Top Places To Birdwatch in New Hampshire – Free & Paid Birding Destinations

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New Hampshire Birding enthusiasts: you’ve just found the ultimate resource to learn more about the top destinations for birding in New Hampshire. We’ve discovered the best places to see your favorite birds and share them here with locations, hours, links to their websites, social media pages, YouTube videos, and more. We also have birding guides for the nearby states of Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts.

Read on to get an in-depth look at the top free and paid birding in New Hampshire destinations. Also, check our in-depth birdwatching guide as well as other birding articles containing great resources, tips & advice.

Are you ready to find out more about the best places for birding in New Hampshire? Keep reading to learn more about our best-kept secrets.

Bird Watching Destinations in New Hampshire: Free Destinations

Do you intend to visit New Hampshire during your next bird watching excursion? Check out the best free destinations to visit below.

Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge – Free Admission

This protective wildlife reserve is actually located on a former airport. It’s about 1000 acres long and goes along the Great Bay shore in New Hampshire. There is no visitor center on site and no staff to speak of, so you’re basically on your own. There are two hiking trails to walk through that are easy to handle and filled with local wildlife and gorgeous birds.

Location:

The Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge doesn’t have an address or phone number. You can plug in GPS locations to find this place using the following coordinates:

GPS: 43.0841° N, 70.8566° W

Hours Of Operation:

The wildlife refuge and hiking trails are open seven days a week from dawn to dusk. You’ll have an opportunity to see the local wildlife in their natural habitat.

Popular Birds Found at This Destination:

  • Bald Eagle
  • Pileated Woodpecker
  • Wild Turkey
  • Ovenbird
  • Eastern Bluebird
  • Pine Warbler
  • Black and White Warbler
  • Osprey
  • Shorebirds
  • Wading Birds

Hiking Trails:

There are currently two hiking trails for visitors to enjoy.

They are:

  • Peverly Pond Trail: this hiking trail is very easy to walk and it’s only about a half a mile long. You’ll discover all types of gorgeous wildlife including many birds during your travels.
  • Ferry Way Trail: this trail is a little more difficult because it’s about 2 miles long and it goes through fields and leads to a marsh on the Great Bay. You will also see plenty of beautiful wildlife in their natural habitat while hiking this trail.

Hampton Beach State Park – Free Admission, Paid Parking

This beach is a beautiful place to explore in New Hampshire. And it’s also exciting to come here during the summer because there are many people around looking to have fun, soak up the sun, and enjoy the gorgeous water. It’s also a great place to discover many amazing local birds to view at your leisure. Unfortunately, Hampton Beach State Park doesn’t have any hiking trails but you can walk up and down the beach to get a better view of the many birds in the area.

Location:

160 Ocean Blvd.
Hampton, NH 03842
Phone: 603-926-8990

GPS: 42.8987° N, 70.8125° W

Hours of Operation:

The park remains open for recreation unless otherwise posted. To get up to the minute dates and times, please call the park for further information.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Black Guillemot
  • Black Legged Kittiwake
  • Thick Billed Murre
  • King Eider
  • Purple Sandpiper
  • Snow Bunting
  • Common Redpoll
  • Horned Lark
  • Snowy Owl
  • Northern Gannett

Parking Fees

Although entrance to the beach is free, each passenger vehicle must pay $15 to park at this location. If you are in a recreational vehicle (RV) you are required to pay $30 to park since the RV takes up two spaces.

Mount Washington State Park – Free Admission

This state park is surrounded by the White Mountain National Forest, which is 750,000 acres of pure bliss. The park is nestled on a 60.3-acre parcel of land located in the Northeast’s highest peak of the summit. You’ll discover a wide array of all different types of gorgeous birds that I’ll tell you about in greater detail below.

Location:

1598 Mount Washington Auto Road
Sargent’s Purchase, NH 03589
Phone: 603-466-3347

GPS: 44.2696° N, 71.3035° W

Hours Of Operation:

The park itself is open all year round, 24/7/365. The Sherman Adams Building is open to visitors during the current season and closes once the season ends. Check with the Mount Washington State Park website to find out when this building reopens, because they will have it posted on their website.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Hermit Thrush
  • Canada Warbler
  • Blackburnian Warbler
  • Bicknell’s Thrush
  • Black-Backed Woodpecker
  • Golden-Crowned Kinglet
  • White-Winged Crossbill
  • Swainson’s Thrush
  • Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher
  • Gray Jay

Hiking Trails:

In total, there are around 25 beautiful hiking trails to traverse in Mount Washington State Park. A number of these trails are difficult to travel and span many miles. There are also easy and moderate trails mixed in for good measure.

For your benefit, here’s a list of the top 5 hiking trails in the region:

  • Nelson Crag Trail – hard trail, 6.41 miles
  • Gulfside Trail and Crawford Path – hard trail, 11.4 miles
  • Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail – moderate trail, 4.1 miles
  • Ammonoosuc River Loop – easy trail, 2 miles
  • Edmans Path to Crawford Path – hard trail, 12.8 miles

Pondicherry Wildlife Sanctuary

This wildlife refuge is a massive land project that encompasses 6405 acres of land covering Carrol, Jefferson, and Whitefield, NH. There are three ponds at the sanctuary named Cherry Pond, Mud Pond, and Little Cherry Pond. There is a wide array of gorgeous birds to view along five fun-filled hiking trails.

