Once a farming community, Hampton Beach is now the premier vacation destination on New Hampshire’s seacoast with New England’s only sandy beach. It’s a rather small beach community but today, Hampton Beach’s Ocean Boulevard includes a boardwalk with a variety of shops and businesses.
Sleepy in the winter, Hampton Beach comes alive in the summer with live shows including music festivals and talent shows, sports activities, and sculpting competitions. Some of the popular festivals include, the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival which has been active since 1988. Another popular event is the Hampton Beach Sculpture Competition which is a sculpture completion started in 2001 which brings together numerous sculptors from across America to compete. Hampton Beach is also known for its festive 4th of July celebrations that include fireworks at 9:30pm. The beach’s main street is Ocean Boulevard which has the beach’s most popular restaurants and hotels as well as the iconic Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom which still draws some of the region’s most popular acts. Visitors can also visit Hampton Beach State Park, which is famous for having perfect water quality testing results in previous years. The State Park is perfect for a day of picnicking, swimming, fishing, and hiking.
Situated between New Hampshire and Maine, the Isle of Shoals is a legendary location that has historically hosted vacationers, fishermen, and even pirates. Urban myth has it that there is buried treasure in one of the rocky islands that makes up the Isles. Trips to the islands depart from Portsmouth Harbor every day.
The Seacoast Science Center is an educational and interactive museum located in Rye, New Hampshire, which is just 15 miles from Hampton Beach. A day trip to the Seacoast Science Center would not be complete without a trip to the Odiorne Point State Park. The town of Rye also has nice beaches including Jenness State Beach, which is open to the general public as well as Wallis Sands State Beach. Visitors can also take the 1A route to the border of North Hampton and discover the Fuller Gardens featuring 2,000 rose bushes. Boat day trips are also available from Hampton Beach in which visitors can go whale watching in the Atlantic Ocean as well as go deep sea fishing.
If you have time for an overnight trip, head to Acadia National Park, which is four hours north by car. Stay in the charming town of Bar Harbor. This national park has many different family activities to choose from.
Hampton Beach has an array of small hotels as well as bed and breakfast establishments, inns, and vacation rentals that are mostly situated along Ocean Boulevard or near it. Other types of oceanfront accommodations include seasonal hotels, cottages, and condominiums. Visitors can also find campgrounds to settle in about 15-20 minutes away (walking distance).
Similar to most beach communities, Hampton Beach is a very walkable town so getting around by foot is recommended. Visitors also have the option to rent a car or hail cabs. Additionally, there are intercity bus companies such as Concord Trailways and C&J. Hampton Beach is also very bike friendly town.
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