Best Places To Live In New Hampshire: Top 5 Communities Most Recommended By Local Experts

It’s impossible to find a state quite like New Hampshire. With its own unique charm, beautiful mountains, and central New England location, it’s a great place to call home and put down roots. Nestled in the White Mountains but only a few hours from Boston, the best places to live in New Hampshire are a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle that doesn’t require giving up access to big city conveniences.

Life in New Hampshire is packed full of nature. With 18 miles of coastline and 48 mountains, there’s always something new to explore. And if you’re looking for a positive change in your life, this may be the place to find it. Studies show that people who spend more time in nature are healthier both inside and out. One 2020 study found that cultivating a strong sense of “nature relatedness” contributes to greater dietary diversity and the consumption of more fruits and vegetables. In other words, the more in touch with nature you feel, the better you eat.

Another study from researchers at Penn State, National Open University, and Lunghwa University of Science and Technology in Taiwan, looked at the attitudes, beliefs, and actions of a group of older adults (ages 65+) who habitually spend time in nature. All in all, the research team finds that building social connections around nature-based activities displays a connection to improved health and quality of life among older individuals.

Why move to New Hampshire?

Aside from the breathtaking natural landscape of New Hampshire, here are a few other enticing reasons that you may want to call the state your new home:
  • Small-Town Charm with Big-City Perks: From quaint villages like Hanover to the historic port city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s towns offer close-knit communities and a strong sense of belonging. Yet, major cities like Manchester and Concord provide cultural attractions, diverse dining, and vibrant nightlife, ensuring residents never feel isolated.
  • Tax-Friendly Freedom: New Hampshire’s lack of income and sales tax is a major draw for many. This tax-friendly environment fosters economic growth and allows residents to keep more of their hard-earned income.
  • Educational Excellence: New Hampshire boasts a top-ranked public school system and prestigious universities like Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire. Families and academic-minded individuals find exceptional educational opportunities at every level.
  • A Culture of Self-Reliance: New Hampshire’s motto, “Live Free or Die,” reflects its independent spirit. Residents value self-reliance, community involvement, and personal responsibility, creating a unique atmosphere of empowerment and resilience.
  • Four-Season Playground: New Hampshire embraces all four seasons with gusto. Winter brings snow-covered mountains and cozy fireplaces, while spring paints the landscape in vibrant greens. Summer explodes with festivals, lakeside fun, and breathtaking hikes. Autumn dazzles with fiery foliage and cozy harvest celebrations.
  • History Comes Alive: Immerse yourself in the rich history of New Hampshire, where colonial villages, Revolutionary War battlefields, and historic landmarks tell stories of bravery and resilience. Explore museums, attend reenactments, or simply walk the cobblestone streets of Portsmouth – history is alive and thriving.

If you’re considering a move to New Hampshire, whether for nature access or another reason entirely, you’ll find that there is an abundance of towns and cities to choose from. The state is full of friendly locals, great restaurants, and unbeatable mountain views. To help kickstart your search, StudyFinds sought out expert opinions on the best places to live in New Hampshire. This list includes the most recommended communities, but if you have a favorite that we missed, be sure to let us know in the comments!

The List: Best Places to Live in New Hampshire, According to Experts

1. Hanover

If you’re a city lover, Hanover probably isn’t the place for you. But for those craving a peaceful rural oasis, look no further. “Unlike many other states, New Hampshire offers residents a great number of truly rural areas to live, Hanover being one of them,” says The Crazy Tourist. “As it so happens, it is the best of them too! This country community of 11,348 people have a pretty sweet deal.”

“Home to Dartmouth College, Hanover exudes the college town feel with the main street around the college featuring different restaurants and shops. Considered an affluent town, Hanover also offers a lot of adventure attractions with Storrs Pond Recreation Area, numerous Nature preserves, and hiking paths,” writes Nomad Lawyer

“The quality of life is just the best here. It holds first place in commute time and employment ranking, so you know this is a fantastic place for workers,” adds Movoto. “Just because everyone here knows how to get the job done, doesn’t mean they don’t take time to stop and smell the flowers. The weather allows locals to enjoy the Appalachian Trail as well as a ton of skiing and hiking opportunities.”

2. Portsmouth

Home to some of the best public schools in the state, Portsmouth is a wonderful place to raise a family. It’s also a popular vacation spot, which brings plenty of fun amenities to the already picturesque town. As Placeaholic claims, “if you want to feel like every day is special, you will definitely want to move in here, because it is commonly referred to as the best seaports you could ever see in the state.”

“When you arrive in Portsmouth, you’ll be surprised by how preserved the city is despite its growth,” notes Rent. “Portsmouth started as a small port city in the 1600s as one of the most important ports of the Colonial Era. Nowadays, you can see a preserved neighborhood in the Strawbery Banke Museum, with their original furnishings and homes.”

“With 5 A-rated schools and low crime rates, Portsmouth is the most preferred choice to live for families,” boasts Nomad Lawyer. “There are great outdoor spaces and it’s safe for kids to play outside, despite it being an urban area. There is a vibrant Market Square with plenty of restaurants, shops, and cafes for a pleasant weekend outing. Portsmouth is also a thriving arts centre with a variety of theatres, such as The Music Hall, and the Portsmouth Athenaeum, which is a library and museum holding special exhibits from time to time.”

