Enjoy endless activities from New Hampshire’s campgrounds
Get away from the everyday with a visit to a New Hampshire campground. Stay in a tent, RV, cabin, cottage, lodge – even a yurt! – and enjoy activities from horseshoes and fishing to snowmobiling and snowshoeing. Hike, bike or take a cog railroad up a pine-scented mountain or kayak a pristine pond, river or lake. From your camping site in the woods, near the ocean or in a meadow, check out the Granite State’s historic sites, quintessential New England towns and acres upon acres of natural splendor. Visit our website for a handbook with all the details for individual parks, from whether they are pet-friendly to which ones have cottage rentals, pools, fireplaces, tennis courts, live music – or cable TV.
The Isles of Shoals Steamship Company offers a boat tour of Portsmouth harbor that takes visitors deep into the heart of a working waterfront of tugboats, tankers, forts, and lighthouses. This fascinating tour takes visitors past the oldest naval yard in the country, five forts, two lighthouses, and the Olde Port waterfront. Another tour offered by the company takes visitors seven miles offshore to visit the historic and romantic Star Island, once the home of a grand hotel of the 19th century. "Walkabout" or "Stopover" cruises to Star Island offer a one-to-four-hour stopover, with time to stroll past ancient hotel buildings and a historic garden. Steamship company boats docked at 315 Market Street. 800-441-4620
Meet Our Fabulous Wetlands
Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge at 4 Arboretum Drive in Newingtonis a beautiful estuary and woodlands protected by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The refuge is open every day to the public for hiking, bird watching, photography, and other outdoor activities. Visitors will find two trails, parking lot, restroom, and an interpretive kiosk. Interpretive programs are regularly offered at the refuge. Cross country skiing and snowshoeing on these same trails are popular activities during the winter. Learn more here:
The Light of Portsmouth
Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse in New Castle guards Portsmouth Harbor and the mouth of the Piscataqua River. Views from the top, out toward the sea, up the river, and across the towns of Portsmouth, and Kittery, Maine, are some of the most glorious inn all New England. Tours of the lighthouse are offered Sundays from Memorial Day through Columbus Day, 1 to 5 p.m.. No reservations are needed. There are 44 stairs to the watch room and a 7-rung ladder to the lantern room. Feel the thrill of New England seafaring tradition as you rise. Lighthouse boat cruises are offered periodically during the summer and fall.
Stop to Shop
The Seacoast region has wonderful shopping for beautiful and unusual items. The Fox Run Mall in Newington is a place to start for national names, followed by a trip to Boardwalk Strip at Hampton Beach. The cream of the shopping experience has to be Portsmouth's Market Street, crammed with art, toys, home decorations, clothing, hardware, jewelry, flowers, and more. Voted one of New England's Best Shopping Streets by Travel and Leisure Magazine.
Fruit Wines, Apple Brandy, and Vodka to Taste Year-Round
Flag Hill Vineyard and Winery at 297 North River Road in Lee has ground in 20 years from a family-operated vineyard to an established winery in this picturesque seacoast region. The winery produces more than 15 varieties of red and white wines. Flag Hill produces distilled spirits such as General John Stark Vodka and Josiah Bartlett Apple Brandy. A tasting room and gift store, offering events, tours, sales, is in a post-and-beam building that once served as a barn. Open year round, Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. except for major holidays. 603-659-2949.
It’s an Island; It’s a Playground
We love strolling the streets of Portsmouth but, let’s face it, sidewalks get hot in summer. Solution: Escape to Peirce Island, a 27-acre island in the Piscataqua River, an easy hop across a bridge from the south side of the city (the island is part of and managed by the city). The island has a glorious public pool, 100 yards longs, 33 yards wide, and 14 inches down to 6 feet in depth. The public is welcome, from end of June through August. Walking trails take you to five waterfront overlooks, of Naval Shipyard, the south end of Portsmouth, and the three Piscataqua bridges. There are public boat launches and a playground. It’s like a summer day in the country next to a great small city.
Koi, Roses, Perennials Decorate this Botanical Garden
Once owned by Alvan T. Fuller, Fuller Gardens at 10 Willow Avenue in North Hampton is a shoreline gem filled with blooming life and vibrant sights and scents. The best part of Fuller’s now-public botanical garden is the variety; stroll down lines of formal English perennials, through a Japanese garden with a Koi pond, blushing rosebushes and more. Check out the garden gift shop’s book and souvenir collection before you leave. Creatively sculpted hedges protect the garden’s cozy atmosphere as guests discover exotic plant species and beautifully landscaped design. Open mid-May through October, daily, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 603-964-5414
Disc Golf Is Fun in a Group
Cheaper, easier and more family oriented the golf; Disc Golf is the outdoor game of the future, available today. The Woods at Beauty Hill Disc Golf at 557 Beauty Hill Road in Barnstead offers a wide array of playing fields with hay fields, woodlots, and tree-lined lanes. With five different courses based on skill level, it is guaranteed fun for all ages. Disc golf is similar to golf except it uses a Frisbee-like disc and raised baskets. Open to the public all day, seven days a week. Hours: Public can play anytime. Phone: 603-724-4027.
Four Centuries of Daily Life
Strawbery Banke Museum on Hancock Street in Portsmouth is a community composed of restored and furnished houses, exhibits, historic landscapes and gardens, and costumed role players. Together, these elements bring to life the daily activities of New England people from European settlement in the 17th century to the mid-20th century. In addition to ongoing exhibits, lots of special events take place during warm weather. Phone: 603-433-1100.