Photo: Dogs jump into lake

A black Lab and a yellow Lab celebrate summer by jumping into New Hampshire's Squam Lake.

Photograph by Nick Lambert, Aurora Photos

Pop. 6,362
GPS: 43°44'N 71°43'W

Life in Plymouth is like a master class in recreation. Wedged between Mount Washington Valley and the Granite State’s glittering lakes region, this college-meets-covered-bridge depot welcomes kayakers on the Pemigewasset River and explorers to the 798,562-acre (323,167-hectare) White Mountain National Forest. And if working at Plymouth State University or the local hospital doesn’t entice you, high-tech and political posts are just 45 minutes south in Concord.


Up here, there's often skiing through the end of March at Tenney Mountain Resort. Call in sick and take a weekday run here to avoid the Saturday/Sunday lines ( The White Mountain Exploration center offers instruction in ski touring, ice climbing, mountain biking, and rock climbing, (plus a geocaching treasure hunt!) all run by Eastern Mountain Sports (


Carbo load for your outdoor activities at the Italian Farmhouse on the outskirts of town—locals rave about the fresh bread and pizzas ( Chow down (and hang for open mic night) with the college crowd at Biederman's Deli and Pub, the sandwiches can't be beat (


This being a college town, there are plenty of B&Bs to choose from. The Inn at Newfound Lake heaps on country charm and offers its cheapest rates in the winter (from $150; Come spring, rent a secluded mountainside yurt from White Mountain Exploration (from $150;