Welcome to the New Hampshire Visitor's Information Booth:
Hampshire — 'The Granite State'
Hampshire is the "Granite State",
an area providing visitors with more
variety of landscape for its size
than just about any state in America.
Here you'll find seacoast, lakes,
mountains and everything in between.
As you head "up" into New
Hampshire on a map, for example (from
south to north) you are, in fact,
heading "up" in elevation
most of the time. The most dramatic
example is that sea level in Portsmouth
along the state's 18-mile coastline,
you can drive northwest for about
2 hours and reach Mount Washington,
the highest point in the northeast
Here in New Hampshire you'll find anything a visitor could want in a summer, fall, winter or
spring vacation or getaway. New Hampshire is easy going and the people are friendly, with a tradition of hospitality that dates back to the 1800s.
Shopping in New Hampshire
The phrase that appears on New
Hampshire automobile plates, "Live Free Or Die" is
a tribute to the state's independent,
anti-tax attitude. New Hampshire
is the only state in the union with
no personal income tax and no state
sales tax. Naturally, the lack of
a sales tax makes New Hampshire a
shopping attraction. Where in other
generally pay 5% to 8% in sales tax,
in New Hampshire you pay nothing.
A number of factory outlet centers
are located throughout the state,
the largest being in North Conway,
the Mount Washington Valley section
of the White Mountains.
If you are traveling with children, New Hampshire is loaded with quality family attractions of all descriptions, most of which
are located in the Seacoast, Lakes Region and White Mountains. If you're into the outdoors, you can find a trail anywhere for
hiking and biking, a river or waterfall for swimming or a flat trail just for walking. If a romantic getaway is your ideal, there
are a large number of quiet inns with Jacuzzi's fireplaces and everything you need to get away from it all, and to really get away from it all, hundreds of acres in our National Forest lands.
For Attractions and Lodging information including every lodging and attraction in New Hampshire, simply use the "Find
Attractions" and "Find Lodgings" search engine buttons on our home page. You can search for anything by region, town or
any number of other choices based on your personal preferences.
The New Hampshire Seacoast [back to top]
Hampton Beach, New Hampshire
What New Hampshire's Seacoast lacks in size it makes up for in vacation
fun. Most of its 18 miles of shoreline are public, and the beaches are sandy, clean and well managed by town and state governments. Each town
along the coast has something different to offer. In Hampton Beach the main attraction is the beach, bordered by arcades, restaurants and shops.
You'll enjoy great swimming and fun by day and great dining, bright lights, entertainment and fireworks at night.
Up the coast a bit to Rye, it's quiet and peaceful with small beaches and a
beautiful harbor featuring boat tours and whale watching.
North Hampton and Hampton Falls feature factory outlets and antiques.
Portsmouth is the historic center of the seacoast, an historic working port with a beautiful Federalist architecture on the Piscataqua River.
Portsmouth is a beautiful walk-around city Here you'll enjoy walking and boat tours, whale watching, island tours, great shopping and dining.
Featured exhibits in Portsmouth include Strawbery Banke; a settlement of historic homes featuring costumed interpreters
and beautiful gardens dating from the late 17th century. There is also an excellent children's museum, theater and don't forget to stroll Prescott Park
, famous for its beautiful gardens, sculpture and fountains.
The Seacoast area offers a wide variety of hotels, B&B's, fine inns and other lodgings. You can browse through all of the by
choosing the "Seacoast" region in our browser, or make a specific search of any kind to find exactly the type of lodging you are looking for.
The Lakes Region [back to top]
The M/S Mt. Washington steams across Lake Winnipesaukee on another cruise.
(Photo: David Brownell NHOTTD)
New Hampshire's Lakes Region is a vacationer's delight, with over 200
lakes surrounded by scenic mountains, New England villages and great family entertainment.
Naturally the main attraction are the Lakes themselves, with Lake
Winnipesaukee dominating the region as the largest body of water. Everywhere you go you can enjoy swimming, sailing motor boating,
canoeing, or take a cruise around the Lakes on a tour boat. You'll also find plenty of shopping. New Hampshire is renowned as a center of artisan
crafts, which you'll find at shops specializing in local crafts. There are also a number of specialty shops and nationally recognized factory outlets.
