Camping in New Hampshire

      A guide to the ultimate camping experiences in New Hampshire.

      Your New Hampshire Camping Guide

      New Hampshire offers stunning mountain scenery with peaks reaching for the sky, and crystal-clear lakes reflecting the night stars. Whether you prefer a rugged campsite nestled in the White Mountains or a peaceful spot by a lake, there’s something for everyone. 

      Hike through lush forests, paddle across calm water, or simply relax by a crackling fire, taking in the fresh mountain air. New Hampshire isn’t just about camping; it’s an escape into nature that will leave you feeling refreshed and wanting more. Experience the beauty of the “Granite State” when you go off-track and enjoy the finest nature has to offer.

      Best Places To Camp In New Hampshire

      White Mountain National Forest

      Spanning over 800,000 acres across the north-central region of New Hampshire, the White Mountain National Forest is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Nestled amidst towering peaks like Mount Washington, the highest in the Northeast, the forest offers diverse camping experiences. Hikers can choose from campsites near well-known trails like the Appalachian Trail, while those seeking a more relaxed experience can find campgrounds with lake access and family-friendly amenities. 

      White Mountain National Forest New Hampshire

      Lake Winnipesaukee Region

      This area offers a variety of camping options, from rustic campsites on state park shorelines to private campgrounds with amenities like boat rentals and swimming pools. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat by the lake or an action-packed vacation with kayaking, waterskiing, and fishing, the Lake Winnipesaukee region has something for everyone. Additionally, charming towns like Gilford and Laconia provide restaurants, shops, and historical sites within a short distance of the campgrounds.

      Lake Winnipesaukee Region New Hampshire

      Franconia Notch State Park

      Carved by glaciers millions of years ago, Franconia Notch State Park presents a dramatic landscape with soaring cliffs, waterfalls, and breathtaking views. Camping within the park allows visitors to experience this natural wonder firsthand. Campgrounds like Lafayette Place Campground offer easy access to iconic attractions like the Flume Gorge, a natural rock formation with waterfalls and covered bridges, and the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, which offers panoramic vistas of the surrounding peaks.

      Franconia Notch State Park New Hampshire

      Hanover and Monadnock Region

      Situated in the southwestern corner of the state, the Hanover and Monadnock region is known for its charming small towns and scenic beauty. Mount Monadnock, a popular hiking destination, attracts many campers to the area. Campgrounds like Rollins State Park offer easy access to the mountain’s trails, while others provide peaceful settings amidst rolling hills and forests. 

      Hanover And Monadnock Region New Hampshire

      Things To Do In New Hampshire

      The White Mountains

      Forming the crown jewel of New Hampshire, the White Mountains are a haven for outdoor adventures. Hikers flock to conquer the challenging trails, including the iconic Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeastern US. Scenic drives like the Kancamagus Highway reveal breathtaking vistas, while the quaint villages nestled within the mountains offer a glimpse into New Hampshire's rich history and heritage. In winter, the slopes transform into a skier's paradise, attracting winter sports enthusiasts from all corners.

      Lake Winnipesaukee

      Nicknamed "The Weir", Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest freshwater lake entirely within the state, offers a plethora of activities for water lovers. Boaters cruise across the expansive surface, enjoying the scenic islands and hidden coves. Kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing are popular pursuits, while families flock to the sandy beaches, particularly the iconic Weirs Beach, for sunbathing and swimming. The charming towns dotting the shoreline provide a perfect base for exploring the lake and its many facets.

      Flume Gorge

      Located in Franconia Notch State Park, Flume Gorge is a natural wonder carved by glaciers over thousands of years. Visitors embark on a boardwalk stroll along the 800-foot-long gorge, marveling at the towering granite walls, cascading waterfalls, and unique rock formations. The "Flume" itself, a narrow passage between towering cliffs, is a highlight of the experience, offering a glimpse into the power of nature's forces.

      Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway

      For breathtaking panoramic views, the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway in Franconia Notch State Park offers an unforgettable experience. This passenger tramway ascends over 2,000 feet, revealing stunning vistas of the surrounding peaks, valleys, and distant lakes. Reaching the summit of Cannon Mountain allows visitors to explore hiking trails, enjoy scenic viewpoints, or even grab a bite at the mountaintop restaurant.

      Hampton Beach State Park

      New Hampshire's iconic coastline beckons with its sandy beaches and charming seaside towns. Hampton Beach State Park is a popular destination, offering a classic beach experience. Visitors can soak up the sun on the wide stretch of sandy beach, swim in the refreshing ocean waves, or try their hand at water sports like surfing and paddleboarding. The lively boardwalk features a variety of restaurants, shops, and arcades, ensuring there's something for everyone to enjoy.

      The Lost River

      Deep within the White Mountains lies a hidden gem - The Lost River. This natural wonder, carved by glaciers over millions of years, features a series of underground caves and waterfalls. Visitors embark on a guided boat tour through the caverns, navigating the cool, crystal-clear waters and marveling at the unique rock formations sculpted by time and water. The Lost River offers a unique and adventurous glimpse into the hidden wonders of the White Mountains.

