There are a lot of ways to enjoy the seacoast of New Hampshire. One of the most obvious is hitting the beach. But during the summer that can mean fighting for parking, lugging a cooler and any number of other hassles that come with setting up at one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state. Instead, consider seeing it from the car on this beautiful scenic drive in New Hampshire.

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Have you taken the Colonial New Hampshire Seacoast drive? Tell us about your favorite part of any must-sees along this scenic drive in New Hampshire! And looking for other road trip ideas? Check out these seven beautiful byways in New Hampshire that are perfect for a scenic drive.

Don’t forget to stock up from our best road trip snacks guide!

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Scenic Drive In New Hampshire

What are the best scenic road trips in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire, with its picturesque landscapes, offers a variety of scenic road trips that highlight the state's beauty and charm. Here are some of the best scenic road trips you can take in New Hampshire:

  • Kancamagus Scenic Byway (The Kanc): This route stretches approximately 34 miles along NH-112 between Lincoln and Conway. Travelers are treated to sweeping views of the White Mountains, waterfalls, hiking trails, and the Swift River. Especially in the fall, the foliage displays vibrant colors, making the drive truly breathtaking.
  • Mount Washington Auto Road: This road begins in Pinkham Notch and extends for 7.6 miles one way. As drivers ascend this steep, winding path, they traverse diverse ecosystems. Upon reaching the summit of Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast, they are rewarded with panoramic vistas.
  • White Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway: Covering roughly 100 miles, this route loops around NH-112, US-302, NH-16, and NH-3. Along the way, you can marvel at the stunning vistas of the Presidential Range, explore historic sites, and visit attractions like the Flume Gorge and the Mount Washington Hotel.
  • Lakes Region Tour: This route circles Lake Winnipesaukee via NH-11, NH-25, and US-3. As you journey through, you'll encounter picturesque views of Lake Winnipesaukee, pass through charming lakeside towns such as Meredith and Wolfeboro, and find numerous boating and water activities spots.
  • Coastal Route - New Hampshire’s Seacoast: This short but scenic stretch covers about 18 miles along NH-1A between Seabrook and Portsmouth. Along the way, you can enjoy sandy beaches, visit the historic town of Portsmouth, and take in uninterrupted views of the Atlantic Ocean.

When considering any scenic drive in New Hampshire, you should be aware of seasonal conditions, potential road closures, or other factors that might influence your journey. For the best experience, equip yourself with a map or GPS device and ensure your vehicle is ready for the adventure.

What is the most scenic road in New Hampshire?

One of the state’s most universally recognized and acclaimed scenic roads is the Kancamagus Scenic Byway, commonly called "The Kanc."

The Kancamagus Scenic Byway runs approximately 34 miles along NH-112 between Lincoln and Conway. It's renowned for its breathtaking views of the White Mountains, lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and the Swift River. The byway reaches nearly 3,000 feet, offering panoramic vistas, especially from spots like the Kancamagus Pass.

The drive is especially popular in the fall when the foliage turns vibrant red, orange, and gold shades. Besides the stunning natural scenery, numerous hiking trails, campgrounds, and picnic areas along the way allow visitors to immerse themselves in the region's beauty.