Family, Food, Blanket, Go!
17 Special New Hampshire Picnic Spots
It's true that some of these cannot be done during a day trip, but if you are already vacationing nearby, these picturesque locations are waiting for you to pay them a visit.
Website: Cathedral of the Pines
Ragged Neck, Rye - This little known area, located at Rye Harbor State Park, is an earthly paradise. Bring binoculars and take a peek at the Isles of Shoals in the distance, and watch fisherman coming and going from the harbor. There is an admission fee to get into this park.
Website: Ragged Neck
Echo Lake, Franconia Notch - Beautiful Echo Lake is at an elevation of 1,931 feet and offers views of Mount Lafayette and Cannon Mountain. Visitors are welcome to spend the day swimming, fishing or just sitting on a blanket beside the pristine waters. You can also rent a canoe or paddle boat and enjoy some time out on the water. A scenic trail around the lake provides views of the sheer, 700-foot Cathedral Ledge. There is a fee to get into the park, which is only open until September 1.
Website: Echo Lake
Rhododendron State Park, Fitzwilliam - The Rhododendron State Park explodes with color in mid-July - the perfect time for a family picnic. That's when the 16-acre grove of Rhododendrons, the largest grove in northern New England, is in full bloom. Come walk along a .6 mile trail that encircles the grove, or instead wander the wildflower trail which is blooming at different times. You might find yourself serenaded by songbirds who are naturally drawn to this place, while you enjoy a picnic lunch with your family.
Website: Rhododendron State Park
Prescott Park, Portsmouth - a city-owned park, the peaceful tranquility of the beautiful paradise known as Presscott Park, is the perfect setting for a picnic. Flowers are in bloom throughout the summer season and the sound of running water, as well as the beauty of the Piscataqua River which sits beside it, create a magical garden experience. There are ten acres of gardens, walkways, seating, docking and grass areas designed for public use. In the evenings during the summer, the stage is set for theatre and musical entertainment. Bring a blanket and enjoy the beauty of this special place.
Great Island Common, New Castle (Lisa Martineau)
Great Island Common, New Castle - Enjoy 32 acres of seaside greenspace, craggy coastline and beach. This town owned park has benches and picnic tables but why not bring your own chairs or blanket and sit for awhile? The site features views of two lighthouses, the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse and the Whaleback Lighthouse. You can also see the Isles of Shoals off in the distance. A beautiful and little-known spot on the seacoast, this one is sure to provide some memories for the whole family. There is a small fee for use of the park.
Forest Lake State Park, Dalton - Picnic tables are available beside a grassy area and 200 foot beach on the shore of Forest Lake. Kids can also swim in the shallow waters here and we think this is a little-known special spot for a day with the family.
Edward MacDowell Lake (Devon Hamilton)
Umbagog Lake State Park, Cambridge - Lake Umbagog sits in the heart of "Moose Country" or the North Woods and the abundant wildlife is just part of the attraction here. The 7,850 acre lake is one of the most pristine lakes in the State of New Hampshire. Unfettered beauty surrounds you. This may require more than a day trip but there is a campground nearby with 27 sites. Pack something tasty and hearty for this excursion because you may wind up renting a canoe to explore this magnificent lake.
Website: Umbagog Lake State Park
Wason Pond, Chester - Wason Pond - A small park on Raymond Road in Chester on a Wason Pond, where the kids can swim or fish. Or, take a stroll under the recently built covered bridge (or "kissing" bridge) and listen to the sounds of running water. There is also a small playground for the kiddies to burn some energy. There are picnic tables and plenty of room to lay down a blanket and break out the baloney sandwiches!
Hampton Beach, With only 13 miles of coastline, Hampton Beach is the beachy-est and the most logical place to bring the family for an afternoon of sunshine, sea breezes and a picnic lunch. Pack a cooler, walk the boardwalk, enjoy some music on the Sea Shell Stage and make some memories for the whole family. Best of all, dessert - from fry doe to ice cream to salt water taffy - is just a short walk away.
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