Guide to New Hampshire’s Best Beaches

Often overlooked when considering a New England beach adventure, New Hampshire has a small, but attractive 18 miles of the Atlantic Ocean’s coastline. Say what you will about the state’s shores, but they offer some of the most diverse opportunities for water sports and some of the most breathtaking scenic views in the world. Let’s explore some of New Hampshire’s best beaches with this handy guide.

Odiorne Point State Park

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Image via Flickr by dchriso

Located on the coast of Rye, New Hampshire, Odiorne Park is just eight minutes from Portsmouth. Named after early settlers, the Park is the most extensive undeveloped stretch of shore in the state. Enjoy a picnic near the rocky beach or take a family bike ride on the seemingly endless trail system through dense vegetation. Explore the Seacoast Science Center on the grounds of the park where you can connect with sea creatures and learn all about the wonders of the ocean.

From mountain biking to fishing or snowshoeing, any time of year is the right time to visit Odiorne Point State Park.

Hampton Beach State Park

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Image via Flickr by Gail Frederick

Hampton Beach is the premier vacation destination for beachcombers in New England to go swimming, fishing, and camping. This beach resort town is rated one of the top five cleanest beaches in the country. The family is invited to experience a magical fireworks display, or take a dip in the icy waters to help raise funds for Special Olympics during the Penguin Plunge.

From an annual Sand Sculpting Classic to movie night on the beach, this resort town has something for everyone. With plenty of rooms available, you’re sure to find the perfect hotel at Hampton Beach through Hotel Planner to lay your head.

Great Island Common

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Image via Flickr by InAweofGod’sCreation

This expansive, 32-acre green space with limited beach access is the perfect venue for picnics and family play. Located on the Island of New Castle off the coast of New Hampshire, the park is about an hour from Portsmouth and is open 365 days a year. There are pavilions and rental spaces for large party tents, as well as extensive and glorious views of the Portsmouth lighthouse and the old harbor.

Play in the tidal pools and let the little ones run wild. The island is an exceptional opportunity for amateur and professionals alike to capture breathtaking photos of the area.

Wallis Sands State Beach

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Image via Flickr by erin m 

If you’re not one to brave the summer crowds, try one of the smaller beaches in Rye, like Wallis Sands. What the area lacks in restaurants and shopping, it more than makes up for with its natural beauty. With a sandy beach, ocean swimming, and spectacular views of the Isles of Shoals, Wallis Sands is a favorite of locals and visitors in-the-know. A little beach shop for snacks and drinks and both hot and cold showers is available. There’s also a delightful grassy area for picnicking.

There are so many opportunities to enjoy the refreshing Atlantic Ocean from New Hampshire’s coast. New England may be best known for lobster, but it also has some of the best beaches anywhere.