15 Best Places to Live in New Hampshire

Written by Darren Griffiths
Updated on
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In the northeastern United States of America, right on the Canadian border, you will find New Hampshire. This idealistic state has it all; bustling and bright cities, national forests galore and snow-capped mountains for good measure.

Although small, New Hampshire certainly holds its own between Vermont and Massachusetts. If you are a lover of the great outdoors and want to be close to the coast too, New Hampshire is the place for you. In the White Mountains, there are great wildernesses to explore. Moose and black bears all feature along the Appalachian Trail, so be sure to watch your step!

There are plenty of great places to live in New Hampshire and each one has its own merits. We have looked at what local people love about each area to make sure that we are offering you the most rounded and authentic look at each neighbourhood.

With that in mind, the hard facts like public school ranking, median home value and crime statistics don’t lie. Joining all these factors together, we have created a list of the 15 best places to live in New Hampshire.

1. Hanover

Hanover, New HampshireSource: Edward Fielding / shutterstock

Unlike many other states, New Hampshire offers residents a great number of truly rural areas to live, Hanover being one of them. As it so happens, it is the best of them too! This country community of 11,348 people have a pretty sweet deal.

Great public schools on offer from elementary level right through to high school means that Hanover is one of the most desirable places to raise a family in the state.

Residents are quick to note the almost non-existent nightlife; in all honesty, this is part and parcel of rural living and for many people the exact reason why they moved to Hanover. No nightclubs, no, but plenty of character and community feel. There is all the entertainment you could wish for just down the road.

2. Bedford

Bedford, New HampshireSource: NNECAPA / Flickr

The small town of Bedford in Hillsborough County is a happy and bright place to live. Close to Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, there are lots of options for commuters here in Bedford. Boston itself is only 50-miles away so even by car it’s not too much of a trek.

If you like the small community feel but aren’t ready to vacate suburbia, then Bedford is a happy medium.

The neighbourhood is home to 21,000 people so there is plenty going on here. As you would expect with a population this size, there are ample amenities to match. Local people in Bedford comment that people care about their town and love to play an active role in the community.

A beautiful place to live and a wonderful area to raise a family in Bedford.

3. Portsmouth

Portsmouth, New HampshireSource: Sean Pavone / shutterstock

Portsmouth in New Hampshire was a tight contender for first or second place. Alas it falls in third but very much on par with Hanover and Bedford, on paper. Great public schools make Portsmouth great for parents and young children. Of the five schools in the neighbourhood, each and every one of them holds an A-rating from the government.

Crime levels here in Portsmouth are very low and it is the sort of place where children can still play out on the sidewalk; despite being an urban area.

Very family friendly and a characterful environment are what residents like most about Portsmouth. They do note, however, that the cost of living in Portsmouth is a little dearer than in other parts of the state.

4. Amherst

Amherst, New HampshireSource: NNECAPA / Flickr

Amherst is another quaint and charming town in gorgeous Hillsborough County. Amherst is very much worthy of its top five placement and has been voted as one of the best places to raise a family in New Hampshire, but why so?

For one, incidences of crime in the area are few and far between. The occasional shoplifting or petty theft debacle is dealt with by the local police quickly and efficiently.

Home value in Amherst is consistent with the rest of the state but frustratingly above the national average. With higher home value comes access to better schools and facilities so it’s a give and take situation.

Properties on the market range from a greatly affordable $150,000 for a 2-bedroom home, up to $379,000 for grand 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom country style, family home.

5. Hollis

Hollis, New HampshireSource: Dougtone / Flickr

Just east of Nashua we find the rural town of Hollis. As is to be expected of a rural area, 92% of the 7,700 residents live in owned homes, making the market very competitive for those looking to rent.

Properties in Hollis come onto the market on a semi-regular basis but don’t stick around for long. There are only ever a handful of homes to choose from at any one given time. The quality of the homes in Hollis is outstanding. Almost all offer off road parking, expansive gardens and en-suite bathrooms.

The area is popular with the more affluent of the New Hampshire folk, many of which have made their money in business and moved to Hollis to enjoy the slower pace of country life.

6. Durham

Durham, New HampshireSource: Olivier Aumage / Wikimedia

Meandering around the Great Bay, Durham is a small town north of Newmarket in Strafford County. Crime in the area is almost non-existent which is a real bonus point next to Durham’s name.

Thanks to the University of New Hampshire campus in the northeast of the suburb, there is a greatly diverse community here.

There are some magnificent properties available in Durham. Although a little out of range for many young families, it is certainly worth looking at property in Durham as an investment as well as your next home.

The median home value may be $301,100, but at the higher end of the scale at a punchy $995,500, you can get a picturesque, waterfront home with 4-bedrooms and 4-bathrooms; not to mention the double garage and long private driveway.

7. Madbury

Town Hall, Madbury, NHSource: Myself / Wikimedia
Town Hall, Madbury, NH

Nestled between Durham and Dover lies the small village of Madbury. 1,858 people call this charming rural neighbourhood home. There is a fantastic variety of people who live in the area making the small population greatly diverse; the area is an up and coming hotspot for millennials, as well as the young families and retirees that all live here too.

Although recreational activities like 10-pin bowling or nightclubbing aren’t readily available in Madbury, there is still plenty to keep you occupied.

Pudding Hill Town Forest is more than just a cute name! Bolstridge is a vast parkland that is frequented by dog walkers and runners alike.

