Known as the ultimate destination for outdoor lovers, New Hampshire is rich in scenic valleys and high mountain peaks despite its relatively small geographic area. A true reminiscent of the New England charm, New Hampshire is a popular destination for the spring as well as the summer holiday season. The wealth of natural beauty can be experienced for free in its parks, forests, and lakes. We have listed 15 free and cheap things to do in New Hampshire that can help you have a memorable vacation on a budget.
Want to know about all 15 places in a jiffy? Check out the slides below:
- 1 Top 10 Cheap Things to Do in New Hampshire
- 1.1 Anheuser-Busch Brewery, Merrimack
- 1.2 Pierce Manse, Concord
- 1.3 New Hampshire State House, Concord
- 1.4 Andres Institute of Art, Brookline
- 1.5 Susan N. McLane Audubon Center and Silk Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, Concord
- 1.6 New Hampshire State Parks
- 1.7 Blue Ocean Discovery Center
- 1.8 Urban Forestry Center, Portsmouth
- 1.9 Museums in New Hampshire
- 2 Wrapping Up The Free & Affordable Experiences Of The State
Top 10 Cheap Things to Do in New Hampshire
Anheuser-Busch Brewery, Merrimack
A lesser-known fact about New Hampshire is that it is home to some of the most loved beers in America. Since 1970, Anheuser-Busch’s Merrimack Brewery has been hosting the Budwiser Brewery Experience where visitors can learn about the brewing process and taste samples of ales and lagers, or pair the beer with tasty food. The brewery is also centrally located making it easier for tourists to drive in from Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, or Rhode Island.
This is one of the most unique attractions of the state and so it tops the list of cheap things to do in New Hampshire.
Pierce Manse, Concord
New Hampshire is also the home of Franklin Pierce, the 14th American President. The Pierce Manse is open to visitors at a very nominal entry fee.
Former President Franklin Pierce lived here with his wife and 2 sons and the house has been preserved to depict their lifestyle. Visitors can get a first-hand experience of life in the mid-19th century.
Pierce Manse comes alive between the months of March and September each year with concerts, events, and other interesting activities.
New Hampshire State House, Concord
The Capitol housing Governor, General Court, the Executive Council, and the New Hampshire State House is rich in impressive structures. The building was completed in 1819 making it more than two hundred years old. An inscription boasting, “The nation’s oldest State House in which the Legislature still occupies its original chambers” is dated June 2, 1969.
Built according to the Greek revival style with granite blocks, the New Hampshire State House is visited by hundreds of tourists every year. Located in the heart of Concord, the capital city of New Hampshire, this building is hard to miss and is one of the most popular of the ‘cheap things to do in New Hampshire’ list.
Andres Institute of Art, Brookline
The Andres Institute of Art and Sculpture Garden offers visitors a unique hiking experience of the rugged vistas and scenic trails of New Hampshire. Unlike most sculpture gardens, this one is not located in a crowded city or inside a building. Instead, the artwork in the Andres Institute of Art is spread across the beautiful countryside and is free for everyone to appreciate and enjoy.
A day spent at the Andres Institute of Art and sculpture garden can be a unique combination of hiking and appreciation of over 60 pieces of art. Located in picturesque Monadnock Valley, Brookline, this is certainly one of the best ‘Cheap Things to do in New Hampshire.’
Susan N. McLane Audubon Center and Silk Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, Concord
Popularly known as the Silk Farm Center, the Susan N. McLane Audubon center is filled with quaint and interesting trails that make for an excellent day of hiking and exploring. The sanctuary trails are open for visitors six days a week; the center is closed only on Sundays.
There are no admission fees to enter the Sanctuary or the Center, although donations are welcomed with open arms. The Center offers learning and education opportunities for every age group.
Popular exhibits include live animals like the Red-tailed Hawk, Bald Eagle, Screech Owls, Peregrine Falcon, and Barred Owls.
New Hampshire State Parks
Even though New Hampshire is the 5th smallest state in the United States, it boasts of over 90 state parks. These well-manicured parks are open to the public throughout the year and are a perfect location for spending a lazy summer afternoon.
Other than parks, the system also covers beaches, historic sites, camping grounds, natural areas, trails, and other attractions.
Some of the top State Parks in New Hampshire include the following:
- Cardigan Mountain State Park
Best known for its scenic hiking trails, there is no match to the views that one can experience from the summit of the mountain peaks. Comprising 5,655 acres of land, Cardigan Mountain State Park is a hiker’s paradise.
