Editors' Picks: 20 of the Best Things to Do in New Hampshire!
That's the motto of New Hampshire, a state that was the first of the colonies to set up a government independent of Britain. 'Cause that's how they roll.
New Hampshire is defined by its White Mountains, which link it to the Appalachian Trail. Mount Washington is another key feature, the highest peak in the Northeast, which attracts hikers and sightseers. And of course, those mountains are a hit with those who love to ski or snowshoe.
Outside of the outdoor activities, there are lots of other intriguing things to do in the Granite State - here are 20 favorites.
In the heart of the White Mountains is this must-see state park. There are incredible waterfalls, the Flume Gorge surrounded by towering granite walls, a tramway up Cannon Mountain and so much more. Camping, hiking, history - it's all here.
New Hampshire has a long tradition of logging, and the Northern Forest Heritage Park in Berlin is the perfect place to learn about it. You can walk along the Androscoggin River where the massive logs bobbed along, visit a full-size replica of a logging camp, watch lumberjack competitions and more.
The piney woods around Salem are filled with strange stone megaliths resembling those found at Stonehenge in England. It's estimated that they date back 4,000 years. One thing's for sure: they mimic an accurate astronomical calendar. Explore the nearby museum to learn more.
It's a major part of New Hampshire, the largest lake in the state. Cruises around this beautiful waterway and its many islands are super-popular.
These glorious flowers come on big in June, and the state celebrates in equal measure. There are tours of the blooms, open-air markets, music festivals and more.
Hampton Beach has been named a "superstar" for its fantastic water quality, and is ranked one of the three cleanest beaches in the country. When you're done soaking up the sun, the boardwalk is also highly rated, and there's a casino in the area too.
You can hike up and down the boardwalk along the gorge - but exploring the series of small caves is another big attraction. Most caves are lit by lanterns, well marked with information, and many are suitable for kids.
Get out of the summer heat in these glacially-formed caves that stay cool throughout the warmer months. Located in the White Mountains, the deepest caves in this park can still have snow inside of them into the summer. The park also features rock climbing, hiking trails, gift shops and a small zoo.
You've seen 'em: "This car climbed Mount Washington." At 6,288 feet it's the tallest peak in the Northeast. Some hike around this part of the White Mountains, others reach the pinnacle via the Mount Washington Cog Railway and others make the drive for that coveted decoration for their bumper.
10. Santa's Village
It's like Christmas morning all year round at this vintage theme park in Jefferson, which is ranked among the top 25 in the country. It started in the 1950s, with rides and attractions built around Santa and Christmas. For generations, families have returned to feed a reindeer, sit in Santa's chair and even enjoy non-Christmas-y things like the waterpark.
Since its creation in 1959 this 34-mile stretch, designated an American Scenic Byway, has been a popular destination for those who want to take in some spectacular fall foliage viewing. More than a million people drive it each year.
New England and antiques are practically synonymous. New Hampshire has what's called "Antique Alley," the oldest antique shopping district in the region, where you can pick up furniture, collectibles and any other dusty things that catches your eye. (Lee, Epsom, Chichester, Milford, Amherst)
Slap on some blue face paint and embrace your inner "Braveheart" at this annual celebration of Scottish tradition that takes place each September in Lincoln. Stroll through a replica of a clan village, enjoy Scottish music and highland dancing and try your hand at challenging Scots games.
14. Meet Bullwinkle
Moose Alley is a stretch of road (around Rt. 3 in Pittsburg) that's a popular destination for folks who want to spot a moose…. or five. Dusk or dawn are the best times - but you need to be super careful: moose-to-car collisions can happen. And often do. So heads (and antlers) up.
15. Visit a castle
Castle In the Clouds in Moultonborough is a magnificent mansion built in 1914, and overlooking the Lake's region. There's so much to explore, from hand-crafted architectural details, period furniture and even vintage clothing from the former mistress' wardrobe. Nearby are waterfalls, hiking trails and horseback riding.
Founded in 1929, this lovely little Manchester museum is chock-full of great art, from Monet and Dutch Masters, to Hudson River artists and works by Grandma Moses. The museum is also custodian to a nearby Frank Lloyd Wright house, the only one open to the public in New England.
This free tour in Merrimack shows you how one of the most popular beers in America is made, all the way to screwing on of the caps. Depending on when you visit, you can grab a selfie with the world-famous Clydesdales! Photo ops are available the first Saturday of each month.
This charming little red cottage in Mason has stood since 1786, and is the model for the illustrations in vintage editions of "Little Red Riding Hood." Dining here is equal parts gourmet and charm with no Big Bad Wolf in sight.
Alpine ski champ Bode Miller honed his skills on Cannon Mountain, but if you're more the cross-country type, there are plenty of trails to explore too. Those who want amazing views head to Wildcat Mountain or Granite Gorge. Bottom line: skiers don't lack for trails in the Granite State.
You don't have to sign up for the Iditarod to get a taste of dog-sledding. Many companies offer a chance to see the snowy New Hampshire landscape via a team of Alaskan huskies. Some will even show you how to harness and control the team before you head out.