Referral Guide – Seacoast Region

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Use this document filled with local referrals from Granite State Ambassadors & State Welcome Center attendants as an informational starting point for guest referrals. For business referrals, please reference your local brochures & guides. 


Hidden Gems | Covered Bridges | Swimming Holes | Places to Paddle | Hikes and Nature Walks | Bike Trails | Picnic Area Favorites | Historical Sites | Other Favorites | Local Information Resources & Welcome Centers


Hidden Gems

Scenic ride on NH 1A. Visit our coast from Seabrook to Portsmouth.

Stratham Hill Park, 270 Portsmouth Ave, Stratham – nature areas and tower to climb. (https://www.strathamnh.gov/stratham-hill-park)

Tucker and French Family Forest, NH 107, Brentwood and Kingston – Southeast Land Trust of NH.  From NH-125, head north on NH-107 for just over 0.5 miles. A small parking area with a kiosk will be on the left.  (https://www.trailfinder.info/trails/trail/tucker-and-french-family-forest)

Memorial Bridge, US 1, Downtown Portsmouth – walk across the Piscataqua River right to Maine, also amazing to see it rise for boats.

Newmarket Downtown – discover the ever-changing tranquil waterfront downtown area of shops, restaurants and music venues.  (https://www.newmarketnh.gov/about-newmarket)

Garrison Hill Tower, Abbey Sawyer Road, Dover – 76 foot observatory is a National Historic Landmark; on a clear day, can see both the Isles of Shoals and the White MountainsTurn right on Abbey Sawyer Road at sign just before the entrance to Wentworth-Douglass Hospital.  (http://www.garrisonhilltower.com/)

UFO Festival  in Exeter, usually held in early September.  (www.exeterufofestival.org)

 

Covered Bridges

The Memorial Bridge (World War I Memorial Bridge), US 1, Portsmouth.
The bridge opened in 2013, replacing the bridge that existed from 1923 to 2012. It is a favorite walking spot for locals and visitors, as they cross the Piscataqua River on foot from downtown Portsmouth to Badger’s Island in Kittery Maine, or as they just marvel at the close-up view of the river and its activity. Watching the modern, fast vertical-lift bridge go up and down is worth seeing. A large overhead plaque carried over from the original bridge reads “Memorial to the Sailors and Soldiers of New Hampshire who gave their lives in the World War 1917–1919.”

Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, US 1 By-pass, Portsmouth.
The new bridge opened in 2018 replacing the former bridge which opened in 1940. At that time, the structure was simply known as the Maine-New Hampshire (Interstate) Bridge. It was renamed in 1987 to honor Sarah Mildred Long, a 50-year employee of the Maine-New Hampshire Interstate Bridge Authority who rose from a secretary at its creation in 1937 to executive director. The 2018 bridge has wider shoulders for bicycle lanes and has a railroad bridge running underneath, as did the original bridge of 1940. In March 2019, the project was recognized as New Hampshire’s most outstanding engineering achievement of the prior year by the American Council of Engineering Companies. The project was also one of 16 finalists for its national award.

 

Swimming Holes

Public beaches on the ocean: Hampton Beach State Park, North Beach, North Hampton State Beach, Jenness State Beach (aka Rye Beach),  Wallis Sands State Park  (https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/seacoast-beaches)

Kingston State Park, 124 Main Street, Kingston – beach, picnic, game areas.  (https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/state-parks/kingston-state-park)

Angle Pond Beach, 9 Pillsbury Rd. (off NH 121A), Sandown

Phillips Pond Beach, Sandown

Hampton Beach area, NH 1A on Seabrook side –  by and under bridge for swimming and fishing.

 

Places to Paddle

Great Bay – Multiple access points around Great Bay in Newington, Greenland, Stratham, Newfields, Exeter, Newmarket, Durham, Dover Point.  See map and detailed information at:  (https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/coastal/documents/coastal_access_map.pdf )

Pawtuckaway State Park, 128 Mountain Road, Nottingham –  paddle out to an island where you can picnic and pick blueberries in season. Many of the blueberry bushes hang over the water, just paddle up in your canoe and drop the berries right in your buckets! There is one island in particular with the blueberries, but many other small islands to explore.  (https://blog.nhstateparks.org/pawtuckaway-is-for-paddlers/)

Sagamore Creek Headlands, Peverly Hill Road (off NH 33), Portsmouth – (https://forestsociety.org/property/creek-farm)

Cocheco River, off Henry Law Ave., Dover – one access point is off Henry Law Ave across from Tennyson Ave.  Drive up access road between two residential houses to an orange gate where there is very limited parking.  (https://wildlife.state.nh.us/maps/wma/cocheco-river.html)

 

Hikes and Nature Walks

Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Arboretum Drive West (off NH 16 exit 3), Greenland/Newington – near the Pease Tradeport.  (https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Great_Bay/)

Wagon Wheel Farm, 156 Piscataqua Rd. (NH 4), Durham – great walking, picnicking, sledding in winter, great place for pictures!  (https://www.ci.durham.nh.us/boc_conservation/wagon-hill-farm)

Odiorne Point State Park, 570 Ocean Boulevard (NH 1A), Rye –  walking and biking trails, some fees.  (https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/state-parks/odiorne-point-state-park)

Discovery Center, 89 Depot Road, Greenland – nature and trails.  (https://greatbay.org/visit/)

Rockingham Recreational Trail, from Newfields to Manchester.  (https://www.trailfinder.info/trails/trail/rockingham-recreational-rail-trail-portsmouth-branch)

 

Bike Trails

Odiorne Point State Park, 570 Ocean Boulevard (NH 1A), Rye – walking and biking trails.  (https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/state-parks/odiorne-point-state-park)

Heritage Trails and Dover Community Trail, Dover.  (https://www.dovernh.org/things-to-do )

NH 1A along the seacoast of NH, very scenic and great places for great seafood or anything you like!

