Choose from 4 Fun Things to Do in New Hampshire
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Both a zoo and a wilderness educational center, the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center is an open air exhibit featuring the wildlife of New Hampshire. Focused largely on teaching ecological concepts, the center operates in an expansive meadow, allowing for the nature of the area to serve as the classroom. Three hiking trails, a wide walking path suitable for families, and an outdoors playground for younger children make it fun and easy to explore. The outdoor exhibits allow for maximum interaction with the local wildlife.
The science center grants the opportunity to observe the animals up close and learn more about their habitats and natural adaptations. As many of the animals have been injured, most are unsuitable for life in the wild. Everything from deer and foxes to black bears, river otters, mountain lions, and bobcats can be seen. Looking out on Squam Lake (or taking the boat cruise there) is a way to experience even more sightings of native birds.
Located in Holderness, New Hampshire, the Squam Lakes Science Center is easily accessible from I-93, about one hour of driving time from nearby Manchester. The center’s live animal exhibit trail is open daily from May to October, from 9:30am-5pm. Admission is $19 for adults and $14 for children. Tours are self-guided, or given by docents (Thursdays only.) Two hours is a good window of time to allow for a full visit. Picnic facilities are located beside the center, allowing for a scenic lunch in combination with a visit.
Address: 23 Science Center Rd, Holderness, New Hampshire, USA
Admission: $19 for adults, $14 for children
From $ 139
A trip on this aerial tramway might just be the most spectacular seven minutes you spend in New Hampshire. The 80-passenger cable tram leaves every fifteen minutes to bring visitors up to Cannon Mountain’s 4,080-foot summit. At the summit, which is New Hampshire’s highest lift-accessed point, you’ll be able to see mountains in four states: New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, New York — and you can even see to Canada on a clear day! At the top, there are scenic walking paths that lead to a summit observation tower, a 360-degree observation deck, a cafe, and a bar. North America’s first aerial tramway began operation on this site in 1938, and it carried almost seven million passengers to the top of the mountain during its heyday.
The tram operates year-round, and in the winter Cannon Mountain is a favorite attraction for skiers. With 95 trails and slopes and runs for all abilities, Cannon is a great place for the whole family to enjoy. On a cold day, a hot drink in the cafe will warm you up for the ride (or ski) down.
Pets are only permitted in the designated dog walks in the Flume and the Tramway parking lots. Pets are not allowed in Echo Lake Beach, Lafayette Campground, in the Flume Gorge, or on the tram. The parks department requests that you support the Carry In/Carry-Out Program by bringing out with you anything that you brought into the park. Tram ticket rates and dates are subject to change, and the last ride down in the tram is at 5pm (weather permitting).
Address: 260 Tramway Drive, Franconia, New Hampshire 03580, USA
Hours: Open daily, weather permitting, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission: Ages 13+ round-trip ride, $17; Children ages 6-12 round-trip ride, $14
From $ 159
The peaceful area around Squam Lake is best known as the setting of the classic film On Golden Pond. Set against the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the lake provides a tranquil escape into the scenic nature that surrounds it. Whether on or beside the lake, you're sure to spot native wildlife such as otters, a variety of fish, an many species of birds including loons and bald eagles.
The calm lake waters beckon for kayaking, boating, fishing, and swimming, with hiking, biking, and other outdoor recreational activities available on its shores. Encompassing both Big Squam and Little Squam lakes (both fed by spring water), it is the second largest lake in the state. Much of the land has been designated as a conversation area, to ensure the preservation of the natural beauty of the land, water, its creatures. With 28 islands and several small towns, there is much to see and explore in what is considered to be one of the most beautiful spots in New Hampshire.
Squam Lake is located about two hours driving time from Boston. There are many small inns and accommodation options located around the lake. Boat access is available from the town of Holderness, which is also where the Squam Lake Natural Science Center is located.
Hours: Facilities open during daylight hours
From $ 139
The grand New Hampshire State House is the ideal place to visit to learn about the state’s history, government, and state agencies. Built just after the close of the War of 1812, the Concord landmark is steeped in American history. Made of granite in a Greek Revival style, the capitol is topped with a stately gold dome. The State House is the oldest capitol building in the country in which both houses of legislature still meet in their original chambers.
With both permanent and rotating exhibits, there is much to see and do to immerse yourself in New Hampshire’s past and present. The main entrance through the Hall of Flags is impressive, as are the many portraits and statues of historic figures including Daniel Webster, John Stark, and President Pierce (who was from New Hampshire.) The capitol building furthermore houses the New Hampshire Governor’s Office, General Court, and Executive Council.
Located on Main Street in Concord, the New Hampshire State House is open Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4 pm. As you approach, the State House will be on the left hand side with the legislative office building is on the right. Guided tours of the grounds are given daily, with advance reservations required.
Address: 107 N Main St., Concord, New Hampshire 03301, USA
Hours: Mon-Fri 8 am - 4 pm
From $ 129