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What Is New Hampshire Known for & Famous For?

One of the original thirteen colonies, New Hampshire is a state proud of its New England culture and diverse landscape. There are several nicknames given to New Hampshire, referring to its natural wonders including: The Mother of Rivers, The White Mountain State, and Switzerland of America. 

New Hampshire is famous for its scenery and towns, historical significance, and delicious dishes. The area is also abundant in wildlife and provides ample camping grounds and vast stretches of wilderness. New Hampshire is a haven for winter sports enthusiasts in the colder months.


Just because New Hampshire is the fifth smallest state in the US doesn’t mean that it can’t outshine many other larger states with its plethora of attractions. This article will discuss New Hampshire’s notable qualities, including towns to visit, recreational activities to enjoy, sites to see, and food to try. 

Small, Picturesque Towns

New Hampshire has an abundance of small, picturesque towns for you to visit. If you are searching for towns with historical value, Exeter, Portsmouth, and Hancock are all quaint towns filled with museums and notable sites to visit. 

For the outdoor lover, Littleton, Plymouth, and Peterborough have an abundance of natural scenery to explore.  

Abundant Wildlife

New Hampshire is known for its range of wildlife species. While hiking, swimming, paddling, or even strolling through a town, you will have the opportunity to encounter hundreds of different animals. Moose, black bears, coyotes, and bobcats are among the larger mammals you might see. 

You will see a variety of trout and colorful birds in the lakes or rivers. You can spot Deer, wild turkeys, and hares at nearly any location. No matter where you choose to travel within New Hampshire, you are guaranteed to experience a taste of its abundant wildlife. 

Large Stretches of Wilderness

New Hampshire’s wildlife lives in the state’s large stretches of wilderness. In fact, New Hampshire has the highest percentage of timberland in the US. 

These stretches of vast forest include the temperate broadleaf and mixed forest biome, and the stretches of deciduous forest attract visitors for their autumnal abundance of bright colors. 

The multiple rivers, lakes, and ponds that run through its granite hills contribute to the state’s biodiversity, supporting the abundance of flora and fauna throughout New Hampshire. 

The White Mountains make up most of New Hampshire’s wilderness, but marshlands and beaches are also a part of its natural wonders.  

Manchester, NH

Even though Manchester, NH, is not the state’s capital, it is the city with the largest population, giving it the nickname “Queen City.” Manchester is a vital economic resource for New Hampshire, voted as one of the best business cities in America. 

If you visit New Hampshire, you will enjoy the variety of restaurants, shops, and downtown clubs that this bustling city has to offer.

Like the rest of New Hampshire, Manchester experiences all four seasons, making it a beautiful location to vacation year-round. 

Foods New Hampshire Is Known For

New Hampshire is known for its New England and “Yankee” cuisine. Some food critics might claim that this cooking style is more “bland” than traditional meals in other U.S. regions. However, you will not be disappointed by the hearty, rich dishes found in this state. 

Many New Hamshirite’s favorite bites to eat are fried lake bass, apple cider donuts, clam chowder, maple syrup, and yogurt. 

Fried Lake Bass

Because of New Hampshire’s abundance of lakes, fried lake bass is a familiar favorite among locals and tourists. You can find freshly caught bass that has been battered and fried at restaurants in nearly any New Hampshire lake town. This meal is served frequently during the summer months when the bass is in season. 

Apple Cider Donuts

You cannot visit New Hampshire without trying fresh apple cider donuts from a local farm. Because apples are a primary agricultural resource in the state, apple cider donuts are a fall favorite. These deep-fried delights contain the addicting tang of cider and butter and are spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. 

Clam Chowder (New England)

Clam Chowder is a popular dish throughout New England, and New Hampshire is no exception. This warm, hearty soup is a statewide staple. New England clam chowder distinguishes itself from other chowders by the addition of cream in their delicious signature dish. The combination of bacon and fresh clams makes it even more delicious. 

One of the best restaurants to find this meal is Al’s Seafood Restaurant and Market in Hampton, NH. 

