New Hampshire is known for many things other than snow. It’s the first state in the Union to host a primary in the presidential election cycle. It’s known as the Granite State. Another nickname is the "Switzerland of America" for its mountains. The state motto is “Live Free or Die” from a toast written by New Hampshire Revolutionary War hero General John Stark.
However, when you’re thinking of retiring, you’re probably envisioning a place with palm trees where you can sit outside on your lawn chair, sipping on your beverage of choice.
The part about sitting outside on your lawn chair with a beverage describes New Hampshire...for about 5 months of the year. And in the interest of full disclosure, the state sport is skiing. Nevertheless, there are numerous reasons to retire in New Hampshire.
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Why Retire in New Hampshire?
#1 Highest Quality of Life
When it comes to family wellbeing, taxes, health, income, poverty, education, and graduation rate, New Hampshire is rated #1 for quality of life. Since more than half of all current residents were born outside the state, something must attract them.
#2 Top 3 in Safety
New Hampshire ranks 3rd in the nation for safety behind Vermont and Massachusetts. It has the nation’s lowest murder rate of just 1.05 per 100,000 people in 2016. The rate of violent crimes was 199 per 100,000 people in 2016.
#3 Top 6 in Health
New Hampshire is the 6th healthiest state, according to United Health Foundation’s annual health rankings. States are judged on factors that include smoking, obesity, immunizations, drug deaths, and heart disease. The state’s health system ranks 2nd overall.
#4 1st in Politics
If you’re a political junkie, New Hampshire is the place to be. The New Hampshire presidential primary is the first in the nation. Every four years, you’ll be stumbling over candidates in every town in the state.
That attention pays off for presidential candidates: New Hampshire residents are some of the best presidential voters in the country. They ranked fourth in the nation with a turnout of 69.8% percent compared to a national turnout of 57.5%.
Dixville Notch is the first town in the United States to cast votes in the presidential election. Voting opens at midnight.
#5 7th Lowest Taxes
New Hampshire doesn't tax retirement income nor Social Security. The state ranks 7th lowest for state-local tax burden as a percentage of income at only 7.9% in 2012. There are no sales, inheritance or estate taxes either. Dividends and interest are taxed at only 5%.
#6 Four Seasons
Residents of other parts of the country pay to travel to New Hampshire to experience the fall foliage. And New Hampshire residents know how to get the most out of every clement day.
#7 Natural Beauty and Outdoor Activities
New Hampshire features some of the most beautiful scenery and outdoor activities in the U.S., and much of it is easy to access. Some of the state’s notable natural attractions are:
- Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest of New Hampshire’s lakes. Bordering it is Wolfeboro, the oldest summer resort in America. Take a ride on a replica paddleboat, visit the Libby Museum natural history museum or just enjoy the lake and the surrounding area. Almost everything is accessible.
- Mount Washington is the highest summit in the Northeast at 6,288 feet. It also has the highest wind speed—231 mph in 1934—ever recorded.
- Diana's Baths is a series of small waterfalls on Lucy’s Brook in Bartlett. Fun for the entire family, the hike to the baths is less than a mile on an easy-to-traverse path.
- The state’s tallest nonseasonal falls, Arethusa Falls, measures a contested 140 feet. Dryad Falls in Mahoosuc Range is taller, but they’re seasonal. The trail to Arethusa Falls can be treacherous in the rain, but you can bring along your dog.
- Located in the White Mountains’ Kinsman Notch, Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves show the aftermath of the Ice Age. Lost River is so named because it disappears below the surface in part of the gorge. Follow the boardwalk up and down stairs and ladders to explore rock and boulder formations and the spectacular 35-foot waterfall, Paradise Falls.
- The Basin is described as a pothole in the Pemigewasset River that is 30 feet in diameter and 15 feet deep. It’s located right off the road with a short walk. The Old Man’s Foot is the rock formation seen in the stream bed at the outlet.
- The New Hampshire portion of the Appalachian Trail is the most arduous of any stretch thanks to the White Mountains.
- New Hampshire’s Atlantic Ocean coastline is only 18 miles, the shortest coastline of any coastal state. However, they’re popular with residents and visitors. State Park beaches are Hampton Beach State Park, North Beach, North Hampton State Beach, Jenness State Beach, and Wallis Sands State Park.