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Balloon Fest | © Karen Booth
Balloon Fest | © Karen Booth

The 10 Best Things To See & Do In New Hampshire This Summer

Picture of Katherine Schweizer
Updated: 9 February 2017
Home to some of the biggest ski mountains on the East Coast, New Hampshire is a popular winter destination, but when the snow melts and the lakes sparkle, there’s no shortage of things to do in the summer. From the White Mountains to the lakes and sea, the summer is full of exciting festivals, fairs and events. Here is The Culture Trip’s list of 10 things to do and see in New Hampshire.

League of NH Annual Craftsmen’s Fair

Delight your senses at the Annual Craftsmen’s Fair. Featuring over 350 craftspeople, you can learn more about craft through demonstrations and workshops for children, teens and adults. Create your own piece of craft or watch demonstrations of traditional arts like quilt making, rug hooking, knitting and more. Visit exhibitions and see how craft is an essential part of our daily lives. Listen to live music where the songs, like the artwork, will all be completely original. This fair was the nation’s first artisan fair held by the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen in 1933, starting a cherished annual tradition. Come out and enjoy the fun from August 6th to August 14th at Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury, New Hampshire from 10am-5pm. Love what you see? Don’t worry, this isn’t the only opportunity to purchase from New Hampshire’s artisans. You can shop all year round at the eight League of New Hampshire Craftsmen fine art galleries that are located throughout the state.

1398 Route 103, Newbury, NH, USA +1 603 763 3500

Annual Craftsmen's Fair | © Sullivan Creative

Annual Craftsmen’s Fair | © Sullivan Creative

North Country Moose Festival

Voted the #1 Festival in New Hampshire, the North Country Moose Festival is a must. There is something for the whole family from entertainment to great music with activities for all ages. Celebrating its 25th year, 2016’s festivities include a moose calling contest, moose chili, bluegrass music, local crafters, as well as family favorites like carriage rides, maple syrup tasting contest, fireworks and more. Taking place in Colebrook, New Hampshire, Canaan, Vermont and Pittsburg, New Hampshire, be sure to visit all three locations August 26th-27th.

Main Street, Colebrook, NH, USA

Tabor Road, Pittsburg, NH, USA +1 603 237 8939

Agiochook Adventure Tour

Have an interest in writing and photography? Want to perfect your skills or try your hand at it? Then the Agiochook Adventure Tour is for you. Join Photographer Donna Atkins and Writer Ed Parson’s for a day of inspiration and fun at the top of Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeastern United States. Ride the historic Cog railway to the summit, where you will meet your group for a brief tour of the Mount Washington Observatory. From there you can choose to shoot or write on the upper deck, or venture out and walk the summit to learn about the plant species native to Mount Washington. Today, the original steam engines still climb to the summit and provides inspiration for writing and photography. As the mountain with the world’s worst weather, the Indian name for Mount Washington, Agiochook, means “the place of the Concealed One.”

Base Station Road, Thimpson and Meserve’s Purchase, NH, USA +1 603 278 5404 

The Cog | © Donna Atkins

The Cog | © Donna Atkins

The Barnstormers

Located in the small village of Tamworth, surrounded by pastures and the dramatic backdrop of the White Mountains, lies The Barnstormers. Founded in 1931 by Francis Cleveland, the youngest son of President Grover Cleveland, the Barnstormers is one of the longest-running professional summer theaters in the country. This theater has been entertaining and delighting audiences for 85 years. During June, July and August, The Barnstormers feature the gems of American and British theatre such as Agatha Christie’s A Murder Is Announced, and Moss Hart’s You Can’t Take It With You. While the plays change each season, The Barnstormers’ commitment to provide its audience with great professional theatre remains as strong as at its opening. During the off-season, the facility is available to rent for concerts, drama and dance performances, talks and community events. The theater is also offered to the many local performing arts groups free-of-charge.

104 Main Street, Tamworth, NH, USA +1 603 323 8500

Mount Washington View | © Grisha Levit/Flickr

Mount Washington View | © Grisha Levit/Flickr

The New London Barn Playhouse

Come join us this summer for a show to remember. As the oldest continuously operating summer stock theater in New Hampshire, the New London Barn Playhouse has stayed true to its mission of producing vibrant theater created by emerging artists, in collaboration with accomplished professionals. Check out the Children’s Theater Series at the Barn, a series that consists of five shows performed by the Barn’s own Junior Intern Company.