Rockingham Recreational Trail, from Newfields to Manchester.  (https://www.trailfinder.info/trails/trail/rockingham-recreational-rail-trail-portsmouth-branch)

 

Picnic Area Favorites

Odiorne Point State Park, 570 Ocean Boulevard (NH 1A), Rye – tide-pooling and exploring, Science Center.  (See Bike Trails above.)

Pierce Island and Four Tree Island, Portsmouth – accessed from downtown by bridge at Prescott Park.  (https://www.portsmouthnh.com/listing/peirce-island/)

Kingston State Park, 124 Main Street, Kingston – picnic area on the beach or in the woods, small fee for parking.  (See Swimming Holes above.)

Prescott Park, 105 Marcy St., Portsmouth – Beautiful harbor side garden area for picnics; stroll over to Strawbery Banke for a little historical culture, and then visit downtown Portsmouth.  (https://www.prescottpark.org/)

Pirates Cove, NH 1A,  Rye.

Rye Harbor State Beach, 1730 Ocean Blvd., Rye – great place for seaside picnics.  (https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/state-parks/rye-harbor-state-park)

 

Historical Sites

Strawbery Banke, 14 Hancock Street, Portsmouth – 10 acre living history museum right in downtown area, admission fee.  (http://www.strawberybanke.org/)

American Independence Museum, 1 Governor’s Lane, Exeter – Learn about NH’s role in the American Revolution.   (https://www.independencemuseum.org/)

Exeter downtown – NH’s Revolutionary War capital with lovely downtown park, period houses, shops, restaurants.

USS Albacore Submarine, 600 Market St. (I-95 exit 7), Portsmouth – explore the Albacore and learn of its 19 years of active service.  (www.ussalbacore.org)

Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion, 375 Little Harbor Rd., Portsmouth – In 1753 NH’s first Royal Governor, Benning Wentworth moved the seat of government and his extended household to the site. Waterfront historic gardens.  Free to enter grounds, fee for mansion tours. (http://wentworthcoolidge.org/)

Downtown Portsmouth, including the Black History Trail, 280 Marcy St., Portsmouth – celebrate and honor the history and culture of the African-American community in Portsmouth and the New Hampshire region. (http://portsmouthhistory.org/portsmouth-black-heritage-trail/)

Fort Constitution, NH 1A, New Castle – Defenses were first established on site in 1631, and Fort Constitution was originally named Fort William and Mary, after the king and queen of England. The fort was renamed Fort Constitution in 1808 following rebuilding. (https://www.portsmouthnh.com/listing/fort-constitution/)

Isles of Shoals, 6 miles off the NH coast – reached by boat departing from Portsmouth.  (https://www.portsmouthnh.com/listing/isles-of-shoals/)

Visit our GSA Seacoast Museum and Heritage Site List

 

Other Favorites

Children’s Museum of NH, 6 Washington Street, Dover – Admission fee.  (https://www.childrens-museum.org/visit/info)

Seacoast Science Center, Odiorne State Park, 570 Ocean Blvd, (NH 1A), Rye – discover the fascinating creatures of the sea that live in the Gulf of Maine right outside the center.  Indoor exhibits and outside tide pooling.  (www.seacoastsciencecenter.org)

Woodman Institute, 182 Central Avenue, Dover – four-building natural science, history, and art museum, including hundreds of colonial artifacts; comprehensive mineral, shell and fossil gallery; fine art; militaria, local history objects.  Admission fee.  (http://woodmanmuseum.org/)

Fuller Gardens, 10 Willow Avenue, North Hampton – beautiful public botanical garden that was once part of the summer estate of Alvan T. Fuller.  Gardens feature thousands of rose bushes and hundreds of varieties that bloom all season long.  Admission fee. (https://www.fullergardens.org/)

Bedrock Gardens, 19 High Road (off NH 125), Lee – unique 20-acre garden in NH with a large botanical collection, distinctive landscape design, one-of-a-kind sculpture, and outdoor cultural events.  Open May through October on scheduled days and weekends.  (www.bedrockgardens.org)

Discover Portsmouth (Portsmouth Historical Society), Corner of Islington and Middle Streets, Portsmouth  – Historical exhibits, walking tours, regional information.  Closed in winter.  (http://portsmouthhistory.org/)

Cocheco Arts Festival, Dover downtown – summer festival of music, arts, theater.  (https://cochechoartsfestival.org/)

 

LOCAL INFORMATION RESOURCES AND WELCOME CENTERS TO SEND GUESTS TO WHEN THEY ARRIVE IN THAT AREA

Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth, 500 Market Street, Portsmouth
Seasonal kiosk in Market Square.  (603) 610-5510 or (www.goportsmouth.com)

Discover Portsmouth, 10 Middle Street, Portsmouth – a museum of exhibitions devoted to Portsmouth history; a welcome center for those interested in the city’s history, arts and culture; a museum shop of unique Portsmouth gifts and books, and Historic Tours.
(603) 436-8433 or (http://portsmouthhistory.org/)

Dover Chamber of Commerce, 550 Central Ave, Dover
(603) 742-2218 or (www.dovernh.com)

Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce, 120 Water Street, Exeter
(603) 772-2411 or (www.exeterarea.org)

The Falls Chamber of Commerce, 58 High St. PO Box 615, Somersworth
(603) 692-7175 or (www.thefallschamber.com)

Hampton Chamber of Commerce, 47 Winnacunnet Rd., Hampton
(603) 926-8718 or (www.hamptonchamber.com)

NH State Welcome Center, I-95 North, Seabrook (just south of Portsmouth)

 

October 13, 2020