New Hampshire’s attractions include everything from expeditions into local and global art and culture, America’s Revolutionary history, and plenty of outdoor recreation. Whether you are planning a couple’s retreat or an outdoor adventure with the kids, you’ll find there is something to do in the state for every taste and every season.
1. Currier Museum of Art
Located in the heart of the city of Manchester, the Currier Museum of Art has an extensive collection that is known the world over. The museum features pieces by such renowned artists as Georgia O’Keeffe, Picasso, and Monet, and the extensive schedule of rotating exhibitions keeps locals and visitors alike coming back throughout the year.
The museum is also home to Zimmerman House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the house is one of the most impressive examples of this architectural style in the North East. There is always something happening at the museum from kids crafts to family nights so be sure to check the events calendar on the museum’s website as you plan your visit.
2. Strawberry Banke Museum
Right on the coast in Portsmouth, you’ll find the state’s best living history experience at the Strawberry Banke Museum. This indoor/outdoor historical experience covers over 300 years of history on New Hampshire’s coast with restored historic buildings, authentic gardens, traditional crafts and structures and a full schedule of educational programming.
The museum focuses on the history of the Puddle Dock neighborhood of Portsmouth, and with thousands of artifacts in the collection and a dedicated team of education staff members a visit to Strawberry Banke is sure to leave you with a greater understanding and appreciation for New Hampshire’s coastal past.
3. Loon Mountain Resort
Planning to ski during your visit to New Hampshire (or New England for that matter?) There is no shortage of ski resorts in the state, but Loon is the most accessible and amenity-inclusive making it extremely easy to plan your visit.
The resort features over 2,000 feet of vertical skiing, with trails for every skill level. And it’s conveniently located right off a major highway, Route I-93, a short drive from the rest of the state and a two-hour drive north of Boston. For a summer visit, Loon offers picturesque gondola rides and an outdoor adventure park!
4. Raft NH
To take in more of the great outdoors during a visit to New Hampshire, consider spending the day at Raft NH. In the summer, this experience offers some of the best whitewater rafting in the state, AND they host dog sledding year-round! The whitewater rafting experiences range from beginner to advanced, and every trip comes with all the equipment you’ll need to have a safe and fun outdoor adventure. Raft NH usually has special promotions available on their website, so be sure to check what’s available there as you plan your trip.
5. American Independence Museum
The American Independence Museum is conveniently located in Exeter, making it a nice historic attraction to add to a trip to Portsmouth or even for a day trip out of Massachusetts or Maine. The museum covers all aspects of the American Revolution, offering a unique perspective into how the war is relevant to today and how it impacted New Hampshire’s history specifically. The museum also features a number of historic homes that offer glimpses into the architecture and day-to-day lives of New Hampshire residents during the Revolution.
Outside of the museum, you can find pieces of Revolutionary history all over the state by visiting historic cemeteries. Especially around Exeter and close to Manchester, the state’s historic cemeteries are home to a number of gravesites for Revolutionary veterans, and the epitaphs and names may ring familiar or give insight into how they served in the war.
6. Mount Washington Cog Railway
The Mount Washington Cog Railway is any rail enthusiast’s dream destination! Established in 1869, it’s the first mountain-climbing railway in the world. The ride to the top of Mount Washington and back is a three-hour experience, entirely authentic to how people traveled in the opening years of the railway.
The railway is truly an engineering marvel, and the visitor center where the train departs from also includes a museum that covers the history of the Mount Washington Cog and the early American railroad system. Check for special events throughout the year and be sure to pack for the weather that may vary by the time you reach the peak of Mount Washington!
7. Canobie Lake Park
Canobie Lake Park located in Salem is one of the most historic amusement parks in New England. With its earliest attractions opening in the early 20th century, it’s home to antique rides like one of the most stunning carousels in the region, and the Yankee Cannonball, the park’s recognizable wooden rollercoaster originally constructed in 1930.
In an age where small-town parks are disappearing or being replaced by larger chain organizations, Canobie Lake Park is a breath of fresh air offering classic and new amusements (like the inverted Untamed coaster!) all while remaining affordable and accessible to families throughout New England. Salem is conveniently located just over the border from Massachusetts, so if you’re looking to escape Boston for the day or stop on your drive to Maine, Canobie Lake can be the perfect stop! (If you stop on your way passing through the state, check for discounted admission tickets after 5:00 and plan your visit accordingly to save some cash!)
8. America’s Stonehenge
Don’t leave Salem without checking out America’s Stonehenge, one of the most underrated attractions in the state. America’s Stonehenge remains largely a mystery. It’s clear that the stone maze was likely crafted by a group of people’s who understood astronomy and may have used the design to create a calendar of sorts, but the makers of the site are still unknown.
Historians believe that America’s Stonehenge may be the oldest man-made piece of construction in the U.S., and as such the self-guided tour is certainly worth the extra stop before you head out of Salem.