New Hampshire

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New Hampshire's mountain peaks, clear air, and sparkling lakes have attracted trailblazers and artists (and untold numbers of tourists) for centuries. The state's varied geography—not to mention the range of outdoor activities its mountains, lakes, and forests support—is part of the attraction, but hospitality and friendliness are major factors, too: visitors tend to feel quickly at home in this place of beauty and history. Whether you're an outdoors enthusiast seeking adventure or just want to enjoy a good book on the porch swing of a century-old inn, you'll find plenty of opportunities to fulfill your heart's desire.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Louisa May Alcott all visited and wrote about the state, sparking a fervent literary tradition that continues today. It also has a strong political history: this was the first colony to declare independence from Great Britain, the first to adopt a state constitution, and the first to require its constitution be referred to the people for approval.

The state's diverse terrain makes it popular with everyone from avid adventurers to young families looking for easy access to nature. You can hike, climb, ski, snowboard, snowshoe, and fish, as well as explore on snowmobiles, sailboats, and mountain bikes. New Hampshirites have no objection to others enjoying the beauty here as long as they leave a few dollars behind: the state has long resisted both sales and income taxes, so tourism brings in much-needed revenue.

With a number of cities consistently rated among the most livable in the nation, New Hampshire has seen considerable growth over the past decade. Longtime residents worry that the state will soon develop two distinct personalities: one characterized by rapid urbanization in the southeast and the other by quiet village life in the west and north. Although newcomers have brought change, the free-spirited sensibility of the Granite State remains intact, as does its natural splendor.

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Portsmouth

More than a quaint harbor town with a long, colorful history, Portsmouth is an upscale community with trendy farm-to-table restaurants, contemporary...

North Conway

Before the arrival of outlet stores, this town drew visitors for its inspiring scenery, ski resorts, and access to White Mountain National Forest...

Manchester

With 108,000-plus residents, Manchester is New Hampshire's largest city. The town grew up around the Amoskeag Falls on the Merrimack River,...

Peterborough

Thornton Wilder's play Our Town was based on Peterborough. The nation's first free public library opened here in 1833. The town, which was...

Keene

Keene is the largest city in the state's southwestern corner. Its gentrified main street, with several engaging boutiques and cafés, is America...

Wolfeboro

Quietly upscale and decidedly preppy Wolfeboro has been a resort since Royal Governor John Wentworth built his summer home on the shore of the...

Concord

New Hampshire's capital (population 42,000) is a quiet town that tends to state business and little else—the sidewalks roll up promptly at 6...

Meredith

Meredith is a favored spot for water-sports enthusiasts and anglers. For a true taste of Meredith, take a walk down Main Street (just one block...

Littleton

One of northern New Hampshire's largest towns (this isn't saying much, mind you) is on a granite shelf along the Ammonoosuc River, whose swift...

Lincoln and North Woodstock

These neighboring towns at the southwestern end of the White Mountains National Forest and one end of the Kancamagus Highway (Route 112) form...

Exeter

During the Revolutionary War, Exeter was the state capital, and it was here amid intense patriotic fervor that the first state constitution...

Jackson

Just off Route 16 via a red covered bridge, Jackson has retained its storybook New England character. Art and antiques shopping, tennis, golf...

Durham

Settled in 1635 and later the home of General John Sullivan, a Revolutionary War hero and three-time New Hampshire governor, Durham was where...

Jaffrey Center

Novelist Willa Cather came to Jaffrey Center in 1919 and stayed in the Shattuck Inn, which is now the Shattuck Golf Club. Not far from here...

Franconia

Travelers have long passed through the White Mountains via the spectacular Franconia Notch, and in the late 18th century a town evolved just...

Hampton Beach

This is an authentic seaside amusement center, the domain of fried-dough stands, loud music, arcade games, palm readers, parasailing, and bronzed...

Weirs Beach

Weirs Beach is Lake Winnipesaukee's center for summertime arcade activity, with souvenir shops, fireworks, waterslides, and hordes of children...

Center Sandwich

With Squam Lake to the west and the Sandwich Mountains to the north, Center Sandwich claims one of the prettiest settings of any Lakes Region...

Tamworth

President Grover Cleveland summered in what remains a place of almost unreal quaintness: Tamworth is equally photogenic in verdant summer, during...