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is a leading agricultural product in the state. Because of that, New Hampshire is known for its fresh maple syrup and abundance of maple-based foods. If pancakes are your passion, the New England maple syrup will exceed your expectations and ruin you for mass-produced maple imitations. 

 If you visit Plainfield, NH, stop at Riverview Farm to try their infamous Maple Creemees. This decadent form of soft-serve has a high butterfat content that combines dreamily with the addition of maple syrup.  


New Hampshire is the home of America’s top-selling yogurt brand, Stonyfield Organic. This company started in 1983 as a family-owned business in Wilton, NH, with only seven dairy cows. Stonyfield quickly grew to become the leading business that it is today. The corporation is a trusted, eco-friendly yogurt producer. 

Franklin Pierce

Franklin Pierce, the fourteenth president of the United States, was born and died in New Hampshire. His home, the Pierce Manse, is a popular tourist location in the state. 

His government career began at the ripe age of 24. Franklin Pierce was a bright man and a veteran of the Mexican War when he ran for office in 1852. He became president in 1853 during the tumultuous era leading up to the American Civil War. His goal while in office was to bring peace to the nation. Unfortunately, his one term in office only served to cause more division. 

Pierce entered his presidency in a state of grief and weakness after the tragic death of his son in a train accident. The already tired Pierce did not have the strength to combat the accusations posed towards him throughout his presidency. 

After being criticized by his fellow northerners for listening to southern advisors, his term ended without reelection in 1857. 

Despite the unfortunate events of his presidency, New Hampshire is still famous for being the home of the state’s only president. 

The Pierce Manse

The Pierce Manse was President Franklin Pierce’s sole home during his lifetime. Preserved by the volunteer Pierce Brigade, it is a popular tourist attraction. Located in Concord, NH, you can get a taste of the family life of Franklin Pierce, his wife, and his sons. 

The guided tour of the house includes original documents and interactive sets to help you learn more about the fourteenth president of the U.S. 

Mount Washington

Mount Washington is the highest peak in the Northeast. You can visit this natural wonder at Mt. Washington State Park in Sargent’s Purchase, NH.

The state park is surrounded by the White Mountain National Forest and includes historic sites and hiking trails. At the top of Mount Washington, you can view Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Main, Quebec, and the Atlantic Ocean. 

While at Mt Washington State Park, you should visit the Sherman Adams Building and visitor center, Mt. Washington Observatory and museum, and the summit building. Next to the summit building, you will find the Tip-Top House. This building, built in 1853, was the second stone house on the summit, and it served a variety of purposes before becoming the historic home it is today.  

Franconia Notch State Park

Franconia Notch State Park, located in Franconia and Lincoln, New Hampshire, is the state park for nearly any form of recreational activity. In the White Mountain National Forest center, the park starts at Flume Gorge and ends at Echo Lake. 

This state park is historically known for the “Old Man of the Mountain” or “Great Stone Face” noted by Nathanial Hawthorne and Daniel Webster. If you are a literature fanatic or an outdoor enthusiast, Franconia Notch State Park is the perfect location to ignite your senses and take in the beauty of mother nature. 

Diana’s Baths

Diana’s Baths is a stunning seventy-five-foot waterfall that descends into pools and a brook. Located right outside North Conway, NH, Diana’s Baths is a family-friendly destination. The hike to the falls is a mere 6/10ths of a mile, making it accessible to tourists of all ages and ability levels. 

During the late 1800s and 1900s, construction around the baths included a house, boarding house, barn, sawmill, water wheel, and dam. However, all of these structures have since been removed or deteriorated. Some of the remains are still visible today for you to view when you visit Diana’s Baths. 


New Hampshire is the perfect state if you are an outdoor enthusiast. The New Hampshire state park system makes enjoying the outdoors a safe and inexpensive endeavor. 

Hiking is a perfect way to enjoy New Hampshire’s scenery. From exploring the small towns to climbing Mount Washington, you will find the ideal hike for your skill level in this state. Biking and off-terrain vehicle driving (ATVing) are other outdoor activities to enjoy on the trails.  

