Where to stay in New Hampshire

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New Hampshire’s collection of offerings might be surprising. Although only six US states are smaller by size, New Hampshire has soaring mountains, beautiful beaches and entertaining towns. But where to stay in New Hampshire for the best experience?

The White Mountains is the best place to stay in New Hampshire for the great outdoors. Other top options for where to stay when visiting New Hampshire are Hampton Beach, Lakes Region and Portsmouth.

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White Mountains – Where to stay for the best of nature

Conquering the first spot on many New Hampshire bucket lists, the White Mountains prominently rises towards New England‘s blue sky. Welcome to the truly great outdoors.

Start with the mighty peaks — you never run out of them here. If you want to climb the tallest of them all, make acquaintance with Mount Washington, measuring 6,288 jaw-dropping feet (1,917 m).

Then, after chasing all the summits you want, continue with treasures hidden in the dense forests below.

Franconia Notch State Park is home to a one-of-a-kind gorge, The Flume. A storybook location, the 2-mile (3.2 km) Flume Trail unveils moss-covered granite walls, cascading waterfalls and two picturesque covered bridges.

You can marvel at some of New Hampshire’s best from the comfort of your own car too. Snaking through the White Mountains, Kancamagus Highway takes the driving experience to the next level.

In particular, although incredibly scenic year round, Kancamagus Highway stands out as one of the prettiest fall foliage drives in America.

Connected by Kancamagus Highway, North Conway, NH; and Lincoln, NH; are great options for where to stay in the White Mountains. Both these towns have nature on their doorstep and offer all those amenities you crave for.

Less than an hour apart, you can easily visit both during your White Mountains stay.

Best White Mountains hotels

  • Kearsarge Inn – Looking for a home-away-from-home type of place to stay? Kearsarge Inn sets a lovely vibe with spacious rooms, cozy fireplaces and, of course, a wide front porch where you happily rock yourself to sleep. In addition, central in North Conway, this gem makes exploring the village effortless.
  • White Mountain Hotel – White Mountain Hotel is guarded by the adjacent White Horse Ledge, a towering chunk of granite. Presenting the true meaning of an escape, it’s surrounded by calming national and state forests. Absorb the breathtaking scenery from the property; then hike down to the connected Echo Lake.
  • Profile Motel & Cottages – For a place to stay in White Mountains on a budget, don’t look past Profile Motel & Cottages. Comfy and near Franconia Notch State Park but still affordable — yes, please.
White Mountain Hotel & Resort sandwiched between White Horse Ledge, a granite mountain, and Echo Lake — this is one of the best places to stay in New Hampshire
Check in at White Mountain Hotel & Resort.

Hampton Beach – Where to stay for beaches

Showing that quality trumps quantity, New Hampshire’s pretty coastline — it’s 18 miles (29 km) short — lets you live your best beach life. Are you ready to pack your beach gear and hit those New England dunes?

Hampton Beach State Park is the most popular beach in the state. Also known as South Beach, just minutes from the Massachusetts border, visitors flock here in summer to swim the Atlantic, build sandcastles or just lounge.

Fringed by Ocean Boulevard, this isn’t the stereotypical state park. Along Hampton Beach’s busy beach strip, called the Boardwalk, you find a wide range of restaurants, shops and other distractions.

For oceanfront activity, Hampton Beach is the best place to stay in New Hampshire.

But maybe you rather want some time away from the buzz? If so, just head north from South Beach to find other sandy gems, including North Hampton State Beach, Jenness State Beach and Wallis Sands State Park.

When you visit New Hampshire’s short but sweet oceanfront, it’s never far to the next sandy stretch of coastline.

Best Hampton hotels

  • Atlantic Breeze Suites – This is a hotel that lives up to its name. Just step outside to feel that salty Atlantic breeze in your hair. Take a few more steps and you have sand under your feet too.
  • Lamie’s Inn – Beware beach bums: Lamie’s Inn is not on the beach but has its colonial-style guest rooms as its biggest drawcard — you can feel the history within its walls. As a bonus, the property’s Old Salt restaurant serves tasty dishes, ranging from New England-style seafood to good old steaks. How long it is from this hotel to the beach? Less than 3 miles (5 km).
Man parking his bike at Hampton Beach State Park, NH
New Hampshire beach time, anyone?

Lakes Region – Where to stay for lakeside idyll

Tall mountains, beautiful beaches and now glittering lakes — New Hampshire truly offers a landscape for every occasion. The Lakes Region is for visitors who prefer quiet lake life over the Atlantic Ocean.

Lake Winnispesaukee — did we get the spelling right? — is the biggest lake in New Hampshire. At the base of the White Mountains, it presents the perfect setting for a wide range of activities.

