Historic town center at Back Bay at Lake Winnipesaukee Wolfeboro, New Hampshire

9 Adorable Small Towns in New Hampshire

New Hampshire, with its beautiful landscapes, historic charm, and friendly communities, is home to some of New England's most delightful small towns. Each town has its own unique character, offering a peaceful escape from modern life's hustle and bustle. Interested in colonial architecture, vibrant arts scenes, or picturesque waterfronts? New Hampshire's small towns have something for everyone.

Explore nine charming small towns in New Hampshire, each with its own quaint features and old-world charm. The historic streets of Portsmouth and Exeter, the lakeside tranquility of Meredith and Wolfeboro, these towns captivate visitors with their beauty and heritage. A history enthusiast, an outdoor lover, or simply looking for a quiet retreat? These towns offer a perfect getaway.


Meredith town center with Meredith Bay in Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire.

Situated on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, Meredith is a charming small town that showcases New Hampshire's scenic beauty and friendly community. Known for its lively waterfront and quaint downtown, Meredith offers a mix of outdoor activities, historical sites, and family-friendly attractions. At the town's center, you'll find Mill Falls Marketplace, a renovated mill that now features boutique shops, dining, and relaxation spots.

You can enjoy a walk along the lakefront boardwalk or take a scenic boat tour for panoramic views. History buffs will appreciate the Meredith Historical Society Museum, which highlights the area's rich history. Nature lovers can explore Waukewan Highlands Community Park, offering plenty of hiking and wildlife watching. Meredith's combination of natural beauty, historical importance, and modern amenities makes it an appealing destination for those seeking a peaceful getaway.


The Baker-Berry Library on the campus of Dartmouth College Hanover, New Hampshire. Editorial credit: Jay Yuan / Shutterstock.com

Hanover, located on the banks of the Connecticut River, is home to Dartmouth College, an Ivy League institution. This prestigious college brings an academic vibe and a vibrant cultural scene to the town. You can check out the Hood Museum of Art, which has a great collection of global artworks, or catch a show at the Hopkins Center for the Arts.

Hanover’s charming downtown features a mix of shops, cafes, and restaurants, perfect for leisurely strolls. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the numerous hiking trails near Appalachian Trail and Pine Park. Hanover also hosts seasonal events like the Dartmouth Winter Carnival, a tradition that has been around for over a century. This mix of educational excellence and scenic beauty makes Hanover a great destination for intellectual and recreational activities.


Autumn in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

Nestled in the Monadnock Region, Peterborough is a charming small town known for its vibrant arts scene and beautiful landscapes. With a history dating back to the 18th century, it offers a rich mix of cultural and historical experiences. At the town's center is Depot Square, featuring unique shops, cafes, and local businesses with quaint charm.

Peterborough's commitment to the arts shines through institutions like the Peterborough Players, a well-known summer theater. The town also hosts the Monadnock Center for History and Culture, which shares insights into local heritage. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the scenic Mount Monadnock, one of the world's most climbed mountains, offering stunning views and numerous hiking trails. Combining artistic flair and natural beauty, Peterborough is a captivating destination for visitors.


Portsmouth historic downtown aerial view at Market Square.

Portsmouth, a historic port city on New Hampshire’s coast, combines maritime heritage with contemporary culture. Founded in 1623, it's one of the oldest cities in the US, evident in its well-preserved colonial architecture and cobblestone streets. You can explore the Strawbery Banke Museum, an outdoor history museum showcasing four centuries of American history through interactive exhibits and restored buildings.

For modern attractions, Portsmouth’s vibrant downtown offers boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries. The city's waterfront provides scenic views and boat tour opportunities, while Prescott Park features beautiful gardens and outdoor performances. Portsmouth also hosts various festivals throughout the year, including Market Square Day and the Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival, making it a great destination for history buffs and modern adventurers.


Jackson Falls with Autumn color, New Hampshire.

Nestled in the scenic White Mountains of New Hampshire, Jackson is a charming village perfect for nature enthusiasts and adventurers. Known for its picturesque covered bridge and quaint town center, Jackson embodies classic New England charm that captivates visitors.

