There is no scarcity of state parks in New Hampshire since the state owns so much land. Recreation in New Hampshire’s parks ranges from hiking and camping to fishing and boating to bicycling and swimming to horseback riding. There are many picnic spots, playgrounds, and ball fields for the whole family to enjoy at campgrounds in the parks. Some of the most beautiful lakes and ponds may be found in the area, as well as several miles of multi-use paths.
There is a wealth of natural history, flora, and fauna to be discovered in the parks, as well as several opportunities to see animals. You’ll never be bored in a state park, with everything from beaches to fire towers! Some parks are closed throughout the winter months, but there are still lots of things to do in the snow. Snowshoeing, skiing, and snowmobiling are just a few of the activities that may be done in the snow.
Here we give you the list of 10 state parks in New Hampshire to visit and to learn more about this portion of the Northeastern United States.
How many state parks are there in New Hampshire?
There are 93 state parks in New Hampshire that provide a wide array of recreational activities for all age groups and disabled individuals. These parks span over thousands of acres and the park system within it consists of lakes, beaches, historic sites, memorable monuments, natural views, waysides, campgrounds, several parking lots, trails, and more to explore and enjoy.
The state parks in New Hampshire are managed by the Bureau of park operations which looks after the management, maintenance, and operation of national and state parks, lakes, campgrounds, waysides, beaches, and natural regions of the park. While the New Hampshire Division of parks and recreation oversees them once in a while. These parks belong to the government of New Hampshire, therefore New Hampshire property tax does not apply to them.
What is the biggest state park in New Hampshire?
People moving to New Hampshire experience certain pros and cons. While less diversity, unbearable property taxes, and unemployment rate are a few cons of living in New Hampshire, low crime rates, no sales tax, a good educational system, and a wide variety of recreational opportunities are among the pros of living in New Hampshire.
Often for recreation, residents of New Hampshire consider visiting state and national parks into consideration as they can avail a variety of recreation experiences in one place. With 93 park properties, there is no shortage of recreation year-round, among which Bear Brook state park is the biggest developed state park in New Hampshire that spreads over 10,000 acres of land area.
List of 10 Favorite State Parks in New Hampshire
1. Franconia Notch State Park
The beautiful Lafayette Campground is located within this mountain pass park and is available from the middle of May through Columbus Day. Hiking is a common activity in this park. Parking can be challenging. It offers New Hampshire state park camping with facilities in beautiful surroundings.
This park in a mountain pass features a lake, as well as opportunities for camping, cycling, and other daytime activities.
Location: Route 93, Franconia, NH, 03580
Can you swim at Franconia Notch?
You cannot swim at Franconia Notch as swimming has been prohibited since a year ago. There are chances to drown in the basin despite it being a shallow and small pool. Therefore, for safety reasons swimming is restricted at Franconia Notch.
Do you have to pay to go to Franconia Notch State Park?
Before arriving at Franconia Notch state park you need to book your reservation 30 days before your arrival by paying $4 for each adult and $2 for each child aging 6-11. Reservations are done before arrival because the parking area is less, especially on holidays and weekends. However, Walk-in areas are available for those who arrive early at the park.
Is Franconia Notch a hard hike?
Despite being a popular hiking spot in the town, Franconia Notch is rated among one of the hardest hiking spots by many mountaineers and hiking guides. Its steep, uneven, and robust terrain made it difficult for beginners and visitors as its elevation rises to 3500 feet in just 6.4 kilometers. Therefore, the Franconia Notch hike is recommended for climbers, (and dogs) having good stamina and health.
2. Bear Brook State Park
As the biggest fully-serviced park in Granit State, Bear Brook State Park has a total of 10,000 acres. Trails wind through forests, and hills, and marches for 40 km. It is possible to use the trails on foot, mountain bike, or on horseback. Catamount Pond is open to the public for swimming, fishing, and other water sports.
Water sports, camping, archery, and horseback riding are just some of the activities available at this full-service park.
Location: 61 Deerfield Road, Allenstown, NH, 03275
Are there bears in Bear Brook State Park?
