Aerial view of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

These Small Towns In New Hampshire Come Alive In Summer

As the warm embrace of the summer months dawn on New Hampshire, it brings with it a vibrant energy that awakens the charming small towns scattered throughout the state. With calm lakeside views, sandy beaches, and historical intrigue, these hidden gems come alive with a medley of activities, captivating locals and visitors alike. From lively street festivals that fill the air with music and laughter to farmers' markets bursting with fresh produce, these small towns offer a summer experience like no other. Whether you seek outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply a serene retreat, these summer havens in New Hampshire promise an enchanting journey for the whole family.


The charming town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

With its coastal scenery and historic charm, Portsmouth makes a captivating summer destination for the whole family. This vibrant city offers a delightful blend of cultural attractions and outdoor adventures. Stroll through the historic downtown with its bustling streets, lined with unique shops, galleries, and diverse eateries. Learn all about the city’s rich maritime heritage at the Strawbery Banke Museum or take a boat tour to admire the beautiful Isles of Shoals. Enjoy sun-soaked days at the nearby sandy beaches, go kayaking along the Piscataqua River, or take a scenic bike ride through the surrounding countryside. Portsmouth provides an energetic getaway for those seeking a quintessential New England summer experience. 

Hampton Beach

Aerial view of Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.

With its pristine sandy shores stretching along the Atlantic Ocean, Hampton Beach offers a captivating oceanic resort experience. Bask in the warm sunshine while lounging on the beach or take a refreshing dip in the sparkling waters. Indulge in a plethora of exciting activities, from surfing and kayaking to camping and fishing. Stroll along the beachfront boardwalk, lined with local artisan shops, delicious eateries, and lively entertainment options. Enjoy thrilling concerts, such as the Country Music Fest, and festivals, creating a lively atmosphere. With breathtaking sunsets, charming beachside accommodations, and a friendly community, Hampton Beach promises an unforgettable summer vacation filled with relaxation, adventure, and lasting memories.


Aerial view of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

Nestled along the tranquil shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, this picturesque town offers an idyllic escape. Immerse yourself in nature's grandeur with lush forests, pristine waters, and breathtaking sunsets. Stay in one of the lavish lakeside rentals, where boating, fishing, or hiking along scenic trails are just outside your doorsteps. Delve into the past at the Wright Museum or indulge in the nostalgic ambiance of the town's antique shops and historic downtown area. Engage in seasonal festivities and events, such as the New Hampshire Music Festival, where music fills the air with joy and celebration. Wolfeboro strikes the perfect balance between relaxing lakefront experience, animated entertainment, and cultural attractions crafting your next unforgettable summer memories.


Aerial view of Sutton, New Hampshire.

Discover the hidden gem of Sutton where the summer sun awakens this sleepy town. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the nearby White Mountains. Hike through the several trails found in the stunning Wadleigh State Park, revealing lush greenery, cascading waterfalls, and authentic wildlife. Engage in kayaking and paddleboarding on the translucent waters of the Kezar Lake. Later in the day, unwind with a delicious picnic surrounded by enchanting woodland. Hikers looking for a challenge should check out the 75-mile Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway looping trail. Embrace the transformative power of nature and relish in a tranquil escape, where Sutton paints a leafy summer retreat for open-air adventurers. 


Aerial view of the adorable town of Derry, New Hampshire.

Beckoning you to embrace its farmlands, Derry offers a unique summer experience. Dive into the town’s farming culture with horseback riding at Hidden Pond Farms and Stables and learn about the history at Robert Frost Farm State Historic Site. Local breweries, wineries, and farm fresh eateries line the streets, offering delightful culinary adventures. Visit one of the many shows in Stockbridge Theatre or book a seat at the Tupelo Music Hall for a night of fun music. Indulge in the warm embrace of a welcoming community, known for its genuine hospitality. Derry invites you escape the bustle of city life and create everlasting memories in its farm-filled lands. 


Boats are moored near a waterfront café on a calm summer day in Rye New Hampshire
Boats are moored at a pier in Sunapee, New Hampshire.