3. Nashua

For those who aren’t fully ready to abandon city life, Nashua is a great option. You’ll enjoy plenty of access to the New Hampshire’s mountains while staying in a more densely populated urban area. “If you want to live in a city that is close to a broad range of services and you appreciate city life, then Nashua is most certainly a good option for you to consider,” says Here in NH “This city is located in the southern section of New Hampshire, and it is situated along the banks of the Nashua River. This city, although predominately urban, is home to several gorgeous parks and other open places, such as Greeley Park.”

“Because it’s so big, it’s no surprise that the city comes in second for amenities and 11th for quality of life. Residents are eager to digitally rave about and to support highly rated local businesses like Alec’s Shoes and Wilfred’s Barber shop, which gives this place a hometown feeling despite it’s much larger size,” says Movoto. “Residents also aren’t too worried about the job market. A whopping 95 percent of people here are employed and they rake in a median income of $65,476 each year, which makes this place pretty livable for workers.”

But in spite of its city-status, Nashua is still thoroughly true to New Hampshire’s best qualities. “Picnics, skiing, kayaking, snowshoeing — Nashua has a little bit of everything if you’re an outdoorsy person,” says Rent. “You can rent a one-bedroom apartment for $1,650 per month on average and head to Mine Falls Park to view waterfalls, hike and go mountain biking on the weekends.”

4. Exeter

Full of personality and beauty, Exeter exudes hometown charm. And with plenty to offer in terms of community, activities, and job opportunities, it’s no wonder the town’s 14,000 residents sing its praises. “Tree-line streets are around every corner, beautiful boutique shops can be spotted practically at every turn, and let’s not forget about the plethora of museums and historic houses,” lists Placeaholic. “Exeter really is a treat for your eyes.”

“There are lots of amenities and leisure activities in this area, which contribute to an enjoyable lifestyle,” says Money Inc. “Commuting and job opportunities are also good in Exeter. In terms of safety, this is one of the safest towns in which you can live in New Hampshire.”

And as an added bonus, you’ll love Exeter if you appreciate a town with some funky and unique traditions. “Exeter is pretty stellar in more ways than stats can measure, as it features an annual UFO festival,” adds Movoto. “This festival is complete with guest speakers, kids events, and of course the retelling of their local incident that sparked the town’s obsession with extraterrestrials.”

5. Londonderry

If you love fresh air and fresh food, Londonderry is the place for you. But even with all the natural benefits of this cozy town, you’ll still find yourself only an hour away from the heart of Boston. As Nomad Lawyer puts it, “located only 35 miles from Boston is the popular town of Londonderry. If you’re looking for more space, away from the densely packed cities, then this is the perfect town for you.”

Sunnycrest Farms' orchard in Londonderry, New Hampshire
Sunnycrest Farms’ orchard in Londonderry, New Hampshire (Photo by Isaac Owens on Unsplash)

Life in Londonderry is good, with high ratings for quality-of-life factors across the board. “This town scores highly for employment opportunities, housing, and education,” says Money Inc. “It is also one of the most affordable places to live in New Hampshire in terms of the cost of living.”

Organic lovers will rejoice at Londonderry’s access to the best and healthiest. “The headquarters of Stonyfield Farm is located in Londonderry, so the freshest organic food won’t have far to travel to arrive in your home,” HomeSnacks adds. ‘The town has a strong farming heritage that’s on display at several orchards where you can pick your own produce and enjoy goodies from the farm stands.”

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Sources:

Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links.

Comments

  1. Lol…this person knows nothing about Nashua. Yeah it’s parks and nature is nice, but you also have constant loitering, crime is ridiculous, people constantly bugging you for money or cigarettes, nobody picks up their dog crap off the sidewalks..there is a reason it is called Trashua. I’ve lived here for 7 years. Also acting like 1650 a month for rent 1 bedroom is good lol

  2. Portsmouth is more of a place you visit rather than live—from what I understand, people with “normal” incomes can’t afford to live there.
    I heard that from a terrible person I have the misfortune of knowing who’s a landlord there. He said working class people who work there can’t afford to live there. They have to live out of Portsmouth as much as 30 minutes. Didn’t stop him from jacking up rent, though. And no, his expenses didn’t really increase. He only raised his rent because his greedy self “didn’t want to leave money on the table”. I didn’t even know his tenants but thought this was disgusting. *sigh* Unfortunately, this attitude kind of defines Portsmouth now.

  3. With the exception of Nashua these places are all in the 2 southernmost counties in the state. It shows that money and sponsors are all that matters. Who wants fair coverage from journalists anyway? 🤷‍♀️

  4. I’m not sure who chooses these “most desired” places to live, but they didn’t get them all right. Nashua? Seriously? Did they do a check on the crime rate? It’s a good location if you want to be near Boston, but Derry or Londonderry, even Salem are slightly better choices. And they never mentioned Keene as a great community.
    Portsmouth is a lively and lovely city, but it is now getting to be impossible to live there. Its old charm is being ruined by people wanting to redesign whole neighborhoods to make them ultra modern. It’s being ruined and becoming too expensive. Like someone else said, it’s a
    Nice place to visit on your vacation, if you can find a place to park.

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