Best of NH 2021 Fun & Adventure
It's time to get out and explore the Granite State. Here are our suggestions and readers' picks for the best ways to have fun and maybe learn something new along the way
Four-Season Hub for Adventure
Adventure seekers need to know about Hub North in Gorham. It has everything you need, including glamping sites, a cozy lodge, communal kitchens, serene spirit and location that is minutes away from hiking trailheads in the northern Presidential Range of the White Mountains. Over 20 miles of biking are available year-round, as are options for plenty of hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, backcountry skiing and alpine skiing. Whether you visit in the winter or summer, the fun and excitement you find around every corner at Hub North remains the same.
There are plenty of water parks to enjoy around the Granite State every summer, but this one may take the cake. The small city of Franklin has big plans with its new Mill City Park opening mid-September. Owner, founder and director Marty Parichand is in charge of bringing the park to life with its innovative and unique whitewater rafting park, guided trails, river outlook points, community gardens, ampitheater and more, with two additional whitewater features opening in 2022. The primary goal? Connect the community to the river with low-cost outdoor fun.
For the 20th anniversary of Seek the Peak, organizers have turned what was once an annual White Mountains hike-a-thon into an expo filled with other outdoor activities (all human-powered), and will offer both virtual and onsite events to celebrate the spirit of adventure. What hasn’t changed is the charitable aspect — this is still a critical fundraiser for the nonprofit Mount Washington Observatory. This year, on July 16-17, the event is open to people of all abilities, from experienced hikers to beginners. Whether you love mountain biking, fly-fishing, trail running or climbing, Seek the Peak welcomes those passionate about outdoor sports. Experts will host clinics (virtual and in-person), and there are opportunities for both guided and self-guided activities. Great Glen Trails at the Mount Washington Auto Road will serve as the base camp.
The next time an unidentified object streaks across the horizon in the Lakes Region, rest easy. It could just be a Squambat. The Squambats are a group of adrenaline junkie “ice sailors” who whip, glide, zoom, fly and float atop the surface of New Hampshire’s lakes. In the colder months, the Squambats (Squam Lake is home base) zip across the ice and snow on kitewings and skis or skates — borne aloft and across the frozen landscape and broads by wind power, pushing and lifting these thrill-seekers to top speeds of 58 mph. In the warmer months, it’s all about foiling and winging and kiting across the water, where riders hit 25 mph as they skip across the waves.
Our stay-at-home lives were paradoxically both isolating and over-connected. As many turned to screens big and small to work and talk to family and friends, unplugging became even more difficult. Getaway Blake Brook in Epsom has the solution. Amenities and features at these fully furnished tiny cabins include a huge picture window, two queen beds, shower, drinking water, AC and heat, electric toilet, mini kitchen, fire pit and, crucially, a lockbox for your cell phone. If you do crack and bust out a device, you won’t find any Wi-Fi. Campers can enjoy the restorative aspects of nature in comfort and without any electronic interruptions. Cabins are situated 50 to 100 feet apart on 20 acres of Bear Brook Sate Park, so human interaction is kept at a minimum. However, should you find yourself craving a little company, the excellent Blasty Bough Brewing is within walking distance.
Upscale Ski Lodge
The new Rosebrook Lodge at the top of the Bretton Woods Skyway Gondola combines a swanky ski resort feel with a traditional lodge. Inside the striking building, hungry skiers and riders can grab a pizza or sandwich at Crystal Hill, and those just interested in dining in an unusual setting can sit down at the Switchback Grille for cocktails and European-inspired dishes such as raclette. The Skyway — the state’s first eight-person gondola — is also quite the impressive ride, and you’d be hard-pressed to beat the views of Mt. Washington and the Presidential Range.
This sport has been around since 1976, and only keeps picking up more and more traction with anyone and everyone. Top O’ The Hill Disc Golf in Canterbury is celebrating 10 years of being in business this year, and owner Marty Vaughn says that not even a pandemic can slow them down. The four-season, 18-hole course is open seven days a week and is only $8 for one round or a full day of disc golf. Whether you are a first-time disc golfer or seasoned pro, or playing solo or with friends or family, this course will leave you coming back for more outdoor fun.
Quintessential Fun for All
Since 1935, the Makris family has been hosting visitors on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee at the NASWA Resort. The resort is steeped in bright, rustic charm, and it invites you to unplug from your busy life for a relaxing summer vacation. Lakeside rooms, suites and cottages offer private balconies, lake views, wake-up service and even pet-friendly rooms for your four-legged friends. Amenities with local flair include a dock space for you to bring your own boat, private beach, kayaks and paddle boards, bistro and “world famous” “NazBar,” so a refreshing cold beer or tasty boat drink is never out of reach. Experience a beautiful piece of New Hampshire history and know that no matter if it is your first visit or 10th, you will always be treated like family.
Readers’ Poll Winners
Bed and Breakfast
Christmas Farm Inn and Spa
The Wingate Salon & Spa
Family-Friendly Resort TIE
RiverWalk Resort at Loon Mountain
Family-Friendly Resort TIE
The Inn at East Hill Farm
NH Sports Team
New Hampshire Fisher Cats
Wentworth by the Sea A Marriott Hotel & Spa
Summer Outdoor Attraction
Summer Outdoor Attraction Overall Overall Winner
Canobie Lake Park
Summer Outdoor Attraction Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region
Mount Sunapee Resort
Summer Outdoor Attraction Lakes Region
Gunstock Mountain Resort
Summer Outdoor Attraction Manchester Area
Bear Brook State Park
Summer Outdoor Attraction Great North Woods
Bear Rock Adventures
Summer Outdoor Attraction Monadnock Region
Northlands (Drive-In Live)
Summer Outdoor Attraction Seacoast Region
Summer Outdoor Attraction White Mountains Region