It’s no secret that New Hampshire is a paradise for lovers of the great outdoors. As the home of the snowmobile, we get lots of credit for our winter recreation offerings, but winter is over. Spring begets a flurry of boat preparation. Lake houses and camps are being dusted off, engines are being tuned and kayakers are making sure their PFDs still fit after a long winter of hibernating. From the Whites to the Lakes to the Seacoast a wide range of boating activities await mariners. Whether you’re coming from out of state and need some local beer options or you’re a Granite Stater looking to add a pinch of fresh air and exercise to balance the work you’re so diligently putting into your New Hampshire Brewery Trail (have you been getting your stamps?); you’re covered in New Hampshire! New Hampshire Fish and Game has a full listing of rules and regulations for safe and legal boating. For more information about boating around the state, try Stay Work Play, or Visit New Hampshire, the state’s Travel and Tourism website. You’ll find everything you need to plan your water sports vacation.
Ocean Adventures and Brackish Water:
New Hampshire only has 18 miles of coastline (the shortest of any state) but if you add the Great Bay and all its inlets, the number drastically jumps to 131 miles. In short, you’ve got a lot of room to play! Deep sea fishing charters and whale watches leave daily from Rye Harbor. If cruising isn’t your thing, you can drop your anchor in scenic Gosport Harbor, in the heart of the Isles of Shoals (home of Smuttynose Island!). For athletic types, the Great Bay and its estuaries offer loads of places for kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding. A quick Google search will point you in the direction of outfitters and put-in spots.
The Seacoast has the most bustling beer scene in the state. Smuttynose, Garrison City, and Redhook all package beer in cans, which are much more versatile in the great outdoors, especially if broken glass is a concern. When you’re back on land, head to Portsmouth Brewery, Earth Eagle, Throwback, and/or 7th Settlement for a tasty meal and a pint; you’ve clearly worked up an appetite.
Follow this dock to aquatic adventure on Lake Winnipesaukee!
Thanks to the Bill Murray classic “What About Bob?” Lake Winnipesaukee is the most famous of New Hampshire’s many lakes, but it’s not the only one worth your time. Lake Winnisquam, Ossipee Lake, Newfound Lake, and Squam Lake are all excellent places to hit the water in canoes, pontoon boats or jet skis. Of course, you should never pilot any kind of motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
Afterward, in the Lakes region, there are several breweries that serve the local community. Lone Wolf has an excellent downtown spot in scenic Wolfeboro, The Oldest Summer Resort in America. Shackett’s Brewing makes their small batch beers in Bristol and there’s nowhere else in the world you can find them. A little further east, along Route 16, you’ll find Hobbs Tavern, a full service brewpub near Ossipee Lake.
Unlike the Seacoast and the Lakes, rivers don’t have a region named after them, but they’re wonderful nonetheless. River boating most likely means a trip to the White Mountains for adventure on the Saco or the Pemigewasset. Tubes might be the smallest boats on this list, but they’re also the most beer-friendly! Many dedicated tubers have their own purpose-built cooler tubes to keep their favorite beverages cold during a lazy float session. This is a perfect place for canned beer because broken glass in a river is hard to see, dangerous and polluting. “Pack out what you pack in” is one of the most important rules of outdoor activities. If you’re up for something more strenuous, rafting, canoeing and kayaking are your three options. If you haven’t already chosen one of these and bought your own gear, Visit NH can make all the introductions you’ll need to explore New Hampshire’s fast-moving-fresh water.
Conway and North Conway are the hub of White Mountains outdoor activities, so it makes sense that there are some great local beers available in cans. Tuckerman and Moat Mountain have both been practicing their craft for over 15 years, so you know they’re doing something right. Their beers can easily be found all around the area on tap and in stores, but they’re both also worth visiting in person. The other side of the White Mountain National Forest is the home of Woodstock Inn Brewery, another brewpub who also brews canned beer and kegs for the New England market.
If you’re a fan of any the types of boating, from casual relaxing voyages to more athletic pursuits, we welcome you to another boating season in New Hampshire. Go, explore, be responsible, and have fun.