Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Durham, NH

  • Published 2022/07/09

Enjoy a trip through a town filled with plenty of treats to try and natural sights to explore by visiting Durham, New Hampshire.

Durham is a town approximately 63.97 square kilometers in size and sits within Strafford County.

There are plenty of places to check out in this town, including different cafes and drinking spots.

You can also take a step away from downtown and explore different landscapes.

Whether you want to try local treats or stroll through nature, there is plenty for you to discover and experience in this town.

Here are the best things to do in Durham, NH.

Pick, Eat, and Shop at Emery Farm

Emery Farm doubles as a market and cafe with several products and facilities for guests to enjoy.

Since 1660, the farm continues to offer different activities you can experience on their many facilities.

If you are interested in exploring the farm area, some of the facilities you can visit are the garden center and petting farm.

In addition to seeing different plants and farm animals, you can go blueberry picking.

You can also check out the farm’s seasonal programs, such as fall activities.

At the market section of the farm, you can purchase different fresh produce and local items, among other products.

If you go to the cafe section of the farm, you can enjoy some delicious coffee and espresso along with a selection of baked goods or sandwiches.

There is no shortage of options you can try when visiting Emery Farm on Piscataqua Road.

Roam Nature at Wagon Hill Farm

Wagon Hill Farm is one of the many places you can enjoy nature in Durham.

You can find this farm by heading to Piscataqua Road.

The farm is around 139 acres in size and fell into town ownership in 1989.

There are different trails and areas where you can hike, cycle, and ski cross-country, depending on the season.

In addition to outdoor activities, the farm has areas where you can enjoy a walk with your dog or have a picnic.

Aside from trails and picnic spots, the farm features a community garden and a sledding hill.

Among the different places featuring nature in Durham, Wagon Hill Farm is an ideal location to stroll around a vast landscape.

Hike the Trails at Longmarsh Preserve

For those interested in exploring nature, Longmarsh Preserve is a top spot to visit.

The Longmarsh Preserve is a 73-acre land featuring different habitats and has four sections you can check out.

Some of the habitats featured in this preserve include wetlands and marshes, to name a few.

Aside from exploring the trails available on this preserve, you can look out for local wildlife or try fishing.

You can also find access to the four-mile-long nature trail known as the Sweet Trail by heading west of the preserve’s Colby Marsh area.

Go Exploring at the Lamprey River Preserve

Lamprey River Preserve is where to check out local wildlife, among other activities.

You can find this nature preserve by going to the right side area of Packers Falls Road.

The preserve consists of a 232-acre tract featuring different habitats, including open fields and grassland.

If you are interested in finding the local wildlife in this preserve, you can look for different birds and mammals like foxes.

In addition to finding the different wildlife in the area, you can enjoy various sights by canoeing on the waters.

You can find many sights and animals when exploring the Lamprey River Preserve.

Take a Hike through the Sweet Trail

Experience a challenging hike by trekking through the four-mile nature trail known as The Sweet Trail.

The Sweet Trail is great to explore during the summer, but you can also try snowshoeing in winter.

You can find the trail by going to Longmarsh Preserve and heading west from the Colby Marsh.

While hiking this trail, you can see various landscapes, including upland forests and marshlands.

At the end of the nature trail, you’ll reach the shore of Great Bay, which is a part of the Lubberland Creek Preserve in Newmarket.

Find Ducks and Views at Mill Pond Park

There are different historical spots in Durham; some of them are in Mill Pond Park.

These historical spots are the Mill Pond and Dam, with a history dating back to the 1970s.

Aside from being the location of historical spots, the park features a picnic area where you can enjoy a view of the pond and spot waterfowl, such as ducks.

Another activity you can enjoy at this park is fishing.

By visiting Mill Pond Park, you can enjoy some leisure time and get a peek at local history.

See the Stars at the UNH Observatory

Are you a fan of the stars?

If you are, you should make a stop at the UNH Observatory.

You can find this observatory by heading to the University of New Hampshire on Library Way.

The observatory is open to the public, but you can only visit on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

If you’re not fond of joining the crowds in viewing the stars, the observatory offers private sessions for eight or more people.

You can also check out events that take place at the observatory.

Stay and Drink at the Three Chimneys Inn & Frost Sawyer Tavern

Exterior of Three Chimneys Inn

AcrossTheAtlantic, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a break from exploring the town by enjoying a brief respite at the Three Chimneys Inn.

