New Hampshire’s Hidden Gems: Unique Outdoor Experiences Close To Home
Whether you’re new to New Hampshire or are a native Granite Stater, you might be looking for a few new places to go, new sights to see, and new experiences — all for the cost of a tank of gas. Here are a few hidden gems you won’t see on the lists of landmarks most tourists use, which means smaller crowds and fewer out-of-staters.
The 513-acre Madame Sherri Forest is situated on the eastern slope of Rattlesnake Mountain in Chesterfield. Trails are linked to the Monadnock Trail, which stretches from the Connecticut River to Mount Monadnock. A short distance from the parking lot at the start of the hike, you can see the ruins of Madame Sherri’s former French-inspired chateau. The elaborate home burned down nearly 60 years ago; all that’s left are the foundation, chimneys, and grand stone staircase. Walk the Anne Stokes Loop Trail to scenic Indian Pond and other excellent views.
Nothing says ‘hidden gem’ like a map of New Hampshire’s hard-to-find swimming holes. This summer, why not skip the conventional trip to the seacoast or popular lakes and dip your toes in some of the best secret swimming holes around the state?
We admit that Diana’s Baths in Bartlett isn’t much of a hidden gem. In fact, it’s a popular stop off the beaten path, but we think it’s still worth the trip to the White Mountains. The series of small waterfalls, cascades, and wading pools are a must-see if you want to experience nature at its finest in the North Conway area. During the summer, the baths are a great place for families and people of all ages to enjoy some tranquility, hike, and explore.
Benson Park in Hudson is a former zoo-turned-public recreation area. Hiking and walking trails create more than 4 miles of loop paths accessible to all skill levels. Keep your eye out for wildlife. . .and reminders of the zoo that once was, such as the original animal houses and the Old Lady in the Shoe structure. Leashed dogs are welcome.
New England’s first and only whitewater park is scheduled to open right here in our state. Mill City Park at Franklin Falls is an incredible community project years in the making to reinvigorate downtown Franklin NH and connect the community to the river. Keep your eyes and ears open for news of a grand opening for the new park, which will boast 13 acres of recreation area and water features.
Frost Point at Rye Beach is on the backside of Odiorne State Park, tucked between the Gulf of Maine and a beautiful, small harbor. It’s a great place to take a walk in the woods, go for a swim, or just hang out. The waters are relatively safe, and because of its positioning, it’s the perfect place to watch the sunset.
For an easy hike with the reward of fantastic views, visit Great Hill Fire Tower in Tamworth. If you’re starting at the parking area between Great Hill Road and Hemenway Road, it’s an easy stroll along the wide path to get to the fire tower.
In Cornish, the Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park was once the home and studio of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, a famous sculptor of the twentieth century. You can see more than 100 of his works in the galleries and on the grounds. Explore the nature trails or take a stroll through the stunning gardens with sweeping views of Mount Ascutney.
Head to Brookline for more culture at the Andres Museum of Art open-air gallery.
What hidden gems are on your list? Share the best spots with us on Facebook for entertainment, nature, and relaxation in New Hampshire, which makes it one of the best states to live in!