The Ultimate Guide to RV Camping in New Hampshire

Travel Inspiration

Planning a getaway to New Hampshire? An RV camping trip to New Hampshire is the perfect way to see the state! You can travel where you want, with flexibility in your schedule and arrangements, while still enjoying the comforts of home.

You’ll likely want a guide to New Hampshire before you travel there – that’s where we come in! This guide will help you with everything you need to know to have a wonderful New Hampshire RV vacation.

Preparing for RV Camping

The first step in RV camping in New Hampshire is…making sure you have an RV! If you don’t have your own motorhome to use on a trip, RVshare has rentals in New Hampshire, or in your home state if you want to take a longer road trip. Once your rental is secured, you’ll need to decide what to pack for your trip.

Choosing the right RV for your needs

As you consider the RV you’ll rent, you’ll want to consider several factors. First, consider how many people will be traveling with you. You may need a bigger RV like a fifth-wheel trailer, a toy hauler, or a Class A motorhome if you have a large group. If you are traveling alone or with just one other person, you can use something much smaller like a Class B campervan or a pop-up trailer. Many families find that a Class C camper is just the right fit for them, and there are also a range of trailers in the mid-size range.

Once you’ve determined the RV size you need, you’ll also want to consider the amenities you want. Larger motorhomes and trailers tend to have more perks than smaller ones. You’ll find separate bedrooms, bathrooms, and entertainment areas in Class A motorhomes and large trailers. Small campervans and little trailers may not have much more than a bed. Of course, many smaller RVs showcase an ingenious use of space, and you might be surprised at the extras that clever designers can fit in small areas! Extra amenities will likely also come with a higher price tag, so you’ll need to consider that as well.

Finally, think about how you’ll get around when your RV is set up. If you have a campervan, you can use that for sightseeing and just park each night to camp. Trailers mean you’ll have your tow vehicle available once you unhitch. However, with large RVs like Class As, you may want to tow a vehicle behind your rig that you can use at your destination.

Packing essentials for a successful trip

Now that you know the RV you’ll be traveling with, it’s time to decide how to pack it! Packing an RV is a special skill – you don’t want to forget anything but you also don’t want to load your RV down with unnecessary items. You may want to make two lists – one for your clothing and personal items and one for the items you’ll need to camp in an RV.

On your personal packing list, you’ll want:

  • Clothing appropriate for the weather and activities you’ve planned. Pack for the number of days you’ll be gone, or the number of days between laundry stops.
  • Toiletries
  • Medications
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray or citronella candles
  • Entertainment (books, games, movies)
  • Outdoor gear (hiking boots, bathing suit, paddleboards, etc)
  • Cold or warm weather gear as needed (heavy jacket, hat, mittens, sun hat, rain jacket)
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Groceries
  • Electronics & chargers
  • Pet supplies
  • Quarters for showers or laundry

You’ll also want to check your rental listing before making an RV packing list. Different RV rentals may include different extras – or none at all! Your rental could have linens, dishes, and even items like camp chairs available for you to use. It could also not include any of those things. You’ll want to check before you begin packing!

  • Pots & pans
  • Dishes
  • Utensils – don’t forget a can opener, bottle opener, spatula, set of knives, etc.
  • Dish towels & sponges
  • Sheets & pillows
  • Bath Towels
  • Tool kit
  • Folding camp chairs
  • Blankets
  • RV leveling blocks
  • Sewer hose and adapter
  • Freshwater hose
  • Surge protector

You might need to change some items on your list, depending on where you’re going and what time of year you’re camping. You can also consult this pre-travel checklist to make sure you didn’t forget anything!

New Hampshire State House, Concord, New Hampshire, USA. New Hampshire State House is the nation's oldest state house, built in 1816 - 1819.

Considerations for Camping in New Hampshire

You may want to spend time thinking about driving your RV in New Hampshire. The state has lots of mountains, and depending on where you travel in the state you may want to consider how you’ll maneuver your rig through the mountain roads. You’ll also want to check the RV driving laws for New Hampshire.

Most states have similar driving laws for RVs, but you’ll want to be sure so you can avoid a ticket! The maximum width for an RV is 96 inches and the maximum length is 45 feet. The maximum trailer length is 48 feet. Towing two vehicles (triple-towing) is not allowed.