84 Main Street, New London, NH, USA +1 603 526 6710

Kiss Me Kate | © Jason Merwin Photography

Kiss Me Kate | © Jason Merwin Photography

Currier Museum of Art

This summer, opening June 11th and running through August 29th, the Currier Museum of Art presents Urban Landscapes: Manchester and the Modern American City. Featuring realistic, romanticized and abstracted views of the cities’ most defining features—such as Manchester’s Amoskeag Mills and the skyscrapers of New York City, this exhibition highlights the complex nature of modern cities like Manchester. In conjunctions with Urban Landscapes, the Museum also presents Our City—Manchester Through Children’s Eyes from June 22nd through August 25th. This exhibition is a collaborative project between Inti Academy students and local photographer, Becky Field, that provides a firsthand perspective on the city’s rich cultural tapestry. In addition to these exhibits, visitors can also find works by Picasso, Monet, O’Keeffe, Wyeth and LeWitt.

150 Ash Street, Manchester, NH, USA +1 603 669 6144

Hillsborough Balloon Festival

Founded in 1988 The Hillsborough Balloon Festival & Fair is a spectacular four-day event that has something for the entire family. The thrill of the weekend are the Hot Air Balloons piloted and crewed by regional balloon enthusiasts. Take a ride in a balloon over New Hampshire’s beautiful Monadnock Region if you’re brave enough, or take a tethered flight if that’s more your speed. It’s a great way to spend a weekend, exploring Hillsborough’s many small town attractions. The Saturday night fireworks extravaganza is one of the premier fireworks displays in all of New Hampshire. This festival, which takes place every July, includes balloons, a carnival, parade, fireworks, entertainment, and more.

29 Preston Street Hillsborough, NH, USA +1 603 464 5858

Balloon Fest | © Karen Booth

Hillsborough Balloon Festival | © Karen Booth

Children’s Festival Hampton Beach

This family-orientated festival has it all from mini-golf to sand castle competitions. Kicking off with a magic show and building up to a Giant Costume Parade that marches almost the length of Hampton Beach, the annual Hampton Beach Children’s Festival is the family fun event of the summer. Every child gets a prize for being in the parade. From August 15th to August 19th, each day will be a blockbuster, filled with non-stop activity and entertainment, including a talent show, dancing, story tellers, balloons, free ice cream and much more! This five-day event is free for children of all ages.

180 Ocean Boulevard, Hampton, NH, USA +1 603 926 8717

Living History Event, Historic Hillsborough, NH

Take a step back in time for the weekend at The Living History Event August 20th and 21st. This action packed, two-day event in scenic and historic Hillsborough, New Hampshire is hosted by the Hillsborough Historical Society and Living History Event Committee. The delightful, interactive living history experiences take you through the unique history of the New England area. You’ll hear cannons roar as you make butter and ice cream, press cider, and sample maple syrup. You can try your hand at panning for real gold too, or sew a flag with Betsy Ross. They’ll also be the chance to visit special guests like Abigail Adams, wife of President John Adams, Annie Oakley, the famous sharpshooter and even Laura Ingalls Wilder where you can ask her about life on the prairie. Also offered are trolley tours of the wonderful stone arch bridges that make Hillsborough a historical treasure.

Hillsborough, NH, USA +1 603 464 5858

Living History | © Bob & Sue Hofstetter

Living History | © Bob & Sue Hofstetter

New Hampshire Music Festival

From its humble beginnings in 1952 as a small chamber orchestra performing on Melody Island in Lake Winnipesaukee, the festival has grown to be a highly-valued community asset. The New Hampshire Music Festival will be celebrating its 64th season with the theme “Wanderlust”, highlighting cultural richness and diversity. Thie summer festival honors the tradition of classical music while exploring new artistic paths. Every summer during July and August musicians from around the country come to Plymouth to perform well-known classics and contemporary works. This organization offers you an engaging, immersive festival experience by presenting world-class performances of symphonic, choral and chamber music. Strong collaborations with community partners are a hallmark of this important cultural institution, enabling music experiences and educational programs to students of all ages. Head to Plymouth and listen to the mountains come to life during this summer concert series.

114 Main Street, Plymouth, NH, USA +1 603 535 2787