New Hampshire is full of natural beauty. While it’s great to get out and explore on foot, sometimes the best way to see the beautiful New Hampshire wilderness is by taking a scenic drive. In a car you can cover more miles, and see more of the Granite State. Here are 7 beautiful scenic drives in New Hampshire that you’ll love.
1. The Kancamagus Highway
The most well-known scenic drive in New Hampshire is famous for a reason. You'll wind through the White Mountain National Forest, and have access to rivers, waterfalls, and beautiful vistas. The scenic Route 112 stretches 34 miles, and you can start your drive in Lincoln (with easy access to interstate 93), or in Conway.
2. The Seacoast
A drive along the seacoast will bring you through rich history in Portsmouth, along the rocky coast to a modern boardwalk in Hampton Beach. Begin your drive on Route 1B in Portsmouth, joining with Route 1A, which will bring you through Rye, North Hampton, and Hampton Beach. Be sure to get out to enjoy the view and great seafood along the way! When you're finished, hop on Interstate 95 for easy access to the rest of the state.
3. The Lake Sunapee Loop
The western portion of the state is often forgotten when it comes to drives, but the rural charm and beautiful towns make it perfect for a scenic drive. Start in Greenfield, heading North on 81, which will still bring you through picturesque towns and the Franklin Pierce Homestead. Join Route 110 near Goshen and turn onto Route 114 in Springfield. In Henniker, take Route 202 East, to Route 13, to Route 136, which will bring you back to Greenfield, where you started.
4. The Northern Wilds
Once you've been through the White Mountains, push yourself even further North, for more spectacular views and glimpses of wildlife. From Route 16 in Berlin, head north to Errol. Turn on Route 26 through Dixville Notch, which has spectacular views of mountains, lakes, and an enchanted looking resort. Follow this winding road to Colebrook, where Route 3 south will bring you past more beauty. In Groveton, take Route 110 east back to Berlin.
5. The Connecticut River Byway
The Connecticut River provides the western border of New Hampshire, and a drive along it provides gorgeous views of rural New Hampshire. Begin in Charlestown heading north of Route 12A, through Claremont. Be sure to stop at the Windsor-Cornish covered bridge (the longest in the country) and Saint-Gauden's National Historical Site in Cornish. Stop for lunch in Lebanon or Hanover, and continue north or end your scenic drive by hopping on Interstates 89 or 91.
6. The Mount Washington Auto Road
The Mount Washington Auto road is a scenic drive like no other. Begin this 7.6 mile drive from the mountain base in Gorham. Getting to the summit will take you about 30 minutes, and you can expect to spend 30-40 minutes coming down. Of course, you'll want to spend plenty of time at the top, enjoying the view from the roof of New Hampshire.
7. The Lake Loop
New Hampshire is famous for its lakes, so of course there is a scenic drive that will take you around them. Begin in Meredith on Route 25. Follow that north through Center Harbor and Moultonborough, two other towns on Lake Winnipesaukee. Join Route 109 South in Wolfeboro. When that joins with Route 153, you can choose to go north toward Conway, or south to continue your drive around the lake.