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6 State Parks To Visit Before The Summer Ends

Aug 05, 2022 04:03PM ● By Rose Terami
Every New Englander knows to savor the summer days before they’re gone. Though the fall and winter bring joy in other ways, there’s nothing like not having to worry about how many layers you have on as you throw together a beach bag to go enjoy some Vermont and New Hampshire nature for the day. And the best thing is that it’s almost impossible to run out of things to do!

Aside from all the amazing things going on in our communities, New Hampshire is home to 93 state parks, and Vermont is home to more than 50! A state park is a great way to spend a summer day (or days), and most have something for everyone to enjoy, like camping, fishing, swimming, hiking, and other recreational activities. Here are six state parks nearby to make a point of visiting before the summer ends.


Echo Lake State Park

Located in North Conway, New Hampshire, Echo Lake State Park is the perfect spot to spend the day by the lake swimming, catching up with friends, cooking or picnicking, and more. The park also has hiking trails, including a scenic trail around the lake that leads to Cathedral Ledge State Park with views of the Saco River Valley. The park is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm, and beach reservations (to hold a parking spot in the lot with limited spaces) can be made online up to 30 days in advance of your trip. Daytime entry fees cost $2 to $4 per person.

Silver Lake State Park

Located in Barnard, Vermont, Silver Lake State Park is the perfect choice for a low-key and even last-minute day trip. Silver Lake offers a beach and swimming area, a snack bar, on-site bathrooms, and changing areas, boat and canoe rentals, a rentable picnic pavilion, and camping sites. The park is open daily while in season (until Labor Day Weekend) from 10 am to sunset, with a daytime entry fee of $2 to $4 per person.

Franconia Notch State Park

Located in Lincoln, New Hampshire, and in the White Mountain National Forest, Franconia Notch State Park is a breathtaking natural wonder with plenty of activities to keep you entertained during your visit. Enjoy camping, the RV park, the Franconia Notch Bike Path, walking trails through the Flume Gorge, and the aerial tramway at Cannon Mountain. Current park hours are June 17 to September 4, beach, boat rentals, and general store are open daily from 9 am to 6 pm; September 9 to October 9, beach, boat rentals and general store are open Friday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Entry fees cost $2 to $4 per person.

Quechee State Park

Quechee State Park is a tried-and-true summer destination for locals and tourists alike. Pay a visit to hike down to see views of the gorge, pop a tent in the camping area, grab an ice cream cone at the snack bar, use the field and play area, or visit surrounding attractions like Quechee Gorge Village and VINS. The park is open daily until October 16 from 10 am to sunset. Entry fees vary from $2 to $4 per person, and season passes are available.

Mount Ascutney State Park

Visit Mount Ascutney State Park in Windsor, Vermont, to enjoy beautiful views at the summit of Mount Ascutney (3,144-foot elevation). Built-in the 1930s, it was one of the first state parks in Vermont. It offers more than 12 miles of hiking trails leading to former quarries and homestead sites, a summit observation tower, bike and running trails, hang glider launching sites, campsites, a rentable picnic pavilion, grills, and picnic tables, and more. The park is open until October 16 from 10 am to sunset and costs $2 to $4 for a daytime entry fee.

Cardigan Mountain State Park

Hike your heart out at Cardigan Mountain State Park in Orange, New Hampshire! Home to 5,655 acres, mountain roads, and trails, a 3,121-foot summit with views, and campsites, the park is a beautiful and fun spot to check out before the summer ends. Though the park is always open for recreational use, park staff and comfort stations are only available during the summer season.

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