One of the special treats of the Lakes Region is hiking into the hills and
mountains surrounding the lakes. Where other mountainous hiking areas reward your efforts with a mountain view, here you have the beautiful and
unusual treat of a vast waterland beneath you, surrounded by other hills and mountains. Bring a rent a bike for some great
on and off road biking. Because the lakes are surrounded by roads and the landscape is hilly, a scenic drive in the Lakes Region is also a special treat and you'll find scenic views all around.
The Lakes are primarily known as a summer area, but the foliage is magnificent, especially when reflecting off the lakes on
a calm day. In winter Gunstock Ski Resort is a popular attraction, and there are many cross-country trails, snowmobile trails and other winter activities.
Nightlife here includes music, art and theatre, and the area is home to the Barnstormers, New Hampshire's oldest summer
theatre. You can also take an evening dinner dance cruise across the Lake.
The Lakes Region also offers a variety of family attractions, including Weirs Beach Water Slide, Castle Springs Estate, the
M/S Mount Washington, a 230-foot cruise boat, and a number of children's museums and exhibits. Use the Find Attractions
search engine to quickly get all the information you need about attractions in the Lakes Region.
There are abundant lodgings and restaurants of all types throughout the Lakes. The lodgings include premier lakefront
resorts, hotels and motels, to quaint cottages and inns. Use the Find Lodging search engines to find the Lakes Region hotel, inn or other lodging that offers exactly what you desire.
Lake Winnipesaukee Facts
[back to top]
Lake Winnipesaukee is not only a large, beautiful and fabulous recreational resource, it is also unique in a number of ways.
Here are some interesting and fun facts about New Hampshire's great lake:
- Besides being the largest lake in New Hampshire by far, Lake Winnipesaukee is also the sixth largest natural lake
entirely within American borders. This excludes, of course, the Great Lakes that are split between the US and
Canada. Winnipesaukee is also one of the three largest freshwater lakes in the continental US that lie wholly within
one state. Though there are 283 miles of shoreline, you'll only log 183 miles in a drive around the lake. It's clear
that Winnipesaukee encompasses approximately 72 square miles, but estimates of the lake's maximum length and width vary due to its irregular shape.
- The most common depths are 35 to 90 feet, but the bottom descends to 150 feet in some spots, and one location
in Weirs Bay is over 300 feet deep.
- The lake's islands range in size from Long Island off Moultonborough Neck at over 1,000 acres, to the tiny Becky's
Garden in Center Harbor. 274 islands are habitable. The highest elevation of any island is reached by Rattlesnake Island at 391 feet above the lake's surface.
- There are a number of theories about the name, Winnipesaukee, which of course is Native American. Some of the
theories of the meaning of the name include "good water with large pour-out place", "beautiful water in a high
place", and another is "smile of the Great Spirit".
The Merrimack Valley Region [back to top]
The Merrimack Valley is central New Hampshire's best kept secret — and it shouldn't be. There is as much to see and do
here as in any other New Hampshire region, but the others are simply better known because of their outstanding natural features and landmarks.
This lively area is a wonderful combination of city and country. You can enjoy the shopping centers and museums of a
downtown area, and in 10 minutes find yourself out in the country. The major cities are Concord (the state capital), Manchester and Nashua.
The Christa McAuliffe Planetarium, located in Concord, is an exciting and educational flight through the universe at this
domed theatre inspired by the New Hampshire schoolteacher who was tragically killed aboard the space shuttle.
Long before Disney there was
Canobie Lake Park. Noted as one of the 10 most beautiful parks in America, Canobie Lake
Park opened originally in 1902. Today it's a major New England attraction featuring a great combination of modern and traditional amusement park rides.
Take a one hour tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery and learn about the natural aging process Budweiser beer has been
famous for. You'll also have a chance to see the world-famous Clydesdale horses. Located in Merrimack.
