What to Do in New Hampshire in the Summer

If you’re planning a trip to New Hampshire in the summer, you’re in for a treat. From the stunning White Mountains to the sparkling lakes and charming small towns, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

New Hampshire holds a special place in my heart. With Josh’s grandparents living here, we cherish our visits, exploring the state’s beauty and enjoying its magical fall foliage and abundant summer activities.

Let’s dive into the best activities and attractions New Hampshire has to offer during the sunny season!

Summer in New Hampshire

New Hampshire in the Summer

NH Summer Activities

Summer in New Hampshire is all about enjoying the great outdoors, vibrant festivals, and delicious local cuisine

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie looking for your next thrill or someone who prefers relaxing by the lake, New Hampshire has got you covered. The state’s diverse landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for a variety of activities.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit New Hampshire in the summer is from late June to early September. The weather is warm, the days are long, and the state is bursting with life. Plus, most of the summer events and festivals are in full swing during this period.

What to Do in New Hampshire in the Summer

Hiking Trails

New Hampshire boasts some of the best hiking trails in the country. Here are a few favorites:

  • Mount Monadnock: Known for its accessibility and stunning views, this is a great hike for all skill levels.
    • Google Map Location: Mount Monadnock
    • Trail Details: The White Dot Trail is the shortest and steepest, while the White Cross Trail offers a less strenuous climb.
  • Mount Willard: It’s only 3.2 miles round trip and offers breathtaking views of Crawford Notch. The trail is relatively easy, making it a great choice for families with kids or anyone looking for a shorter hike.
    • Google Map Location: Mount Willard Trail Head
    • Trail Details: This scenic 3.2-mile trail includes amazing views of Crawford Notch filled with trees.
  • Arethusa Falls: A moderate hike that leads to one of New Hampshire’s tallest waterfalls.
    • Google Map Location: Arethusa Falls Trailhead
    • Trail Details: The hike is approximately 2.8 miles round trip and is family-friendly.


Biking Routes

If you prefer two wheels over two feet, check out these top biking routes:

  • Northern Rail Trail: Spanning over 50 miles, this trail is perfect for a leisurely ride through scenic landscapes.
  • Presidential Range Rail Trail: This route offers incredible views of the Presidential Range and is great for all skill levels.

Presidential Range Rail Trail in summer time
Presidential Range Rail Trail

Kayaking and Canoeing Spots

New Hampshire’s lakes and rivers are perfect for kayaking and canoeing:

Lakes and Beaches

Lake Winnipesaukee

Lake Winnipesaukee is a must-visit in the summer! With over 250 islands and countless coves, it’s a paradise for boating, swimming, and fishing. Don’t miss a visit to Weirs Beach for some classic summer fun.

Squam Lake

Famous for its appearance in the movie “On Golden Pond,” Squam Lake is perfect for a serene summer getaway. Enjoy kayaking, fishing, or simply lounging by the water.

Hampton Beach

If you’re craving some beach time, head to Hampton Beach. Known for its lively boardwalk, sandy shores, and summer concerts, it’s a great spot for families and sun-seekers alike.

Family-Friendly Activities

Story Land

Story Land is a magical theme park that’s perfect for families with young kids. With fairy-tale-themed rides and attractions, it’s a place where children’s stories come to life.

Santa’s Village

Celebrate Christmas in July at Santa’s Village! This theme park offers festive fun with rides, shows, and even a chance to meet Santa himself.

Polar Caves Park

Explore the cool caves and rock formations at Polar Caves Park. It’s a unique adventure that the whole family will enjoy, complete with a petting zoo and nature trails.

Adult-Friendly Activities


New Hampshire is home to some fantastic breweries. Here are a few you shouldn’t miss:

Hobbs Tavern & Brewing Company
Hobbs Tavern & Brewing Company


If you prefer wine over beer, check out these popular wineries:

  • Flag Hill Winery & Distillery: Located in Lee, Flag Hill offers a range of wines and spirits, along with beautiful vineyard tours.
  • LaBelle Winery: With locations in Amherst and Portsmouth, LaBelle Winery offers wine tastings, vineyard tours, and delicious dining options.

Summer Festivals and Events in NH

New Hampshire knows how to celebrate summer. Check out these local festivals for a taste of the state’s vibrant culture:

Deerfield Fair

As the oldest family fair in New England, the Deerfield Fair offers everything from agricultural exhibits to thrilling rides and delicious fair food.

Warner Fall Foliage Festival

Celebrate the arrival of fall with this early October festival. Enjoy crafts, parades, and live music in the charming town of Warner.

Castle in the Clouds

Castle in the Clouds is always a top favorite of mine to visit all year round. This historic estate hosts a variety of summer events, including concerts, craft fairs, and scenic tours. 

There are also a ton of fantastic hiking trails. You can spend the entire day here! It’s a great place to soak in the beauty of the season.

