New Hampshire may only have 13 miles of coastline, but it has plenty of beaches all around. The New Hampshire Lakeland dominates the center of the state and offers nearly endless spots to cool off and relax in the summer. The largest of the lakes is Lake Winnipesaukee, simply called “the great lake,” known for its many celebrity vacation homes and elegant lakeside towns such as Meredith and Wolfeboro. Other smaller but equally beautiful lakes are Lake Winnisquam, Lake Newfound, and Lake Squam. Despite New Hampshire’s shortened claim to the Atlantic, there are several ocean beaches located in the towns of Rye, North Hampton, Hampton, and Seabrook. When visiting these beaches, it is advisable to stick to paid and private car parks to avoid fines in car parks often reserved for guests. Whether in the Lakes Region or by the sea, you’ll find plenty of attractions to keep you entertained if the weather doesn’t cooperate with your beach plans. Find the most beautiful places to bask on the water with our list of the best beaches in New Hampshire.
1. Hampton Beach
It is the largest and most popular beach in the state on its 13 miles of coastline along the Atlantic. Hampton is a favorite summer destination for both locals and tourists, known for its lively boardwalk and understated vibe. The beach is equipped with lifeguards every day during the summer season from 9 to 17:30, and there are several bathing establishments available. Although there are a limited number of metered spaces on Ocean Boulevard, the best options for parking are in one of the private lots on Ashworth Avenue, which will allow you to avoid the main street traffic jam. Across from the beach, you’ll find a lively strip of entertainment venues, restaurants, arcades, candy shops, gift shops, and even handhelds.
While you’ll find a few businesses operating year-round, this beach town’s main season is Memorial Day to Labor Day, with some activities extending into mid-September. During this time, live music on the Sea Shell Stage and a public fireworks display is broadcast every Wednesday evening, as well as fireworks to celebrate holidays and special events, such as the annual sand sculpture contest. This invitation-only event brings sand sculpting masters from around the world into the last two weeks of June when they carve 200 tons of imported sand into magnificent works of art. Visitors can see the artists working, admire the masterpieces and even vote for the winner of the People’s Choice award.
In mid-August, the Hampton Beach Children’s Festival offers free and open-to-the-public family-friendly activities, including ice cream parlor, fiction, balloons, contests, and a huge parade along Ocean Boulevard. The fenced playground on the beach is open to children throughout the season, protected by a single gate to ease the minds of parents. In the second week of September, the beach hosts the annual Seafood Festival, when you can sample the region’s best seafood and also take advantage of the end-of-season sidewalk sales, as the main boulevard becomes a pedestrian street. When visiting for more than a day, Ashworth by the Sea is a great choice if you want to be within walking distance of the beach and close to all the attractions.
2. Weirs beach
The most popular beach in the New Hampshire Lakeland is Weirs Beach on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee in the Rock State Endicott Historic Site. The beach is equipped with lifeguards from Memorial Day to Labor Day from 9 am to 5 pm, weather permitting. Mostly used by tourists, it can get very busy during the warmer months. The beach is wheelchair accessible and offers several shaded picnic tables and a beach club.
The best part of Weirs Beach is its many attractions, including five arcades, bumper cars, and the iconic Weirs Beach drive-in theater, which has endured through the years and still shows double traits on summer nights. The wooden walkway stretches along the water, parallel to the train tracks still used by the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad. You can buy tickets here for a scenic ride in Lakeport of Laconia or in the luxury town of Meredith. At the same ticket office, you can book a cruise on the M / S Mount Washington or one of its sister boats, including the M / V of the US Mailboat Sophie C. Cruises includes tours on the lake and themed events such as family nights, cruises of dance, foliage, and fireworks.
Nearby attractions include FunSpot, a huge arcade, and the largest video game museum in the world; the perfect remedy for a rainy day, regardless of your age. Next to this is a tree adventure course and zipline at Monkey Trunks, and across the street is a go-kart track. If you’re planning on visiting the Weirs around Father’s Day, beware of the area’s huge annual event, Motorcycle Week. Unlike in the past, it is not a dangerous event, but it is incredibly busy and it is not a family atmosphere.
