Summer in NH Like a Local

New Hampshire is a summer destination for visitors who come to the Granite State from all over the world. Those of us lucky enough to live here all year long enjoy all that New Hampshire has to offer as much as the tourists do, but sometimes we try to avoid the crowded, more popular locales. We found a few hidden gems that will help you summer like you’ve lived here your whole life.

Lake Winnipesaukee is New Hampshire’s big lake everyone recognizes by name, even if they have trouble pronouncing it or spelling it. But Newfound Lake is a beautiful spot for spending a day swimming, boating, and picnicking. And just a short walk from a back road nearby, the wonders of the Sculptured Rocks Natural Area await. It’s a geological site where the river has carved a canyon into the bedrock. The smooth surfaces and shapes impress everyone who visits, and the sculptured rocks are a must-see for families who love exploring nature. Bring a camera!

Interested in a hike? Mount Major is a good choice. We’ll make this item on our list the exception to the hidden gem criteria. You’ll have a lot of company on the trail, but consider Mount Major a kind of rite of passage for making New Hampshire home; almost everyone who lives here has climbed this family-friendly, relatively easy mountain. You don’t have to be an experienced — or even particularly enthusiastic — hiker to enjoy it. The payoff is the stunning views of Alton Bay.

In the western part of the state is Cathedral of the Pines, an open air sanctuary, meeting space, and memorial to fallen America soldiers. It’s hilltop location provides panoramic views of Mount Monadnock. Take a nature walk, meditate, explore the gardens, or simply enjoy a picnic on a peaceful summer day.

When you’re in the mood for a beach day but would rather stay away from the typical Seacoast hot spots, head to Frost Point in Rye. Sitting on the backside of Odiorne State Park, you’ll see great views of Little Harbor in one direction and the Gulf of Maine in another. In addition to the benefits of few visitors, the water is pretty calm, making it a top place to kayak, swim, and paddle. Stay late enough in the evening, and you’ll see a glorious sunset.

Another secluded beach is back in the Lakes Region, Albee Beach in Wolfeboro. You’ll find it on Lake Wentworth, with sandy shores, picnic tables, charcoal grills, and spectacular views of the lake and surrounding mountains.

An active summer day can create a big appetite, and as long as you’re in New England, you might as well go for seafood. The Tuna Striker Pub is a great spot in Seabrook for outdoor dining and makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a rustic fishing village. Enjoy fresh seafood right on the water with views of the harbor to help you unwind.

Ready for summer to really kick off? Spend it close to home by exploring parts of New Hampshire you’ve never been to. Share with us the hidden gems you find!