—are rustic in all the right ways.

Make it a quintessential road trip
Photograph: Visit New Hampshire

9. Make it a quintessential road trip

If the destination itself is the journey, a road trip along southern New Hampshire’s Monadnock Region Loop ticks all the boxes. The scenic route—which crosses through charming, centuries-old New England towns like Keene, Marlborough, and Jaffrey—loops past rich farmland, tree-lined ponds, Mount Monadnock, and antique homes. It’s a quintessential escape to see the seasons change (yes, we’re talking about fall foliage), which makes it a sure-bet for charming bed and breakfasts, too. And since you’re in it for the drive, head west to the Chesterfield Inn near the Vermont Border where the outrageously charming inn sits on 10 acres—and a knoll, no less.

10. For family-friendly adventure, head to the mountains

While Franconia is known for expert outdoor pursuits (the quaint mountain town is a basecamp for many of the state’s 4,000 footers, and Franconia Notch State Park is on every local hiker’s bucket list) there are easy, family-friendly activities on every level. Whisk the little tykes up 4,080 feet via the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, or watch them ski down breezy slopes thanks to the mountain’s Tuckerbrook Learning Area. The Flume Gorge trail is also a hit amongst kids—in addition to a a scavenger hunt, there’s a kid-sized passage called ‘Wolf Den’ that requires you to crawl through narrow rocks (it’s less fun for most adults, for obvious reasons).

    You may also like
    You may also like

    The best things in life are free.

    Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

    Loading animation
    Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

    🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

    Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!