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While most US States are known for their diverse and booming economy, some states are more laid back and have beautiful landscapes like forests, beaches, and mountains. One such state which is recognized for its landscapes is New Hampshire.
Located in the northeast, the state shares its borders with Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, the Gulf of Maine, and Quebec (Canada). New Hampshire is estimated to be the fifth-smallest state in the USA, with a population of 1.3 million. Despite its size, New Hampshire generated a GRDP of $86 billion in 2018.
The tourism industry is a key sector for New Hampshire. The state offers outdoor activities like ice skiing, mountain climbing, camping, fishing, boating, and motorsports.
New Hampshire is famous for its state parks. These parks are ideal for playgrounds, picnic areas, and ball fields. They are also home to many flora and fauna species, secluded lakes, ponds, and nature trials. With rising poaching, national parks were established to protect endangered species.
If you want a winter getaway, the New Hampshire parks have fun recreational activities like snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Let’s look at the best state parks in New Hampshire that you can visit.
New Hampshire Parks
1) Bear Brook State Park
Spanning across 10,000 acres and over 40 miles of hiking trails, you can explore by bike, horseback, or even foot. In particular, Bear Brook State Park is like a haven for mountain bikers. If you hike along the trail, then you can reach the scenic view of Catamount Hill.
In addition to the mountain terrain, there is also a beach for swimming called the Catamount Pond. Apart from the terrain and recreational activities, the Park is also home to museums, snowmobiles, two archery ranges, and some history. The museums can be found in historic buildings which were built around 1935. There is an antique snowmobile museum for people who want to learn about the history of snowmobiles.
2) Odiorne Point State Park
In the New Hampshire seacoast, Odiorne Point State Park is a special place to visit with your family. The Park has playgrounds, a picnic area, hiking trails, the Seacoast Science Center, and Fort Dearborn (active during World War 2).
During the 17th century, it was a farming and fishing settlement. Some popular recreational activities during the summer and autumn include cycling, paddling, hiking, exploring tide pools, or just staring at the Atlantic Ocean! During the winter, families can participate in cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. A seacoast science center is great for children to learn about aquatic life.
3) Franconia Notch State Park
Traveling on a long weekend can be stressful, especially if you do not possess a decent campsite. Lafayette Place Campground is one of the best camping grounds for pitching a tent.
Within Franconia Notch State Park, you can visit many beautiful places, including Echo Lake beach, Cannon Mountain, the waterfalls of Flume Gorge, and the ‘old man of the mountain’(Face carvings on the cliff’s edge).
There are many 4000-foot trailheads, including Lincoln, Cannon, and Kinsman. If you are coming with your children, then you can take them to the artist’s bluff.
4) Crawford Notch State Park
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, New Hampshire is home to beautiful mountain ranges. One such mountain range is the white mountains, located in the northern part of New Hampshire. The Crawford stretch is within the white mountains, home to Crawford Notch State Park.
Some exciting places are Washington Cog Railway, Storyland Theme Park, and Willey House Historical Site. Some recreational activities that travelers can do include mountain biking, hiking, and backpacking.
5) Hampton Beach State Park
If you prefer beaches to mountains, you may appreciate Hampton Beach State Park. The Park is located where the Atlantic Ocean unites with the Hampton River; the beach gives you a beautiful ocean view.
All basic facilities like first aid, lifeguards, comfort stations, public restrooms, children’s playgrounds, and services contain general information. Some fun activities include fishing, beach combing, sunbathing, and swimming.
6) Echo Lake State Park
The Echo Lake State Park is located at the base of the white horse and cathedral ledges. Both ledges make a scenic view. Located in North Conway and with a lake spanning 15.7 acres, the Park features a hiking trail and beach. Park activities include fishing, picnicking, swimming, and boating. Many hiking trails of the state park lead to Cathedral Ledge State Park, which looks over amazing views of Saco River Valley.
7) Rye Harbor State Park
One of the best parts about traveling to New Hampshire state parks is getting dazzling views of the Atlantic Ocean. Located on a grassy peninsula, the Rye Harbor State Park has many fun activities like kayaking, picnicking, and fishing.
Other state park amenities include a small pavilion, benches, a picnic table, and modern restrooms. The Rye Harbor State Park is also home to the Seacoast Region’s Headquarters Office.
8) Pawtuckaway State Park
The Pawtuckaway State Park gets its name from the Pawtuckaway Lake and Pawtuckaway Mountain located in the Park. The Pawtuckaway State Park is one of the largest state parks in southeast New Hampshire.
The Pawtuckaway mountains boast more than thirty miles of hiking trails, and the massive 783-acre Pawtuckaway lake consists of small islands. Owing to its massive landmass, there are many amenities, including 200 campsites, five cabins that host an overnight stay, a playground, and many picnic zones with tables.
9) White Lake State Park
Located in the Tamworth and offering year-round recreation, the White Lake State Park boasts various outdoor and recreational activities. These include fishing, camping, picnicking, mountain biking, backpacking, and one of the best things to do – swimming.
