From the 18-mile coastline – the shortest out of all US coastal states, to the peak of the highest summit of Northeast, this New England state boasts of lots of variety of attractions. Check out our selection of New Hampshire Road Trip Destinations below for a spectacular vacation.
Packed with many places to visit on a road trip, New Hampshire has many dozens of natural attractions offering a plethora of outdoor adventure, most of which don’t cost a dime. Think of the beautiful coastal and lake beaches, miles of hiking trails and kayaking waters, fun-filled waterparks, exciting mountain climbing, and any other outdoor activity that crosses your mind is found in this great state.
Since it’s easier working with information from real experiences when planning your New Hampshire road trip escapade, we’ve gathered several top destinations we believe will stimulate adventure thrill like never experienced.
For a quick overview of all these experiences, check out the slides below:
- 1 American Independence Byway – Best Route For New Hampshire Road Trip Destinations
- 2 Mount Washington Cog Railway -Transporting Tourists Since 1869
- 3 Wolfeboro – Largest Lake In The State
- 4 Franconia Notch and Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway
- 5 Portsmouth Harbor Trail – 70+ Historical Sites & Scenic Attractions
- 6 Mount Washington Valley Ski Resorts and North Conway
- 7 Colonial New Hampshire Seacoast Drive – 35 Miles Full Of Attractions
- 8 Currier Museum of Art -11000+ Art Collection
- 9 Wrapping Up The New Hampshire Road Trip Destinations
American Independence Byway – Best Route For New Hampshire Road Trip Destinations
This is a 12-mile-long byway escapade starting at Exeter and ends in Hampton, best suited for all seasons. History buffs are going to find this byway more fun to cruise, as it spans through roads that showcase the American Revolution legacy. So this is where we begin our list of best New Hampshire Road Trip Destinations.
The starting point, Exeter, was once the capital of New Hampshire during the war. It also houses the American Independence Museum where you can make a stop and delve into American history. The museum also hosts a couple of annual events including the Annual Independence Festival in July.
You’ll make your way through the Hampton Falls, formerly the Old Mill Road, which passes through some of the oldest roads in the US. On arriving at Hampton, you can visit the James House built in 1723 which is a perfect example of an architecture of the First Period Colonial era.
Mount Washington Cog Railway -Transporting Tourists Since 1869
The Cog Railway offers the easiest route to reaching Mount Washington’s peak, which is the highest point in Northern Appalachians, elevated at over 6,000 feet. Cog Railway is very unique and first of its kind and has been carrying out the task of transporting tourists since it was opened in 1869. It is a unique experience and so it features on our sampling of New Hampshire Road Trip Destinations.
During clear days, you can see the top of Mount Washington, which spans across 4 states. If you long for a unique coal-powered steam engine train experience, you might want to reserve your spot on the steamer for its special morning departure from the end of May to late October.
On reaching the top, you’ll come across the Sherman Adams Visitor Center which houses a cafeteria, small museum, and an extreme weather research station, Mount Washington Observatory. From Pinkham Notch Mountain Pass’s opposite side, drive up 6 miles to Mount Washington Auto Road for a great adventure experience. Alternatively, take a van to the Great Glen Trails for an exploration of the landscape around.
Climbers will have lots of trail choices to pick from but should be wary of the ever-changing and unpredictable weather conditions of the mountain.
Wolfeboro – Largest Lake In The State
Lying on Winnipesaukee Lake, the largest lake in the state, Wolfeboro is an amazing town on the east-central part of New Hampshire. This town offers one of the most amazing experiences as it has a couple of lakeside rentals featuring private docks, which you can rent for an elevated experience of the town’s tours.
Yet still, the calm waters of Wolfeboro Bay offer great sceneries for families with their kids. If you don’t have a boat, Wolfeboro Corinthian Yacht, Wolfeboro Jet Ski Rentals, Goodhue, and Navy Yard have lots of boats on rental at affordable prices.
If you get to visit in June, you’ll be lucky to take part in Moonlight Madness, Wolfeboro’s annual event featuring motorbike tours, entertainment, live music, and sumptuous food. In July to early August, you get to enjoy the New Hampshire Music Festival.
You’ll have all month-long access to food vendors, craft, family fun activities, and live performance concerts. Towards the Wolfeboro East, there is Lake Wentworth which hosts the yearly Sailing Regatta festival. Be part of the fun, or chill and relax at Albee Beach as you enjoy the festivity.
Franconia Notch and Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway
Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway is renowned for being the first North American aerial tramway and carrying the first passengers in 1938 to the summit, which is 4,080 feet above the Franconia Notch. Like the Mount Washington Cog Railway, this is again one of the most unique and best New Hampshire Road Trip Destinations.
