NH offers much for the tourist, but those with limited time must prioritize their activities. If you’re wondering how to spend 10 days in NH, then continue reading for my perfect itinerary that you can morph into something that makes sense for your next New Hampshire vacation plans.
“Here in New England, the character is strong and unshakable.”
― Norman Rockwell
Below are the number of days you’d need for each destination and idea. Keep in mind that you may not need four full days of hiking in the White Mountains if you’re not a hiker. A trip up the Mount Washington Auto Road needs just one day planned.
Here are just some of my favorite things to do in my home state NH:
- 2 full days at Mt. Washington and the scenic Kancamagus Highway (a drive through wilderness)
- 1 day for shopping in New Hampshire’s famous outlet areas of Laconia/Dover/Franconia
- 4 days for hiking in the White Mountains.
- 4 days for exploring the beautiful and historic Portsmouth area with day trip options to beaches in Maine or Vermont.
Four days may not seem like enough time for hiking the White Mountains, but unless you’re willing to go on a guided hike (with a guide that will slow down your hike), I would avoid spending 6 days doing this.
When I hike the White Mountains, I’m in for the scenic vistas and overnight camping, not to spend as much time as possible on foot.
If you’re a bird-watcher or plant enthusiast, then perhaps add another day or two spending more time at places like The Great Bay Estuary (near Portsmouth) area or the White Mountains Bird Observatory.
3 days at the Hampton Beach area (beaches, boardwalk, shops) with a day trip to Portsmouth or the New Hampshire seacoast
3 full days for touring and shopping in the quaint White Mountain village of North Conway; a nearby hiking option is Mt. Clinton
Another 3 days for touring historic Concord/Boston and Cape Cod, with day trips to the north shore of NH for more hiking and Vermont’s beautiful scenery
4 full days at Boston and Cape Cod (with overnight camping options in nearby NH state parks)
1-2 days for a visit to one of the New Hampshire Lakes Region coastal towns, possibly including some beach time.
A trip to the Lakes Region is perfect for people who love water and boating vacations.
Where in New Hampshire Should I Go?
9 days would be my max if you include beach time, shopping in Portsmouth/Kittery, Maine, or New Hampshire seacoast towns as well as a trip to Boston/Cape Cod with day trips for hiking and sightseeing. You could spend this much time on vacation if you are willing to squeeze several activities into each day.
If you can only spare four days in New Hampshire, I’d recommend spending three of them hiking in the White Mountains (with a possible overnight camping trip); perhaps spend one day visiting Portsmouth and touring some local museums for those with an interest in history and/or maritime exploration.
How Long Should I Stay in New Hampshire?
Below are some of my recommended activities for those who can never seem to get enough time off from work to take a true vacation:
A day trip up the Mount Washington Auto Road (the highest paved road in the United States) and a scenic drive on Kancamagus Highway (New Hampshire’s most famous scenic highway);
A day trip to Portsmouth visiting the Strawbery Banke Museum, the New Hampshire State House, and the Museum of New Hampshire History.
Some time for window shopping in numerous outlet stores at Dover/Laconia; exploring antique shops in Keene is another option.
Visit White Mountains’ area villages (North Conway, Jackson); a day trip to Concord includes a visit to Walden Pond and the nearby Minuteman National Park.
Beach shopping in Kittery, Maine (close by).
An overnight camping trip in one of the White Mountains state parks; another option is Portsmouth’s beaches at Rye Harbor State Park.
Now that I provided you with some fabulous ideas on how to spend 10 days in NH, I hope that you can get busy planning a fabulous trip to this gorgeous New England state. While you’re here, don’t forget to take a NH fall foliage drive in October … we have tips your NH fall foliage road trip here.