The area boasts breathtaking landscapes, including Mount Washington and Jackson Falls. In winter, the village becomes a haven for winter sports, with Jackson Ski Touring Foundation offering top cross-country skiing trails. In warmer months, the hiking trails of the White Mountain National Forest invite outdoor exploration. Jackson also features cozy inns, charming shops, and gourmet restaurants, making it an ideal destination for those seeking relaxation and excitement amidst stunning natural beauty.


 Historic town center of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

Located on the eastern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee, Wolfeboro is the oldest summer resort in America, established in 1759. This charming town combines historical richness with modern amenities. You can enjoy a walk along the waterfront, shop in quaint stores, or dine at delightful restaurants. The Wright Museum of World War II offers an educational excursion with its collection of artifacts and exhibits.

Outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of Lake Winnipesaukee's activities, such as boating and fishing in the summer, and ice fishing and snowmobiling in the winter. The scenic Cotton Valley Rail Trail is ideal for hiking and biking, with breathtaking views of the landscapes. With its history, vibrant community, and stunning natural beauty, Wolfeboro is a perfect destination for relaxation and adventure.


Exeter historic town center aerial.

Located along the banks of the Squamscott River, Exeter is a charming town known for its Revolutionary War history and the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy. Founded in 1638, Exeter played a key role during the American Revolution, even serving as the temporary state capital when the British occupied Portsmouth.

You can explore this rich history at the American Independence Museum, which has an original copy of the Declaration of Independence. The town's historic downtown features charming brick buildings, boutique shops, and a variety of dining options. Exeter's Swasey Parkway by the river is a great spot for walking, picnicking, and enjoying summer outdoor concerts. With its mix of historical significance and modern amenities, Exeter is a delightful destination for both history enthusiasts and casual visitors.


The River Walk Covered Bridge with the Grist mill on the Ammnosuoc River in Littleton New Hampshire.

Nestled in the White Mountains, Littleton is a charming village known for its picturesque Main Street and vibrant community spirit. This quaint town offers a perfect blend of historic charm and modern amenities, making it a delightful destination for visitors. The Pollyanna statue, honoring the beloved character created by Littleton-born author Eleanor H. Porter, stands proudly on Main Street, welcoming everyone with a smile.

The town features boutique shops, artisan galleries, and inviting eateries, offering a diverse selection of local crafts and culinary treats. For outdoor enthusiasts, nearby attractions like Moore Reservoir and the Ammonoosuc River provide excellent opportunities for kayaking, fishing, and hiking. Littleton’s historic Thayers Inn, dating back to 1843, offers a cozy place to stay. With its scenic beauty, friendly community, and variety of activities, Littleton is an ideal spot for a peaceful and enriching getaway.

Sugar Hill

A field of lupines in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire with the White Mountains in the background.

Sugar Hill, a quaint village nestled in the picturesque White Mountains of New Hampshire, is a hidden gem that captivates visitors with its stunning natural beauty and serene ambiance. This charming town is renowned for its sweeping panoramic views, especially those of the White Mountains, which provide a breathtaking backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Sugar Hill is particularly famous for its annual Lupine Festival, held in June, when the fields burst into vibrant hues of purple, pink, and blue lupines, creating a mesmerizing spectacle. You can explore local attractions such as the Sugar Hill Historical Museum, which offers insights into the town's rich heritage, and Harman's Cheese & Country Store, known for its world-famous cheddar cheese. With its charming rural landscapes, welcoming community, and delightful seasonal events, Sugar Hill is an idyllic destination for those seeking tranquility and natural beauty.

Step Back In Time With New Hampshire's Historic Towns

New Hampshire's towns and villages present a unique mix of historical significance, natural beauty, and vibrant communities. Exeter boasts revolutionary heritage, Littleton features a thriving arts scene, and Sugar Hill offers stunning mountain views. Each destination provides something special for every traveler. These towns encapsulate the charm and rich culture of New England while offering a diverse range of activities and attractions. Explore historical sites, enjoy outdoor adventures, or soak in the local atmosphere. A visit to these picturesque small towns promises a truly enriching and memorable experience. 


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