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Stephanie Graudons | 10.16.2017

With 93 properties throughout New Hampshire, there is no shortage of state parks for year-round recreation. New Hampshire’s parks offer a wide array of activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, boating, biking, swimming, horseback riding, and more. Campgrounds within the parks often provide picnic areas, playgrounds, and ball fields to play in, making them fun for the whole family. There are gorgeous, secluded lakes and ponds, and there are many miles of multi-use trails to explore. The parks are full of interesting geology, flora and fauna, and offer endless opportunities for wildlife viewing. From beaches to fire towers, you’ll never be bored visiting a state park! While some parks may not be staffed during the winter months and amenities may not be available, there is still plenty to do in the snow. Choose from snowshoeing, skiing, and snowmobiling, bundle up and get out there! Here are a few of our favorites:

Cardigan Mountain State Park

Mount Cardigan State Park may lack a campground and other state park amenities, but you can’t beat the views from the summit. A network of hiking trails provide access to several mountains, viewpoints, and caves along the ridge, and a picnic area at the trailhead is perfect for relaxing after the hike.

Miller State Park

Everyone can enjoy the view from Pack Monadnock, as Miller State Park provides multiple hiking trails as well as a paved road to the summit. This scenic summit is a great place for a picnic, and during the fall, a short hike to the Audubon Society’s Raptor Viewing Area can provide some awesome bird-watching.

Sculptured Rocks Natural Area

This primitive area boasts interesting geology, where potholes and other formations were carved into the rocks by the flowing water. This is a great place to relax or take a walk, and each season offers a different experience. Take care along the water’s edge, as rocks may be slippery.

Rhododendron State Park

The best time to visit is during mid-summer when the rhododendrons are in bloom and the trails are easy enough for any age to enjoy. Walk through a tunnel of flowers in this 16-acre grove, watch for deer and birds, and enjoy your lunch at the picnic area.

Odiorne Point State Park

Odiorne Point State Park is truly a family-friendly park. Enjoy hiking or biking along the seacoast, take in the scenic views, and check out the World War II bunkers from what was previously Fort Dearborn. The Seacoast Science Center offers educational programming for all ages along with touch tanks to get a hands-on learning experience with sea life.

Pawtuckaway State Park

There is something for everyone at Pawtuckaway State Park! Sitting on Pawtuckaway Lake, the beach and campground offer gorgeous views and opportunities to see loons. A hiking trail leads to a fire tower with a 360-degree view, and the trail through Burnham’s Marsh offers wildlife-viewing opportunities.

Bear Brook State Park

If you love mountain biking, you’ll love this park. Bear Brook State Park has over 10,000 acres and 40 miles of trails to explore by bike, foot, or horseback. Bear Brook offers archery, museums, snowmobile trails, and has a lot of history to take in. A large campground provides private beach access for campers, and a separate day use beach area allows anyone to enjoy the water.

Pillsbury State Park

If you’re looking to get away from the crowds and immerse yourself in nature, this park is for you. With 10 different ponds, primitive campsites, and miles of trails, you can hike, paddle, or snowmobile all day. Keep an eye out for moose, as they love this area too!

Rollins State Park

Take a scenic drive up the paved road on Mount Kearsarge and hike the half-mile trail to the summit. You'll find an open, rocky area with a picnic table and fire tower, along with a 360-degree view of the surrounding area. It's family-friendly and offers a big reward for not-so-much effort. 

Franconia Notch State Park

With so much to do, you'll want a campsite at Lafayette Place Campground to make it a long weekend. Explore the waterfalls of the Flume Gorge, swim at Echo Lake Beach, and take the Aerial Tramway to Cannon Mountain for big views. Take the kids to Artists Bluff for more scenery, and enjoy biking the paved path through the park. If you're a more experienced hiker, challenge yourself to hiking one of several 4,000-footers that are accessible from the park's trailheads, including Lincoln, Lafayette, Cannon, and the Kinsmans.

Looking for more New Hampshire adventures? Visit NH is a great resource to learn about this beautiful state and how to best explore all that it has to offer!


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