Top 10 Things ... to do by car

May 18. 2018 1:40PM
Mouth Washington Auto Road 

From early May through October 21 drivers can enjoy the one-of-a-kind experience of making their way up the highest peak in the Northeast on the Mount Washington Auto Road, on NH Route 16 in Pinkham Notch. Drivers will be treated to panoramic views as they pass through four distinct climate zones. But beware of the constantly-changing weather that adds to the allure and mystique of the famous peak. Not comfortable with heights or narrow mountain roads without guardrails?
NH Motor Speedway in Loudon (Allegra Boverman)

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to New Hampshire Motor Speedway the weekend of July 20 to 22. In addition to the action-packed lineup of races, including the NH 301, the family-friendly environment creates a fun weekend for all ages with an interactive Fan Zone, where you may see a NASCAR driver up close and personal. Want to get behind the wheel and race around the mile oval yourself? The speedway offers a variety of racing experiences throughout the year.

Paintball battles are fun, and OSG Paintball, New England’s largest paintball park, is adding to the excitement with Paintball Tank Battles beginning in June. The miniaturized single-person paintball battle tanks have a top speed of 8 mph, with tracks controlled by two levers, and a paintball marker built into a rotating turret. The tanks will be used for four-on-four tank battles on specially designed fields. OSG Paintball, located in Center Barnstead, is one of only two fields in the country to offer this experience.

Stretching from the Pemigewasset River at Lincoln 34 1/2 miles to the town of Conway, this National Scenic Byway climbs to nearly 3,000 feet as it crosses the flank of Mount Kancamagus, featuring many scenic vistas and campgrounds. The original route was started in 1837 and opened in 1959. Since 1968, the road has been open year-round except in the most dangerous winter weather. There are numerous day hikes accessible from the highway, including a hike to the breathtaking Sabbaday Falls that can be done in less than an hour.
The Chesterfield Home along the Connecticut River Byway. (Katharine Otto)

The Connecticut River forms a beautiful natural border with our neighbor to the west, and you can enjoy unspoiled views on what may be a perfect summer drive along the Connecticut River Byway. Designated a National Scenic Byway in 2005, the 500 miles of road runs through 53 communities on both sides of the river in New Hampshire and Vermont, with plenty of opportunities for adventure and simple sightseeing along the way.
Milford Drive-In 

Entertaining flick fans since 1958, the Milford Drive-In is the only remaining drive-in theater in southern New Hampshire. Patrons often drive from great distances just to enjoy the nostalgia, fun times, great food, and first-run movies under the stars. Cars of one to six passengers pay a flat fee of $27. You’ll pay a little more for extended vans and extra passengers. See a list of features to be shown this summer at

NH1 Motorplex in Seabrook is the first and only electric karting venue in New Hampshire, offering an extreme racing experience in an eco-friendly, no-fume venue. Inside you’ll find a quarter-mile track with fast straightaways and curvy tight turns, two spacious party rooms, and an arcade. Speeds reach up to 45 mph for adults and 20 mph for juniors, who can begin racing as young as six years old if they meet the 48-inch height requirement.

New Hampshire’s brewery business is booming, and not just for the beer makers. A couple brewery bus tour companies have popped up to help beer lovers safely enjoy a day of brewery visits and samples. In Southern New Hampshire you can try Manchvegas Brews Bus in Manchester, and on the Seacoast there’s Granite State Growler Tours. Both visit about three breweries per tour and have coolers to keep your brewery buys cold.

One sure sign that winter is officially gone is when the prized antique, custom and classic cars emerge from the safety and protection of garages and storage facilities around the state. In New Hampshire, it’s easy to find a car show almost any weekend and even many week nights. Some distinct annual favorites to look for are the Castle Car Show at Castle in the Clouds in Moultonborough on July 7 and Manchester’s enormous Cruisin’ Downtown car show on Sept. 1.
Chris Cyr and Tim O'Neil of the Team O'Neil Rally School in Dalton pose with their 2016 Ford Focus RS rally car before the 2017 Subaru Mount Washington Hillclimb. (COURTESY)

Team O’Neil Rally School, “probably the most fun you can have on four wheels,” has been teaching car control training and performance driving in Dalton since 1997. Rally is the sport of driving production-based vehicles as quickly as possible on closed sections of public and/or private roads. Classes at Team O’Neil can last one to five days, training participants leftfoot braking as well as the instincts and muscle memory needed to operate a vehicle in the White Mountains. Students get to “slide cars around all day,” without getting in trouble, or fear of damaging them. They’re not your cars!

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