Offering all the essential summer activities, Sunapee is an exceptional choice for sunseekers. This charming town awaits visitors looking to indulge in a vast array of sun-soaked ventures. Immerse yourself in the stunning beauty of Lake Sunapee, where boating, kayaking, and paddleboarding are a must. Traverse the scenic hiking trails of Mount Sunapee State Park, unveiling breathtaking vistas from the summit and serene beaches below. Bask in the warm sunshine as you explore the Sunapee Harbor, brimming with quaint shops, cozy cafes, and local art. Embrace the spirit of adventure with zip-lining, mountain biking, and fishing. Discover a haven of relaxation and outdoor wonder, making Sunapee a perfect summer sanctuary.


Boats are moored near a waterfront café on a calm summer day in Rye New Hampshire
Boats are moored near a waterfront café on a calm summer day in Rye, New Hampshire.

As the quintessential beach town, Rye’s long sandy beaches complement the bright summer sun. With its pristine beaches stretching for miles at the Wallis Sands State Beach, visitors can indulge in sun-kissed relaxation while feeling the salty sea breeze gently tickling your face. Spend the whole day, sunbathing, swimming, and picnicking on the sandy surface. History buffs will appreciate the town's rich heritage as the first New Hampshire settlement, showcased in its historic sites and museums. Brave the sea as Rye also offers some fun whale watching expeditions at Atlantic Whale Watch and engaging boat tours. Whether seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural exploration, Rye promises a sandy summer getaway.


The beautiful mountain town of Lincoln, New Hampshire.
The beautiful mountain town of Lincoln, New Hampshire.

Home to the stunning Mount Liberty, Lincoln is a picture-perfect location for all your Instagram shots. Immerse yourself in the splendor of the surrounding landscapes at the Franconia Notch State Park, where lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and majestic peaks await your exploration. Engage in thrilling activities like hiking, biking, kayaking, geocaching, and camping along pristine trails and serene lakes. Visit the iconic Flume Gorge and experience its awe-inspiring beauty. Visit some majestic bears and other bear-themed attractions at Clark’s Bears. Experience the annual Summer Craft Festival and discover your next local crafty souvenir. Lincoln invites you to create cherished memories amidst its captivating scenery, making your summer a truly remarkable one. 


town center of Exeter, New Hampshire
Town center of Exeter, New Hampshire.

Founded in 1638, Exeter proudly carries a legacy of being one of the oldest communities in America. With its historic downtown area and charming colonial architecture, picturesque streets, and a thriving arts scene, history buffs will no convincing to explore. The town is home to Phillips Exeter Academy, a renowned private school that has educated luminaries throughout history. Exeter's natural surroundings are equally breathtaking, with the serene Exeter River and the nearby Great Bay offering opportunities for outdoor activities. The fusion of interesting heritage, creativity, and natural allure that sets Exeter apart as a truly distinctive and captivating New England gem for explorers looking for a blast from past. 


Lake Winnipesaukee Meredith Bay in historic town of Meredith in fall, New Hampshire NH, USA.
Lake Winnipesaukee in the historic town of Meredith, New Hampshire.

Located besides Lake Winnipesaukee, Meredith is the epitome of lake town resort. Boating, swimming, kayaking, and fishing should be top of mind as you gaze at the lake’s crystal-clear waters. Meredith’s famous Loop Drive around Winnipesaukee offers plenty of beautiful forest and lakeside views as well as important historical landmarks. The town's booming Main Street is lined with quaint shops, boutiques, and inviting restaurants, creating a delightful atmosphere for strolling and indulging in local cuisine. Meredith's warm and welcoming community adds to its allure, hosting lively festivals and events that celebrate its rich heritage. Whether it's relaxing by the water, exploring nature, or savoring the small-town charm, Meredith has it all, making it a perfect lakeside treat.

Whether hiking luscious trails, sailing pristine waters, or participating in lively festivals, these small towns are at their best during the summer months. Come spend a relaxing weekend by the water or take stroll through historic buildings. With these quaint towns, there is no wrong way to visit. Summer in these small New Hampshire towns is an invitation to immerse oneself in a world of warmth, beauty, and community, offering an unforgettable experience that lingers long after the season fades.

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