Description - New Hampshire is split into seven regions: the Seacoast, Merrimack Valley, Monadnock Area, Dartmouth-Sunapee Region, White Mountains, Lakes and Great North Woods Region. Each region has no shortage of public lands and open spaces for individual pursuits. Year-round outdoor recreation ranges from swimming, fishing and camping to snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. One of the most enjoyed forms of recreation is hiking. Trails in New Hampshire range from very easy accommodating the elderly and quite young at Robert Frost's Farm to the rigorous and dangerous at White Mountains National Forest.
- In New Hampshire there is no shortage of public lands and open spaces for individuals to pursue their favorite activities. The terrain within this state includes sandy beaches and salt marshes as well as rocky trails to mountain peaks. When your muscles need a break, tour one of the many historic structures open to the public throughout the state.
New Hampshire is split into seven travel regions: the Seacoast, Merrimack Valley, Monadnock Area, Dartmouth-Sunapee Region, White Mountains, Lakes and Great North Woods Region. The Seacoast extends only 18 miles from the Maine to the Massachusetts border. Four state parks along this stretch provide access to the shoreline as well as town beaches and other natural areas. The largest community in this area is Portsmouth, which lies between Great Bay and the ocean. Great Bay is five miles across and the largest inland saltwater lake in New England. Also in this region is Pawtuckaway State Park and Pawtuckaway Lake, located west of Portsmouth.
The Merrimack River Valley extends north from the Massachusetts border along Interstate 93. This area contains two of the states larger communities, Nashua and Manchester, and the capital city, Concord. The river provides access to water sports, as well as historic mill structures, that line its banks. This region contains Bear Brook State Park and a few smaller parks with hiking, picnicking and camping facilities.
West of the Merrimack River Valley is the Monadnock Region. It is named for Mt. Monadnock, 3,165 feet, the highest point in southern New Hampshire and a very popular climb. Natural areas within this region include Monadnock State Park, Fox State Forest, Low State Forest and Pillsbury and Pisgah State Parks. Each of these areas contains a variety of facilities with the exception of Pisgah State Park, which encompasses 13,000 undeveloped acres for day use only.
In the western central region of the state is the Dartmouth-Sunapee area. The Croydon and Moose Mountain Ranges lie within this region with several peaks rising between 2,000 and 3,000 feet. East of these ranges you'll find Mt. Sunapee State Park and Sunapee Lake, Gile State Forest, Winslow State Park and Cardigan State Park. The Appalachian Trail enters the state from Vermont, in this region, and crosses the Connecticut River winding toward the White Mountain National Forest. Several ski resorts in the area complete the landscape for winter sports enthusiasts.
The eastern central portion of the state is called the Lakes Region. There are several large lakes in the region scoured by glacial activity. The largest of these is Lake Winnipesaukee. Parks, public beaches and campgrounds line the shores of this large lake. The southern shore is highly developed and impacted, so avoid it if solitude is what you're seeking. Other lakes in the region provide excellent access to water-oriented activities without the crowds.
The White Mountains and Great North Woods are the least populated regions of the state and harbors the most public land. The White Mountain National Forest is comprised of nearly 780,000 acres in this area. This is the most mountainous region of the state with many peaks reaching above 4,000 feet. This region also contains the most ski areas in the state.
Recreation - Recreation in New Hampshire varies with the season and region you choose to visit. Activities range from hiking a rugged mountain trail to canoeing in the Merrimack River. Ocean, rivers, lakes and mountains are accessible to visitors and residents alike for a myriad of recreation opportunities.
Special attractions include: Colonial homes in Portsmouth, the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester and the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium in Concord. Lake Winnipesaukee, the state's largest body of fresh water offers an array of opportunities including the m/s Mount Washington cruises. Covered bridges, quaint villages and dazzling tax-free shopping areas are favorite activities enjoyed by those looking for less strenuous recreation.
Climate - New Hampshire residents experience four distinct seasons. Winter can be cold with average temperatures reaching 25 degrees F in December, January and February. The cold temperatures humidity bring heavy, water-laden snow to all parts of the state. Spring begins in mid-March and lasts through May. This time of the year is referred to as mud season in the mountains. The sugar is flowing early in the season and wild flowers bloom toward the end of it. Summer is the busiest season of the year for the tourism industry. This is an excellent time to travel, mountain roads are open and most of the mud has dried. Fall brings the leaf lookers to see the spectacular colors of the deciduous trees. Expect to see bus loads of people enjoying the crisp fall New England weather.
New Hampshire lies in northeastern United States nestled between the states of Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont with a small portion bordering the North Atlantic.