The "Concord Coach". is not a coach that is pulled by the Clydesdales. This beautiful coach and others like it were built in
Concord beginning around 1825. They were sent all around the western U.S. and to Australia, South Africa and the entire
world. This beautiful relic can be viewed at the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord.
Some other major attractions of the Merrimack Region include the
New Hampshire Science Center, The Currier Gallery of Art and the Canterbury Shaker Village.
The Monadnock Region [back to top]
Mount Monadnock is said to be one of the most climbed mountains in the world.
This beautiful southwest corner of New Hampshire is commonly referred as
the Monadnock area because of its most outstanding physical feature, Mount Monadnock. This mountain is said to be one of the most climbed
mountains in the world, with 40 trails leading to a 3,165 foot peak that will reward you with a view of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont. It is
particularly popular at foliage time. Some of the trails are very gradual, and can be hiked even by younger children. The Monadnock State Park is
one of the five or so state parks in the area, offering a combination of lake swimming, camping, ski touring, snowmobiling, biking and more.
This is an area of older homes, real New England small towns, covered
bridges and the authentic flavor of yesteryear. The central city in the region is Keene, offering visitors a number of shops, marketplaces and
restaurants and is has a beautiful central square and typical New England high steepled white church. Children will enjoy the Monadnock Children's Museum
, and there are a number of theatre and arts festivals and centers.
There are a number of interesting attractions and lodgings in the Monadnock Region. Use the Find Attractions and Find Lodging
search engines for fast, specific information.
The Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region [back to top]
The Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region runs along the Connecticut River in western New Hampshire, and is so name by two of
its leading features, Dartmouth College and Lake Sunapee. This part of the state is truly "the road less traveled," but there
are also a number of attractions and activities to lure you here, in addition to the beauty and small town charm of the area.
Lake Sunapee is a true all season resort area, with swimming, sailing, hiking, biking, picnicking and more. There are a
number of state parks, with Mount Sunapee State Park being the major outdoor attraction. In the winter the park offers
skiing on 30 trails. Other outdoor attractions include canoeing on the Connecticut River, and a visit to Ruggles Mine, where
you can actually collect mineral samples for yourself. There are a number of historic sites and exhibits, including New Hampshire's only Native American Museum, the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum
, the Mary Baker Eddy House, and many more.
Even in this "off the beaten path" area, there are a number of fine inns, restaurants and shops. Find them fast by using the Find Attractions and Find Lodgings search engines under Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region, or a specific town.
The White Mountains [back to top]
The White Mountains: A skier's paradise
As New England's early settlers began to venture inland from the seacoast,
distant mountains were seen for the first time. The first mountains they saw were almost always white, and thus became known as the "white" mountains.
It is generally presumed that these early settlers were looking at Mount Washington, which is the tallest peak in the northeast, and is covered with snow for about ten months of the year.
The White Mountains are a year round recreation and vacation paradise,
offering an abundance of features and attractions. Most of the land here is the White Mountain National Forest a land of extraordinary beauty and wonder.
Hikers, rock climbers, mountain bikers and every day walkers are drawn to the area for the opportunity to enjoy this wilderness, which is conveniently
bordered by resort towns offering country inns and resort amenities.
Family Attractions Abound
The White Mountains are a favorite for families traveling with children, with a number of family attractions. You can find them all simply by searching in
Find Attractions and selecting the White Mountains region/location. Two of the major attractions are Storyland
, located in Glen, is one of New England's most visited attractions and a "must do" if you have
young children. A number of new rides have been added in recent years, making Storyland bigger and more fun than ever.
Another is the
North Conway Scenic Railroad, which runs most of the year, providing scenic train rides around the Mount Washington Valley and a number of special trips and events throughout the year.
Natural attractions are a major part of the region. Some of the major natural attractions include the Kancamagus Highway
, a 34-mile scenic road that takes you by rivers, waterfalls, scenic views and rises to a high point with a panoramic view of the mountain region. Other natural attractions include the Flume
, located in Franconia Notch State Park, an 800-foot narrow gorge of rushing water that you can view by walking on well-maintained trails and boardwalks between the Flume's 70-foot walls.
