If you’re looking to move to New Hampshire or relocate within the state, access to the outdoors may be a key factor for you and your family. New Hampshire has 92 state parks that provide a variety of recreational fun for all ages. These parks includes beaches, campgrounds, historic sites, miles of trails, mountaintops, and much more to explore. Take a look at five of my favorites!
Bear Brook State Park
The largest developed state park in New Hampshire is over 10,000 acres and features forty miles of trails for those on foot, horseback, or bike. After you’ve explored the many bogs, marshes, ponds, and the summit of Catamount, check out one of the 101 site campgrounds, two archery ranges, and three historical museums! Bear Brook State Park is easily accessed by the towns of Allenstown, Epsom, Concord, Pembroke, Candia, Suncook, and Hooksett.
61 Deerfield Road Allenstown, N.H., 603-485-9869, www.nhstateparks.org
Pawtuckaway State Park
This park, in southeastern New Hampshire, is a wonderful family friendly destination with a variety of activities to keep everyone busy. Rent canoes or kayaks to explore the lake or spend the afternoon lounging on the lakeside beach. Visit the Fire tower, built in 1915, located on the summit of South Mountain, just one of the destinations among the extensive network of trails in the 5,500-acre park.
There are five cabins and 192 campsites along the beautiful shoreline of Horse Island, Big Island, and Neal’s Cove. Pawtuckaway State Park is easily accessed by the towns of Nottingham, Epping, Deerfield, Candia, Fremont, and Raymond.
128 Mountain Road, Nottingham, N.H., 603-895-3031, www.nhstateparks.org
Franconia Notch State Park
Franconia Notch State Park is located in the White Mountain National Forest and one of my favorite destinations. I-93 winds through many sites and destinations, perfect for a day trip or a longer stay at Franconia Notch State Park. Just a few activities to do while you’re here: walk through the Flume Gorge, ski Cannon Mountain, fish at Profile Lake, see incredible hawks and falcons soar over Cannon Cliffs, ride your bike on the Recreational Trail, or take a hike on the Appalachian Trail. For a challenge, hike one of the 4000 Footers in New Hampshire.
9 Franconia Notch Parkway Franconia/Lincoln, N.H., 603-745-8391, www.nhstateparks.org
Echo Lake State Park
On the other end of the White Mountains is Echo Lake State Park which features a family friendly one mile hiking trail around Echo Lake. There is also a trail system leading to both Cathedral and Whitehorse Ledges, which were formed in the last ice age! These ledges are popular among rock climbers. Visit Echo Lake State Park for a swim, catch a smallmouth bass or yellow perch, go canoeing, or see the sights on a bike.
68 Echo Lake Road Conway, N.H., 603-356-2672, www.nhstateparks.org
Odiorne Point State Park
If a day at the beach is more your style, Odiorne Point State Park is the place for you! Have a picnic on the beach, explore tidal pools, or explore one of the many exhibits at the park’s Seacoast Science Center. You can also explore their extensive trail system on bike or foot. Did you know, the part got its name from the Odiorne family, who settled on the land in the mid-1660s?
Odiorne Point State Park is easily accessed by the towns of Rye, Portsmouth, Newington, New Castle, Stratham, and Newmarket.
570 Ocean Blvd Rye, N.H., 603-436-7406, www.nhstateparks.org