Although there are a few motels very close to Weirs Beach, it’s worth more than a five-minute walk to stay at the Naswa Resort, which offers its own beach, dock space, and a wide range of accommodation options from hotel rooms. to the water cottages.
3. Wellington State Park
Wellington State Park is located on the shores of Newfound Lake, facing Belle and Cliff Islands. It is the largest freshwater beach in the state and also one of the most popular with locals and tourists. As part of the State Park system, an entry fee is charged, however, it is nominal. Due to its popularity, this beach can get very busy in the summer, especially on weekends and holidays, so you should plan to arrive early before the maximum capacity is reached. Visitors are welcome to bring picnics, including grills, and there are several shaded areas to sit. There’s also a snack shop offering cold drinks and summer treats, like ice cream and souvenirs, beach items, and kayak rentals. There is also a bathroom with hot showers and well-kept toilets. In addition to the sandy beach and calm water, there are plenty of things to do at the park, including hiking its many trails, fishing, and playing volleyball and horseshoe. There is also a free public boat service, as well as boat lanes that allow visitors to circle the park to enjoy the beach. Just down the street, Bristol’s Pleasant View B&B is a comfortable, family-friendly place. as well as the lanes for boats that allow visitors to circle the park to enjoy the beach. Just down the street, Bristol’s Pleasant View B&B is a comfortable, family-friendly place. as well as the lanes for boats that allow visitors to circle the park to enjoy the beach. Just down the street, Bristol’s Pleasant View B&B is a comfortable, family-friendly place.
4. Wallis Sands State Beach
Wallis Sands State Beach is a large family beach in Rye, much quieter and smaller than Hampton Beach. Parking on the beach is also less expensive, although there is a small fee for the beach during the summer season. Lifeguards are on duty every day, from 10 am to 5 pm, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and there is a bathroom with shower and changing rooms. There’s also an on-site grocery store with snacks and beach items, from sunscreen to sand toys and oversized towels. For those who want to take a break from the sand, there is also a stretch of grass just past the beach which is often used by sunbathers for a game of Frisbee or as a comfortable place to sit and admire the Isles of Shoals. While it’s not as crowded as Hampton Beach, it’s a good idea to get here as early as possible on weekends to get parking. When visiting Rye, near Portsmouth it is an affordable place to stay, offering reliable accommodations, such as the Hampton Inn & Suites Portsmouth Downtown, great restaurants, a host of unique shops and historic landmark
5. Jenness Beach
Despite the cold of the Atlantic, surfers love braving the waters at Jenness Beach in Rye. It’s a much smaller coastal beach than its neighbors, but it’s also a lot less crowded, making it a great option for those who aren’t crazy about crowds. It has a bathhouse, as well as lifeguards on duty during the summer until 4:45 pm a day. Be aware that the beach car park is small and fills up quickly during peak season, but there are several alternative lots nearby. Right across the street from the beach, tourists will find some good options for refreshments and food including pizza, ice cream, a restaurant, and cafe, and there’s also a surf shop for all beach needs. If the water ends up being a little
6. Ellacoya State Park
Ellacoya State Park is a 65-acre property with a 600-foot stretch of sandy beach on the southwestern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. Like Wellington State Park beach, there’s a small fee and limited capacity, so it’s wise to arrive early on weekends to secure a spot. There is a small shop on-site for snacks and other refreshments, and a handicapped-accessible bathroom with changing rooms and showers. There is also a small boat for launching canoes and kayaks, a convenient way to get out on the Great Lake and within walking distance of elite Governors Island. A major nearby attraction is Gunstock Mountain Resort, which offers a variety of summer adventures, such as ziplines, scenic elevator rides, Segway tours, and mountain peaks.