On a clear day at the mountain summit, you’ll get to see the Presidential Range as well as the mountains in New York, Vermont, and Canada. Rim Trail has magnificent views spanning the landscape all the way to Franconia Notch’s floor. Franconia is among the largest notches in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Moving further south, in the Franconia Notch State Park, there is the 800 feet long opening, Flume Gorge, resting on the rock at the foot of Mount Liberty. The walls of the gorge rise to 80 feet above the stream flowing through it, and you’ll get to follow it via the boardwalk lying a foot above the water surface.
Torrents raging down the valley from the melting sheet of ice on the notch carved a 20-foot depression into the mountain. Drive along following the signs till you reach The Basin, in which the Pemigewasset River continues to dig through, a process that began over 10,000 years ago.
You’ll get to indulge in lots outdoors in Franconia Notch, including a campground, hiking trails. There’s also Echo Lake State Park which has a stunning sandy beach as well as boats on rental to tour the lake.
Portsmouth Harbor Trail – 70+ Historical Sites & Scenic Attractions
Portsmouth Harbor Trail cruises along the waterfront and harbor through the eventful Market Square into the streets with old homes connecting over 70 scenic attractions and historical sites in the city.
Among these attractions include 10 buildings available on the National Register of Historic Buildings, several historic homes open to visitors, and 10 National Historic Landmarks. Each of the attractions are characterized by unique features, collections, and history.
Warner House, dating back to 1716, features the oldest wall paintings from the colonial era and is still in position up to date. It also has the earliest replica of Queen Anne’s furniture ever known in American history. John Paul Jones House of 1758, which served as the home to Captain John Paul Jones during his stay in Portsmouth features some of the oldest collections of silver, glass, china, clothing, and portraits.
Moffatt-Ladd House, constructed in 1763 still possesses the original furniture and features stunning gardens surrounding it. Governor John Langdon House of 1785 has a highly decorated interior, with period furnishings and ornate woodwork. The Rundlet-May House of 1807 has some unique furniture known to have been built by the local craftsmen.
Mount Washington Valley Ski Resorts and North Conway
If you’re a skiing buff, or just love the beauty of the snow-covered landscape, you’ll find this road trip amazing. North Conway is renowned as one of the earliest skiing resorts in the US and is still among the top ski destinations in the country.
There are 6 mountain resorts in the Mount Washington Valley, which offer an amazing state of the art trail and lifts grooming. Jackson and North Conway serve as the hubs for dynamic après-ski experiences. Other outdoor activities you’re sure to enjoy in this escapade include cross-country skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, dog-sledding, ice skating, and more. These outdoors make these resorts much more appealing to those enjoying skiing adventures.
Most of these resorts operate through all the seasons so regardless of the time of the year you visit, you’re sure to experience heightened fun-filled adventure. Activities you’ll enjoy during summer including tennis, golf, and swimming.
Colonial New Hampshire Seacoast Drive – 35 Miles Full Of Attractions
This is a great adventure escapade, commencing at Portsmouth and ending at Hampton, spanning a length of 35 miles. This route features good roads that make it possible to cruise through during any time of the year. This route is full of several New Hampshire Road Trip Destinations.
Starting in New Hampshire’s vibrant city, Portsmouth travelers get to explore the city’s historic downtown or watch the local fishermen busy casting their nets while chilling in a café and a tasty latte by their side.
On arriving in New Castle, get to visit the momentous Forts Stark and Constitution, which was a great contributor during the era of the American Revolution. Just a few miles closer to Hampton, make a stop at the Odiorne State Park to enjoy the stunning views and chill by the beach.
Currier Museum of Art -11000+ Art Collection
Currier Museum of Art features a wide collection of artworks, ranging to over 11,000 pieces. During this trip, you might want to give particular attention to the works of New Hampshire artists as well as those of White Mountain School of Artists which are featured in the museum.
Apart from the stunning works of art, the museum also exhibits antique furniture made in New Hampshire. The museum’s second floor has been subdivided; one section to serve the American gallery while the other features admirable collections of European paintings which include works from renowned artists like Monet, Constable, Corot, Lorenzo de Costa, and Tiepolo.
The first floor holds the contemporary artworks and collection of special exhibitions of works from artists like Matisse, O’Keeffe, and Picasso. The museum also includes the Zimmerman House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is the only house designed by Wright that is open to the public in the entire New England region.
Wrapping Up The New Hampshire Road Trip Destinations
New Hampshire State has a lot more to do that can’t fit here. But these top destinations are a sure way to make your road trip in this New England state memorable. Don’t forget to bring along an HD camera to capture the breathtaking scenery. If you want to know about budget-travel to New Hampshire, have a look at our selection of pocket-friendly things to do in the state.
We hope you loved our sampling of New Hampshire Road Trip Destinations. For a wonderful vacation book your vacation rental at the RentalTrader.com and create memories of a lifetime. For any more information, fill our web-form or give us a call, we’ll be happy to help you.