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11 Best Towns in New Hampshire for Outdoor Enthusiasts

New Hampshire is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Every corner of the Granite State—from the Seacoast to the North Country—is filled to the brim with endless opportunities to get outdoors, breathe some fresh air and take part in numerous recreational activities. Residents of New Hampshire know this all too well—which is why Granite Staters are known to truly cherish their surroundings.

But what about the folks who aren’t familiar with New Hampshire and aren’t lucky enough to call it home? Well, these out-of-towners do all they can to imbibe in the Granite State—often planning weekend trips and extended vacations in an effort to soak up as much as they can. Some outsiders even end up being so inspired by the incredible landscapes New Hampshire has to offer that they take up permanent residence somewhere within its borders.

If you’re one of those soon-to-be transplants, or if you’re new to the Granite State and haven’t quite figured it out yet, check out this list of best towns in New Hampshire for outdoor enthusiasts, created by the same team at Blue Water Mortgage Corporation that brought you the Top 10 Best Towns To Live Throughout New Hampshire.

1. North Conway

Over 700,000 acres of protected White Mountain National Forest serves as the perfect backdrop for this picturesque mountain town. Ski mountains loom large over this tourist hotbed—none larger than all 6,288-feet of Mt. Washington. If you love being outdoors, no matter the season, North Conway is the place for you.

Cranmore MountainCranmore Mountain Resort

Notable Attractions:
Echo Lake State Park
Cranmore Mountain Resort
Farm By The River
Settlers’ Green

2. Hanover

Nestled on the banks of the Connecticut River, Hanover is one of a handful of communities situated in New Hampshire’s “Upper Valley” region. A thriving community, thanks to Dartmouth College, Hanover’s potential as outdoor playground knows no bounds thanks to the White and Green Mountains, access to the Appalachian Trail and conservation land. National Geographic Traveler also considers Hanover among its Top 50 Adventure Towns on its list of “Best Places to Live & Play.”

White MountainsThe Appalachian Trail

Notable Attractions:
The Appalachian Trail
VINS (Vermont Institute of Natural Science) Nature Center
Storrs Pond Recreation Centre
Dartmouth Outdoor Club
L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery Class

3. Jefferson

In addition to the White Mountain National Forest, this tiny town is also home to the Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge—which is owned and managed by New Hampshire Audubon, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game. Outdoor enthusiasts love Jefferson due to its hiking, fishing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and sled dog rides.

Waumbek Golf Club

Waumbek Country Club & Golf Course

Notable Attractions:
Santa’s Village
Waumbek Country Club & Golf Course
Israel River Campground
Starr King Trail

4. Lincoln

If you love hiking, biking, skiing and ice castles, then you’ll love Lincoln. This wilderness town sits within the White Mountain National Forest and Franconia Notch State Park. The Appalachian Trail even runs through right through town. And if you enjoy alternative outdoor activities, Lincoln is also home to the Highland Games.

Loon Mountain

Loon Mountain

Notable Attractions:
Loon Mountain
Ice Castles
Alpine Adventures
Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves
Hobo Railroad

5. Rye

This quaint seaside town is situated along the New Hampshire coastline—meaning there’s plenty of outdoor aquatic fun to be had by all. The beaches, both local and state-run, are perfect no matter if you’re a family just looking to relax or if you’re a serious surfer or into stand-up paddle boarding. The nearby Odiorne Point State Park also boasts fun running trails, as well as a few secret beaches not everyone has heard about just yet. If you’re looking to get out on the water, swing by to talk to the fishermen at Rye Harbor State Park.

Summer Sessions Surf Shop

Summer Sessions Surf Shop

Notable Attractions:
Seacoast Science Center
Summer Sessions Surf Shop
Granite State Whale Watch
The Shack Surf Shop

6. Sunapee

The town of Sunapee exists amongst a bevy of communities situated along Lake Sunapee—all of which are overflowing with outdoor recreation opportunities. Sunapee, however, stretches nearly the entire western side of the lake, and in the colder months serves as the perfect winter sports community thanks to nearby Mt. Sunapee State Park and Mt. Sunapee Resort.