Consisting of spring-fed water and fringed by cute beaches, Lake Winnispesaukee is popular for swimming and relaxing in summer. Recharging by the lake, across the backdrop of rising mountains, is like balsam for your soul.

Year round, the wooded shoreline of several nature preserves make Lake Winnispesaukee a prime hiking spot. Especially don’t miss Ellacoya State Park, complete with trails, picnic tables and a popular beach.

Helping you become one with nature, Wolfeboro is the Lakes Region’s quaint hub. Established in 1770, this New Hampshire town claims the title as “The Oldest Summer Resort in America”.

Where summer vacationing once began, Wolfeboro’s streets enchant. Picture an idyllic downtown area with inviting restaurants and friendly shops, easily navigated by foot or bike — all next to glittering Lake Winnispesaukee.

This is small-town America at its best.

Political leaders, such as Mitt Romney and Nicolas Sarkozy, and entertainment stars, including Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon, have fallen for Wolfeboro. Odds are that you will too if you give the Lakes Region a chance.

Want more New England? Build your own epic itinerary with the best things to do in New England, or use our ready-to-go New England drive itinerary.

Portsmouth – Where to stay for a fun oceanside city

Lying along Piscataqua River, bordering Maine, Portsmouth is an option for where to stay in New Hampshire with something for everyone. Although full of history, the city was established already in 1623, that’s just the beginning.

Downtown Portsmouth bursts with both history and energy in the shape of Market Square. The center of attention, which it has been since it was paved in 1762, at least, is certainly a great spot for a weekend getaway.

Shop until you drop on Market Street, from clothes and shoes to books and gifts, savor delicious food on Congress Street — there’s no better location for seafood — and enjoy your favorite beverages on Pleasant Street.

For an exciting learning experience, make your way over to USS Albacore, a research submarine designed by the US Navy. Enter the submarine, test the periscope and check out all the cool spaces inside.

Want to hit the beach too?

In Portsmouth, upriver from the Atlantic Ocean, beaches are within easy reach. Drive 5 miles (8 km) southeast to get to the closest Atlantic beach, Wallis Sands State Park, or add another 10 miles (16 km) and cruise to Hampton Beach.

The white cast-iron Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse welcoming seafarers to Portsmouth, NH
The dutiful Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, NH.

Final words about where to stay in New Hampshire

If you think New Hampshire is just a small American state without much on offer, think again. This New England slice is an absolute treasure, putting forward remarkable, and often refreshingly well hidden, gems.

Stunning options for where to stay in New Hampshire include unique nature, discover the White Mountains, beautiful beaches, target Hampton Beach State Park, and adorable towns, wind through the Lakes Region or Portsmouth.

Where to stay in New Hampshire FAQ

Where should I stay when visiting New Hampshire?

To experience jaw-dropping nature, the White Mountains is a unique place to stay in New Hampshire. Picture soaring mountain tops, thick forests, thundering waterfalls and cozy gateway towns. Yes, White Mountains is a paradise for nature lovers. Other great options for where to stay when visiting New Hampshire include Hampton Beach, Lakes Region and Portsmouth.

Which are the best places to stay in New Hampshire in the fall?

New Hampshire is renowned for its stunning fall foliage, occurring every year from roughly mid-September to mid-October. One of the best places to stay in New Hampshire in the fall, the White Mountains is an area where beautiful colors are guaranteed. Check in at North Conway’s White Mountain Hotel to wake up with that lovely fall-foliage scenery outside your window.

Where to stay in New Hampshire in the summer?

New Hampshire has two wet summer draws: Hampton Beach, fronting the Atlantic Ocean, and the Lakes Region, including the scenic town of Wolfeboro. Both Hampton Beach and the Lakes Region are excellent options for where to stay in New Hampshire in summer.

Which are the best oceanfront places to stay in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire’s coastline is 18 miles (29 km) short but sweet. Stay at Hampton Beach’s Atlantic Breeze Suites for stunning views and easy access to Hampton Beach State Park, the most popular beach in New Hampshire.

What are the top New Hampshire getaways for couples?

The romantic setting makes New Hampshire a great state to visit for couples. Pick the White Mountains for rugged scenery, Wolfeboro for lakefront romance, Hampton Beach for a beach stay or opt for Portsmouth if you prefer a historic riverside city with more going on.

Which are the most unique places to stay in New Hampshire?

Boasting breathtaking scenery, the White Mountain Hotel is one of the most unique places to stay in New Hampshire’s mountain region. For ocean views (and lower elevation), bed down at the lovely ocean-facing Atlantic Breeze Suites instead.

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