Beat the rush! 5 Awesome Seacoast activities to get to before the tourists arrive.
With the week or two of the spring-like weather we get right before it launches from winter into summer, here are my five picks for fun things to do with the family in late May (read = before all those out-of-towners show up and clog all the good parking spots and walk way too slow down the street). Argh.
Note: Yes, I’m sure you do already know about the following recommendations. But let me say this, if you visit when it’s not super crowded, super hot and super expensive, it’s a whole different experience. Trust me.
There’s plenty of outdoor, active fun to have at this place! The adventure challenge course has over 65 activities and elements including multi-vines, cat walks, burma bridges, tube nets, swinging tires and swinging platforms. Adventure Zip Tour consists of traveling through Maine’s beautiful woods on six zip wires connected to trees and utility poles where you zip from platform to platform. Kids must be 48” and courses are suitable for kids ages 5 and up (depending on your kids’ sense of adventure, of course). Zip Line Tours require reservations so please call ahead. Currently open Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00am-3:00pm. Visit takeflightadv.com for more info.
You probably haven’t been to the Albacore since that field trip you took in the 5th grade, but Albacore Park is a fantastic historical and educational activity—and it’s just plain cool! In this completely hands-on tour, you can walk the entire length of the vessel and turn the wheels in the engine room, look through the periscope, check out the super-tight sleeping quarters and chit chat in the communications station. Better yet, adults are only $8 and all kids under 7 are free (kids ages 7-17 are $3) or a family admission including two adults and two children under 18 for $16. Visit ussalbacore.org for more info.
#3 Hampton Beach Playground, Hampton NH
Hampton Beach can get a pretty bad rap sometimes, but pre-season is a great time to go and escape the summertime assault on the senses. The beach offers one of the best playgrounds around (fully fenced in, nice equipment, beautiful view). The beach-side boardwalk has been completely re-done with a Seashell Stage, spiffy bathroom facilities and the Blue Ocean Society Learning Center is there, too. Don’t forget to hit up the arcades and splurge on the fried dough. Visit hamptonbeach.org for info on upcoming events and area attractions.
Let me just start by saying you can be inside the park with free-roaming deer who will eat straight out of your hands. Deer! Eating! From your hands! For a local zoo, this place has a ton of animals from around the world, amusement rides, paddle boats, miniature golf course, a petting zoo, scenic picnic grounds, concession stands, two gift shops and more. Starting May 23, the park is open every day (amusement rides only on weekends through June). Personally, I think the visiting the Butterfly Kingdom alone is worth the price of admission. Get there! Visit yorkswildkingdom.com for more info.
#5 Strawbery Banke Museum, Portsmouth NH
The main reason I love this place is because the kids get so into it, and they don’t even know they’re learning 300+ years of American history. Explore the heritage gardens, visit the historic buildings, join in on the crafts and hands-on activities and hear stories told by costumed role-players (my kids stared in awe at the child actors washing clothes on the old fashioned scrub boards). That’s when I told them how good they had it. Honestly, the tickets are pretty pricey in my book, but general admission tickets are good for two consecutive days. If you can swing it, consider purchasing a family membership which gets you into all the really wonderful events they hold throughout the year at no cost (Halloween and Christmas being my faves). Well worth the money. Visit strawberybanke.org for more info.
What’s your favorite pre-tourist activity? Share with us in the comments below!