Our 2nd favorite things to do in NH State Parks

Of course, being a running team, running is our favorite state park activity, but running isn’t the only thing we love to do. Our Reach the Beach racing team shares our favorite (or second favorite) park adventures and where we suggest you go to try them out including waterskiing, bouldering, snowshoe hikes and racing, funny poses with friends for pictures, kayaking, fishing, photography, and backcountry skiing …


Jewels: Waterskiing on Lake Winnipesaukee

“Great for strength training and working other muscles, one of my all-time favorite activities…hands down! You can waterski near Ellacoya State Park and hang out at the park’s beach after.”

For boating, there is a free public boat launch in Alton locally called Downings Landing. It is on state own property that was purchased last November (2012) for the purpose of finally providing free access to this gorgeous lake. You can find it at the corner of Route 11 and 28A. There are a bunch of rules out there everywhere for boaters and for good reason. Click here to brush up on New Hampshire’s boating rules.



Mike: Bouldering the Whip and Overlooked at Pawtuckaway State Park

Vertical Dreams in Manchester has climbing guides into Pawtuckaway. Here is a fun video of the different bouldering accents you can do in the park including Mrs. Lovett (V2+), Overlooked (V4), It’s Only Tuesday (V4), and Texas Chain Saw Massacre (V0++).

 Check out this great video of a bouldering session at Pawtuckaway!



Lily: All snowy winter adventures!!

Try snowshoeing these trails this winter:

Lonesome Lake Trail up Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch State Park (Tip – bring some cash to buy cookies or hot chocolate at AMC’s Lonesome Lake Hut or the Cannon Mountain Summit ski lodge)

White Dot Trail up Mount Monadnock, Monadnock State Park. This mountain can get pretty crowded in the warmer months but what a fun contrast in the winter!

Avalon Trail to the A-Z Trail up Mount Tom, Crawford Notch State Park. You are very likely to be greeted by some friendly Gray Jays on this adventure and trail sledding enthusiasts.



Michele: Fun posing with friends for pictures at Wallis Sands State Beach

People will stare at you funny at Wallis Sands but only because they wish they could have as much fun as you!
Try these poses:

  • Jumpies
  •  Charge!
  • Charlie’s Angels
  • Diva or muscles
  • Awkward Pile or Pyramid
  • Staggered
  • Frames
  • 1…2…3 Silly Faces (take the picture quick before people go into laughter)
  • Surprise
  • Shaky face
  • Pointing in every direction
  • Trees
  • Air band



Grant: Photography!!!

“I fall in love every time I visit a New Hampshire State Park! Around every corner something new catches my eye…the light will be just right and I can’t resist the urge to capture it. Wandering the woods helps me to connect with the landscape. When I feel that sense of wonderment, I know it’s time to break out the camera. I always have it with me, along with a tripod. Anyone who runs, hikes, bikes, or camps with me knows they’re going to be ‘models’ in my latest photo shoot. They also know not to wait up for me once I break out the tripod: I might be a while. I can spend hours at a location looking for the right angle, setting up my equipment and getting exposure just right. For me it’s all worth it if I capture even a small fraction of that wonder in a photo. With any luck I show it to someone and they have the same reaction and it inspires them to get outside as well.

My favorite parks to photograph are Bear Brook, Pillsbury and Milan Hill.”

For some more idea’s check out New Hampshire’s Photography Tour Itinerary.2013-08-27


Kate: Kayaking at Sunset from Ahern State Park with Ari

“Kayaking and sharing adventures with Ari – Here we’re heading out for sunset kayaking at Ahern – Ari & I are super happy!! Who wouldn’t be??!!”

Here’s a good resource for finding rentals and/or other places that you can kayak in New Hampshire.



Scotty: Snowshoe racing at Bear Brook State Park

“So I compete in a handful of snowshoe races every year and really enjoy the whole atmosphere. Last December, about 20 of us from Acidotic Racing met up at Bear Brook State Park and did a two hour ramble to scout out a trail system that would host the New England Snowshoe Championship which was held that March. Notice the smiles on just about everyone’s faces. The feeling of breaking fresh tracks in virgin snow on a sunny day forces even the most grumpy to smile.”



Stacy: Boating and fishing at Umbagog Lake State Park

“Taking the boat out, fishing and exploring! My favorite place is Umbagog Lake State Park in Errol, where we camp on the remote sites and spend the majority of the day out in the boat. You can catch fish, spot bald eagles and pull off to coves to jump in the water for a swim.”

Here is a link for learning about what fish likes to hang out in New Hampshire’s Great North Woods: http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Fishing/fishing_forecast/Locations_North_Country.htm



Cait and Goose: Backcountry skiing/snowboarding in Franconia Notch State Park

“My favorite thing to do is to go exploring on skis!! Of course I love skiing in general but nothing is better than trekking off trail and finding yourself in the peace and quiet.
Picture in Franconia Notch.” – Cait

“The best place to snowboard is in the secret stashes at Cannon Mountain!” – Goose

Tucker Brook from the Cannon Tramway is a popular spot for backcountry skiing; however, it is not part of Cannon Mountain and is unmaintained and unpatrolled, hence backcountry. If you do not have a local to guide you through these woods, Eastern Mountain Sports, headquartered in Peterborough, New Hampshire, offers guided backcountry packages for different ability levels.


Running for Planet Earth,
the New Hampshire State Park Bloggers Reach the Beach Team


Michele Cota

Who in their right mind would sign up for a 200 mile race? That’s what the Reach the Beach Race relay organizers asked the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation when they generously offered the Division a relay team. Twelve crazy runners jumped at the opportunity. This year we are running for planet Earth to encourage fans of New Hampshire State Parks to reduce their carbon footprint and help to protect our environment.

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