Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Merrimack County, NH

  • Published 2022/11/11

Merrimack County is located in central New Hampshire.

It was formed in 1823 and got its name from the Merrimack River, which cuts through its north and south regions.

Its county seat is Concord, and the New Hampshire state capital.

Rivers, streams, and lakes pass through mountains and peaks, giving the area a relaxing ambiance.

Merrimack County is the perfect place to connect with nature, be active, or learn about history,

Discover the different sites you can visit by reading this list of the best things to do in Merrimack County, New Hampshire:

‘Travel’ Back in Time at Canterbury Shaker Village

Houses and a garden at Canterbury Shaker Village

Jeffrey M. Frank /

The Canterbury Shaker Village, located in Canterbury, is a stunning National Historical Landmark you shouldn’t miss.

It is considered the most successful communitarian society in American history.

The village was established in the 1700s and has since been home to the religious sect, the Shakers.

Town hall at Canterbury Shaker Village

Megs Pier /

Walk through the 29 well-maintained and restored Shaker buildings and see how this community has grown.

You can also browse through artifacts, marvel at the architecture, and join workshops on woodworking, letterpress printing, and more!

You can also explore the hiking trails, sit by the mill pods, and enjoy views of the spectacular gardens.

A barn at Canterbury Shaker Village

Andrew McDonough /

Compete with Your Loved Ones at the Different Play Areas at Block Party Social

Battle with your family and friends in laser tag or arcade games at Block Party Social!

This establishment in Zapora Drive in Hooksett features numerous areas perfect for hanging out and having fun with your loved ones.

Engage in friendly competitions at their multi-level arena, where you can play a fun laser tag match.

You can also try the challenging rope obstacle course and bet on which group finishes first!

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can take a spin on their zip line, which has a 180-degree turn; it’s one of the only two zip lines in the country that has this mechanism!

If you’re not up for the challenge, immerse yourself in the different arcade games.

There are also table tennis tables and pool tables.

Whatever fun you’re into, whether it’s sports or video games, you’ll find it at Block Party Social!

Enjoy Scenic Views at Winant Park Trails

Enjoy the light, refreshing breeze and feast your eyes on the breathtaking sights while you hike at Winant Park Trails.

This 2.1-kilometer looping trail in the scenic city of Concord offers great views of the natural surroundings.

Whether you want to hike, run, or have a peaceful walk, Winant Park Trails is one of the best in Merrimack County!

You can bring a friend or hike alone and enjoy the area’s solitude and tranquility.

Catch a Show at the New London Barn Playhouse

The New London Barn Playhouse, located downtown in New London, is the oldest operating non-profit playhouse in the state.

Since its inception in 1933, it has produced shows for the local community.

They do original and classic pieces like Footloose, Mamma Mia, and Elf.

You can watch shows from the Children’s Theater Series, Spotlight Series, and Box Office.

To date, the Playhouse supports the promotion of theater and the arts through its productions and educational camps.

More than the shows, the New London Barn Playhouse creates a community of emerging talents and veterans who work hard to share their love and passion for theater.

Appreciate Culture and History at Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum

An ode to the rich culture and history of Native peoples, the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum holds exhibits, workshops, and shows.

If you’re a history buff who wants to learn more about the heritage of Native Americans, this museum in Warner is a must-visit.

You can also arrange for a travel program for groups and classrooms.

These tours include storytelling, hands-on activities, and question-and-answer sessions.

You can also participate in the discussion on specific topics about Native American culture.

After the tour, visit the Museum Dream Catcher Gift Shop, which carries books, local artisan works, craft jewelry, toys, and even Nuwati Herbals.

Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum is located in Warner.

Enjoy an Adrenaline Rush at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Club

Race cars at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Club

Yzukerman from Wayland, MA, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you want to satisfy your need for speed and enjoy the adrenaline rush of racing, head to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway Club in North Loudon.

This 1.058-mile oval speedway, popularly known as the “Magic Mile,” has been hosting official NASCAR races since 1990.

It also hosts the Loudon Classic, the longest-running motorcycle race in North America.

Their speedways include the Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, and Dover Motor Speedway.

The New Hampshire Motor Speedway Club offers camping sites and packages during NASCAR weekends.

In the off-season, you can catch local races or rent the track for private events.

Local restaurants and other nearby attractions are available in the area.

Have a Relaxing Day at the Riverland Beach Conservation Area of Merrimack River

Take a trip to the county’s namesake and relax at the Riverland Beach Conservation Area of Merrimack River in Canterbury.

This is the fourth-largest watershed in New England, spanning 5,010 square miles.

Its four major regions are Lower Massachusetts, Upper Massachusetts, Lower New Hampshire, and Upper New Hampshire.

Here, you can rent a boat, kayak, or canoe, depending on the water level and the calmness of the river.

Fishing is another activity you can try.

If you want to spot local wildlife, you can also do so within this area!

There are also resting spots along the river if you want to relax or picnic with your friends or family.

Whether you want to engage in exciting recreational activities on the water or on land, the Riverland Beach Conservation Area of Merrimack River is an excellent place to visit.