Bretton Woods

In the early 1900s private railcars brought the elite from New York and Philadelphia to the Omni Mount Washington Hotel, the jewel of the White...

Rye

On Route 1A, as it winds south through Rye, you'll pass a group of late-19th- and early-20th-century mansions known as Millionaires' Row. ...

Holderness

The prim small town of Holderness sits between Squam and Little Squam lakes. On Golden Pond, starring Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda, was...

Laconia

The arrival of the railroad in 1848 turned the sleepy hamlet of Laconia—then called Meredith Bridge—into the Lakes Region's chief manufacturing...

Dixville Notch

Just 12 miles from the Canadian border, this tiny community is known for the fact that it and another New Hampshire community, Hart's Location...

Bartlett

With Bear Mountain to its south, Mt. Parker to its north, Mt. Cardigan to its west, and the Saco River to its east, Bartlett, incorporated in...

Dover

Dover Point was settled in 1623 by fishermen who worked Great Bay. By the end of the century, the town center had moved inland to its present...

Nashua

Once a prosperous manufacturing town that drew thousands of immigrant workers in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Nashua fell into decline following...

Waterville Valley

Visitors began to arrive in Waterville Valley as early as 1835. A 10-mile cul-de-sac follows the Mad River, surrounded by mountains. The valley...

Mt. Washington

At 6,288 feet, Mt. Washington is the highest peak in the northeastern United States. The world's highest winds, 231 mph, were recorded here...

Hillsborough

Hillsborough comprises four villages, the most prominent of which lies along the Contoocook River and grew up around the thriving woolen and...

Walpole

Walpole possesses one of the state's most perfect town greens. Bordered by Elm and Washington streets, it's surrounded by homes dating to 1790...

Henniker

Governor Wentworth, New Hampshire's first Royal Governor, named this town in honor of his friend John Henniker, a London merchant and member...

Kancamagus Highway

In 1937, two old town roads were connected to create this remarkable 35-mile stretch of roadway, winding through some of the state's most unspoiled...

Alton Bay

Lake Winnipesaukee's southern shore is alive with visitors from the moment the first flower blooms until the last maple sheds its leaves. Two...

Plymouth

Home to Plymouth State College, whose small but attractive campus clings to a steep hill looming over a bustling downtown, Plymouth acts as...

Charlestown

Charlestown boasts the state's largest historic district, with about 60 homes—all handsome examples of Federal, Greek Revival, and Gothic Revival...

Bristol

The small workaday town of Bristol serves as a base for exploring one of the Lakes Region's greatest treasures: 4,000-acre Newfound Lake, one...

Portsmouth

More than a quaint harbor town with a long, colorful history, Portsmouth is an upscale community with trendy farm-to-table restaurants, contemporary...

North Conway

Before the arrival of outlet stores, this town drew visitors for its inspiring scenery, ski resorts, and access to White Mountain National Forest...

Manchester

With 108,000-plus residents, Manchester is New Hampshire's largest city. The town grew up around the Amoskeag Falls on the Merrimack River,...

Peterborough

Thornton Wilder's play Our Town was based on Peterborough. The nation's first free public library opened here in 1833. The town, which was...

Keene

Keene is the largest city in the state's southwestern corner. Its gentrified main street, with several engaging boutiques and cafés, is America...

Wolfeboro

Quietly upscale and decidedly preppy Wolfeboro has been a resort since Royal Governor John Wentworth built his summer home on the shore of the...

Concord

New Hampshire's capital (population 42,000) is a quiet town that tends to state business and little else—the sidewalks roll up promptly at 6...

Meredith

Meredith is a favored spot for water-sports enthusiasts and anglers. For a true taste of Meredith, take a walk down Main Street (just one block...

Littleton

One of northern New Hampshire's largest towns (this isn't saying much, mind you) is on a granite shelf along the Ammonoosuc River, whose swift...

Lincoln and North Woodstock

These neighboring towns at the southwestern end of the White Mountains National Forest and one end of the Kancamagus Highway (Route 112) form...

Exeter

During the Revolutionary War, Exeter was the state capital, and it was here amid intense patriotic fervor that the first state constitution...

Jackson

Just off Route 16 via a red covered bridge, Jackson has retained its storybook New England character. Art and antiques shopping, tennis, golf...

Durham

Settled in 1635 and later the home of General John Sullivan, a Revolutionary War hero and three-time New Hampshire governor, Durham was where...

