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The Best & Worst Times to Visit New Hampshire in 2024

The Best & Worst Times to Visit New Hampshire in 2024

What's the best time to visit New Hampshire?

The best time to visit New Hampshire is in the early fall for spectacular fall foliage and comfortable outdoor activities. Spring offers budget-friendly travel options but with less predictable weather. Winter, particularly outside ski resort areas, is the least busy time, suitable for winter sports enthusiasts. However, winter can be challenging for general exploration due to cold temperatures and snow.

The beautiful state of New Hampshire is the perfect getaway for a typical New England experience. Not as touristy as some of its neighboring states, it still offers a lot to travelers.

The state’s natural wonders are definitely the main attraction. You can clamber over the dramatic landscapes of Lost River Gorge, brave the winds of Mount Washington, or cool off at popular beaches and lakes such as Hampton Beach State Park.

The state is also full of picturesque towns and villages, such as Conway, which has a picturesque main street just like the ones people picture when they think of New England.

But before you book your trip, you’ll want to know the best time to visit New Hampshire. We’ll cover this, the least busy, cheapest, and worst times to visit below; let us be your guide!

Overall Best Time to Visit New Hampshire

Extremely pretty winding Kancamagus Highway seen at White Mountain during the best time to visit New Hampshire, in Autumn

Jay Yuan/Shutterstock

The best time to visit New Hampshire is in the early fall, when you can see the best of the fall foliage and still enjoy plenty of outdoor activities.

The main reason why you should visit New Hampshire in the fall is the foliage. Like all of New England, the state is famous for its changing leaves. As soon as temperatures cool off, the leaves begin to change color.

It truly is a spectacular sight to see reds, oranges, and yellows cascade across the White Mountains and arch over scenic routes such as the Kancamagus Highway.

The official New Hampshire tourism site lists tips for visitors that want to come see the fall leaves. The leaves usually begin to turn by September and peak in early to mid-October.

If you are serious about having the best leaf-peeping experience, then look at official foliage trackers at the beginning of the fall. These sites estimate when the leaves will be at their best during the season, helping you plan your trip.

There’s another reason why fall is the best time to visit New Hampshire and that’s the weather. Temperatures in the early fall tend to be mild, with high temperatures in the 60s and low temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s.

This is great weather to go hiking and on other outdoor adventures. It’s warm enough to spend time outside, but you won’t get sweaty, and the temperatures have enough of a bite to make you feel like you’re getting the real New England experience.

Many of the state’s seasonal attractions stay open until mid-October, so you’ll get the full experience if you visit during this time.

For example, Lost River Gorge is only open from May 5th to October 15th. Visiting in the early fall ensures that you get to see the changing leaves and enjoy the best outdoor activities.

You can also take part in other very typical fall activities when visiting New Hampshire. The state is still largely rural, and many farms are open to the public. Enjoy activities such as corn mazes, apple picking, pumpkin picking, and more.

Fall also has several seasonal festivals, such as:

Cheapest Time to Visit New Hampshire

Postcard-worthy scene of the harbor at Portsmouth pictured during the spring, the overall cheapest time to visit New Hampshire

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit New Hampshire is in the spring, which is the shoulder season for the state, and when you can get great discounts on hotels.

New Hampshire is relatively affordable compared to other states in the region, but prices can still go up during the summer peak season and during the fall foliage season. This is particularly true for hotels. Accommodation is much more affordable in New Hampshire during the spring.

Some hotel rooms in popular towns can be discounted by 12-15% during this season! Spring is before the summer rush, so there isn’t as much demand for hotels.

You just want to make sure to avoid popular holiday weekends, such as Easter or spring breaks for local schools, as prices go up then. To save money on flying into New Hampshire, you should fly either in January, when the holiday travel rush is over, or at the end of summer.

In August and early September, there is a quiet lull in between summer vacation and before the foliage reaches its peak. You can find good discounts on flights and hotel rooms during this window of a few weeks, plus enjoy good weather for hiking.

Least Busy Time to Visit New Hampshire

Ski resort in New Hampshire pictured during the month's least busy time to visit, the winter, pictured with a hazy mountain and valley below in front of a guy skiing

The least busy time to visit New Hampshire is the spring or the winter if you avoid the ski resorts, as unpredictable weather keeps many people away.

Spring in New England can be beautiful one day, and ugly the next. Temperatures start to warm up in April, bringing great weather for hiking and camping.

However, they can drop dozens of degrees from one day to the next, and winter takes a long time to release its clutches from the state.

In some areas, snow stays on the ground well into April. For these reasons, fewer people visit New Hampshire in the spring than in the summer or fall, when you have a higher chance of consistent warm weather.

If you’re willing to be patient with the weather and plan indoor activities for rainy days, then spring allows you to have many of the state’s trails to yourself. Plus, there are some benefits to visiting during the spring.

Wildflowers cover the state’s mountains and hills, including the famous lupine blooms. There is even a dedicated festival to this flower in June. Other popular spring events include the quirky Wildquack Duck Race in May.

Winter is also not as crowded in certain parts of New Hampshire, but it depends on the timing and location of your visit. Christmas and the holiday season attract a lot of tourists that want to see the twinkling lights, and ski areas tend to be busy from December to March.

