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There are 12 beaches, each one unique, along the approximately 17-miles of winding New Hampshire coastline. Sandwiched between Massachusetts and Maine, New Hampshire’s beaches offer easy access, intimacy and beauty.
There are two basic types of beaches along the New Hampshire seacoast. There are those that are owned and overseen by the towns and those that are owned and run by the state. Additionally, there are beaches that have numerous services such as changing rooms, rest rooms, snack bars, lifeguards and nearby restaurants and/or stores, while there are others that have few if any services at all. All but one of the beaches, Sandy Beach, are located on Route 1A.
Seabrook Beach is the southern most beach with grassy dunes, great kayaking and a relaxed atmosphere. It has no rest rooms and little parking. Just north of Seabrook Beach is Hampton State Park Beach. Like all state beaches, there’s a fee for parking. There are rest rooms, along with a snack bar and convenience store. This beach has a campground with full RV hookups. The beach is beautiful and white, with tide pools and an expansive natural rock wall.
Hampton Beach is the central tourist attraction and fully equipped to accommodate large numbers of the people. It has been a popular vacation spot for 100 years. Just north of Hampton Beach is North Beach, which has a high concrete wall that offers the coastline protection from large ocean storms. There’s limited metered parking, lifeguards and a bathhouse.
North Hampton State Beach has limited metered parking, changing rooms, rest rooms and lifeguards. Across the road, there’s an ice cream stand that also offers snacks and sandwiches.
Bass Beach is a pebbled cove that’s difficult to access. When the waves are right it’s a haven for surfers. There is limited parking on the side of the road and no facilities. It’s also known as Rye Rocks Point. Just north is Sawyer’s Beach — a small beach that’s owned by the Town of Rye. There is special permit parking for residents only at Sawyers.
Bordering Sawyers Beach, just to the north is another state park – Jenness Beach. Jenness has very limited metered parking and some unmetered parking on the side of the road. This beach includes rest and changing rooms and is patrolled by lifeguards. There are a few stores/snack shops across the street from the parking lot.
Foss Beach is a horseshoe shaped semi-sandy/rocky beach with a rock and dirt seawall. There are no facilities on this town-owned beach, which sits just north of Rye Harbor State Park. There’s parking on the side of the road.
Rye North Beach has a small amount of parking that’s limited to residents. It’s a difficult beach to access due to the many private homes that are situated directly on the beach. Rye North Beach abuts Wallis Sands State Park, which has a large lot with a $10 per car fee for parking all day. Local residents also sell parking spaces for the day. This beach has full facilities, including a snack bar, rest rooms and changing rooms. This is a family friendly beach with easy access.
Going north along Route 1A, about two to three miles after Wallis Sands, is the turnoff for Route 1B. This road leads to Newcastle, NH, which is an island community connected to the mainland by a small bridge. As the road winds, you’ll come to the entrance to Great Island Common. This popular town park includes a playground, changing rooms and restrooms. Newcastle Beach, a soft beach with gentle waves, is kid friendly. There are picnic areas, grills, some pavilions and a large, grassy common area. There’s a $3 per person fee to enter, but it is open to all. There’s plenty of parking too.
Despite it’s short coastline, New Hampshire’s beaches are varied in terms of access, facilities and services. From Seabrook Beach to Newcastle Beach, there’s a beach that’s just right for you along the New Hampshire coast.