What Are the Best Places to Retire in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire is a small state with lots of beauty and heart. Many retirees choose this state due to its low cost of living rates, low taxes, safe cities and towns and gorgeous nature scenes. Most seniors that live in this state enjoy a high quality of life, feel safe and are usually more active.

Keep going to learn more about our top ten best places to retire in the state of New Hampshire.

1. Keene

Keene is a city located in the southern portion of New Hampshire, and many retirees are moving here to take part in the phenomenal outdoor activities available due to nature places like Otter Brook State Park and Otter Brook Lake Beach.

Residents can swim, hike, bike and camp during the warmer months, and there are lots of winter recreational options like skiing, ice-skating and snowmobile riding.

This town offers cultural and art related attractions like seeing a movie or live performance at Colonial Theatre, browsing art galleries, like Thorne Sagendorph Art Gallery, shopping for vintage items at Colony Antiques and stopping by Hannah Grimes to buy handcrafted items from talented local artisans.

Keene has ample medical facilities, a decent population of seniors, low taxes, friendly neighborhoods and holds the much-anticipated Keene Music Festival in the summer.

Highlights

  • Discover the history of Keene at the Historical Society of Cheshire County
  • Enjoy luxurious spa and chiropractic services at Devine Back & Body Care
  • Visit Stonewall Farm – take a hayride and see farm animals
  • Spend a sunny afternoon at Robin Hood Park with lake
  • Horacio Colony Museum – view area cultural artwork like vintage photos
  • Visit Ashuelot River Park – picnic areas and hiking trails
  • Colony Antiques – find vintage treasures
  • Explore the Madame Sherri Forest Castle Ruins – outside the city
  • See live artistic performances at Redfern Arts Center
  • Branch and Blade Brewing Company – local brewery and restaurant

2. Rochester

The charming city of Rochester is situated near the Maine border. Members of the Penacook Tribe first lived here and grew crops, hunted the land and fished in the Cocheco River here. Today, the retired population here still fish on the same river, and most seniors living in Rochester remain active and prefer outdoor activities.

However, there are many arts and cultural amenities like the historic Rochester Opera House where performers still put on many live shows in this 19th century structure. This town is also home to the Rochester Museum of Fine Arts

There are many excellent retirement communities here, tempting local restaurants and a thriving downtown area that features trendy shops, bars and popular venues that offer live music. Rochester also boasts public parks and pools along with painted murals and art sculptures created by local artists.

Highlights

  • Bedrock Gardens – botanical gardens
  • Get inspired by area history via Rochester Historical Society and Museum
  • Wiggly Bridge – historic landmark
  • Hilltop Fun Center in Somersworth – miniature golf, laser tag and arcades
  • Stonewall Kitchen – specialty store with gifts
  • The Ridge – local shopping mall
  • Rochester River Walk
  • Dominicus Hanson Pines

3. Exeter

Exeter is in the southern portion of New Hampshire, and the area has an exciting history as the city was founded in the year 1638. The beautiful Squamscott River originates from the waters of Exeter River and provides citizens here with lots of outdoor water activities.

There are many terrific medical centers, recreational facilities, cultural draws, picturesque nature views, low taxes and cost of living expenses.

Many individuals stroll the Front Street Historic District to visit Art Up Front Street galleries and studios along with other nearby stores. Exeter was a crucial patriot center during the Revolutionary War era, and there are interesting museums and historic landmarks here to remember the region's past and storied history.

There is an annual American Independence Festival held here in mid-July on the American Independence Museum grounds, and actors dress in realistic period costumes during the celebration.

Highlights

  • Brickyard Pond Park – fishing, lush green spaces and playing field
  • Browse Revolutionary War items at the American Independence Museum
  • Phillips Exeter Academy Library – intriguing brick architecture
  • Soleil’s Salt Caves
  • Congregational Church – historic landmark built 1698
  • The Gillman Garrison House – historic home built with fortified logs
  • The Swasey Pavilion – outdoor bandstand for night concerts and events
  • Henderson Swasey Forest – hiking, biking and skiing trails

4. Concord

The small city of Concord is New Hampshire's capital, and it is situated in the southcentral region of the state a bit north of Manchester. This city has much to offer retirees from splendid medical care facilities, low taxes and cheaper cost of living expenses along with many nearby scenic parks, rivers and city attractions too.