Since 1649, the Three Chimneys Inn is an inn and tavern that has offered several amenities for its guests.

These amenities include five different types of rooms you can book and several options for food and drinks.

If you are interested in seeing the historical portions of the inn, you can check out the dining room and coppers room.

These rooms have features that date back to 1699 and 1649, respectively.

Aside from these rooms, the inn has a seasonal outdoor dining space and tavern.

In addition to the different dining spaces, the inn provides access to a local farm, bakery, and fishing business.

You’ll find plenty of comforts and meals when booking a stay at the Three Chimneys Inn & Frost Sawyer Tavern on Newmarket Road.

Eat Italian Meals at the Ciao Trattoria & Wine Bar

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat in Durham, head to Main Street in the downtown area and look for the Ciao Trattoria & Wine Bar.

The family Italian restaurant is an ideal spot to visit if you’re looking for a hearty dinner to enjoy.

Among their various dishes, you can sample a selection of pasta or grilled meats, among other options.

You can also try different drinks to pair with your meal or check out the restaurant’s online options if you don’t have the time to dine in.

Plenty of delicious Italian meals await you at the Ciao Trattoria & Wine Bar.

Try the Blends and Products at the Freedom Cafe

The Freedom Cafe seems like one of the many places you can enjoy a coffee in Durham, but it is more than that.

The Freedom Cafe provides products and seminars to act toward a movement for human freedom and bring awareness to the community.

There are several coffee blends, teas, and baked goods available at this cafe.

In addition to different drinks, the cafe offers various products in their shop, including chocolates, snacks, and organic products.

To find the cafe, you’ll need to head to Main Street and the area just before Madbury Road.

Grab a Burger and Drink at the Hop + Grind

Hop + Grind is where to go if you’ve got a craving for a burger or drink.

Located at Madbury Road, Hop + Grind features various classic and unique burgers for you to dig into.

Besides featuring several types of burgers, the eatery offers a selection of drinks made from scratch.

These drinks include craft beers, sodas, and malts.

By visiting Hop + Grind, you can find plenty of options to try something different for a meal and drink.

Sample the Fun Ice Cream Flavors at Pincho Loco Ice Cream

For anyone that wants something cold and sweet, head to Pincho Loco Ice Cream on Perry Street.

The ice cream shop features a variety of ice cream, popsicles, and other ice-cream treats for you to sample.

Among these different treats is a selection of Native Latino flavors.

These unique ice cream flavors include tamarind and guava.

You can also try a selection of Latino treats, such as mangonadas, which involves fresh mango with a spiced sauce.

In addition, the shop has a list of drinks and non-dairy items you can try.

You can find plenty of new things to sample when visiting Pincho Loco Ice Cream.

See a Concert at the Paul Creative Arts Center

The Paul Creative Arts Center is one of the different places in the area to check out a show.

You can find this center at the University of New Hampshire.

The center features a variety of performances ranging from recitals to concerts, among other art facilities.

Aside from different performances, the center has a museum section where you can view several art pieces.

You can also check out the center’s other facilities, such as the art studios, and learn some art history.

Those interested in art will find plenty to enjoy at the Paul Creative Arts Center.

Join Fitness Sessions at the Local B Studio

Take a chance to do yoga and other exercises by checking out the Local B Studio at Madbury Road.

There are different classes and sessions you can join at this studio ranging from beginner options to more intensive sessions.

In addition to the various classes and fitness sessions available at this studio, there are virtual options you can check out.

You also have the option to book the studio and enjoy a private fitness session with friends and an instructor.

Enjoy the Scenic View of Waterfalls at Packers Falls Park

Peaceful and scenic—this is what makes Packers Falls Park a perfect nature retreat for visitors and families.

The site is a significant fishing and swimming spot.

Its highlighted feature is the cascading falls and its accompanying historic bridge.

Packers Falls Park extends to over 2 acres.

Head over to Packers Falls Road to get to this property.

Go for an Impromptu Skating Adventure at the Whittemore Center Arena

Exterior of Whittemore Center Arena

John Phelan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

At Durham, there’s always a reason to stay active and have fun.

The Whittemore Center Arena is one of them.

This multi-purpose facility is a stand-out spot for ice skating and hockey.

Opened in 1995, it sits within the University of New Hampshire’s campus.

