Come Visit the Gorgeous Beaches, World-Class Restaurants and Bustling Nightlife of the Seacoast Region
The Seacoast region of New Hampshire may have the shortest coastline of any ocean-bordering state in the country, but that simply means that we appreciate and beautify every inch! Whether you are planning on visiting impeccable beaches, historic downtown Portsmouth, water parks or other premiere attractions, the Seacoast has more to offer than you could possibly experience in one visit. Here is a diverse list of activities, entertainment centers and more to guide you during your trip to New Hampshire’s southern shores.
The Seacoast is pretty well-known in New England. What is it famous for?
Did you know that population in the Seacoast nearly triples during the summer months? This is because we have a number of well maintained and beautifully groomed beaches for you to lay out your towels and soak up some sun. Hampton Beach is the most popular beach destination in the Seacoast. It features an enormous boardwalk filled with shops and historic arcades. Hampton Beach is also home to the famous Hampton Casino Ballroom that features well-known music and comedy acts. For a quieter beach location, definitely check out both Jenness Beach and Wallis Sands State Park. These smaller beaches still have bathroom facilities and amenities but without the hustle and bustle of Hampton Beach. Either way, heading to the Seacoast for some much-deserved fun in the sun is never a bad decision no matter what beach you end up choosing. Or, if you are like the locals, we visit all of them! If you are looking to really “rough” it out in the Seacoast region, check out this link for camping accommodations: Campgrounds
The Music Hall in downtown Portsmouth is a gem of a theater. Originally constructed in 1878 it remains New Hampshire’s oldest running theater. In 2003, the theater was granted nearly $400,000 to restore the beloved building back to its original majesty. It is now one of the most beautiful theaters in the country. The Music Hall feature exceptional shows live, it also hosts a variety of notable film festivals such as Telluride by the Sea. Here is a link to their year round schedule: www.themusichall.org/calendar
There are fewer more magical places on earth than the Isles of Shoals. This small group of islands and tidal ledges are approximately six miles off the coast of both New Hampshire and Maine. They were first settled by Europeans in the early 17th Century and remain a tourist destination as well as home to people who appreciate the rustic beauty of these islands. It can be difficult to access most of these islands except for Star Island. It is the second largest island in the harbor and is the only island that has commercial trips to and from the mainland. The famous M/V Thomas Laighton bears visitors to Star throughout the summer months. Once you reach the island, you can stay at the historic Oceanic Hotel and take part in the many activities that make this island so remarkable and unique. For more information, please follow this link: www.starisland.org
If you don’t plan on staying at Star Island, you can still enjoy the cruise to and from the islands! The Isle of Shoals cruises have routine excursions into the harbor. These cruises bring stunning scenic views and a party atmosphere together. Some of these cruises feature rock bands and DJ sets as well. Here is a link for pricing and cruise schedules: http://www.islesofshoals.com/
Did you know that the Seacoast is home to the oldest neighborhood in New Hampshire? Settled in 1630 in present-day Portsmouth, Strawberry Banke is an outdoor history museum that features forty restored buildings built between the 17th and 19th centuries. These quintessential New England style homes are filled with preserved artifacts, furnishings and other antiques that were typical to the homes while they were inhabited. Now, costumed tour guides lead tourists around the grounds and offer informative insight about the history of Strawberry Banke.
As you drive closer to Water Country in Portsmouth, you will start seeing huge plastic tubes and large slides from a distance. Water Country claims to be the largest and best water park in New England and they are constantly adding new and more exciting attractions. You can choose to lazily drift down Adventure River, careen down the Double Geronimo high-speed slide or brave the plunge through Dr. Von Dark’s Tunnel of Terror among many other rides.
Wentworth by the Sea is a historic and luxurious ocean hotel built in 1874. In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt met with Russian and Japanese delegates to sign the Treaty of Portsmouth to end the Russo-Japanese War. Now, the hotel is considered one of the top fifty resorts in the world offering fine dining, fabulous spa packages, indoor and outdoor pools, a stunning golf course and more. For more information, please follow this link: http://www.wentworth.com/
If you find yourself traveling around the Seacoast during October, make sure you take part in the Portsmouth Halloween Parade festivities. This locally sponsored spooky event draws thousands of visitors to the historic town. Enthusiastic locals celebrate Halloween all month with elaborate costumes, synchronized “Thriller” dance-a-thons, a pumpkin “smash,” a rock concert and several late-night dances. There are very few places in New England that celebrate Halloween like we do.
New England is prized for its seafood. If you are looking for one of the best seafood festivals in New Hampshire, look no further than Hampton Beach’s Seafood Festival. More than sixty of the Seacoast’s top seafood restaurants come together to create a three-day event with continuous live entertainment, more lobster claws and butter than anyone can humanly stomach, clam fritters, “chowdah” and hundreds of other fabulous ocean delicacies. In 2014 the festival will celebrate its 25th consecutive year. We wouldn’t miss it for the world!
Are you tired of generic malls where every shop seems the same? Come visit Market Square in downtown Portsmouth where endless unique shops in quaint brick buildings beckon shopping enthusiasts and window shoppers year round. Here you can sample global perfumes at Pickwick’s Mercantile, taste delicious hand-selected cheeses and fine wine at Corks and Curds, and find a fabulous vintage necklace or ring at Market Square Jewelers. When you need a break, enjoy a satisfying meal at one of Portsmouth’s dozens local restaurants. This is certainly a shopping destination you can’t miss.
What are some of the best restaurants in the Seacoast?
While there are literally hundreds upon hundreds of great restaurant choices in this region, there are a few standouts we wished to point out. If you enjoy Latin American cuisine, Brazo in downtown Portsmouth is the right restaurant for you. We highly recommend their tantalizing tapas plates and delectable paellas. Check their website frequently for daily specials and other events!
For those who want a traditional, New England style seafood restaurant, look no further than Petey’s in Rye. They serve up some of the freshest and most delicious local lobster, steamers, clams, oysters and other mouth-watering choices. This is the kind of place where you can sit back, relax, have a good beer and watch the seagulls fly across the ocean sky on a perfect sunny day.
One of the best fine dining experiences in the Seacoast can be found at Black Trumpet Bistro in downtown Portsmouth. With its enviable views of the Piscataqua River, warm and soothing ambience and fresh, locally sourced food, the Black Trumpet serves some of the best and most imaginative dishes on the Seacoast. Furthermore, this is one of the better places downtown to try an artisanal cocktail or fabulous martini. The menu rotates every other week so diners will always have new and more exciting creations to sample.
If you are currently seeking accommodations in the Seacoast region, please refer to our link for more useful information and guidance: Lodging and Accommodations
- Hampton Beach
- Jenness Beach
- Wallis Sands Beach
- Hampton Casino Ballroom
- Music Hall
- Isle of Shoals: Star Island
- Isle of Shoals Cruises
- Strawberry Banke
- Water Country
- Wentworth by the Sea
- Portsmouth Halloween Parade
- Hampton Beach Seafood Festival
- Downtown Shopping in Market Square
- Petey’s Summertime Seafood
- Black Trumpet Bistro
- America Independence Museum Exeter
- Fuller Gardens North Hampton
- Isles of Shoals Portsmouth
- Sandy Point Discovery Center Stratham
- Seacoast Science Center Rye
- Strawbery Banke Portsmouth
- Water Country Portsmouth