Watch Theatrical Performances at Hatbox Theatre

If you love watching theater productions but want a more intimate and extraordinary viewing experience, you must visit Hatbox Theatre!

This theater in Steeplegate Mall in Concord features a unique thrust-style staging system within its black box facility.

Hatbox Theatre offers a more intimate experience and takes you closer to the actors on stage.

Be mesmerized by the beautiful performances of the actors as they bring different stories to life!

Find Unique Pieces at the Concord Fine Craft Gallery

Located downtown at North Main Street in Concord, the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen at the Concord Fine Craft Gallery offers timeless treasures.

It was founded in 1932 and has since been creating and showcasing pieces and holding exhibits, educational programs and classes, and demonstrations.

Browse traditional and contemporary crafts like baskets, botanicals, glass, jewelry, leather, and more.

You’ll surely find something you’d want for yourself or as gifts for your loved ones.

All the displayed works are from local artists and craftsmen.

Head to Concord Fine Craft Gallery and support the incredibly talented local artists!

Go Skiing at Ragged Mountain Resort

Ski slope at Ragged Mountain Resort

Michael Nixt /

Head to the Ragged Mountain Resort at Ragged Mountain Road in Danbury for a fun skiing adventure!

Ideal for both beginners and experts, the resort features trails and parks you can freely explore.

Ragged Mountain Resort also offers programs and lessons to sharpen your skiing skills.

Within the area, you can find restaurants like the Birches Mountain Restaurant, Stone Hearth Bar, and Harvest Cafe.

Prepare your skiing gear for a fun adventure at this facility!

See Vintage Automobiles and Other Historical Artifacts at The Ice House Museum

The Ice House Museum features antique cars, vintage toys, and other unique artifacts.

This museum on Pleasant Street in New London features a wide range of vintage automobiles and other artifacts that tell the history of different industries in the city.

From washing machines and steam whistles to padlocks and auto parts, you can find many antique items that will transport you back to another time.

There are also carriages, tinsmith shops, and even a town jail within the premises!

All of the items on display are a part of the antique collection of Bill Kidder, a man who once loved to fix up cars and other machinery and kept some of the things he worked on during his lifetime.

Ice House Museum is a must-visit if you’d like to dive into the history of car parts, toys, and other random objects!

Explore beyond the Sky at McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center

Reach for the stars at McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center.

This center in Concord was built to honor Alan Bartlett Shepard and Sharon Christa McAuliffe, astronauts with roots in New Hampshire.

Explore the immersive Planetarium, a full dome, and the digital Sky-Skan Definiti theater, which allows you to see actual night skies.

You can also watch astronomy, aviation, earth, and space science shows.

The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center also offers exhibits and programs to inspire visitors to appreciate and explore the earth and what’s beyond it.

The center is also a popular destination for school field trips.

The Countdown Cafe inside the center offers delightful food and drinks.

For souvenirs, the Science Store has memorabilia and trinkets you can buy.

Get on a Bike and Explore Highland Mountain Bike Park

Based on Ski Hill Drive, Highland Mountain Bike Park is the perfect place for beginners and professional bikers.

It has multiple trails, a jump park zone, and uphill access.

You can choose which path you want to take depending on your experience and expertise.

Bike rental and demo bikes include Downhill, Freeride, and Enduro for all ages.

Training lessons and camps are regularly available for those interested in biking.

Whether you are a beginner or an enthusiast, this bike park has the trail and ride for you.

The Highland Mountain Bike Park also has a restaurant with delicious meals where you can recharge

Watch a Film at the Red River Theatres

The Red River Theatres is an arthouse cinema with a state-of-the-art three-screen facility in downtown Concord.

The cinemas include The Lincoln Financial Cinema, The Stonyfield Cinema, and the Simchik Memorial Cinema.

You and your loved ones can watch independent, classic, and newly released art films here.

You can grab your popcorn, candies, or sandwiches at The Works, while drinks and locally made chocolates are available at The Indie Cafe.

Beyond the cinema, you can find the Red River Gallery, which houses artwork by New Hampshire artists.

This allows them to showcase their talents and skills and allows viewers and enthusiasts to appreciate art.

Each month, the gallery features local artists who excel in their chosen fields, including painting, drawing, photography, and more.

The Red River Theatres cinemas are also available for rent for private events, parties, and gatherings.

See Different Kinds of Phones at the New Hampshire Telephone Museum

An old telephone at New Hampshire Telephone Museum

Berit from Redhill/Surrey, UK, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Experience a bit of nostalgia as you browse through the different telephone and communication devices from the past at the New Hampshire Telephone Museum.

The museum houses 1000 artifacts which you can discover on self-guided tours.

The guides share information about the devices and the history of communication through engaging, expert commentary.

You can also learn about telecommunications and how it has evolved through the museum’s programs.

Located at Depot Street in Warner, the museum is one of the most sought-after educational tourist spots.

Final Thoughts

Merrimack County, New Hampshire, offers a perfect combination of historical and contemporary attractions.

The county is home to several tourist destinations with unique features and sights you’ll enjoy.

Include these best things to do in Merrimack County, New Hampshire, in your itinerary when preparing for your trip!

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