Bear Brook state park is one of the largest developed state parks in New Hampshire. So, you will find a large number of species and wildlife that lives in the park, including black bears, white-tailed deer, turkey, rabbits, moose, flying squirrels, hawks, voles, possums, and more.
Can you swim at Bear Brook State Park?
Bear Brook state park offers many outdoor recreations to do and see for all age groups along with swimming. The beach area is small and the swimming area is even smaller, like pools.
3. Cardigan Mountain State Park
Mount Cardigan State Park may not have a campsite or other state park facilities, but the views from the top can’t be beaten. Trailhead picnic areas with access to numerous nearby mountains, views, and caverns make this a great place to take in the scenery after an exhausting day of trekking.
Mount Cardigan State Park helps you discover hiking, and trekking.
Location: 658 Cardigan Mountain Rd, Orange, NH 03741
How long is the Cardigan Mountain Hike?
Cardigan mountain hike is a 4.8 kilometers long trail situated in Canaan, New Hampshire that takes around 2 hr 6 min to finish hiking, trail running, or snowshoeing.
Is Mount Cardigan in the White Mountains?
Mount cardigan is stretched till the open rugged summit of the white mountains from NH’s countryside.
4. Monadnock State Park Headquarters and Trailhead
The 3,165-foot-tall Mount Monadnock is the centerpiece of hundreds of acres of protected area in Monadnock State Park. The numerous trails in the park and on the mountain are well-known. Cross-country skiing is a winter sport.
Mount Monadnock is available year-round for hiking, camping, and cross-country skiing.
Location: 116 Poole Road, Jaffrey, NH, 03452
What is the easiest trail up Mt Monadnock?
The best, smallest yet easiest trail up in Mt. Monadnock is from Old Toll Road to the White Arrow. It’s easy for beginners to make a trip up there and can be completed within two hours at the summit.
Where do you park to hike Mt Monadnock?
You can park your vehicles at the parking areas, park stores, and visitor’s centers present at Dublin and Jaffery’s trailheads of Mt. Monadnock.
How long is the hike up Mt Monadnock?
There are many travel routes to trail up to Mt Monadnock which takes almost 3 – 4.5 hours roundtrip. Amongst, the White Dot trail is the shortest route that starts from park headquarters and directly heads to the summit.
5. Saint-Gaudens National Historic Park
Historic buildings, gardens, and trails are found in Saint-Gaudens National Historic Park, the only national historic park in New Hampshire that is part of the National Park Service. Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the famous American sculptor, resided here beginning in 1885, and his bronze sculptures may be found all around the park.
Explore the park’s woodlands on nature trails that meander through the park’s woodlands. You can also visit the gardens, and see the sculptures, and some of the area’s historical landmarks at Saint’s Gaudens.
Location: 139 St Gaudens Rd, Cornish, NH 03745
6. Echo Lake State Park
This is a great place to go for a swim or a picnic. The 700-foot-high Cathedral Ledge may be seen from the lake’s scenic walk. Visitors may also reach Cathedral Ledge’s summit through a one-mile vehicle road and hiking routes. From there, they can see the Saco River Valley and the White Mountains.
Recreational activities include swimming, picnics, hiking to Cathedral Ledge, rock climbing, and ice climbing.
Location: 68 Echo Lake Road (Route 302), Conway, NH, 03818
Do you have to pay to park at Echo Lake?
Echo Lake state park charges an admission fee of $4 for a single adult, $2 for a single child aging 6-11 years, and free for children below age 5 and retirees aged 65 and above.
Can you swim in Echo Lake NH?
Echo Lake state park is a wonderful place to spend quality time with family and friends for picnics and swimming (in the southern part of Echo Lake). Swimming is allowed for all age groups with life jackets and boating facilities provided on rentals.
What can you do at Echo State Park?
Besides swimming and picnicking, echo Lake offers a wide range of recreation experiences such as having a wonderful walk at the lakeside, kids fishing, RV camping, rowing, hiking, and climbing.
7. Pawtuckaway State Park
Many hiking routes go to an elevation point with a fire tower and to a marsh where beavers, deer, and great blue herons live. There is also a glacial boulder field in Pawtuckaway State Park.
