The Connecticut and Merrimack river systems drain most of the state. The Connecticut River rises in the Connecticut Lakes of northern New Hampshire and flows southward for 400 km (250 mi) along the Vermont-New Hampshire border before entering the state of Massachusetts. Its main tributaries in New Hampshire are the Israel, Ammonoosuc, Mascoma, Sugar, and Ashuelot rivers.
The Merrimack River is formed in central New Hampshire by the junction of the Pemigewasset and the Winnipesaukee rivers.
The Merrimack’s largest tributaries are the Contoocook, Piscataquog, and Souhegan rivers, all of which enter from the west, and the Suncook River, which enters from the east. Other important rivers in New Hampshire are the Androscoggin and the Saco, which rise in northern New Hampshire and flow through Maine, and the Piscataqua and Salmon Falls rivers, which form part of the boundary between Maine and New Hampshire.
New Hampshire has more than 1,300 lakes and ponds. Its largest lake by far is the irregularly shaped Lake Winnipesaukee, in east central New Hampshire, which is 186 sq km (72 sq mi) in size. Other large natural lakes are Squam Lake, Newfound Lake, and Lake Sunapee.
TNew Hampshire’s short coastline on the Atlantic is only 21 km (13 mi) long, but if all islands and inlets are included, the shoreline is 211 km (131 mi) long. The largest inlet on the coast is the estuary of the Piscataqua River, which forms the harbor of the city of Portsmouth.
The upland region in the state is also dotted with hundreds of lakes and streams, most of which were formed by glaciers.
Among the few islands along the coast are the Isles of Shoals 16 km (10 mi) southeast of Portsmouth. Three of these isles belong to New Hampshire and the rest to Maine. Most of the coast is rocky, but there are sandy beaches at Hampton, Rye, and Wallis Sands. "New Hampshire" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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