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The edge of the lake on site #7 at Pawtuckaway State Park

The edge of the lake on site #7 at Pawtuckaway State Park. Photo: Cody Carlson, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Covering an area of more than 5,000 acres, Pawtuckaway State Park is a stunning public recreational space in New Hampshire.

Located within the Nottingham area, about a 40 minute drive of Concord, the park is renowned for its spectacular, untouched beauty.

Comprising rolling hills, scenic lakes, and dense forests, it is especially beautiful when the colors of fall hit.

However, all through the year it is a terrific destination for hiking, fishing and boating, Swimming is also very popular in the summer too, while many people come to the park for birding and picnicking.

Given how close it is to Concord, this New Hampshire state park is often visited as a day trip destination. However, for those who want to camp for a couple of nights there are two very good campgrounds with a range of tent and RV sites available.


As mentioned above, Pawtuckaway State Park affords guests a variety of ways to enjoy its stunning landscape.

Outlined below are some of the most popular recreational activities you can do during the course of your visit there.

Boating at Pawtuckaway State Park

For those into boating and paddling the park offers several lakes. Collectively, they provide excellent conditions in which to engage in these activities.

The park has a boat launch on Little Pawtuckaway Lake, which is open to non-motorized boats, such as canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards.

Visitors are welcome to bring their own boats or they can rent boats from the park’s concession stand. Boaters should be aware of the rules and regulations around speed limits, and should always wear a life jacket while on the water.

The park also offers several canoe and kayak rental options for visitors who do not have their own watercraft.

Swimming at Pawtuckaway State Park

Swimming is a popular activity at Pawtuckaway State Park, with several beaches around the park’s lakes offering opportunities to go for a cooling dip.

Over at Little Pawtuckaway Lake you will find a lovely designated swimming area, which is supervised by lifeguards during the summer season.

Visitors should take note of swim times and lifejacket requirements, and should always follow the instructions of the lifeguards on duty.

Fishing at Pawtuckaway State Park

The park is a great place to spend a day fishing, and offers visitors a chance to experience the peaceful beauty of its lakes and forests.

Most of the park’s lakes are stocked with a variety of fish species, including rainbow trout, largemouth bass, and chain pickerel. You can choose to fish from the shoreline or on a boat out in the middle of the water.

Guests are welcome to bring their own fishing gear or rent equipment from the park’s concession stand.

A New Hampshire fishing license is required for all anglers over the age of 16, and visitors should be mindful of size and catch limits and local fishing laws.

Hiking at Pawtuckaway State Park

If you are keen to explore Pawtuckaway State Park there are a number of hiking trails that will take you into the heart of its pristine natural beauty.

These trails range from easy, flat walks around the park’s lakes, to more challenging treks up to the summit of Mount Pawtuckaway.

Some of the popular trails include the Mount Pawtuckaway Trail, the Beach Trail, and the Round Pond Trail.

Hikers can also take advantage of the park’s network of connecting trails to create longer hikes and backpacking trips.

Between them, these trails offer scenic views, including vistas of the park’s lakes and forests. They also enable you to view a range of wildlife including deer and moose.

Picnicking at Pawtuckaway State Park

The park offers several scenic picnic spots in which to enjoy an al fresco meal.

Visitors are welcome to bring their own food, although they are expected to dispose of any trash appropriately and refrain from consuming alcohol.

Birding at Pawtuckaway State Park

Make sure you pack your binoculars because Pawtuckaway State Park is a noted spot for birdwatching.

With a topography that includes forests, wetlands, and lakes, the park offers several perfect habitats for a range of migratory and permanent resident species.

Depending on what time of year you visit the park you can expect to see warblers, thrushes, vireos, and orioles.

You should also be able to spot American Goldfinch, Northern Cardinal, and the Tufted Titmouse too.

To maximize your experience, you might want to bring a field guide to assist you with bird identification.


Pets are allowed to join you at Pawtuckaway State Park, but visitors should be aware that certain rules and regulations must be adhered to.

For a start dogs are not allowed in park buildings or in designated wilderness areas. They also are forbidden from the beaches or swimming areas.

In addition, they must always be kept on a leash that does not exceed 6 feet in length and owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets and properly disposing of pet waste.

For a full rundown of the park’s pet policy it is worth contacting the main office.


If you are interested in camping overnight at the park there are several opportunities available for visitors, including tent camping and RV camping.

Overall, the park has two campgrounds – the North Campground and the South Campground. Both of which offer modern restrooms and hot showers, as well as fire rings and picnic tables.

The North Campground has 72 campsites, some of which have electric hookups, while the South Campground has 35 campsites, all of which have electric hookups.

Campers should be prepared to follow park rules and regulations, including quiet hours, fire restrictions, and bear-resistant food storage regulations.

Reservations for camping sites can be made in advance, and are recommended during peak season to ensure availability.

Park Location

Pawtuckaway State Park
128 Mountain Rd
Nottingham, NH 03290
Phone: 603.895.3031

Park Website



Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Pawtuckaway State Park: