7 regions of NH, 7 state parks to visit
Get outdoors! Head to a New Hampshire State Park this summer
From the cooling shade of its forests in the summer months and the vivid hues that splash across the stately mountains in the fall, to the snow-capped peaks of its exciting, picturesque skiing destinations, New Hampshire’s natural beauty is breathtaking.
One of the best ways to experience the beauty of the Granite State is from within its network of state parks. Far from the hectic stress of day-to-day life, New Hampshire’s state parks, which stretch from the Canadian border through the Lakes Region to the southernmost reaches of the state, are packed with an abundance of family-fun opportunities.
Here are some of the valuable benefits and conveniences visitors can take advantage of when visiting a New Hampshire State Park:
Accessibility: No matter where you travel in the state, there’s a pristine park nearby — perfect for easy and quick, hassle-free family outings.
Entertainment: There’s a long list of family-friendly activities, including swimming, hiking, biking, boating and fishing opportunities and camping — and in some parks, you can do every one of these things in a single day.
Affordability: Day-use fees can be as low as $4 to $5 for adults and $2 for children, and campsites start at $23. And speaking of camp sites, whether you’re a skilled tent camper looking for a primitive-style spot, or an RV enthusiast decked-out with all the high-tech amenities, there’s a spot for you.
Availability: There are more than 20 campgrounds in the New Hampshire State Park network. New Hampshire State Parks has partnered with ReserveAmerica for its camping reservation service. Reservations can be made online or by calling 1-877-NHPARKS (1-877-647-2757).
Here’s a look at some of the great state parks located in the different regions of New Hampshire, and what families can expect on a getaway to these unique and diverse destinations:
The Merrimack Valley Region
Bear Brook State Park is the largest state park in New Hampshire, at more than 10,000 acres.
Location: 61 Deerfield Rd., Allenstown, NH
Details: Bear Brook is an ideal park for a variety of activities including swimming, hiking, biking, fishing and horseback riding. With more than 40 miles of trails that crisscross the thick forests, marshes, ponds, summits and bogs, this park can feel isolated and quiet — while remaining convenient to some of the population centers in southern New Hampshire. Visitors will discover a 101-site campground, a camp store, playground, bathhouse, a ball field, canoe/kayak rentals and picnic tables. The day-use fee is $4 for adults, $2 for children 6-11, and kids under 5 and New Hampshire residents 65 and older are admitted free. Camping is $23 per site.
Connect: (603) 485-9869 or visit online
The Dartmouth/Sunapee Region
Mount Sunapee State Park and State Beach is a major recreation area in the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region offering year-round activities. The state beach, on the shores of Lake Sunapee, is an ideal spot for family and group gatherings.
Location: 86 Beach Access Rd., Newbury, NH
Details: Mount Sunapee State Park is the northern terminus of the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway hiking trail. There are trails that lead to the summit of Mount Sunapee and to Lake Solitude. The state beach has a park store, changing rooms with showers, canoe/kayak rentals and a boat launch. Mount Sunapee campground has lean-to and platform sites for family camping, from $23 to $29 per night. Beach admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children 6-11, and kids 5 and under and New Hampshire residents 65 and older are admitted free.
Connect: (603) 763-5561 or visit online
The Seacoast Region
Odiorne Point combines the Seacoast’s ocean appeal with its active lifestyle for a truly family-friendly option. One of New Hampshire’s many state parks, Odiorne Point offers a wide range of activities from biking and walking the scenic routes to exploring tide pools for sea life.
Location: 570 Ocean Blvd., Rye
Details: A network of trails winds throughout this 331 acre park — perfect for biking and walking — and picnickers are afforded a sweeping view of the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can check out the Seacoast Science Center, explore the tidal pools and rocky shore along the ocean and investigate vestiges of its former military bunkers. Odiorne Point's day-use rate is $4 for adults, $2 for children 6-11, and kids 5 and under and New Hampshire residents 65 and over are admitted free.
Connect: (603) 436-7406 or visit online
The Monadnock Region
Greenfield State Park encompasses 401 pristine acres, which includes beautiful Otter Lake. It’s all situated close enough to Mount Monadnock so that campers are provided a perfect home base for a day of hiking to the summit.
Location: 133 Beach Rd., Greenfield
Details: Walking paths wind throughout this park, leading to bogs, ponds and Otter Lake. Paddleboat and canoe rentals are also available. A camper’s haven, Greenfield State Park offers 252 campsites at $25 a night (no hook-ups). The day-use rate is $4 for adults, $2 for children 6-11, and kids 5 and under and New Hampshire residents 65 and older are admitted free.
Connect: (603) 547-3497 or visit online
The Lakes Region
Wellington State Park is home to the state park system’s largest freshwater swimming beach.
Location: 614 West Shore Rd., Bristol, NH
Details: Picnickers and hikers can enjoy open space and paths that provide terrific views of the crystal-clear, deep Newfound Lake. A hiking trail leads from Wellington State Park to Goose Pond, Bear Mountain, Welton Falls, Mount Cardigan and the Sugarloafs. The park has a snack bar, kayak rentals, boat launch and pavilions for rent for outings. The park’s day-use fees are $5 for adults, $2 for children 6-11, and kids 5 and under and New Hampshire residents 65 and over are admitted free.
Connect: (603) 744-2197 or visit online
The White Mountains
Moose Brook State Park, located in the beautiful White Mountains, provides visitors with breathtaking views and an opportunity to experience the natural beauty of its 774 acres.
Location: 30 Jimtown Rd., Gorham, NH
Details: Moose Brook is great for fishing in the Peabody and Moose Rivers, and its many trails are perfect for hikers and mountain bikers. The 59-site campground is a great base for hiking the Presidentials, ATVing and exploring the White Mountain and Great North Regions. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for children 6-11, and kids 5 and under and New Hampshire residents age 65 and over are admitted free. Camping is $25 per night.
Connect: (603) 466-3860 or visit online
The Great North Woods
Umbagog Lake State Park, located in the Great North Woods Region, is part of the Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge.
Location: 235 East Route 26, Cambridge
Details: The park includes a base park campground with 27 sites with electrical and water hook-ups, three cabins, and 33 remote campsites in isolated locations around Umbagog Lake accessible only by boat. The park has a beach, camp store, boat launch, canoe/kayak rentals and fuel sales. Campsites range from $30 to $35 and cabin rentals are $80 per night or $560 per week.
Connect: (603) 482-7795 or visit online