UPDATED IN 2022 – As full-time RV’ers, we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Opting Out of Normal series where we explore the “Off the Beaten Path” of every state. We love the big popular stuff like everyone else, but there is just something incredible about discovering something unique, different, and maybe a little “off the beaten path”. We certainly can’t explore them all, but we’d love you to include your favorites below too. Each series will include at least 1 epic boondocking area, some complete with pictures, and all with GPS coordinates.
When traveling to New Hampshire, you definitely want to explore the more popular places, because in this small state, even those popular things are still unique and on those roads less traveled. Check out The Lost River Gorge and take a train ride on the Conway Railroad.
This is located in Franconia Notch State Park in Lincoln. The Basin, a 30-foot-wide, 15-foot-deep bowl hewn from a torrent of rushing water pouring down the face of granite cliffs, is a geological masterpiece. Dating back to the Ice Age. Parking is accessible in both directions via exit 34A off I-93. A gentle, paved hike leads from the parking lot to The Basin itself. Dog friendly. There are 2 viewing areas. One is handicap accessible. The walk to the basin is less than 10 minutes and there is a parking area. Don’t miss the amazing Baby Flume waterfall as well. These are natural waterfalls created by the rushing waters of the Pemigewasset.
More incredible pictures from Franconia Notch State Park
Sculptured Rocks – Hebron
This narrow canyon has been carved by the river over thousands of years into spectacular and strange formations. A short walk from a back road near Newfound Lake, the wonders of the Sculptured Rocks geological site is not obviously apparent.
However, once standing next to the little canyon or atop the short bridge across, you can see the incredible shapes the river has carved in the rocks. After crossing the bridge, there are many trails to explore. Leave plenty of time as it’s definitely hard to stop taking pictures! There’s a sign next to the road and plenty of parking. On the way, there is one of the most beautiful lakes in New Hampshire, Newfound Lake. Make sure to save some time to visit this too!
Ruggles Mine, Grafton
(Update! I was told this place had closed so I did some research. It looks like there are new owners who plan to open it back up to the public at some point, and also I found several organizations who are doing “field trip” type tours here. If you’re interested, do some research and try not to miss this!). This place is just not something you can even describe. You have to see it! I see there are some great YouTube videos out there that people have done, so if you find this fascinating, make sure you watch some of those videos. At Ruggles Mine, you could quite literally find a hidden gem, since the mine is full of over 150 types of minerals. Even if you don’t, you’ll enjoy the stunning scenery. During certain times the floor of the mine will gather water, and that makes it even more scenic.
Madame Sherri’s Castle
These are just ruins now, which we love to explore too. But once these ruins were the elaborate house where the enigmatic costume designer threw glamorous parties for New York’s theatrical elite. In New York, Madame Sherri made a name for herself designing elaborate costumes for Broadway productions, most notably the Ziegfeld Follies. After her husband’s death, she decided to build a unique structure in the woods of Chesterfield, New Hampshire, to hold parties for her theater friends.
TIP: The castle is near the entrance to the Madame Sherri Forest on Gulf Road. You’ll have to drive deep into the woods on dirt and stone roads, which may make you question whether you missed a turn. While the structures seem stable, be careful, as there are no handrails on the steps.
America’s Stonehenge, Salem
This mysterious man-made site features walls, chambers, and ceremonial sites that are over 4,000 years old! Some say that this is the oldest man-made construction in the U.S. I think the only downfall to this was the cost. If you’re a family going to see this, it’s not cheap. It was $12 per adult, children were $7.50 (under 5 were free). Really amazing history, but the cost seemed high to me! This is a unique, and different thing to see, but I don’t know that I’d go out of my way to see it. If you’re in the area, check it out!
Parkers Pancakes & Maple Barn
Located in Mason, NH. No visit to NH would be complete without some pancakes and homemade syrup! Located in Mason, Parker’s serves up pumpkin pancakes and maple coffee. The family business also runs a Sugar House and the Corn Crib Gift Shop. It’s a perfect way to spend the afternoon.
Located in Wilton. Super short walk of just 0.1 miles one-way to upper falls; 0.25 miles one-way to the base of the main falls. If you’ve read any of my blogs before, you know that waterfalls are my happy place.
I’ve said it before, they are the place where I feel the most at peace with everything around me. It’s where I feel centered and clear-minded. This is a beautiful short, easy walk and well worth the few minutes to get to the falls. Take your lunch! Enjoy a whole afternoon here. It’s really one of those off-the-beaten-path places you won’t regret.
(Sorry … no pictures of this place) Story Land is a theme park located in Glen, New Hampshire. In the few years prior to opening, the founders, Bob and Ruth Morrell had purchased a large number of dolls from Germany based on storybook characters. Unfortunately, I have had the fear of dolls passed up to me. Yes, UP! Our youngest daughter has a huge fear of dolls and so raising her made me look at them as a little more creepy than I had before having her, and therefore, I just don’t put myself in places where there are dolls. BUT with that being said, it’s super fun for kids, AND you get to stay in your RV in the parking lot FREE for a night or two.
Here are a few other blogs we think you’ll love!
- Off the Beaten Path in Maine. Our Top Hidden Gems!
- Top 10 Must-Have Travel Books
- Our Top 5 Epic Travel Picks. Hidden Gems You Can’t-Miss!
- Off the Beaten Path in Ohio. The Top Hidden Gems in Ohio.
- Story Land Parking Lot (see above)
- Rochester Park & Ride – These seem to be a “thing” in NH. And at most you can spend the night at. Sadly, NH doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of disbursed camping, but these park and rides are actually pretty ok! This is big rig friendly, and GPS: 43.292794, -71.000173.
- Walmart – any of them.
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