Residents can watch a race at the New Hampshire International Speedway located just outside the city limits. This is where NASCAR and motorcycle races are held. Tour the gorgeous former home of American president Franklin Pierce or drive the short distance to access the Atlantic Ocean.

Astronaut Alan Shepard and teacher Christa McAuliffe, aboard the fateful Challenger space launch, are honored here, and there is a learning center about outer space in Concord.

Highlights

  • See a Broadway show, music concert, a live NY Opera broadcast or a stand-up comedy act at the restored Capital Center for Arts built in 1927
  • Search for unique treasures from another era at Concord Antique Gallery
  • Learn the history of the Shakers – tour Canterbury Shaker Village
  • Take a stroll or run through Winant Park
  • Watch a favorite film at Red River Theater
  • Tour the New Hampshire State House – oldest capitol state building in America still operating in original rooms
  • Learn about outer space at McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center

5. Hanover

Hanover is a charming, New England smalltown with a friendly community, lots of local businesses, a thriving art community, cultural attractions and outdoor recreation options along with things to do indoors as well. Visit the Hood Museum of Art to see many pieces of art, eat a late breakfast or lunch at Lou's Bakery or watch a movie at the Nugget Theaters with 4 screens.

If books are more your thing, head to Left Bank Books located just upstairs from Dirt Cowboy Cafe where a wide variety of roasted coffee selections are available. There are several nice recreation centers, and White Mountain National Forest is less than an hour away.

The Connecticut River near the Vermont Border provides water adventures like fishing and kayaking. One potential drawback of retiring in Hanover is a higher than national average cost of living and limited in-town medical facilities.

Highlights

  • See a show at Hopkins Center for the Arts – located in Dartmouth College
  • Tour Dartmouth College – founded in 1769
  • Drive a few minutes to Windsor and visit the Harpoon Brewery to quench your thirst
  • Stroll along Main Street – browse the shops and dine at fabulous restaurants with historic photographs of Hanover
  • Hike the nature trails on Moose Mountain
  • Visit the Montshire Museum of Science – in Norwich

6. Laconia

Laconia is ideally situated between two gorgeous lakes named Winnipesaukee and Winnisquam. Both lakes provide residents with lots of water adventures like fishing, swimming and boating in warmer weather and ice-fishing or ice-skating in colder months.

Laconia has many beautiful and historic attractions, and the senior population here is larger than in similar sized New Hampshire towns.

Weirs Beach has lifeguards on-duty during the swimming season, and this small sandy beach also has opportunities for boating and other fun. There are rental boats here too for those that do not own one. There is a charming boardwalk that has spectacular views of the region including the stunning Ossipee Mountains.

These mountains provide outdoor recreational pursuits like hiking, birdwatching and camping. The city boasts a baseball team and a hockey team for sports enthusiasts.

Highlights

  • Belknap Mill – historic mill from Industrial Era – has learning center and educational exhibits
  • See the Endicott Rock State Historic Site – near Weirs Beach
  • Visit Tranquility Springs Wellness Spa for luxurious facials, massages and other services
  • Bolduc Park and Golf and Ski Park – golf in warm weather and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in cold weather
  • Ahern State Park – pet-friendly nature area a short distance away
  • Tour Castle in the Clouds – luxury event venue with tours of Lucknow Mansion and gift shop
  • Art Escape – DIY art studio and classes
  • Watch or ride in the Laconia Motorcycle Week in June
  • Find vintage treasures at Laconia Antique Center

7. Portsmouth

The gorgeous city of Portsmouth is situated along the shores of the Piscataqua River. This is a popular retirement destination due to its pristine outdoor recreational areas, its many cultural draws, fantastic restaurants, low taxes for seniors and the town's historic charm and landmarks.

Tour the city's 10 different historic homes that have been transformed into museums. There are many highly rated medical centers here, and an airport is just minutes away. There is also an Amtrak station here for travel convenience.

The Music Hall has been in operation since 1878, and residents today enjoy theatrical performances, various dance recitals, other performing art shows and sometimes films. Portsmouth's annual Prescott Park's Arts Festival is held on the scenic waterfront park area, and there are many green parks, hiking trails, and beaches for swimming and fishing opportunities.

