Thanksgiving began in New England, and there is no better place to spend the holiday than in the region. New Hampshire has a special connection with Thanksgiving, as the state’s own Sarah Josepha Hale was the one to persuade President Lincoln to declare it a National Holiday. There are plenty of New Hampshire vacation rentals located near fun Thanksgiving events for the whole family, so no matter what your interest, you’ll find something to do. Take a holiday stroll through Nashua, climb Mount Monadnock, or join the Dartmouth community for a good old-fashioned turkey trot. Here are the nine best vacation destinations in New Hampshire for the Thanksgiving holiday season.

1. Portsmouth

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See how Thanksgiving evolved over 300 years at the Strawberry Banke Museum in Portsmouth. This interactive museum includes costumed guides who demonstrate daily life during select periods of history. Kids enjoy creating harvest crafts and viewing old-fashioned toys. Back in the center of town, there are several restaurants in the town center open for the holiday, so you can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner along the waterfront. Some excellent options include The Library Restaurant, Dolphin Striker, and The Oar House.

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2. Bretton Woods

 

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The Bretton Woods community loves Thanksgiving and hosts a three-day event celebrating the holiday at the Omni Mount Washington Resort, complete with a full traditional meal. Have fun playing flag football, browse the arts and crafts vendors for gifts, or take part in the annual Turkey Trot. All the fun is a short trip from your vacation rental.

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3. Peterborough

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The small town of Peterborough is located near Mount Monadnock and offers the perfect Thanksgiving destination for outdoor lovers. The 3,166-foot mountain has trails suitable for even the youngest hikers, and you will find entire families enjoying a climb before dinner. In the evening, stop by the Monadnock Folklore Society for its special Thanksgiving contra dance. Join the dancers, or sit back and relax while listening to live folk music.

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4. North Conway

swift river bridge new hampshire
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If you want to spend your Thanksgiving holiday outdoors, North Conway is the place to be. Nestled near the White Mountains, a vacation rental here gives you access to hiking and biking trails. Downhill and cross-country skiing is available during snowy Thanksgivings, and fishing is an option if it is a warmer holiday. If you prefer Black Friday shopping, North Conway has many general and outlet stores throughout the town offering great deals.

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5. Nashua

new hampshire railway bridge
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After enjoying Thanksgiving dinner in Nashua, start your holiday shopping early at its annual winter holiday stroll. Stores stay open late and craft vendors line the streets selling unique handmade items. Start the night with a candlelit procession to Railroad Square for the city’s tree lighting ceremony. Marvel at live ice sculpture carvings in the park or check out the festival of trees in the Hunt Memorial Building. Kids love riding the Polar Express through the North Pole Safari to meet Santa.

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6. Milton

morton farm dartmouth
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Step back in time for an old-fashioned Thanksgiving down on the farm at the New Hampshire Farm Museum. Guides dressed in colonial costumes take visitors on a tour of the farmhouse, recreating the holiday of the past. Stop in the farmhouse kitchen for some hot cider and homemade pumpkin pie, or go outdoors to pop popcorn in the campfire. Kids love making friends with the farm animals, and the whole family enjoys a horse-drawn wagon ride through the field.

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7. Manchester

outdoor fall leaves
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Manchester’s own minor league baseball team, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, holds a 5K Turkey Trot every year that baseball lovers won’t want to miss. This road race winds through the city’s historic Mill Yard District, then ends in Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, allowing runners to race around the field and cross the finish line at home plate. After the Turkey Trot, head back to the Mill Yard for a Thanksgiving buffet at Fratello’s or Hanover Street Chophouse. The city is also home to the Mall of New Hampshire, which has plenty of Black Friday deals for bargain hunters.

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8. Hanover

dartmouth college
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Spend your Thanksgiving in a quintessential New England college town with a vacation rental in Hanover. The home of Dartmouth College hosts a Turkey Trot 10K every year on the college green. Join in, or cheer for others as they race towards the finish. Younger kids enjoy participating in the adorable Tiny Turkey Trot across from the main event. The community holds a food drive during the race, so bring some canned goods and receive raffle tickets for the big prize. After the event, take a stroll around campus, then stop for Thanksgiving dinner at The Norwich Inn.

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9. Meredith

thanksgiving turkeys
Source: Flickr/U.S. Department of Agriculture

It is Thanksgiving year-round at Hart’s Turkey Farm in Meredith. This local institution serves up turkey with all the trimmings every day of the year, making this a must-see destination for the holiday. Enjoy turkey, stuffing, and homemade pumpkin pie, then browse the Thanksgiving-themed items in the gift shop. The town sits along Lake Winnipesaukee, affording visitors with gorgeous views of the water. If you prefer to dine on the lake, check out Lakeside Grill’s special Thanksgiving buffet.

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