vermont fall colors

Geographically, Vermont and New Hampshire are located right next to each other in New England in the northeastern part of the U.S.

Because they’re so close, these two states share many similarities, which can make it hard to decide which one to move to.

There are a few key differences, though, that might help you make up your mind.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Key Takeaways

  • Both Vermont and New Hampshire see four different, dramatic seasons.
  • Summers in both states are mild, but winters can be harsh.
  • Vermont and New Hampshire both have beautiful scenery, but New Hampshire offers access to the ocean.
  • Most of Vermont and New Hampshire is rural, but it’s easier to get to large cities like Boston from New Hampshire.
  • Both Vermont and New Hampshire have high costs of living, but Vermont’s is a bit higher.
  • Vermont has high income and property taxes.
  • New Hampshire has no income or sales tax but does have high property taxes.
  • Both Vermont and New Hampshire are liberal states, but New Hampshire leans slightly more conservative.
  • Both states have low crime rates and excellent schools.
  • The job market is poor in both states.
  • Vermont offers some local specialty foods.
  • Vermont and New Hampshire residents can be reserved.
  • Both states lack diversity.
  • Both states have a relatively high average age.

Brattleboro, Vermont
Brattleboro, Vermont

Weather

Vermont and New Hampshire share very similar weather. During the summer months, temperatures hover in the 70s.

Spring and fall can be a bit chilly, but spring offers beautiful flowers, and the autumn foliage in Vermont and New Hampshire is some of the best in the country.

Winters in both states can be quite harsh, though. Temperatures are often below freezing, and each state sees a good deal of snowfall.

The abundance of snow means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to ski, snowmobile, snowshoe, snowboard, and ice fish, but the long winter months, cold temperatures, and short daylight hours can also cause Seasonal Affective Disorder, which can lead to depression.

Exeter, New Hampshire
Exeter, New Hampshire

Scenery and Landscapes

Both Vermont and New Hampshire offer plenty of wilderness areas, including lakes, rivers, streams, open meadows, and forests, to explore.

Each state is also home to an impressive mountain range that provides gorgeous views and thousands of acres of recreational area.

Hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing, and many winter activities are popular in each state.

Vermont is the only state in New England that doesn’t touch the Atlantic Ocean, but it is home to several large lakes, so you can still enjoy a day on the water.

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New Hampshire does touch the ocean, but it has only 16 miles of coastline. If you want to visit the beach, though, you can easily travel from Vermont to New Hampshire or visit an ocean beach along one of the nearby states.

New Hampshire waterfalls
New Hampshire waterfalls

Small Towns

New Hampshire and Vermont are known for their small towns. Both states are relatively rural, and even their metropolitan areas aren’t too big or crowded.

Each state offers a more peaceful, laid-back way of life, but if you enjoy concerts, shows, or any type of nightlife, you might be disappointed.

It’s a little faster to travel to Boston from New Hampshire, which does provide big-city entertainment.

Because the city areas in both states are relatively small, there isn’t a lot of public transportation. It’s best to own a car in both Vermont and New Hampshire.

Montpellier, Vermont
Montpellier, Vermont

Cost of Living

New England has some of the highest costs of living in the country, and Vermont and New Hampshire are no exceptions.

In either state, you should expect to pay between 7 and 20% more for groceries, utilities, and other shopping than you would in most other states.

Vermont is a bit more expensive than New Hampshire, though.

Vermont and New Hampshire also have high housing costs. Only about 16% of households in Vermont are able to afford a mortgage, and high property tax prices in New Hampshire, on top of high home prices, are expensive and can greatly increase rent.

Taxes

In New Hampshire, you’ll have to pay one of the highest property tax rates in the country if you own a home. However, there is no state sales or income tax.

There is a sales tax in Vermont, but food and beverages are exempt. Vermont also has a sliding income tax.

Politics

Like all of New England, New Hampshire and Vermont are politically liberal. Vermont is also one of the greenest states in the country, as its residents consider it crucial to protect the environment.

New Hampshire does have some pockets of deep conservative politics, though. It also has less restrictive gun laws and leans slightly more conservative on other liberal subjects, such as reproductive rights and race.

vermont and new hampshire map

Crime Rates

New Hampshire and Vermont are some of the safest states in the country and have low property and violent crime rates.

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School Ratings

Both states have excellent elementary, middle, and high school rankings. New Hampshire is also known for its exceptional colleges, including Dartmouth College.

Job Market

Although New Hampshire and Vermont have low unemployment rates, finding a job and advancing your career can be difficult.

The major companies located in both states are limited, so there are few corporate jobs available, and turnover for those jobs is low.

People who live in these states often work blue-collar jobs and try to find remote work.

Burlington, Vermont
Burlington, Vermont

Local Foods

In both states, you’ll find many fresh produce options, as farms are prevalent. You can often stop at a farmstand, pick your own fruit, or even grow your own produce in your backyard garden.

Vermont is also known for its maple syrup production. Aside from purchasing maple syrup made right in the state, you’ll also find many desserts, sauces, and treats made or flavored with maple syrup.

New Hampshire, on the other hand, isn’t known for any particular foods.

Reserved, Self-Sufficient Locals

New Englanders are known for their relatively reserved nature. They tend to be self-sufficient, relying on themselves or their neighbors.

This creates a strong sense of community, but as a newcomer, it can take some time to feel welcome in that community.

If you’re looking to make friends quickly, you’ll have an easier time if you settle in the city. Vermont’s cities are a bit smaller than those in New Hampshire, so New Hampshire might feel more welcoming to outgoing, friendly people.

Nashua, New Hampshire
Nashua, New Hampshire

Lack of Diversity

Neither Vermont nor New Hampshire is known for their diversity. The majority of the population in both states is white.

Thanks to more liberal politics, both states are quite welcoming to people from any background or of any race or ethnicity.

However, people of color may feel a bit out of place, and this, paired with the reserved nature of people in both states, can be somewhat uncomfortable at first.

Average Age

People living in Vermont and New Hampshire tend to be a little older, and the average age in both states is over 40. This can make fitting in more challenging for younger people.

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