Highlights

  • Visit the Strawberry Banke Museum & Strawberry Banke Historic District – oldest European neighborhood settlement
  • Attend community festivals and events in Prescott Park – gardens, benches, docks, an outdoor stage and trails
  • Shop and dine at Market Square – buildings dated to 1700s now specialty boutiques, shops and eateries
  • LaBelle Winery – taste wines in downtown area
  • See the historic Warner House – built 1716 to 1718 owned by a sea captain
  • USS Albacore Museum – restored research submarine from 1950s
  • The Seacoast Repertory Theatre – see live theatrical performances
  • Tour Moffat-Ladd House and Gardens – built 1763 with Georgian-styled architecture
  • Have a bite to eat and drinks at Black Trumpet – International dishes are served at this bistro and wine bar

8. Londonderry

In 1719, a group of Irish immigrants settled in the area known as Londonderry today. The town was eventually named this after the town in Ireland where these early settlers used to live. These settlers brought apple seeds and planted apple orchards that became the area's most important agricultural crop.

The Irish settlers also brought their knowhow of fabric specifically linen. Linen cloth from this city was said to be worn by early American political figures like Thomas Jefferson and our first president George Washington.

Londonderry is home to Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, and many retirees that live here find the lower tax rates attractive. There are several excellent medical care facilities, outdoor recreational options, local shops, restaurants and horse stables among other fun area activities.

Highlights

  • Go on a guided trail ride at Lucky 7 Stables
  • Shop the Londonderry Flea Market from April to October weather permitting
  • Enjoy cold drinks and great food at Moonlight Meadery and Hidden Moon Brewing
  • Mack's Apples – taste delicious apples
  • New Hampshire Aviation Historical Society – learn about old aviation planes and more
  • Golf at Londonderry Country Club

9. Bethlehem

The small and enchanting town of Bethlehem is perfectly situated in the gorgeous White Mountains located in the western portion of New Hampshire. Residents here have access to scores of nature trails, parks and other scenic locations that offer many outdoor activities like hiking, birdwatching, biking, camping, fishing and more.

There are also numerous wintertime activities like cross-country skiing and riding snowmobiles on area trails.

The town also is a haven for artists and those that adore more cultural attractions. Watch an independent film at Colonial Theatre, browse several local art galleries, play golf at the nearby country club or Maplewood Golf Course or play a game of basketball or tennis at the community courts free to the public. Retirees have the benefit of lower taxes, little crime and friendly neighbors.

Highlights

  • Bethlehem Village Store Supermarket – groceries, local specialty items and more
  • Browse local artworks at The Gallery at WREN
  • Visit Rocks Estate – a nature forest reservation and Christmas tree farm – hike trails and view scenic landscapes
  • Go golfing at Bethlehem Country Club
  • Dine and/or stay at historic Adair County Inn – built 1927 boasts gardens and trails
  • Head to The Bretzfelder Memorial Park – picturesque grounds and pond
  • The 42 Maple Contemporary Art Center – art studio, gallery and event center

10. Berlin

Located on the shores of the Androscoggin River in the northernmost area of New Hampshire, picturesque Berlin has much to offer retirees. Nestled within the stunning Great North Woods, it is not uncommon for residents here to speak French on occasion due to the town's close proximity to the Canadian border.

Many retirees enjoy camping at Jericho Lake ATV Park, rafting on the river with guides from North Woods Rafting or have fun during the winter months snowshoeing, snow tubing or sled riding in the White Mountains.

St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church is located downtown and is now over a century old. The growing retiree population enjoys a lower than national average cost of living and favorable tax breaks.

Highlights

  • Wren Works Maker Studio – one of several art studios
  • Shop at Berlin Local Works Farmers’ Market – Thursday afternoons
  • Berlin Bowling Center – family fun for all ages
  • Jericho Mountain State Park – trails, wildlife and more
  • Phillips Brook Recreation Area – hunt, fish, ride mountain bikes or ride horses
  • Assemble Artisan Studios – create your own art, attend workshops or classes

FAQs about retiring in New Hampshire

1. What are the top reasons to retire in the small but important state of New Hampshire?

Similar to the state of Colorado, New Hampshire is tax-friendly towards retired individuals and offers lots of scenic nature views, parks and natural wonders to explore perfect for seniors who enjoy the great outdoors. There are no sales, inheritance or estate taxes in New Hampshire.

2. What is the history of New Hampshire?

New Hampshire was one of the United States‘ original colonies and holds a high place in American history. Almost every city in the state has historical landmarks, museums and other educational centers where people can learn more about the state's long history.

3. How much crime should someone expect if they move to New Hampshire?

New Hampshire has some of the lowest crime rates in the country and is often referred to as a safe state overall. Most cities are small to mid-size, and residents tend to look out for one another.