Mount Sunapee State ParkMount Sunapee State Park

Notable Attractions:
Lake Solitude
Mt. Sunapee State Park
Sunapee State Beach
Mt. Sunapee Resort

7. Jackson

The outdoor action in Jackson endures all year long. As one of the four classic White Mountain villages, this town offers access to pretty much any outdoor activity you can think of—golf, snowmobiling, hiking, horseback ridding—not to mention some of the best cross country skiing trails in the country.

Nestlenook Farm

Nestlenook Farm

Notable Attractions:
Wildcat Mountain
Nestlenook Farm
Jackson Ski Touring Center

8. Meredith

There’s a reason the town of Meredith holds the title of being the “Heart of the Lakes Region” and the gateway to the White Mountains. Surrounded by numerous lakes and ponds, this small town is home to an endless number of outdoor recreation options—water sports, boat rides, fishing, swimming, hiking, biking, golf, etc. The local Rotary Club each year holds a massive ice fishing derby that routinely draws fishermen from around the country.

Mill Falls at the LakeMill Falls at the Lake

Notable Attractions:
Weirs Beach
Waukewan Golf Club
Mill Falls Lakefront Resort
Moulton Farm

9. Wolfeboro

As one of the most popular tourist destinations in New Hampshire, the town of Wolfeboro boasts quite the outdoor recreational resume and has even earned the name “The Jewel of Lake Winnipesaukee.” And because it’s such a premier place to live during all four seasons, local leaders came up with a “101 Things to Do in Wolfeboro Area” list to ensure that residents and visitors don’t miss out on all the fun.

SUP New Hampshire

SUP New Hampshire

Notable Attractions:
Cotton Valley Rail Trail
SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) New Hampshire
Laconia Motorcycle Rally
Wentworth State Park
Pathways of Wolfeboro

10. Pittsburg

Located deep in the heart of “The Great North Woods” at the northern tip of New Hampshire, this township is a fisherman’s paradise and a winter sports enthusiast’s utopia. Infamous for its snowmobile trails, Pittsburg has also been dubbed the Snowmobiling Capital of New England. In addition to camping sites, the miles and miles of rivers and streams are also famous for their superb trout and landlocked salmon.

NH Connecticut Lakes Region

NH Connecticut Lakes Region

Notable Attractions:
Garfield Falls
NH Connecticut Lakes Region
Lake Francis State Park
Northern NH Snowmobile Tours

11. Jaffrey

Nestled at the base of the Grand Monadnock Mountain, the town of Jaffrey is the epicenter of outdoor life in the Monadnock region. With several sparkling lakes, a rolling countryside, and charming village greens, this community is known as the perfect place for any outdoor excursion or week-long vacation. If you’re up for a short drive, the communities of Dublin and Peterborough also boast a healthy dose of outdoor activity.

Silver Ranch StablesSilver Ranch Stables

Notable Attractions:
Silver Ranch Stables
The Shattuck Golf Club
Monadnock State Park
The Friendly Farm

Every one of the communities mentioned above represents an incredible quality of life unlike anywhere else in the country. Living in the Granite State means having to put up with a healthy spectrum of all four seasons, including a sometimes brutal New England winter—but residents don’t seem to mind all that much thanks to how much there is to do at every corner of the state.

Blue Water Mortgage has helped countless numbers of families get the help they need to move to New Hampshire and call one of these great communities home. If you are like one of the many out-of-staters that are considering moving to New Hampshire for its outdoor appeal, we know how to get you the money you need to make that happen. Feel free to set up a financial planning session including a full mortgage review to make sure you are in the best financial position before you make the leap to NH. Our experienced loan officers can get the ball rolling with the right financing for your situation. Contact us today to get moving in the right direction.

Roger is an owner and licensed Loan Officer at the Blue Water Mortgage office in Hampton, NH. Roger graduated from the University of New Hampshire Whittemore School of Business and has been in the mortgage industry for over 20 years. Roger has originated over 2500 residential loans and is licensed in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut and Florida.