Nordic skiing and snowshoeing are popular activities for locals and tourists during the winter months. The mountainous regions make for a perfect location for downhill skiing and snowmobiling. 

Regardless of your recreational passion, New Hampshire has the resources for you to embrace the outdoors. 


Camping is a frequent activity throughout New Hampshire. Twenty of the state’s state parks have accommodations for camping. From RV hookups to cabins and yurts, and even tent and tarp locations, you can appreciate a night, or more, camping in the New Hampshire wilderness.  

Strawbery Banke Museum

One of New Hampshire’s most famous museums is the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH. This museum takes you through four centuries of New Hampshire history. Settled in 1623 along the Piscataqua River by English colonists, this region was a prosperous agricultural community with a multi-cultural influence. 

In the 1950s, the 10 acres of museum property were set aside as a historic site to be preserved and researched. The recovery, conservation, and study of the land are still ongoing. If you visit the Strawbery Banke Museum, you will witness the continued efforts to learn about one of New Hampshire’s earliest settlements.

The Strawbery Banke Museum is the most researched urban site in the state. 

USS Albacore Museum

The USS Albacore Museum is another favorite tourist location in New Hampshire. If you visit Portsmouth, NH, stop at this unique museum. The USS Albacore was a U.S. Navy research submarine responsible for the current advanced submarines the U.S. military uses today. 

During your tour, you will be able to explore the inside of the historical submarine and hear the recorded voices of the original USS Albacore crew. There is a Memorial Garden outside the museum to honor all those who served on the Albacore and other U.S. submarine missions. 

Cute Towns

While traveling through New Hampshire, remember to stop at some of its many cute towns. You will experience the small-town culture, festivals, and charming local shops and restaurants in nearly any town you visit. 

Sugar Hill is a miniature town with under 1,000 residents, a beautiful mountain view, an annual festival, and delicious pancakes. Meredith is a lake town where you can enjoy seafood and warm summer days on Lake Winnipesaukee. Another small town with plenty of adventure is North Conway. 

These three towns are a select few among the abundance of places to visit. If you want to do a tour or visit cute towns on your way through New Hampshire, you cannot go wrong with the White Mountain region. 

One of the Thirteen Original Colonies

New Hampshire is famous for being one of the original thirteen colonies of the US and was founded in 1623. Captain John Mason was granted this beautiful part of the country, which he named after his homeland in Hampshire County. 

Mason sent settlers to create a fishing colony in the area and died before visiting the place. He invested much of his capital in building towns and defenses.

Even though it was the first state to proclaim independence from England, it was not the first state established in America. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state in the United States

The First Free Modern Public Library

Peterborough, NH, houses the world’s first free modern public library. Although it is not the oldest library, it is the first established library supported by taxes. Dr. Abiel Abbot was the instigator of its construction. Created in 1833, the Peterborough Library is the model for libraries worldwide for providing literature to the public. 


New Hampshire’s snowy white mountains make wintering there an ideal skier destination. The New Hampshire state park system ensures that nearly all park and forest trails are available for cross country skiing during the season. Franconia Notch State Park is known for its location on Cannon Mountain, where downhill skiing is a popular activity. 

Long hailed as a skier’s paradise, skiers have the luxury of skiing two or more mountains a day! Smaller ski areas are perfect for families or those learning the art of skiing, and an abundance of winter resorts to keep cozy in when you are off the slopes.   


New Hampshire is a beautiful state within New England. It is known for its natural wonders, specifically in the white mountains and surrounding regions, historical significance as one of the original thirteen colonies, and traditional foods. 

While visiting New Hampshire, you will have the opportunity to engage in numerous outdoor recreational activities, visit historical sites such as the Pierce Manse, and tour several museums. Regardless of your hobbies and interests, New Hampshire will not disappoint. 

Planning a trip to New Hampshire? Check out this travel guide on Amazon for all the best spots to go and things to do and see!