Passengers are allowed to ride in truck campers. Overnight parking in rest areas is not allowed. If you are towing a trailer over 3,000 lbs., it needs to be outfitted with trailer brakes, a breakaway switch, safety chains, and lights.

As for general driving laws in New Hampshire, a right turn is allowed on red unless otherwise noted.

Researching campground options and making reservations

Once you have your RV settled, it’s time to look at campground options in New Hampshire! You can find lots of suggestions on Hipcamp, Campspot, BookOutdoors, RoverPass, and The Dyrt. These sites can help you research where to stay and the amenities you’ll get at various campgrounds. You can even make reservations online using these sites. Harvest Hosts is another excellent option and offers unique campgrounds in places like wineries and farms.

Finding Campgrounds

There are lots of campgrounds in New Hampshire to consider! Whether you want urban camping in New Hampshire, luxury camping with lots of amenities, or rustic camping in the wilderness, you’re sure to find something that suits you.

Exploring public campgrounds in New Hampshire

Let’s first take a look at New Hampshire’s public campgrounds. Public campgrounds include those at state and national parks, in national forests, and on other federally-owned lands. These campgrounds are usually very affordable, although they often have fewer amenities than private campgrounds.

National Park Camping

New Hampshire does not have any national parks. However, the state does have the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park. Camping is allowed along the Appalachian Trail, but overnight camping is not allowed at Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park.

National Forest Camping

National forests are an excellent place to find public campgrounds! The White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire covers 800,000 acres in the eastern part of the state and in western Maine. You can hike, fish, boat, and camp in the forest. There are lots of picturesque streams and lakes to see, plus mountain vistas and a whole lot of trees.

State Park Camping

New Hampshire’s state parks are another option for some beautiful public campgrounds. You’ll find lots of places to enjoy lakes, plenty of pretty hiking trails, and lots of other outdoor activities to try at these parks!

Bear Brook State Park is the largest developed state park in New Hampshire. You can hike, boat, fish, or bike at the park. There are two archery ranges and several museums to visit at the park as well.

Mount Washington State Park in the White Mountain National Forest includes the 6,288-foot Mount Washington. If you make the trek to the top, you can see Maine, Massachusetts, New York, and all the way to the Atlantic Ocean on a clear day. Jenness State Beach in Rye has a parking lot that easily accommodates RVs. The beach is a good spot to swim, jet ski, or boat. Moose Brook State Park is near Lancaster and Pittsburg, New Hampshire. It has wonderful places to mountain bike, camp, picnic, swim, and fish.

Exploring private campgrounds and RV parks

You’ll find lots of options for private campgrounds in New Hampshire as well! There are glamping campgrounds if you want the best amenities you can find. Huttopia White Mountains is situated on the beautiful Iona Lake. You’ll also get access to their heated pool, and there are lots of hiking trails along with world-class glamping accommodations. Bearcamp River Campground in the White Mountains is pet-friendly and has WiFi and a dump station. Better yet, you’ll have access to laundry facilities and hot showers.

Of course, you can also find private campgrounds with fewer amenities (and probably a lower price tag!) As you look for private campgrounds, think about whether you want full hookups, dump stations, and other perks, and keep an eye out for those as you research your choices.

Boondocking in New Hampshire

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can head out boondocking in New Hampshire! The state’s breathtaking mountains and sparkling streams mean there are lots of options for getting off the grid and heading into some beautiful wilderness. Consider camping at Gale River Loop Road in Bethlehem which has 15 campsites that can accommodate small RVs. The Kilkenny Loop is an 11-mile dirt road through the White Mountain National Forest near Berlin. You’ll be near Moose Brook State Park, Jericho Mountain, and other gorgeous areas where you can spend the day outdoors.

Fall foliage in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire

Planning your itinerary

After all the research you’ve done on RVs and campgrounds in New Hampshire, you probably have a rough idea of an itinerary for your trip. Now is the time to start finalizing those plans and deciding what you’re going to do when you’re on your RV camping trip! Whether you want an urban adventure or want to get out in the natural beauty of New Hampshire, there’s something for you here.

Features and attractions in New Hampshire

There is a lot of amazing scenery in New Hampshire to view! One of the best ways to get the lay of the land is with a scenic drive. The Kancamagus Scenic Byway heads around the mountain of the same name on a short but breathtaking drive.

