This article on New Hampshire State Parks is brought to you by our friends at RoM Outdoors, who make multi-purpose gear so you can manage less gear and more experiences. Their outdoor backpack transforms into a poncho, which means you have a built-in blanket for watching that early fall sunset.
In the Granite State, you won’t pine for outdoor recreation. From dog sledding in the winter to summiting Mt. Washington in the summer, you can easily fill every weekend with a different challenge.
But if you’re looking for a more chill experience, like relaxing in the woods, surrounded by the seasonal colors of fall camping, look no further than these New Hampshire State Parks. Pitch your tent between White Pine, Spruce-Fir, or Aspen-Birch and listen to the birds chirping, or the waves lapping the shore.
New Hampshire State Parks to Write Home About
1. Franconia Notch State Park in Franconia/Lincoln, New Hampshire
The fact that Franconia Notch State Park is the gateway to the White Mountains makes it perfect for fishing, hiking, and hammocking. From the campground, you can hike to Lonesome Lake, or fish along the Pemigewasset river. With showers, a camp store, and nature programs you’ll be able to keep the family busy all weekend long.
“While the Presidential Peaks are often considered the jewel of this range, I find the Franconia Ridge just as beautiful and stunning.” – The Dyrt Ranger Sarah C.
2. Pawtuckaway State Park in Nottingham, New Hampshire
Bring the family to Pawtuckaway State Park and enjoy the extensive family beach along the lake, or take a hike to the South Mountain Lookout Tower (5 miles, 803′ elevation gain). Grab a birding guide and spot blue herons above the marsh, or beavers building dams along the marsh edge. The campground has 192 sites with most just a few steps away from the lakeshore. You’ll want to book early, though, because in high season this is a favorite for many in New England.
“Pawtuckaway state park is beautiful.We had some owls keep us company the entire night which was also pretty interesting. Where its located in NH its just such a random beautiful place.” –The Dyrt Ranger Daniel S.
3. Crawford Notch State Park in Harts Location, New Hampshire
For those looking for a more solitary experience, Dry River–Crawford Notch State Park offers 30 primitive and 6 first-come first-serve sites among the dense forest. There are plenty of easy and moderate hikes in the area, including Ripley Falls, a 100-foot cascade along Avalanche Brook. If you want a trip away from the crowds, Dry River’s the place to go.
“Offered privacy, but still accessible to bathrooms and the office. Very close to many amazing hiking spots. Can’t wait to go back this summer!!” –The Dyrt Camper Ellie H.
4. Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown, New Hampshire
With over 10,000 acres of wild land to explore, Bear Brook State Park means foraging, hiking, swimming, biking, fishing, picnicking, and more. Campsites go for $23 a night, and day use fees are only $4 for adults. Ninety-six sites freckle the area and lead to over 40 miles of trail. One of two archery ranges in the state park system is maintained at Bear Brook, so bring your archery equipment if you have it.
“The park is very dog-friendly for camping as well as hiking. The trails were very well marked and really conveniently close by to the campsites.” –The Dyrt Camper Gabby M.
5. Monadnock State Park in Jaffrey, New Hampshire
If you can’t part with Fido, consider one of the above state parks on this list as dogs aren’t allowed at Monadnock State Park. Otherwise this area is an oasis for hikers and lovers of literature–Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Margaret Fuller all wrote extensively about the mountain and surrounding region. There are hundreds of miles of trail here, including the 110-mile Metacomet-Monadnock Trail.
“This is one of (if not THE) most beautiful and well-maintained state parks I have ever been to. It’s on the newer side, so that does help. The camp sites are flat, spacious, wooded, and come equipped with large fire rings/grills.”–The Dyrt Camper PhiladelphiaKaley R.
Taking a longer trip, beyond New Hampshire State Parks? Check out our guide to Six Spectacular New England State Parks and see for yourself all the historic area has to offer.