Location:

Pondicherry Wildlife Sanctuary
Jefferson, NH 03593

GPS: 44.3778° N, 71.5259° W

Hours Of Operation:

The 166 acres of land and 9 miles of hiking trails are open to the public all year round.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Northern Waterthrush
  • Northern Goshawk
  • Pine Siskin
  • Black-Backed Woodpecker
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • Golden-Crowned Kinglet
  • Boreal Chickadee
  • American Woodcock
  • American Black Duck
  • Canada Warbler

Hiking Trails:

Pondicherry Wildlife Sanctuary is currently made up of five different localized trails.

They include:

  • Mud Pond Trail, wheelchair accessible
  • Shore Path Trail
  • Rampart Path
  • Presidential Recreational Trail
  • Little Cherry Pond Trail

All told, the combination of these trails is about 9 miles long, or 8.9 miles to be exact.

Connecticut Lakes Headwaters Working Forest

The Forestland Group and the state of New Hampshire teamed up to provide opportunities for high-quality recreation within this Forest Legacy Easement. Besides bird watching, there are walking and hiking trails, horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, and cross-country skiing to name a few of the wonderful opportunities here.

Location:

Great Northwoods Regional Office
Pittsburgh, NH 03592
Phone: 603-538-6707

GPS: 45.0936° N, 71.2478° W

Hours Of Operation:

The Connecticut Lakes forest region is open to the public all year round.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Black-Backed Woodpecker
  • Spruce Grouse
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Alder Flycatcher
  • Blue-Headed Vireo
  • Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
  • Yellow-Bellied Flycatcher
  • Rusty Blackbird
  • Purple Finch
  • Northern Saw-Whet Owl

Hiking Trails:

Although it’s difficult to find the names of various hiking trails in the region, there is a 2-mile trail that you can follow to get to Fourth Connecticut Lake.

It’s a loop trail with an elevation gain of 350 feet. You’ll wind up going up a crisscrossing hill during the hike. And once you get there, you’ll actually be roughly 200 yards away from the border with Canada.

Bird Watching Destinations in New Hampshire: Paid Destinations

Odiorne Point State Park – Paid Admission

It’s hard not to adore Odiorne Point State Park because of its lush rocky shore, beautiful ocean views, and a network of extensive hiking and walking trails filled with the most wonderful birds you’ll ever see. Feel free to explore the park and the many trails with family, friends, co-workers, and more. And the phenomenal exhibits in Seacoast Science Center are great fun too.

Location:

570 Ocean Blvd.
Rye, NH 03870

Phone: 603-436-7406
Phone: 603-436-8043 (Science Center)
Phone: 603-227-8717 (Events/Groups)
Phone: 603-227-8722 (Seacoast Office)

GPS: 43.0486° N, 70.7202° W

Hours Of Operation:

The park is open every day between 8am – 5pm for recreational use.

Popular Birds Found At This Destination:

  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Red-Tailed Hawk
  • Merlin
  • Osprey
  • Northern Harrier
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • American Kestrel
  • Razorbill
  • Great Cormorant
  • Bonaparte’s Gull

Entrance Fees:

  • Children Ages 6-11 = $2
  • Adults = $4
  • NH Residents 65 & Up = Free Admittance

Hiking Trails:

As far as hiking is concerned, there are two main hiking trails in the park. 

They are:

  • Odiorne Point Loop Trail – easy trail, 3 miles
  • Seacoast Science Center and Founders Monument Trail – easy, 0.9 miles

Outdoor Escapes New Hampshire Bird Watching Tours

Guide/Owner: Lucie Villeneuve – 603-528-0136

Guide/Survival/Hiking: Jeff Barrie – 603-867-3778

Outdoor Escapes offers many different types of outdoor guided activities to their customers. And they have a number of different bird spotting activities that take place throughout the year. 

Their most popular statewide tours feature:

  • Wetland Tours – this tour takes place between June-August and it can be done via sightseeing tour, kayaking, and canoeing. You’ll see kingfishers, herons, eagles, ospreys, loons, and shorebirds on this adventure.
  • Raptor Migrations – this tour takes place between May-June and again in September-mid-November. It is a sightseeing and hiking tour. You’ll see raptors including eagles, hawks, and falcons as they migrate.
  • Boreal Forest – the hiking tour takes place between May-December, the kayaking and canoeing tour takes place between June-October, the cross-country skiing and snowshoeing tour takes place between January-April and the sightseeing tour takes place all year long, along with the tour of the Great Northwoods. You’ll see Spruce Grouse, Black Backed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadees, and Canadian Jays.
  • Seacoast and Estuary Bird Watching – in the seacoast region, this tour takes place all year long. The sightseeing tour also takes place all year long. The canoeing and kayaking part of the tour takes place between June-October. You’ll notice a wide range of different bird species along this tour.

Contact Lucie or Jeff to find out more about their guided day trips and prices.

Final Thoughts About New Hampshire Birding

As you can see, there are numerous New Hampshire birdwatching opportunities. If you’re visiting or live in New Hampshire, be sure to check out the locations referenced here – and give us your feedback!