Also in Franconia Notch is the "Old Man Of The Mountain", the famous rock-face profile that you can view just off the highway (Route 93) in
Franconia Notch, and there are well-marked signs to direct you.
North Conway Scenic Railroad
(Photo: Les McDonald/NHOTTD)
The White Mountains are a shopper's paradise, with dozens of name
brand, tax-free factory outlet stores. North Conway is one of New England's outlet shopping areas with a large number of outlet malls and individual
stores located most along Route 16/302 in the middle of North Conway.
There are an abundance of different types of lodgings in this area, and the White Mountains are known for its large number
of country inns, in addition to resorts, hotels, motels and other lodgings. restaurants, attractions and shopping are everywhere.
A Winter Wonderland of Fun and Adventure
The White Mountains offer some of the best skiing in the northeast, and a large number of ski areas in a relatively small
area. On the west side of the Mountains (near Route 93), you can there are several ski areas beginning with Waterville Valley, heading north to Cannon Mountain
. In the Mountain Washington Valley area you can choose from several, including Mt. Cranmore, Attitash/Bear Peak, Wildcat, Bretton Woods and others.
Cross Country skiers will enjoy the trails offered at many ski areas in addition to the
Jackson Ski Touring Association, a series of trails running through Jackson Village, which connect a number of the individual lodgings as well.
Non-skiers can have plenty of fun too. Sleigh rides, ice skating, snow shoeing and other wintertime activities are available all
over the mountains.
Here Are Just A Few of the Special Things You Can See and Do In The White Mountains
Climber: Photo courtesy Eastern Mountain Sports
Cathedral Ledge in North Conway provides a stunning view of the valley below, and of
North Conway and Mt. Cranmore. You can hike or drive to Cathedral Ledge, a short distance from North Conway Village, or even try a slightly more adventurous way to
reach the top (see photo on right). Climbing classes are available at Eastern Mountain Sports and other locations in the Valley.
Foliage and Year Round Scenic Beauty
The Old Man of the Mountains isn't the only profile you can find. The Indian Head Profile
is located on the western side of the mountains. One way it can be clearly seen is by climbing a high viewing tower (you pay a small fee) located at the Indian
Head Resort, on Route 3 in Lincoln, just north of the west end of the Kancamagus Highway (Route 112).
Swimming, Rafting, Tubing, Canoeing!
You can water slide at Whale's Tail Water Park in Lincoln (exit 32 off Route 93), or at a number of natural waterslides like this one in the Swift River on the Kancamagus
Highway, just a short distance from Route 16 near Conway. There are many opportunities for river swimming, tubing, and canoeing. The Saco River runs through
the entire valley, with many areas where you can put in a canoe, rent a tube, or just jump in.
The Great North Woods [back to top]
You're more likely to see a moose than a McDonald's.
This northern most region of New Hampshire is one of the last true
wilderness areas in the eastern part of the country. While other areas have family parks and rides combined with great outdoor adventures, the Great North Woods is where the attraction is
the outdoors. This is a sportsman's paradise, the fishing here is some of the best you'll find anywhere. The upper Connecticut Lakes and River are famous for trout and salmon. Other
popular activities are hunting, boating, hiking and camping. One of the big winter attractions is snowmobiling, as the area offers the most
comprehensive snowmobile trail system in this part of the country.
This is also an area of interesting contrasts. You can find guides for
kayaking, hunting, fishing and stay at a rustic cottage or lodge. However, one of the grandest "everything included" resorts, the Balsams, is located
here, and there are number of other grand, quality inns to visit, so you'll have plenty of choice in your accommodations. One of the real thrills of
this area is wildlife viewing, and this area is considered to be the moose capital of New Hampshire. In fact, here in the Great North Woods you're more likely to run into a moose than a McDonald's.
To quickly find attractions, restaurants and shops in New Hampshire, use the Find Attractions search engine.
To quickly locate lodgings, use the Find Lodging search engine.stay New Hampshir
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