      Clark’s Trading Post

      Step back in time at Clark's Trading Post, a historic landmark nestled in the heart of the North Country. Established in 1888, this family-run store is a living museum, showcasing a time capsule of traditional New Hampshire life. Visitors can browse through an extensive collection of authentic merchandise, including handcrafted goods, outdoor gear, and local souvenirs. The knowledgeable staff, many of them descendants of the original founders, share fascinating stories about the store's rich history and the surrounding region.

      The Currier Museum of Art

      Located in Manchester, The Currier Museum of Art houses an impressive collection spanning centuries and continents. Art enthusiasts can explore diverse exhibits featuring European masters, American paintings, decorative arts, and contemporary pieces. The museum also boasts a vibrant calendar of events, including lectures, workshops, and family-friendly programs, making it a cultural hub for the state.


      Hanover, a picturesque town nestled along the Connecticut River, is home to Dartmouth College, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the United States. Beyond its academic excellence, Hanover offers a charming downtown area with historic buildings, independent shops, and a variety of restaurants. Visitors can stroll through the scenic campus, explore the Baker-Berry Library with its iconic dome, or catch a performance at the Hopkins Center for the Arts.

      Wentworth by the Sea

      For a taste of luxury and coastal charm, head to Wentworth by the Sea, a historic seaside resort town located in Little Harbor. This picturesque enclave boasts a grand hotel, originally built in 1874, featuring elegant guest rooms, world-class dining experiences, and a rejuvenating spa. Visitors can explore the charming village with its art galleries, boutiques, and local restaurants, or relax on the pristine beaches and soak up the breathtaking ocean views.

      The Mount Washington Cog Railway

      For a truly unique and historic experience, take a ride on the Mount Washington Cog Railway, the first mountain-climbing cog railway in the world. This iconic attraction, established in 1869, ascends the slopes of Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeastern United States. Passengers can enjoy the breathtaking scenery as the train navigates the steep inclines, offering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

      Strawbery Banke Museum

      Step back in time and explore the fascinating history of New England at the Strawbery Banke Museum. Located in Portsmouth, this outdoor living history museum features over 40 historic buildings, dating from the 17th to the early 20th centuries. Visitors can take guided tours, interact with costumed interpreters portraying historical characters, and witness demonstrations of traditional crafts and skills.

      Featured New Hampshire Parks

      Inspiration From Our Nearby States

      Book an RV in New Hampshire

      Explore the breathtaking beauty of New Hampshire at your own pace with an RV rental. Traverse the scenic White Mountains, relax by serene lakes, or visit charming historic towns, all from the comfort of your home on wheels. With the freedom of an RV, create memories that will last a lifetime.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Yes, New Hampshire is an excellent destination for camping! Offering diverse landscapes like the majestic White Mountains, pristine lakes, and vast forests, it caters to all types of campers.

      No, camping is not allowed just anywhere in New Hampshire. It's prohibited on public and private land without proper authorization.

      New Hampshire offers diverse camping experiences throughout the year. 

      Spring (late May - June) provides pleasant weather with fewer crowds but be prepared for potential lingering snow at higher elevations. 

      Summer (July - August) boasts the warmest weather, ideal for swimming and outdoor activities, but comes with higher prices and larger crowds. 

      Fall (September - October) is stunning with vibrant foliage, comfortable temperatures, and fewer campers, but watch for early frost nights. 

      Winter (November - March) offers a unique experience with limited amenities at some campgrounds. It requires winter camping expertise and proper gear.

      The state caters to various camping styles. Tent camping is the most common and affordable option. For those with RVs, many campgrounds offer designated RV sites with hookups. Backcountry camping is available in specific National Forests and Wilderness Areas, requiring permits and more experience. 

      For a touch of luxury, glamping options with pre-set tents and amenities like cabins or yurts exist at select locations.

      The White Mountain National Forest offers various campsites, breathtaking views, and access to numerous hiking trails. State parks like Franconia Notch, Crawford, and Lake Winnipesaukee offer diverse landscapes and amenities. 

      Additionally, private campgrounds provide a range of options and amenities, from basic sites to family-friendly facilities with pools and activities.

      Permits are essential for certain camping situations. State parks and some private campgrounds require reservations in advance. National Forest campgrounds might require reservations for specific sites, while others operate on a first-come, first-served basis. 

      For backcountry camping, mandatory backcountry camping permits are necessary.

      Your packing list should include a tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad suitable for the anticipated weather conditions. A camp stove, cooking utensils, food, and water are crucial for self-sufficiency. 

      Pack appropriate clothing for all weather including layers, rain gear, and sturdy footwear. A First-aid kit, flashlight, headlamp, and personal hygiene items are also vital for safety and comfort.

      Camping fees in New Hampshire State Parks vary depending on the park and campsite type. Prices generally range from $25 to $50 per night for tent and RV sites. Some parks may charge additional fees for amenities like electricity or hot showers.

      Always check the specific park's website or contact them for current fees and reservation information.

      Yes, some New Hampshire State Parks offer winter camping options. However, not all parks do, and available campsites might be limited. Be prepared for harsh winter conditions with proper gear and check the park website beforehand for details on winter camping availability and regulations.

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