Castle in the Clouds in the summer time NH
Castle in the Clouds

New Hampshire Country Store

Visit this charming store in Moultonborough for local goods and a taste of New Hampshire’s hospitality. The store often features seasonal items, local crafts, and delicious treats.

New Hampshire Country Store
New Hampshire Country Store

Explore the Town of Wolfeboro

Just a short drive from Castle in the Clouds, Wolfeboro is known as “The Oldest Summer Resort in America.” This charming town on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee offers a variety of activities and attractions.

Yum Yum Shop

No visit to Wolfeboro is complete without a stop at the famous Yum Yum Shop. Known for its delicious baked goods, including legendary cinnamon bread and kreme-filled donuts, this shop is a local favorite.

The Yum Yum Shop in Wolfeboro NH
The famous Yum Yum Shop

Boat Tours on Lake Winnipesaukee

Experience Lake Winnipesaukee from the water with a boat tour. These tours offer stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains, making for a memorable summer activity.

Dining in Wolfeboro

Wolfeboro boasts several great eateries offering everything from casual bites to fine dining:

  • Garwoods Restaurant: Enjoy lakeside dining with a menu that features fresh seafood and classic American dishes.
  • Marker 21: A cozy spot for breakfast and lunch, known for its hearty meals and friendly atmosphere overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee.

Scenic Drives and Road Trips in New Hampshire in the Summer

Kancamagus Highway

This 34.5-mile scenic byway offers stunning views of the White Mountains and is a must-do for any road trip enthusiast. Stop at the many overlooks to snap some breathtaking photos. This famous highway becomes a famous destination spot during the fall foliage.

Kancamagus Highway
Kancamagus Highway

White Mountains Trail

Drive through the heart of the White Mountains and experience some of the most beautiful landscapes New Hampshire has to offer. This route includes Franconia Notch State Park and the Presidential Range.

Lakes Region Loop

Take a leisurely drive around the Lakes Region, with stops at Lake Winnipesaukee, Squam Lake, and Newfound Lake. This loop offers plenty of spots to stop and enjoy the view.

Exploring Local Culture

Local Farmers Markets

Visit one of the many farmer’s markets around the state to sample fresh produce, baked goods, and local crafts. The Concord Farmers Market and Portsmouth Farmers Market are among the favorites.

Historic Sites and Museums

Dive into the history of New Hampshire by visiting sites like the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth or the Canterbury Shaker Village.

Best Places to Eat

Seafood Shacks

New Hampshire’s coast is dotted with seafood shacks serving up the freshest catches. Don’t miss out on classics like lobster rolls and fried clams at places like Markey’s Lobster Pool.

Farm-to-Table Restaurants

For a taste of local produce, visit farm-to-table restaurants like The Foundry in Manchester. They offer dishes made with ingredients sourced from nearby farms.

Cool off with a scoop (or two) from some of New Hampshire’s best ice cream shops. Try Annabelle’s Natural Ice Cream in Portsmouth for a delightful treat.

FAQs About New Hampshire in The Summer

What are the top summer activities in New Hampshire?

The top summer activities include hiking, kayaking, visiting lakes and beaches, attending festivals, and exploring scenic drives.

Are there any summer festivals in NH?

Yes, popular summer festivals include the Deerfield Fair, Warner Fall Foliage Festival, and events at Castle in the Clouds.

What are the best hiking trails in NH during summer?

Some of the best hiking trails include Mount Monadnock, Mount Willard, and Arethusa Falls.

Which lakes are best for swimming and boating in NH?

Top lakes for swimming and boating in New Hampshire include Lake Winnipesaukee, Squam Lake, and Newfound Lake.

What family-friendly activities are available in NH in the summer?

Family-friendly activities include visiting Story Land, Santa’s Village, and Polar Caves Park.

Are there any scenic drives suitable for summer?

Yes, the Kancamagus Highway, White Mountains Trail, and Lakes Region Loop are excellent scenic drives.

What are the best beaches in New Hampshire in the summer?

Hampton Beach is one of the best beaches in New Hampshire, offering sandy shores and a lively boardwalk.

Can you recommend any summer road trips in NH?

Recommended summer road trips include the Kancamagus Highway, White Mountains Trail, and Lakes Region Loop.

What are the must-visit attractions in NH during summer?

Must-visit attractions include Castle in the Clouds, the New Hampshire Country Store, and various farmers markets.

Where can I find the best local food in NH during summer?

For the best local food, visit seafood shacks like Markey’s Lobster Pool, farm-to-table restaurants like The Foundry, ice cream spots like Annabelle’s Natural Ice Cream, and the famous Yum Yum Shop in Wolfeboro.

New Hamshire in the Summer Wrap-up

Summer in New Hampshire is a time of endless adventure and relaxation. From hiking through scenic trails to lounging by the lake, there’s something for everyone to enjoy! 

So pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and get ready to explore all that New Hampshire has to offer this summer. Happy travels!

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