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The Best Time to Visit New Hampshire in 2023

The Best Time to Visit New Hampshire in 2023

New Hampshire is an underrated state with tons to see and do! Whether you’re going to the state for a specific reason or you just want to see what all New Hampshire has to offer, there’s a lot in store for you here. 

New Hampshire is a popular summer and fall destination because of the good summer weather and the beautiful fall colors that cover the state every fall. New Hampshire is a great place to visit in the winter, too, if you like skiing or snowboarding.

Otherwise, you might find that it is quite cold. But what’s the overall best time to visit New Hampshire?

We’ll outline that for you below, along with the cheapest, least busy, and worst times to visit. Read on for everything you need to know about visiting New Hampshire!

Why You Should Visit New Hampshire

Sunset view of Portsmouth harbor with boats in calm water showing why you should visit New Hampshire

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

New Hampshire has a lot of fun activities and beautiful scenery you can enjoy when you visit! Fortunately, the fun takes place all year round. One of the most popular times to visit New Hampshire — and New England in general — is in the fall.

Specifically, come in late September or October when the fall colors are at their peak. The fall is also a great time to hike and explore nature so you can get good views of the fall foliage around the state.

In winter, snow sports overtake the state, and you will find plenty of people around the state skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, snowshoeing, and more.

You can also go ice skating and find ice caves to explore. These are especially popular during the holiday season. And finally, spring and summer bring the best weather to New Hampshire, so it is a good time to enjoy the outdoors.

Don’t miss the awesome state parks here! There are also a lot of lakes and beaches where you can get away and relax by the water. These places are ideal during the warmer months of spring and summer. 

You should also visit New Hampshire if you like history, as you will find some important historical sites here since New Hampshire was one of the thirteen original colonies.

The first settlement in New Hampshire started in 1623, so there are 400 years of history packed into the small state. As you can see, there’s truly something for everyone here! Just make sure you’re planning your visit at the right time of year to have the best experience. 

Overall Best Time to Visit New Hampshire

Franconia Notch State Park view at sunset with fall foliage showing the best time to visit New Hampshire

Winston Tan/Shutterstock

The best time to visit New Hampshire is in the summer (June to August) and fall (September to November) for good weather and beautiful fall foliage.

In the summertime, the weather in New Hampshire is great and usually sunny, with average high temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s (Fahrenheit) depending on where you are in the state.

In the fall, temperatures drop to the 50s and 60s (Fahrenheit), but you’ll see beautiful views of the trees and leaves changing colors. If you want the best views of the fall foliage, you should stay in an area where you can hike.

Stay close to the mountains, where you’ll have the best views of the colorful landscape. However, since these are popular times to come to New Hampshire, you might have to face some crowds during your visit, especially if you are going to some of the best sites for the fall foliage.

Just be prepared for the crowds if you’re going during the busy fall. Try to book activities in advance or go to places early in the morning to beat the worst of the crowds.

Cheapest Time to Visit New Hampshire

View of The Basin in Franconia Notch State Park during winter, the cheapest time to visit New Hampshire

Belikova Oksana/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit New Hampshire is in the winter from December to February. This is when the weather is coldest. 

Not many people come to New Hampshire in the winter because they don’t want to deal with the cold weather, so you’ll find that prices for everything are lower. Some places, like popular summer resorts, may close in the winter when there is low demand.

You will still find plenty of availability throughout the state, and it’ll likely be less than you would spend during other times of the year. However, if you plan on skiing or snowboarding in New Hampshire in the winter, you might still see some high costs since this is peak season.

If you’re not coming to New Hampshire to hit the slopes, try to avoid busy ski resorts and towns so you can still take advantage of the cheaper low season.

Least Busy Time to Visit New Hampshire

The least busy time to visit New Hampshire shown with an image of Walpole, NH dock on a calm lake in winter

Peter Titmuss/Shutterstock

The least busy time to visit New Hampshire is in the late fall and winter from November to early March.

Between November and March, crowds in New Hampshire are very low. It’s likely because of the cooler weather that people choose not to come during these seasons.

Some places may close in the winter and late fall, including a few state parks which might not be safe to explore when there are cold temperatures and snow.

People avoid visiting now since they don’t want to be limited in what they can do here. That’s great news if you’re looking to avoid the big tourist crowds when you come! 

Any areas with skiing will get busy in the winter months when the conditions are good for skiing. Unless you’re in the state specifically for a skiing trip, you should find little to no crowds wherever you go in these months.

Worst Time to Visit New Hampshire

Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse at sunset shown during the worst time to visit New Hampshire

Doug Lemke/Shutterstock

The worst time to visit New Hampshire is in the winter from December to early March when the weather is cold and snow and ice are common.