Jaffrey Center

Novelist Willa Cather came to Jaffrey Center in 1919 and stayed in the Shattuck Inn, which is now the Shattuck Golf Club. Not far from here...

Franconia

Travelers have long passed through the White Mountains via the spectacular Franconia Notch, and in the late 18th century a town evolved just...

Hampton Beach

This is an authentic seaside amusement center, the domain of fried-dough stands, loud music, arcade games, palm readers, parasailing, and bronzed...

Weirs Beach

Weirs Beach is Lake Winnipesaukee's center for summertime arcade activity, with souvenir shops, fireworks, waterslides, and hordes of children...

Center Sandwich

With Squam Lake to the west and the Sandwich Mountains to the north, Center Sandwich claims one of the prettiest settings of any Lakes Region...

Tamworth

President Grover Cleveland summered in what remains a place of almost unreal quaintness: Tamworth is equally photogenic in verdant summer, during...

Bretton Woods

In the early 1900s private railcars brought the elite from New York and Philadelphia to the Omni Mount Washington Hotel, the jewel of the White...

Rye

On Route 1A, as it winds south through Rye, you'll pass a group of late-19th- and early-20th-century mansions known as Millionaires' Row. ...

Holderness

The prim small town of Holderness sits between Squam and Little Squam lakes. On Golden Pond, starring Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda, was...

Laconia

The arrival of the railroad in 1848 turned the sleepy hamlet of Laconia—then called Meredith Bridge—into the Lakes Region's chief manufacturing...

Dixville Notch

Just 12 miles from the Canadian border, this tiny community is known for the fact that it and another New Hampshire community, Hart's Location...

Bartlett

With Bear Mountain to its south, Mt. Parker to its north, Mt. Cardigan to its west, and the Saco River to its east, Bartlett, incorporated in...

Dover

Dover Point was settled in 1623 by fishermen who worked Great Bay. By the end of the century, the town center had moved inland to its present...

Nashua

Once a prosperous manufacturing town that drew thousands of immigrant workers in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Nashua fell into decline following...

Waterville Valley

Visitors began to arrive in Waterville Valley as early as 1835. A 10-mile cul-de-sac follows the Mad River, surrounded by mountains. The valley...

Mt. Washington

At 6,288 feet, Mt. Washington is the highest peak in the northeastern United States. The world's highest winds, 231 mph, were recorded here...

Hillsborough

Hillsborough comprises four villages, the most prominent of which lies along the Contoocook River and grew up around the thriving woolen and...

Walpole

Walpole possesses one of the state's most perfect town greens. Bordered by Elm and Washington streets, it's surrounded by homes dating to 1790...

Henniker

Governor Wentworth, New Hampshire's first Royal Governor, named this town in honor of his friend John Henniker, a London merchant and member...

Kancamagus Highway

In 1937, two old town roads were connected to create this remarkable 35-mile stretch of roadway, winding through some of the state's most unspoiled...

Alton Bay

Lake Winnipesaukee's southern shore is alive with visitors from the moment the first flower blooms until the last maple sheds its leaves. Two...

Plymouth

Home to Plymouth State College, whose small but attractive campus clings to a steep hill looming over a bustling downtown, Plymouth acts as...

Charlestown

Charlestown boasts the state's largest historic district, with about 60 homes—all handsome examples of Federal, Greek Revival, and Gothic Revival...

Bristol

The small workaday town of Bristol serves as a base for exploring one of the Lakes Region's greatest treasures: 4,000-acre Newfound Lake, one...

The White Mountains

Sailors approaching East Coast harbors frequently mistake the pale peaks of the White Mountains—the highest range in the northeastern United...

The Seacoast

New Hampshire's 18-mile stretch of coastline packs in a wealth of scenery and diversions. The honky-tonk of Hampton Beach gets plenty of attention...

The Monadnocks and Merrimack Valley

Southwestern and south-central New Hampshire mix village charm with city hustle and bustle across two distinct regions. The Merrimack River...

Lakes Region

Lake Winnipesaukee, a Native American name for "smile of the great spirit," is the largest of the dozens of lakes scattered across the eastern...

Lake Sunapee

In the west-central part of the state, the towns around prestigious Dartmouth College and rippling Lake Sunapee vary from sleepy, old-fashioned...

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