The white lake shores offer the best swimming experience as the water is like a glacial, cold, and gin-clear. The lake is a perfect location for trout fishing. The park is also home to diverse wildlife, like beavers, birds like the blue jay, and common loons (ducks), not to mention a copious number of trout in the lake.
10) Coleman State Park
Another classic spot for trout fishing, Coleman State Park, is located along the little diamond pond in Stewartstown. The Park is popular for ATV camping as 25 campsites offer direct trail access and several hiking trails.
Some hiking trails also connect to trails for cross-country skiing and snowboarding. Apart from fishing and ATV rides, Coleman State Park has other fun activities like hiking, picnicking, and camping.
11) Weeks State Park
Located at the top of Mt.Prospect (Lancaster) and spread across 446 acres, the Weeks State Park gives a bird’s eye view of panoramic views like the presidential range of the white mountains. The park was set up in 1912 for US Senator John Wingate’s weeks.
The Weeks State Park comprises a small museum, hiking trails, a stone observation tower, and the John Wingate Weeks Museum. You can climb the old stone fire tower if you want breathtaking mountain views.
12) Miller State Park
Established in 1819, the Miller State Park is one of the oldest state parks in New Hampshire. The Miller State Park was named after Brigadier General James Miller in Temple and Peterborough.
The state park offers various activities, like hiking over pack monadnock, backpacking, country skiing (during winters), camping, and wildlife viewing.
13) Monadnock State Park
Designated as a national landmark, the Monadnock State Park is situated in the 3165-foot Mount Monadnock. More importantly, year-round access is available for visiting the Park.
Popular for hiking, there are three different trails to reach the top: Old Toll Road, Gilden Pond, and Monadnock Headquarters. The Headquarters offers a direct route to the top, but those who want a longer hike can go for the other two trails. A park is also a perfect place for camping.
14) Mount Washington State Park
Mount Washington State Park is at the summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States. Mount Washington State Park has a huge landmass surrounding the White Mountain National Forest. The Park offers stunning views of places like New York and Vermont (on a clear day).
The Park is also home to the Sherman Adams building, which consists of places like the Sherman Adams Visitor Center, Mount Washington Observatory, tip-top houses, restrooms, and a gift shop.
15) Northwood Meadows State Park
Spanning across an area of 675 acres, the Northwood Meadows State Park is located in Northwood, New Hampshire. A must-visit for nature lovers, the Park has a charming wilderness and many enjoyable activities like horseback riding, hiking, backpacking, fishing, canoeing, or even a nature walk.
16) Wellington State Park
The newfound lake features the largest freshwater swimming beach in New Hampshire. Surrounding the lake is a 204-acre Wellington state park. The state park and lake offer recreational activities like canoeing, kayaking, swimming, fishing, and picnicking. If hiking in the Park, you can get picturesque views of places like Goose Pond, Bear Mountain, and Welton Falls. Some popular facilities in the park include gas grills, picnic tables, and horseshoe courts.
17) Ellacoya State Park
The Ellacoya State Park owns 600 feet of beautiful beachfront and is located on the southwest shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. The long beach area boasts beautiful views of Sandwich and Ossipee mountains. The Ellacoya State Park boasts many facilities ideal for a family picnic. These include a bathhouse with showers, a pavilion, and a small store that sells souvenirs and refreshments.
18) Mt Sunapee State Park
Boasting a 4085-acre lake and a beautiful beach, Mt Sunapee State Park is the perfect getaway for travelers who enjoy swimming, sunbathing, fishing, boating, and kayaking. If you are hydrophobic or don’t enjoy aquatic activities, the Park offers other activities like hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing. The park is located in the Dartmouth Lake Sunapee region and offers a seasonal camping ground ideal for family campsites.
19) Jericho Mountain State Park
Also referred to as Jericho Lake State Park, the State Park is an important destination in the white mountains in Berlin. With 230 acres of Park and a seven thousand two hundred-acre lake in the southern region, the state park offers plenty of lands and water-based activities like boating, fishing, kayaking, hiking, picnicking UTV trail bike-riding, and snowboarding. There is also a campground with facilities like a visitors centre, a bathhouse, and overnight cabins. This makes it ideal for RV camping.
20) Milan Hill State Park
As the name suggests, the Park lies in Milan, New Hampshire. Located a few miles off the Androscoggin River, this state park is an ideal spot for camping and is home to an old fire tower (established in 1932). The Park has standard tents and four yurts, making it a brilliant spot for diverse outdoor activities. These include hunting, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, fishing, and ATV riding.
If you want to take a break from your mundane life, state parks are an ideal vacation spot. Be it the diverse wildlife, nature trails, or picturesque scenery, state parks can help you rejuvenate yourself.
So, if you plan on visiting New Hampshire Parks but are limited on time and options, then you can refer to this article to choose the best state park based on your preferences.
Last Updated on November 27, 2023 by Sathi Chakraborty