It got its name from Frederick B. Whittemore, as dedicated by the University the year after it opened.

This man was the founding father of the UNH Foundation.

Several years later, the arena was the home rink for the UNH Wildcats Hockey.

Come by during open ice skate times and get ready for an entertaining time along the rink.

You can find the Whittemore Center Arena on Main Street.

Observe Nature at Milne Nature Sanctuary

Milne Nature Sanctuary is one of the hidden nature jewels of Durham.

It spans 1.5 acres.

Open from dawn to dusk, the site is notable for offering a tranquil space for meditation and birdwatching.

It comes with benches you can sit on while you admire nature in its truest form.

It also offers scenic views of the pond along the property.

But what makes this place more special is its romantic backstory.

The place served as a nature sanctuary for university professors Lorus and Margery Milne.

You can even see a commemorative stone with their names within the park.

Milne Nature Sanctuary is on Mill Pond Road.

Have a Picnic at Doe Farm

Hoping for a picturesque area to take your family out for a picnic?

Doe Farm might be for you.

This upland forest site offers a wide range of plantations, including white pines, red oaks, and Norway spruces.

Spanning 87 acres, this farm once served Olinthus N. Doe and his family before becoming public property in 1909.

In 2019, the farm saw improvements in the form of bridges, information kiosks, and trail improvements.

Many come by this place for a bit of birdwatching, fishing, and even dog-walking because this place is pet-friendly.

Doe Farm hosts timber harvests every year to make the place spotless and worthy of nature trekking.

There are also picnic areas onsite for your group gatherings and such.

You can find this farm on Bennett Road.

Start a Hike along Spruce Hole Bog Conservation Area

On Packer Falls Road, Spruce Hole Bog Conservation Area is a multi-recreational site famous for cross-country skiing and hiking.

The area takes pride in its predominantly upland woods.

At 40 acres, the place served the community as a National Natural Landmark since Norman and Nada Morgan donated the property in 1974.

Now, the area protects a bog and an aquifer of the same name.

You can go for a stroll along its network of trails and learn more about the area through its information kiosks.

Spruce Hole Bog Conservation Area is an ideal natural exploration site you shouldn’t miss while in Durham.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Have Fun and Eat at the DeMeritt Hill Farm

If you’re looking for more places to explore outside Durham, you should check out the DeMeritt Hill Farm at Lee, New Hampshire.

The farm is southwest of Durham and takes 10 minutes to drive from the town.

You can find plenty of facilities and activities to visit and do at this farm, plus several events throughout the year.

A few things available at this farm include baked goods, fresh products, and apple wood.

There is no shortage of facilities, items, and activities to experience when visiting the DeMeritt Hill Farm.

Visit the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Boardwalk trail at Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Bill Spinney /

Nature fans will find plenty to enjoy by visiting the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

The refuge has opened since 1992 and spans 1,000 acres.

You’ll find it in Newington, New Hampshire, 20 minutes from Durham.

There are a variety of habitats in this refuge ranging from woodlands to marshes, and several animals for you to find.

Some wildlife you can find at this refuge includes a selection of bird species, like bald eagles.

Aside from seeking wildlife, you can enjoy some hiking and hunting.

You can find this wildlife refuge by heading to Newington and looking for the eastern shore of New Hampshire’s Great Bay.

Enjoy a Brunch Meal at the Big Bean Cafe

Head to Jenkins Court and look out for the Big Bean Cafe if you want to dig into a delicious brunch.

It’s in Newmarket, New Hampshire, nine minutes from Durham.

From hearty sandwiches to stacked french toast dishes, there are plenty of brunch dishes you can try at this cafe.

In addition to featuring different brunch options, the Big Bean Cafe offers a large variety of drinks.

Among these drinks are a selection of lattes and other coffee blends to fill your coffee craving.

Are you not a fan of caffeine?

The Big Bean Cafe also offers different teas and smoothies.

Try their cocktails and other blends to spice up your brunch.

If you want a great brunch near Durham, The Big Bean Cafe is where to go.

Final Thoughts

Durham may seem like a simple town at first glance, but there is plenty for you to do in the area.

Whether you want to check out the local products at a farm or try the different treats and drinks available in town, there are several options for you to discover.

If you’re looking for some fun involving nature and food while in New Hampshire, consider Durham as your next stop.

Book your trip today!

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