New Hampshire has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country, defined by its vast expanses of pristine wilderness, quaint, charming towns, rugged Atlantic coastline, and densely forested mountains presenting ever-changing autumn foliage. Throughout the state, numerous state parks, nature preserves, and recreation areas allow visitors to take in the natural beauty, which includes the region’s highest peak, Mt. Washington. The only park managed by the National Park Service is Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish; the rest are state parks.
Many people prefer to visit New Hampshire’s cities and towns, such as Portsmouth, Keene, and Manchester, but the state’s natural beauty is vastly underappreciated. No matter which one you visit, the New Hampshire state parks will take your breath away.
This post discusses the best state parks in New Hampshire, including some that are underappreciated. Each one has its own distinct set of activities and is an excellent way to get closer to nature and away from crowded cities!
1. Bear Brook State Park – State Parks In New Hampshire
The first stop is Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown. Because it is the largest state park in the state, it is often considered the most popular. However, don’t let that deter you from visiting because it’s absolutely stunning and full of exciting activities.
Camping, canoeing, kayaking, cross-country skiing, biking, hiking, horseback riding, swimming, and other activities are available within the park. At this park, the possibilities are truly limitless. There are even seasonal activities like snowshoeing and snowmobiling, which are ideal for winter visitors to New Hampshire!
2. Milan Hill State Park
Milan Hill State Park in New Hampshire is a 102-acre state park that provides camping and a 1932 fire tower. It is located in the Great North Woods, less than three miles from the Androscoggin River. The park, which is located in the town of Milan, is an excellent base for enjoying all of the fantastic outdoor activities in the area, . The campground has basic tents as well as four yurts, which give a little more comfort than regular camping with bunk beds and furniture. A short drive away, Jericho Mountain State Park offers world-class hiking routes for backpacking.
3. Wellington State Park
Wellington State Park is a 220-acre public recreation park in Bristol, New Hampshire, located on the southwest shore of Newfound Lake. Newfound Lake is one of the deepest and purest lakes in the state. The state park is well-known for having the largest freshwater swimming beach in New Hampshire’s state park system. Swimming, fishing, hiking, and picnics are just a few of the things on offer. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department manages a boat launch adjacent to the park, providing boaters with free year-round access to Newfound Lake.
A 7-mile trail system begins in the park and leads to the summits of Little and Big Sugarloaf mountains. Hiking within the park is possible via the Peninsula Trail, which has picnic places, fishing spots, and plant life.
4. Echo Lake State Park – State Parks In New Hampshire
Camping, boating, and fishing are just a few of the activities available at Echo State Park. The dam and reservoir (1,394 surface acres) were built for agricultural irrigation by the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) during the Great Depression of the 1930s, and in the late 1960s, local Coalville residents began running the recreation concessions for the reservoir and resort on the land.
Echo State Park, conveniently located in northeastern Utah, offers tourists year-round activity activities. Echo State Park provides partial hookup campsites and, once completed, a day-use area with easy beach access.
5. Ellacoya State Park
Ellacoya State Park, located in Gilford on the southwest shore of Lake Winnipesaukee, is a 65-acre state park with 600 feet of lovely beachfront. The 600-foot-long sandy beach offers beautiful views of the Sandwich and Ossipee mountains across the lake and includes an accessible bathhouse with showers, a changing space for swimmers, and a pavilion. The beach and surrounding park are perfect for family picnics, and the park provides campsites with three-way hook-ups as well as a small park store selling refreshments.
6. Hampton Beach State Park
Hampton Beach State Park is located on a peninsula on the southeastern tip of New Hampshire, where the Hampton River meets the Atlantic Ocean. The 50-acre state park is located in Hampton Beach and is bounded by Ocean Boulevard. It contains a wide beach with lifeguards, a first aid and comfort station, public bathrooms, an amphitheater, a pavilion, a children’s playground, and general information services. Swimming, sunbathing, beachcombing, picnicking, fishing, and RV camping with complete hook-ups are all available in the park.
7. Jericho Mountain State Park
Tucked away in Berlin’s White Mountains, Jericho Mountain State Park, also known as Jericho Lake State Park, is a 230-acre park focused on the 7,200-acre Jericho Lake to the south. The lake provides a variety of activities such as boating and fishing, kayaking and swimming, as well as land-based activity such as hiking, mountain biking, ATV and UTV trail bike riding, picnicking, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and camping. Every year, the park holds the Jericho ATV Festival, which includes a ride-in/ride-out campground, overnight accommodations, a clean bathhouse, and a modern Visitors Center.
8. Moose Brook State Park
Moose Brook State Park is located in Coos County on 755 acres at a height of 1,070 feet and offers breathtaking views as well as a variety of recreational activities. The park, which was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression and opened to the public in 1936, is located in the White Mountains Region just north of the Presidential Range and features pristine landscapes of forested valleys and rugged mountains, as well as the meandering Peabody and Moose Rivers, which flow through the park and into a shallow pool. The park features numerous hiking and mountain bike trails, as well as a pool filled with clean, cool mountain water.
9. Mount Washington State Park
Mount Washington State Park is a 60.3-acre tract of land on the summit of Mount Washington, the highest point in the Northeast, surrounded by the spectacular 750,000-acre White Mountain National Forest. On a clear day, spectacular views extend as far as 130 miles to Vermont and New York from the 6,288-foot summit, and a modern summit building known as the Sherman Adams building houses The Sherman Adams Visitor Center, the historic Tip-Top House, the Mount Washington Observatory and its museum, as well as a seasonal cafeteria, gift shop, and restrooms.
10. Pawtuckaway State Park
Pawtuckaway State Park, located in southeastern New Hampshire, is named for Pawtuckaway Lake and the Pawtuckaway Mountains, which are part of the park. The 5,000-acre park, which stretches from the west coast of the lake to the west side of the mountains, offers a variety of recreational activities such as boating, fishing, swimming, canoeing, paddle-boarding, hiking, orienteering, and mountain biking. Thirty-two miles of hiking routes go up the 900-foot summits of North and South Pawtuckaway mountains and to the 783-acre lake, which features several coves and small islands. Five overnight cabins, approximately 200 campsites, a boat launch, a ball field, a playground, and numerous picnic spots with tables are among the park’s facilities.
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