New Hampshire is a wonderful state for small town adventures! The beautiful small towns in New Hampshire are characterized by rich history, stately old buildings, beautiful walking grounds, and rural settings.
Visit the small towns, farms, and forests of New Hampshire for a taste of small town New England life, both historic and modern! You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the variety of the things you can do in these towns, and you’ll love the personal charm you’ll find in each location.
Every town on our list has plenty to do and see, and you’ll be hard-pressed to see it all! Make a road trip though these small towns, and you’ll get a new perspective on American history and New England life. Want to experience this for yourself? Here is a list of the top ten lovely small towns in New Hampshire.
This beautiful old town is equally attractive for its historic value and natural surroundings. Located on the Great Bay tidal estuary, this town has wonderful nature walks and scenery. Be sure to see Crawley Falls and Henderson-Swasey Town Forest! Within the town, you can visit the American Independence Museum, Stratham Hill Park, and the historic Stone School. You’ll be sure to get a taste of colonial life when you visit Exeter!
Address: Exeter, NH
This destination is great for couple escapes, family vacations, and solo adventures. It is ideal for both summer and winter excursions, and it is simply stunning in the fall! Head outdoors in the summer to kayak and canoe on the river, visit the Vins Nature Centre to see the wildlife, or hike the Appalachian Trail. In the winter, you can tour Hood Museum and Darmouth College or go skiing.
Address: Hanover, NH
This waterfront town is full of old homes and museums. Take advantage of the many historic sites! One of the coolest is USS Albacore, a Navy submarine that has been turned into a museum since its retirement. You can also see the Moffatt Ladd house and its 18th century gardens, as well as John Paul Jones House, the home of a Revolutionary hero. While you’re there, you can also embark on a whale watching cruise.
Address: Portsmouth, NH
As you might have guessed, this town is named after the famous John Hancock, one of the town’s early landowners. This town is full of beautiful old buildings! Almost all of Main Street is on the National Register of Historic Places. Be sure to visit a few of the buildings, including the meetinghouse with its belfry. There are many quaint shops where you can buy fresh produce and old-fashioned goods. One of the best is Main Street Chase, an honor-system shop. When you’re done shopping around, head to the commons for a picnic or Frisbee.
Address: Hancock, NH
This is a wonderful place to go if you love to be outside! Take hikes to Glen Ellis Falls, Jackson Falls, and Wildcat Mountain for a chance to see the beautiful natural environs. You can also while away a sunny afternoon golfing or visiting the charming shops. Be sure to bring a camera, because you’ll definitely want to take photos is this beautiful small town.
Address: Jackson, NH
This Monadnock region town was built around a 19th Century mill. Harrisville is an adorable rural village, with a summer farmer’s market, a general store, and plenty of active farms. The town boasts 10 lakes and ponds, so you will have no end of wet adventures while you’re there.
Address: Harrisville, NH
Littleton is a wonderful place for walking. You won’t even need a car during your visit! The town has many historic areas, and you’ll have plenty to see on your leisurely strolls. For the best route, take the Riverwalk and enjoy Harmony Park and the covered bridge. One of the coolest things about this town is that it is the hometown of Eleanor H. Porter, the author of Pollyanna. Attend in time for a Pollyanna event if you can, or at least visit the Pollyanna statue.
Address: Littleton, NH
Meredith is a beautiful small town with endless opportunities for fun! If you’re visiting New Hampshire, don’t miss this place. The beautiful forested area around the town is best viewed by rail, so be sure to take a trip on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad.
Enjoy the rural setting of the town by visiting Moulton Farm, or head to Hermit Woods Winery. In the town, you can visit the American Police Motorcycle Museum, see a show at the Interlakes Summer Theater, or head to the shops and spas. There’s something for everyone here, which makes it a great place for a family vacation or reunion.
Address: Meredith, NH
Take one of the many walking and hiking trails through lovely Sugar Hill! This town has a beautiful Riverwalk, complete with an old fashioned covered bridge. You can also trek any of the hikes at Mount Lafayette, or head to the Basin at Franconia Notch State Park. When it’s time to relax, you can see the countryside via the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, or while away the weekend at Echo Lake Beach.
Address: Sugar Hill, NH
This beautiful small town is all about culture and the arts! One of the most popular attractions in this town is the Miller State Park Peterborough Players performances, which will keep you entertained all evening. During the day, you can browse through the Mariposa Museum of World Cultures or head to the Monadnock Center for History and Culture. If you get enough of the great indoors in the Peterborough, you can take a break in beautiful Shieling Forest for a chance to see the town’s wildlife and beautiful flora.
Address: Peterborough, NH