You’ll want to see New Hampshire’s landmarks as well. The Harrisville Historic District preserves one of the mill villages that grew up several hundred years ago to support the state’s lumber industry. You can see the original homes, cottages, and churches, plus a general store and a cemetery.

The New Hampshire State House is the oldest in the U.S. and has served as the state’s capitol building since 1819. It’s open for public tours, along with private and group tours.

The Robert Frost Farm presents a chance for fans of the poet to see the 1800s New England farmhouse and orchards where he lived from 1900-1911. The site is also a gathering place for writers, with readings and other events taking place all year long.

Also, make sure you take the time to see the national sites in New Hampshire. Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park preserves the home, studios, and gardens of Augustus Saint-Gaudens who was an American sculptor. The historical park has more than 100 of his works on display, including the “Standing Lincoln” monument and the Shaw Memorial.

Festivals, fairs, and events in New Hampshire

You may end up in New Hampshire just in time for a fun and festive event in the state! Or you may plan your entire trip around a New Hampshire festival or fair. The Lancaster Fair over Labor Day weekend has been an ongoing event in New Hampshire for almost 150 years. The NH Bacon & Beer Festival and the Chowderfest and Brews Festival both take place at the tail end of spring and are the perfect way to welcome summer!

If you rent an RV to take to a fair or festival, some owners will set the rig up for you for a fee. That way, when you arrive everything is ready to go!

Exploring Outdoor Activities in New Hampshire

New Hampshire is a state that beckons people outdoors! Whether you enjoy hiking and mountain biking or water activities like fishing and swimming, you’ll find something to do in New Hampshire.

Hiking, biking, and nature trails

Hiking is a wonderful way to explore New Hampshire! It’s an inexpensive activity, and one that can be tailored to any age and level. From hiking New Hampshire’s impressive mountains to an easy stroll outdoors, there is a trail to suit you and your family here.

Some of the best trails in New Hampshire include:

If you’d rather mountain bike than hike, there are lots of mountain biking trails to try as well!

Here are a few excellent trails to try:

If these trails aren’t ones you and your group are interested in, AllTrails has hundreds of other options!

a mountain waterfall

Fishing, boating, and water activities

If you love water activities, New Hampshire’s lakes, rivers, and a small bit of seashore that are all great for water fun! Want to go fishing in New Hampshire? Lake Sunapee is one of the largest lakes in New Hampshire. You can fish for lake trout, salmon, pickerel, and smallmouth bass. Mount Sunapee State Park has hiking trails and a swimming beach along the lake. The Connecticut River is the longest river in New Hampshire and is a popular trout fishing river. You can also fish for smallmouth bass, crappie, walleye, and other fish. The Merrimack River Reservoir has largemouth bass, pickerel, bluegill, and more.

Rather spend the day relaxing on a beautiful beach? New Hampshire has those as well! Echo Lake State Park has a beautiful beach with soft sand and blue water. You’re surrounded by the beauty of the mountains while you sit on the shore. Wellington State Park has a scenic beachfront trail surrounded by mountains. You can fish, boat, and enjoy Newfound Lake. Wallis Sands State Beach is near Rye, and is along New Hampshire’s coast. Enjoy an oceanfront beach with gentle surf and lifeguards on duty.

Finally, make time to explore New Hampshire’s gorgeous waterfalls! Arethusa Falls is a 140-foot falls in Crawford Notch State Park, nestled in the White Mountains. The hike is a 1.5-mile, moderately steep trail to the beautiful spot. Diana’s Baths are a series of small cascades and falls that make great swimming holes. Many people visit in summer to cool off in the natural pools. Glen Ellis Falls is a popular waterfall in the White Mountain National Forest. It’s an excellent photography spot and is just a short hike from the parking area. The waterfall is very popular, so it’s best to avoid going to view it on weekends if you can.

Wildlife viewing and photography

Looking for wildlife in New Hampshire? The state’s many state parks and the White Mountains National Forest are both good places to watch for wild animals. Nature preserves like the Manchester Cedar Swamp Preserve, Joanne Bass Bross Preserve, and the Lamprey River Preserve are also wonderful places to watch for local wildlife and birds that make their homes in these protected spaces.

