New Hampshire might have a short coastline, but that doesn’t mean those 13 miles are lacking in beautiful beaches. That precious oceanfront is packed with sandy, waterside paradises. Of course, there are also some great lake beaches in the state, giving you some amazing beach options. Add in all those picturesque beachfront vacation rentals, and you’ve got the formula for the perfect summer vacation. Here are 10 of the best beaches in New Hampshire. Find Wallis Sands State Beach vacation rentals.
1. Wallis Sands State Beach
With only 700 feet, this beautiful beach still has all the necessities, including oceanfront swimming, views of the Isles of Shoals, a bathhouse for changing, and a snack bar. The park also has a grassy picnic area, but bring pre-made food because fires are not allowed. There is ample free parking, and there’s also a beach parking lot for $15. Even on the hottest summer day, the water temperature stays cool, and there’s enough surf to ride a boogie board.
2. Odiorne Point State Park
This rocky beach is more about history and adventure than sunbathing and sand castles. Scottish settlers landed here in 1623, establishing the first European settlement in New Hampshire. This area looks out over Portsmouth Harbor, and during World War II, it was the site of Fort Dearborn, the remnants of which can still be explored today. There’s also an extensive network of trails that winds you around the park through dense woods. Also located in the park is the Seacoast Science Center which exhibits relating to the natural and human history of Odiorne and the seacoast area.
3. Hampton Beach
Because Hampton Beach State Park provides year-round recreation, it’s the most popular beach in New Hampshire and has been drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors since the turn of the century. With a wide beach and warm water, it’s easy to see why. Go swimming or fishing, pack a picnic, or even camp with your RV at one of the full hook-ups in the campground. Spend a little extra time exploring the beachside town with its souvenir shops and Oceanside pier food like fried dough.
4. Jenness State Beach
Just a little further up the coast from Hampton is Jenness State Beach. This great, family-friendly location has fewer crowds and is a fun place to watch surfers. The sandy beach is also ideal for swimming and picnicking, and your kids will love hunting for cool rocks to take home as a souvenir. There is limited parking with only 67 metered spots available, so try to come early. If all the spots are full, there’s also some street parking near Jenness.
5. Weirs Beach
Weirs Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the Lakes Region, and it offers everything you could possibly want. It has beautiful views of Lake Winnipesaukee, a boardwalk full of arcades and tourist shop, and plenty of sand. New Hampshire families have been enjoying this beach and boardwalk since the 1950’s, and you should too!
6. White Lake State Park
If you’re heading towards the White Mountains, check out White Lake State Park, one of the most popular beaches in the area. This sandy beach along White Lake offers a well-maintained trail around the lake that’s perfect for walking with your family while you enjoy sweeping mountain views. While you’re here, try your hand at trout fishing or boating.
7. Sunapee State Beach
This large, sandy beach is tucked under the shadow of Mount Sunapee and is perfect for families. It offers great swimming, canoe, and kayak rentals, and has a playground. And don’t worry if you left something at your vacation rental, because this beach also has a store and a bathhouse, providing all the necessities you might need for a trip to the beach with your family.
8. Echo Lake State Park
This sandy beach sits along a small but stunning lake underneath the 700-foot high Cathedral Ledge. Take the family for a swim and a picnic, then walk the scenic trail around the lake. There’s also a mile-long road for cars and various hiking trails that will take you to the top of Cathedral Ledge where you’ll get breathtaking views across the Saco River Valley to the White Mountains. If you’re really feeling bold, both Cathedral and nearby White Horse ledges are popular rock climbing walls.
9. New Castle Beach
This small and picturesque sandy beach is only 10 minutes from Portsmouth. It’s somewhat rocky and the water tends to be a bit colder than other New Hampshire Beaches, but it’s definitely still worth visiting. Park at New Castle Common, a 32-acre seaside green space that’s open 365 days a year.
10. North Hampton Beach
North Hampton State Beach might be the heart of the short New Hampshire Seacoast. This great family location has a sandy beach and is ideal for swimming and picnicking. Metered parking and a bathhouse are also available. Extend your stay by camping at the North Hampton Beach Campground, located on the northwest corner of the 29-mile long Great Sacandaga Lake, this campground offers great boating and fishing.