New Hampshire gets really cold between December and March. Snow and ice are quite common, especially at higher elevations near the mountains.

December has average temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit at the beginning of December. It drops about 10 degrees by the end of December. It continues to stay at these low temperatures throughout January and February.

By March, the weather is slightly better at the 40s and 50s as the average high temperature. It’s still cold if you’re not used to it! Unless you love the snow or want to stay at a resort where you can ski or snowboard, you will not find much to do in New Hampshire in the winter.

However, you’ll find that there is a lot of availability for hotels and flights since not many people travel to New Hampshire during winter. All in all, it may not be that bad to visit during the coldest time of year! 

Things to Consider

Mountain View during the spring, possibly the best time to visit New Hampshire

Maggie/Shutterstock

What else should you know to plan a great visit during the best time to visit New Hampshire? Here are some things to consider before and during your trip.

What Do You Want to See or Do in New Hampshire? 

The activities you want to do in New Hampshire will be a major factor in your decision about when you will visit. If you want to enjoy the outdoors, like at a lake or in one of the state parks, spring and summer is the best time to visit.

Or, if you want to see the vibrant fall colors in full effect here, come during September or early October. Winter is the worst time to visit New Hampshire unless you want to do winter sports like skiing.

How Will You Get Around New Hampshire? 

You should also consider how you plan to travel around the state. If you’re going by train, you’ll have no issues getting around. You should book ahead during the peak summer and fall seasons.

If you’re driving, then spring, summer, or fall will be the best time to come. It can be hard to drive if there’s a lot of snow, especially in the mountains. If you do come in the winter and plan to drive, make sure your car is equipped to handle the snow.

Why Do You Want to Visit New Hampshire?

Finally, think about why you want to come here. Is it for winter sports and snow? Spring flowers and balmy temperatures? Fun on the water, or exploring outdoors? 

If you aren’t quite sure why you want to or why you should visit, do some research. Once you find where in the state you want to go and what you want to do, you can choose the best time to visit New Hampshire from this guide. 

Frequently Asked Questions

View of Rocky Gorge in White Mountain National Forest for a frequently asked questions section on the best time to visit New Hampshire

Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

Visiting New Hampshire at the right time of year is a lot easier when you have all the info. Check out the most frequently asked questions to learn something new! 

What's the best time to see fall colors in New Hampshire?

The exact time varies by the year and region, but in general, you'll find the best colors at the end of September and the first few weeks of October.

You should be slightly flexible in your plans if you want to travel around New Hampshire during the exact peak times.

What's the best time to visit the White Mountains?

The best time to visit the White Mountains is in the fall. The leaves change colors and the mountains are covered in vibrant orange, yellow, and red leaves.

There's great weather for hiking in the mountains in the spring and summer, so it's worth visiting during these times of year, too!

Is it worth visiting New Hampshire?

New Hampshire is an underrated state that's very much worth visiting. There's a lot to do here, from walking small towns and exploring rugged mountains.

Take to the lakes and state parks where you can enjoy nature! Or stroll through the towns to shop, eat, and drink like a local.

What's the hottest month in New Hampshire?

The hottest month in New Hampshire is July when highs are in the upper 70s and 80s, depending on where you are in the state. It's still a nice time to visit, especially if you're doing activities like swimming and boating.

What's the coldest month in New Hampshire?

The coldest month in New Hampshire is December, when temperatures regularly sink below freezing. You will likely see some snow and ice during December, especially in the mountains.

What's the rainiest month in New Hampshire?

October is the rainiest month in New Hampshire, specifically in the state capital of Concord. There, you'll see an average of four inches of rain during the month.

What is New Hampshire best known for?

New Hampshire is best known for its outdoor activities, including skiing, hiking, and lakes. It is also very popular in the fall when the leaves change color. It also has a lot of history as it was one of the 13 original colonies.

What's the name of a small tourist spot in the mountains in New Hampshire?

One of the most popular tourist spots in New Hampshire, despite its size, is Mount Monadnock. It's a beautiful peak! If you're in that part of New Hampshire, it's worth stopping to see.

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

The best time to visit New Hampshire is in the spring and summer (best weather) and fall (colorful foliage). These are very popular times of year for tourists, so prices may be higher – especially around September and October.

To strike a budget balance, come during December to February when things are cold enough to scare off most tourists. It’s a good time to visit for snow sports, but not too much else. 

You’ll score better deals on hotels and flights, and November to March is another good time to come to beat the crowds. 

You should avoid visiting in winter unless you are coming here to ski or snowboard, in which case it’s one of the best times to visit.

New Hampshire has something to offer everyone, from stunning mountain views and natural wonders to great shopping, food, and things to do in town. Come at the best time of year to enjoy your visit to the max!