- Miller State Park
The Miller State park offers a convenient route to the summit in the form of a paved road. But, for the more adventurous among us, there are several hiking trails as well that offer some of the best views in the region during the fall season.
- Sculptured Rock Natural Area
This state park derives its name from the interesting geology that includes natural potholes that are carved into the rocks by years of flowing waters. This primitive area is ideal for relaxing and taking in the scenic beauty of this naturally rich region.
- Rhododendron State Park
Unlike the Sculptured rock state park, the best time to visit the Rhododendron state park is during the summer season when its namesake flowers are in full bloom. Spread over sixteen acres, this grove offers multiple attractions including a tunnel of flowers and Old Patch Place Cottach, a remodeled cottach that was at different times a hostel and a clubhouse. Plus, the hiking trails are easy making it suitable for visitors of all age groups.
- Odiorne Point State Park
Moving on from the mountains, Odiorne Point State Park is located along the seacoast where visitors can hike or bike at their leisure. The park is filled with beautiful picnic spots making it perfect for a day out with the family. The park also includes World War II bunkers and the Seacoast Scientific Center.
- Benson Park, Hudson
Located in Hudson, the Benson Park is located on the site of a former zoo. The wild animal farm was once home to lions, gorillas, and elephants. However, decades of financial struggle led to the closure of the zoo and its transformation into a public park that is open all throughout the year. The park includes attractions like scenic picnic sites, miniature railway, and abandoned animal cages.
Blue Ocean Discovery Center
For sea life enthusiasts the Blue Ocean Discovery Center is one of the best cheap things to do in New Hampshire. Located in the heart of Hampton Beach, the center houses multiple tanks exhibiting the local marine life.
The educators interact with visitors and visitors are allowed to handle different species in a touch-tank in order to get a closer look at the mysterious sea life. The center also includes a maritime exhibit explaining the history of whale research, beach cleanup activities, and the effects of the ever-changing climate on the Gulf of Maine.
The entry here is completely free but you are more than welcome to donate to your heart’s content.
Urban Forestry Center, Portsmouth
Located just outside of Portsmouth, the Urban Forestry Center was built in 1976 and is spread over 180 acres of field, forest, and saltmarsh. This is a must-visit for DIY landscapers. The wealth of knowledge contained on its grounds can give you some excellent ideas on woodland gardens, perennial borders, vegetable gardens, groundcovers, and more.
The vast series of self-guided trails also make for interesting walks in summers and adventurous cross-country skiing in the winters. Popular trails include the Goodwin Trail and the Tree Identification Trail.
Museums in New Hampshire
- Museum of New Hampshire History, Concord
The New Hampshire Historical Society was founded in the year 1823. The society has been dedicated for nearly 200 years to educating people about the culture and history of this beautiful state. It includes a library and a museum, and the society also runs various outreach programs.
- Horatio Colony House and Museum, Keene
The Horatio Colony house museum grounds are open free for visitors to roam around and take in the periodic charm of this well-maintained building. The Horatio Colony house was constructed when Keene had as few as 100 homes and Thomas Jefferson was President.
- Currier Museum, Manchester
The Currier Museum Art Center has something for everyone. Its exhibitions include American as well as European paintings and sculptures. In its permanent collection, the art museum is home to artists like Monet, Picasso, Matisse, O’Keeffe, Goldsmith, Andrew Wyeth, to name a few.
- Museum of the White Mountains, Plymouth
Located in the Plymouth State University campus, the Museum of the White Mountains is a recent addition to the list of Museums in New Hampshire. The museum was inaugurated in 2013 as a center for the preservation of the local culture and environmental legacy.
Glen Ellis Falls
The majestic Glen Ellis Falls is an impressive tourist attraction attracting numerous visitors to this free vacation site every holiday season. At 64ft, the falls are active all throughout the year and are best experienced in the broad daylight.
The surrounding valley offers a vibrant range of natural colors, especially if you happen to visit here in the Autumn.
Wrapping Up The Free & Affordable Experiences Of The State
With the holiday season fast approaching, there is no time like the present to pack your bags and experience a perfect holiday vacation right here in the United States of America. For a comprehensive trip guide to New Hampshire Road Trip Destinations, check out our sampling. Our platform rentaltrader.com can further help you reduce your holiday expense as you can replace expensive hotel accommodations with affordable and convenient vacation rental homes. You can fill out the webform or call us directly for more information.