“Live free or die.” This line is the state motto of New Hampshire, and few, if any, state mottos are as plain and straightforward as this one. A visit to this gem of the northeastern U.S., and one can easily see why the people there feel this way and from where this pioneering spirit originates.
Indeed, a quick jaunt across the state can inspire feelings of rugged individualism when surrounded by the stunning vistas of mountains, rivers, valleys, and the changing fall and spring leaf colors.
This individualism permeates much of life in the “Granite State,” where its well-known independent streak can be found in everyday comings and goings and can even affect the entire nation. For instance, New Hampshire has long held the first primary of the presidential election cycle and takes this duty deadly seriously, making New Hampshire a bellwether for the rest of the country during election years.
Long inhabited by Algonquian-speaking peoples, the English settled the land before it was admitted into the newly minted U.S. in 1788. Following America’s victory in the Revolutionary War, New Hampshire, like America, has grown and matured in the intervening 200 years or so.
Long a localized granite mining state that saw an industrial boom following World War II, New Hampshire has expanded economically and culturally while maintaining its staunch, pioneer spirit.
Its ecological diversity and beauty are one of its many calling cards, and luckily, New Hampshire’s state parks system preserves these natural jewels for all to visit.
Below are some New Hampshire must-see spots:
Jericho Mountain State Park: Stop in at this state park any time of the year to get a bellyful of outdoor fun. Jericho Mountain, located just northwest of Berlin, NH, is a hotspot for outdoor lovers of every type. Summer favorites included hiking, swimming, canoeing, boating, fishing, and camping. When the weather rolls in and the ground and trails are blanketed with thick, pristine snow, just hop on a snowmobile and head out for a different exploration. There is truly something for everyone at this park.
North Hampton State Beach: Head to the East Coast for some fun in the sun at this state park. North Hampton State Beach is a veritable playground for all manner of summertime activity on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Pristine beaches and chilly, gentle waves attract visitors by the thousands each year to this New Hampshire hotspot. A true New England beach town locale, it’s the perfect place to pack a lunch, spread out a towel, and let the worries and concerns of everyday life drift away with the tide.
Mt. Washington State Park: Perched at the apex of the highest point in the northeastern U.S., this site offers unmatched views and unrivaled natural beauty. On a clear day, you can see over the 6,200-foot summit as far as Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Quebec, and even the Atlantic Ocean! In addition to the breathtaking views, Mt. Washington is surrounded by 750,000 acres of White Mountain National Forest, one of the region’s largest and most untouched parcels of national park land. Take a hike to the summit or on one of the many lower trails. Stop at the Tip-Top House at the top for a quick respite and a gander at the beautiful surrounding New England landscape.