There are 192 woodland campsites at Pawtuckaway State Park Campground on Pawtuckaway Lake. Each site features a fire pit, picnic table, camping ground, and parking. In addition to facilities and running water, the campground also has an on-site camp store and a boat launch where guests may rent boats.
Canoe and kayak rentals are available at the lake’s shore, and there are hiking paths nearby.
Location: 40 Pawtuckaway Road, Nottingham, NH, 03290
Can you swim in Pawtuckaway Lake NH?
You along with your family can swim in Pawtuckaway lake NH as it has the cleanest water that is safe for swimming.
Is Pawtuckaway Lake clean?
Pawtuckaway lake NH is one of the four popular state parks that provide clean water in NH. A water sample test was conducted by the Division of Parks and Recreation, NH for all state park beaches, out of every 100 water samples collected, Pawtuckaway lake had more clean water samples.
Is alcohol allowed at Pawtuckaway State Park?
Alcohol has been banned in Pawtuckaway state park Lake by the NH Division of Parks and Recreation since 2010.
Can you bring dogs to Pawtuckaway?
Leashed dogs are allowed to Pawtuckaway state parks for hiking trails only. They are not permitted to the lake or beach area during summers.
8. Odiorne Point State Park
Fort Dearborn, a U.S. Army outpost, was located there during World War II. Canoeing, hiking, biking, and picnicking are all available to guests. Cross-country skiing tracks are accessible in the winter. It is also home to the Seacoast Science Center, which offers a variety of activities all year long.
Coastal park that allows for activities such as strolling, paddling, and biking; it also has the Seacoast Science Center.
Location: 570 Ocean Blvd. (Route 1A), Rye, NH, 03870
Is Odiorne state park free?
Odiorne State park charges admission fees of $4 for single adults, $2 for single children aging 6-11 years, and free for children below age 5 and retirees aged 65 and above.
Does Odiorne state park allow dogs?
Dogs are prohibited at Odiorne state park except in the parking areas.
Is fishing allowed at Odiorne state park?
Fishing is allowed at Odiorne state park for all age groups.
9. Coleman State Park
Coleman State Park, located 12 miles east of Colebrook in New Hampshire’s rural north country, is a great place to fish for trout and other fish in Little Diamond Pond and other adjacent streams. Several hiking paths link Coleman State Park to the 1000-mile network of trails for snowboarding and cross-country skiing.
Camping, hiking, fishing, and ATV riding are all available at Coleman State Park near Stewartstown, which is located on Little Diamond Pond.
Location: 1166 Diamond Pond Rd, Stewartstown, NH 03576
Can you drink alcohol at Coleman State Parks?
Alcohol is permitted at Coleman State park for individuals above 21 years of age or older, but not allowed near lakes, boardwalks, or beaches.
10. White Lake State Park
There is a state park called White Lake State Park located on the shores of glacial White Lake. Walking around the lake is a great way to see animals, such as loons or beavers. Here, trout fishing is common. Canoe, kayak, stand-up paddle board, and rowboat rentals are all available.
Swimming, trout fishing, and also helps you discover New Hampshire national parks with camping.
Location: 94 State Park Road (Route 16), Tamworth, NH, 03886
State Parks in New Hampshire FAQs
What is the prettiest State Park?
Franconia Notch state park is one of the prettiest state parks situated in Lincoln, NH.
Are New Hampshire state parks free?
All the New Hampshire state parks charge $4 for single adults, $2 for youth aging 6-11 years, and free for children below age 5 and retirees aged 65 and over for a day.
Can you drink alcohol in NH state parks?
Alcohol and other such beverages are strictly prohibited in NH state parks. Most cities of New Hampshire have made laws of drinking in public illegal, including town state parks and beaches.
If you enjoy going on adventures in the great outdoors, particularly in wooded areas that provide vistas of the surrounding mountains, then New Hampshire should most certainly be included in your future vacation plans. Even people with minimum wage new hampshire can also visit such places. There are a small number of sites managed by the National Park Service, but there are a large number of wonderful state parks that highlight the natural beauty of the area.
We would like you to visit one of the state parks of New Hampshire and let us know about your experience in the below comment section.