As for the wild animals you might spot in New Hampshire, look for moose, river otters, black bears, woodchucks, deer, lynx, and many more.

Family-friendly activities and attractions

Taking a family RV camping trip to New Hampshire? There are lots of family-friendly destinations and attractions in the state! Whether you want a day of outdoor exercise, some learning while on vacation, or some plain ol’ fun and thrills, check out these ideas for fun family days in the state.

Historical sites and museums

Family vacations are entertaining, but you can add some learning into the mix and still have everyone enjoy themselves! The national site of Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park teaches visitors about a significant New Hampshire artist. Canterbury Shaker Village shows how Shaker communities in the late 1700s lived. Star Island is a historic site between Maine and New Hampshire that’s only accessible by boat. The Daniel Webster Birthplace State Historic Site preserves the legacy of one of America’s prominent politicians during the early 1800s.

You’ll also find lots of museums in New Hampshire where you can learn about state history and other fascinating topics. The Mount Washington Discovery Center explores weather on the mountain with some of the most extreme weather in the entire world. You can even talk to an observer who lives at Mount Washington’s summit about the intense weather they experience there. The New England Ski Museum celebrates the 8,000-year-old sport by looking at its history and at famous New England skiers. The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester showcases Dutch works from the 1600s, Matisse and Picasso masterpieces, and folk and fine art from New Hampshire creators.

Amusement parks, zoos, and wildlife refuges

If you want to spend a day with the family shrieking on thrilling rides, eating cotton candy, and generally enjoying the theme park life, there are several amusement parks in New Hampshire that are perfect for you! It’s Christmas all year long at Santa’s Village and the Waterpark at Santa’s Village. You can meet reindeer, visit the reindeer blacksmith shop, and ride bumper cars or the Ferris wheel. The waterpark area is Christmas-themed as well, with slides, a dump bucket, and interactive water features. FunWorld is an indoor amusement park, so you can enjoy it regardless of when you visit New Hampshire. Ride the two-story carousel or the small rollercoaster. Kids can also play on a playground, or on several quarter-operated rides. Older kids will enjoy the arcade.

Want to visit a zoo or aquarium? New Hampshire has several! The Living Shores Aquarium has otters, fish, stingrays, and other species. The Blue Ocean Discovery Center is open every summer and has a touch tank. Guests can also see a demonstration of a lobster trap and learn about marine life. Charmingfare Farm has bobcats, black bears, and deer on its wooded grounds. There is also a petting area and an option to take a horseback ride.

You can also look for animals at wildlife refuges in New Hampshire. The Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge near Newington protects more than 1,000 acres where migratory birds and other wildlife live. The refuge is home to New Hampshire’s greatest concentration of wintering bald eagles. The John Hay National Wildlife Refuge is on the former estate of President Lincoln’s private secretary. It’s a habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.

Mount Washington Summit New Hampshire

Safety and Preparedness when RV Camping in New Hampshire

An RV camping trip to New Hampshire is a wonderful way to spend a vacation! However, it’s important to know the risks of camping in the state so you can be prepared in case of an emergency.

Weather conditions and natural disaster preparedness

The most common natural disasters in New Hampshire are floods, hurricanes, and severe winter storms.

If you’re in New Hampshire when it’s being threatened by a hurricane, the best thing you can do is leave the area before the storm arrives. If you can’t leave, move to higher ground. Don’t plan to ride out a hurricane in your RV but seek shelter in a sturdier building. Move away from the coast and stay away from areas prone to landslides. If you are driving when there is flooding, be aware that water can seem more shallow than it is! Don’t be fooled into attempting to drive through a flooded area where water may be deeper than you thought. You can find more tips for dealing with extreme weather in an RV here.

Wildlife encounters and precautions

Wildlife in New Hampshire includes black bears, moose, and mountain lions, all of which can be dangerous to humans! When you’re hiking, be sure to make plenty of noise so you don’t sneak up on an animal and startle it. Don’t let dogs or small children run ahead on the trail. If you do see an animal, back away slowly and make yourself appear as big as possible.

More Inspiration for Your New Hampshire Travels

An RV camping trip to New Hampshire can create lifelong memories for everyone involved! Here are more resources to help you plan your trip:

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