All watercourses named "River" (freshwater or tidal) are listed here, as well as other streams which are either subject to the New Hampshire Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act or are more than 10 miles (16 km) long. New Hampshire rivers and streams qualify for state shoreland protection (and are listed here in bold) if they are fourth-order or larger water bodies, based on the Strahler method of stream order classification. 
All New Hampshire rivers ultimately flow to the Atlantic Ocean. The list is sorted by major drainage basin, running from north to south along the Atlantic coast, with respective tributaries arranged based on their entry into the main stream from mouth to source. Where several tributaries enter a single lake, they are listed running clockwise from the lake outlet.