A few weeks ago (it’s already been that long?!) my then-fiancé, Jacob, and I made the trek to New Hampshire for our wedding ceremony. I grew up in Concord, NH and we held our ceremony at my father’s house in a tiny lakeside town just outside of Hanover. I always love bringing Jacob back to New Hampshire to show him the things and places that were special to me growing up, and this trip was even more exciting because his parents, sister, and brother-in-law also all made the trip! It’s such a different place than Los Angeles, where we all live, and I loved getting to experience some of the newness through their eyes! It definitely made me a bit reflective on what my favorite parts of the state are, and I thought I’d throw together a list for anyone visiting The Granite State in the near future!
- Mount Washington, White Mountains: My favorite part of New Hampshire is far and away all of the outdoors events and opportunities for things to do; it is definitely a place that values being outside and has the lakes, hiking paths, ski trails, and river beaches to prove it! Mount Washington is the highest peak in the northeast and known for some intense weather (a lot of nearby middle and high schools do overnight snow trips to the observatory!). In the summer you can opt to scale the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, a 4.1-mile hike to the summit, or you can access the peak by way of the Cog Railway, a 3-hour round-trip ride that narrates historic influences, nearby geography, and some New Hampshire fun facts. As part of the White Mountains, there are plenty of neighboring peaks for those wanting a shorter hike or to summit multiple peaks in a day.
- Lake Winnipesaukee, Gunstock: No matter the season, Lake Winnepesaukee is ready for you. In the winter, the frozen lake allows for ice skating, ice boating, skate sailing, and ice fishing; in the spring (after ice-out is declared) and fall, fishing and canoeing are some fan-favorites; and the summer brings lots of camp activities, sunbathing and swimming at Weirs Beach, and sunset cruises. Nearby Gunstock is great year-round, too, with an incredible ropes, aerial, and zipline course to complete in the warmer months, and skiing, snowboarding, and tubing trails once everything is covered in snow. Castle in the Clouds is another great visit in the area, with a museum, art gallery, and restaurant all with gorgeous 360-degree views to fill your day.
- The Seacoast: With only 18.5 miles of true coastline, New Hampshire isn’t always thought of as a beach destination, but there’s plenty to do in the seacoast region that includes Portsmouth, Rye, Hampton, and North Hampton. As the “big city” nearby, Portsmouth is your one-stop shop for great restaurants, breweries, window shopping, and museums! If you’re traveling with kids I can’t recommend Strawbery Banke more, as a 10-acre outdoor “living history” museum with more than 30 explorable buildings dedicated to American history.
- Dartmouth, Hanover: As the child of two Dartmouth graduates, I grew up visiting the campus often for the Homecoming bonfire, graduations and anniversaries, and even for an afternoon stroll and snack at Molly’s. I love this area of New Hampshire as it’s filled with a generally younger crowd thanks to the college, but the community events calendar is still filled with attractions for everyone.
- Tax-Free Outlets: Let us not have a conversation about New Hampshire without mentioning one of the most important reasons to visit… no sales tax! With outlets located in Merrimack, North Conway, and Tilton, there are lots of your favorite stores just waiting to be browsed with a built-in discount ;).
Anyone else a fan of The Granite State? Have any recommendations of your favorite things to do there in the summer vs. winter?? Let us know in the comments!