Scenic New Hampshire – Statewide ideas on how to spend your next New Hampshire vacation. Travel Ideas, Lodging, and year-round activities for your enjoyment in New Hampshire.

Don’t miss the New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival, happening in Lincoln on September 15-17, 2023

Hopkinton State Fair, Contoocook, Aug. 31 to September 4

New Hampshire has no shortage of storied fairs, and kicking off the season of fall agricultural fun is the over 100 year old Hopkinton State Fair. From demolition derbies and educational exhibits to livestock shows and decadent fried dough, this Labor Day weekend tradition is fun for the whole family.

UFO Festival, Exeter, September 2-3

Did you know that there was a UFO sighting in this quintessential New England town in 1965? The Incident at Exeter inspired this festival, which is both an educational experience for believers and skeptics and a fun time for family and friends. There will be activities for your little ones and, for adults, a lecture series featuring a panel of experts.

34th Annual Hampton Beach Seafood Festival, Hampton Beach, September 8-1o

Close out your summer with the granddaddy of all Granite State food fests. You likely know the drill at this legendary ode to oceanside eats, but if you need a reminder, here’s the gist: Over 50 Seacoast restaurants offering up lobster, fried clams and other surf and turf favorites, plus two stages of music, fireworks, a mini airshow, a lobster roll-eating contest and three full days of season-ending boardwalk adventures. (603) 926-8718;

Thunder Over New Hampshire Air Show, Pease ANGB, Portsmouth, September 9-10

Head over to the Pease Air National Guard Base in Portsmouth to see an air show that is sure to be high octane fun. Thunder Over New Hampshire will feature performances by the U.S. Air Force F-16 Viper Demo Team, US Special Operations Command Para Commandos, the Smoke-N-Thunder Jet Truck, Kent Putsch and more. Enjoy two full days of ground attractions and air performers. Free.

Auburn Day & 30th Annual Duck Race, September 9

Each September, hundreds of people gather in beautiful Auburn to enjoy a family-friendly and fun-filled day to benefit the Auburn Historical Association. The cornerstone for this annual event is the famous duck race, which awards cash prizes for the 10 fastest ducks, including $1,000 for first place. Other event highlights include the Salmon Falls apple pie-baking contest, the pretty chicken contest, Duckling Dash 5K road race, plenty of New Hampshire artisans and vendors, food and more. Free. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Auburn Village, Hooksett Road, Auburn.

Wingzilla, Berlin, September 9

Head north for this annual food and fun fest, featuring a chicken wing cook-off and a Hawaiian-themed ATV poker run, among other festivities. If you’re up for a particular brand of torture, sign on for Killazilla, a competition to see who can snarf down the most blazing hot wings.

River Valley Artisans Art and Wine Tour, Westmoreland, September 9-10

This annual event allows you to enjoy delicious wine and stroll among displays of various paintings by local artists. Poocham and Summit wineries have joined the River Valley Artisans for this weekend of art, fun, wine and food. There will be oil paintings, watercolors, pastels, photography, jewelry, fiber art and woodware among other handmade items.

Alpine Garden Winery Wine Release Party, Bartlett, September 16

Celebrate the release of Alpine Garden Winery’s newest red wine and fine ciders during their Wine Release Party. Enjoy gourmet hotdogs, apps and hors d’oeuvers while sipping on a tasting flight and listening to live music. (603) 374-5154;

New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival, Lincoln, September 15-17

Heading north for this beloved fest, you could almost convince yourself that the mountains on the horizon are the rolling hills of the Scottish Highlands-and once you hear the bagpipes and spot the sea of tartan on the festival grounds, you’ll really start believing it. Heavy athletics, dancing, music and arts are all on the docket this year, as are other fun festival activities. (603) 229-1975;

Fall Equinox Fest, Exeter, September 23

Celebrate the final days of summer and welcome in the first days of fall with this fun festival. It takes place at Swasey Parkway, and features some of the Seacoast’s finest artistic and musical talent, as well as cultural exhibits and local food. There will also be yoga, dance performances, activities for kids and hooping. (603) 512-8396;

Star Island Gosport Regatta, Portsmouth, September 17

All are invited to this open sailing race from Portsmouth Harbor to Gosport Harbor at the Isles of Shoals. Spectators are welcome to enjoy the sailing competition from the deck of M/V Thomas Laighton, Isles of Shoals Steamship Company. There will also be festivities after the race for the whole family, such as an award ceremony, delicious barbecue, music, kite festival and games and activities for children. (603) 430-6272;

Fox Point Sunset Road Race, Newington, September 23

Runners who love to race but hate the break-of-dawn start times, this one’s for you. A 5-mile course winding through Newington Village and around Great Bay, this Seacoast Road Race Series event is designed to align with the sunset — no 6 a.m. registration table in sight. Stick around after you’ve crossed the finish line, where a free post-race BBQ will be waiting to replenish those calories you just burned off. (603) 834-3177;

Seacoast Cancer 5K, Portsmouth, September 24

Join more than 2,000 participants for a morning of family fun benefiting cancer care and services at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. The course starts at the Mass General Cancer Center at the Wentworth-Douglass Portsmouth Outpatient Center- located on the Pease Tradeport at 212 Corporate Drive, Suite 100 in Portsmouth, and winds through the Tradeport. Runners and walkers are invited to partake in this event, and there will be pre- and post-race activities like food, entertainment, kids’ activities and more.

Portsmouth Fairy House Tours, Portsmouth, September 23-24

The world’s largest fairy house tour is back for a weekend of magic. Peruse the enchanted fairy and gnome homes, take a seat and watch a ballet, visit Pickwick’s Fairy Bazaar, take a photo in the fairy photobooth, add a bit of whimsy to your outfit at the fairy face painting studio and more. (603) 433-1100;

Deerfield Fair, Deerfield, September 28-October 1

At 145 years old, the season closes out with the oldest family fair in New England. Last year the largest pumpkin recorded in the entire country was weighed in at the fair – it was a truly ginormous specimen at 2,538 pounds. Find out on opening day at 6 p.m. whether anyone can best Steve Geddes’ massive pumpkin-growing talents. Other non-gourd entertainment includes magicians, high-flying circus acts, music, livestock demonstrations, horse shows, the pig scramble, 4-H events, square dancing and so much more.

GRANITEER Outdoor Lifestyle Festival, Franconia, September 20-30

GRANITEER is a one-of-a-kind outdoor lifestyle festival that fuses industry and consumer interests with music, networking opportunities, family-friendly activities, local food and beverage vendors, and brands activations. This year, they are proud to host Joe Samba, a rising reggae rock artist from Salem, as the headline act. Coyote Island, the musical vision of Maine native Mike O’Hehir, will open for Samba. Tickets start at $20. 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., Dow Fields, 1 Academy St., Franconia.

Categories: Fall and Foliage, Family-friendly things to do, Things to Do