Worst Time to Visit New Hampshire

Red wooden snow covered bridge pictured in New Hampshire during the winter, the overall worst time to visit

Ryan McGurl/Shutterstock

The worst time to visit New Hampshire is in the winter, from December until mid-April. however, every season has its charms.

New Hampshire is located pretty far north, so it makes sense that it suffers from bitterly cold winters. Temperatures rarely go above freezing throughout January, February, and most of December and March.

The high humidity means that the cold often feels worse than the thermometer reading may even say.

Snow blankets the ground from early December until well into April in the mountains, making hiking difficult. However, every season in New Hampshire has its benefits for some people. If you like skiing and snowboarding, this is the best season to visit.

The state has many great mountain resorts with reliable snow coverage and great skiing infrastructure. While the rest of the state gets a little sleepy in the winter, this is when the ski resorts really come alive.

New Hampshire by Month: Climate & Activities

Picturesque image featuring a fishing gear storage shack on stilts on a dock on the water in Portsmouth, NH

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Still unsure about the best time to visit New Hampshire? Take a look at our summary of the weather and climate by month below:


Embrace the heart of winter in January, with temperatures often between 10 to 31°F (-12 to -1°C). This month is perfect for hitting the ski slopes in destinations like Loon Mountain and Cannon Mountain, enjoying snowshoeing in the White Mountains, and experiencing dog sledding adventures.


February continues the winter wonder, ideal for ice fishing on the frozen lakes, exploring the snow-covered landscapes of Franconia Notch State Park, and joining in the festivities at the Keene Ice and Snow Festival.


As the chill of winter starts to ease in March, New Hampshire’s temperatures range from 22 to 40°F (-6 to 4°C). It’s a great time for maple sugaring events – witness the making of maple syrup, late-season skiing, and visiting cozy inns in charming towns like North Conway.


April’s milder weather, with temperatures between 32 to 55°F (0 to 13°C), beckons with the blooming of spring flowers. Enjoy hiking in the awakening nature, exploring the vibrant city of Portsmouth, and visiting the Strawbery Banke Museum for a glimpse into the past.


May brings warmer days, from 42 to 68°F (6 to 20°C), perfect for scenic drives along the Kancamagus Highway, experiencing the blossoming gardens at the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, and bird watching along the coast.


June, ushering in summer with temperatures between 52 to 77°F (11 to 25°C), offers ideal conditions for camping in the Lakes Region, kayaking along the Connecticut River, and attending outdoor concerts and festivals.


July’s warmth, ranging from 58 to 82°F (14 to 28°C), invites beach days at Hampton Beach, hiking to scenic waterfalls like Arethusa Falls, and enjoying the traditional New Hampshire crafts at the League of NH Craftsmen’s Fair.


In August, with temperatures of 56 to 80°F (13 to 27°C), New Hampshire is all about exploring the majestic Mount Washington, attending the fun-filled New Hampshire Highland Games, and enjoying fresh produce at local farmers’ markets.


Welcoming fall, September, with temperatures from 48 to 71°F (9 to 22°C), is perfect for leaf-peeping as the foliage turns vibrant, hiking in Monadnock State Park, and experiencing the Deerfield Fair, one of New England’s oldest fairs.


October’s cooler days, from 34 to 60°F (1 to 16°C), are ideal for apple picking in picturesque orchards, enjoying fall festivals in quaint towns like Keene, and taking scenic train rides to view the fall foliage.


November, as the air turns brisk, temperatures from 24 to 48°F (-4 to 9°C), is a time for cozy retreats in mountain cabins, exploring the historic charm of Portsmouth, and perhaps catching the first snowfall of the season.


December brings a festive atmosphere to New Hampshire, with temperatures ranging from 15 to 37°F (-9 to 3°C). Enjoy the holiday spirit in towns like Bethlehem, skiing in the fresh snow, and participating in traditional holiday events throughout the state.

Frequently Asked Questions

Photo of a historic old square in downtown Portsmouth pictured on a clear summer day during one of the best times to visit New Hampshire

PORTSMOUTH, NH, USA – AUG 18, 2014: Historic buildings on Market Street at Market Square in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA/Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock

Here are some of the most common questions people ask about finding the best time to visit New Hampshire:

What are the best months to visit New Hampshire?

The best months to visit New Hampshire are September and October. You can enjoy great fall foliage and temperatures are still warm enough to go hiking.

When is the best time to see fall foliage in New Hampshire?

The week of peak foliage usually occurs in early or mid-October. The state puts out an official foliage tracker each year so you can check when the best colors are predicted.

What is the hottest month in New Hampshire?

July and August are the hottest months in New Hampshire. Temperatures can reach the high 80s, and it gets very humid.

Is New Hampshire warm in the summer?

Yes, New Hampshire is warm in the summer. However, the water never truly warms up, so brace yourself before plunging into a watering hole or the ocean.

Is New Hampshire cold all year round?

New Hampshire isn’t cold all year round, although winters can last for a while. Summers can actually get quite hot and humid.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit New Hampshire?

For the full New Hampshire experience, visit in the fall, when you can go on hikes surrounded by beautiful foliage and have the typical New England autumn experience!