8. Lee

Lee, New HampshireSource: Dougtone / Flickr

The humble town of Lee offers the perfect mix of rural living and access to commuter routes; Highway 4 cuts through the northern third of the town, connecting you to Portsmouth and Concord in under an hour.

Lee is considered to be the second best place in New Hampshire to buy a home. Many of the houses on the market offer you expansive gardens encompassed by lush greenery. The average household income in Lee is $95,000 a year so the area is reasonably affluent, far from exclusive, however.

A major plus point to Lee is the ease of access to New Hampshire’s impressive countryside areas. Residents have to travel only the shortest of distances to be at one with nature.

9. Greenland

Greenland, New HampshireSource: Dougtone / Flickr

The bayside area of Greenland is one of the most sought-after areas to live in all of New Hampshire, in light of this, property in the area gets bought up pretty quickly. Away from the waterfront, however, there is plenty of property options to explore.

The median home value in Greenland is a reasonable $389,200 but if you can afford to stretch to the upper end of the scale you’ll be amply rewarded. A grand, stately family home with 4-bedrooms and 3-bathrooms is on the market for £699,00 and would be an ideal piece of investment property as well and a warm family abode.

With the more affluent area comes low crime rates which everyone will appreciate. With the more affluent area also comes less diversity in the community.

10. Windham

Windham, New HampshireSource: Diana Nault / shutterstock

Good schools, low crime rates and plenty of quality housing, On paper it is hard to find fault with Windham. 

With 14,104 people calling this suburb their home, Windham is just a stone’s throw away from Boston city centre, offering residents a great many job opportunities with easy commuting options.

Windham is the most popular suburb for millennials and with that in mind, as well as all the great features of the suburb, we can expect to see Windham climbing up the ranks in the New Hampshire area in the years to come.

Renting property in Windham would not be the most cost-effective way to live, with median rent sitting at nearly $2000 a month, there are more affordable suburbs out there for tenants.

11. Stratham

Stratham, New HampshireSource: Dougtone / Flickr

This small, close-knit community is comprised of around 7,320 people. Homes here are built to last, some would say decadent, in certain areas of the neighbourhood. With the median household income being over $100,000 it is safe to say that Stratham is an affluent neighbourhood, this is reflected in the highly educated population too.

Generations to come will be highly educated too, Stratham Memorial School is one of the best public schools in the state, proudly hosting an A-rating.

Residents of Stratham note that crime seldom occurs in the area and there is a real community orientated atmosphere. The library programme is great for young children too and a lovely place to meet others in the community.

12. Mont Vernon

Mont Vernon, New HampshireSource: Dougtone / Flickr
Mont Vernon

The very rural area of Mont Vernon is home to a tiny population of just 2,620 people. An impressive 96% of residents live in owned homes. Despite this, there are plenty of properties on the market offering buyers ample choice.

Mont Vernon is proud to offer residents access to some of the best schools in the state; that said, there are only two to choose from!

The reason why Mont Vernon comes in lower down the ranks is that it’s so far out in the sticks. This makes commuting a bit of an issue and job opportunities are few and far between.

This is very much a place for people who want to feel part of a community and play an active role in maintaining this atmosphere. Business-focused folk are not the ideal candidates for living in Mont Vernon.

13. Hampton

Hampton, New HampshireSource: Jon Bilous / shutterstock

Set right on the Atlantic coast is the quaint town of Hampton. There is little to fault with in Hampton. There is plenty of green spaces in Hampton, perfect for those who like to keep fit, have dogs to walk or enjoy getting out and about as a family. Football fields, as well as baseball, softball and basketball courts for community members to enjoy.

Locals say that Hampton is very safe, the kind of place where children can play in the street, like the good old days!

This quiet area would be deemed too sleepy for those you like the busy and bustling cities. If you’re looking for a leisurely pace of life and a strong community ethos, Hampton would be a serious contender.

14. Hopkinton

Hopkinton, New HampshireSource: Erika J Mitchell / shutterstock

Much like Mont Vernon, Hopkinton is out in the sticks a little. Very much a rural area, access to outdoor activities is easy making the town perfect for families. With only 5,000 people living in the town, locals know each other by face if not by name.

House prices here are dear but it is value for money you need to look at, as well as potential. There are some good properties on the market in Hopkinton, some are something of a steal.

$219,000 gets you a 4-bedroom home with a spacious garden, for example. For those looking for a really good deal, you can get a 2-bedroom home on a nice plot of land with room to expand, and get plenty change from $200,000.

15. Atkinson

Atkinson, New HampshireSource: nlnnet / Flickr

The small town of Atkinson brings our list of best places to live in New Hampshire to a close. One major plus point for Atkinson is that median rent is extremely low and rental properties are plentiful; high quality too.

Crime rates in the town are idealistically low and the area is reasonably affluent too; median household income is $102,000.

Those who live in the area really enjoy living here and find very little to complain about. Friendly, quiet and relaxed are the three words that spring to mind, they say.

Atkinson is deemed to be the best suburb to buy a house in all of New Hampshire, snap these houses up like hotcakes…if you can!


15 Best Places to Live in New Hampshire:

  • Hanover
  • Bedford
  • Portsmouth
  • Amherst
  • Hollis
  • Durham
  • Madbury
  • Lee
  • Greenland
  • Windham
  • Stratham
  • Mont Vernon
  • Hampton
  • Hopkinton
  • Atkinson