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.
#1 THE ALBACORE
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! The retired submarine is open to the public for a completely hands-on tour. 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 $7 and all kids under 7 are free (kids ages 7-17 are $3). Seriously, get there before the summer crowds because being in those close quarters with a bunch of sweaty strangers…just, ew.
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). Two years ago, the beach-side boardwalk was completely re-done with a super nice Seashell Stage, spiffy bathroom facilities and the Blue Ocean Society Learning Center is there, too. Don’t forget to hit up the arcades and gorge on fried dough. You kind of have to. I mean, it’s there.
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 (see the entire list), family 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!
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. Suckers! 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 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 family favorites). Well worth the money.
This one’s a lil’ out of the way, but there is nothing I don’t love about going to these games. It’s ridiculously economical, it’s insanely family-friendly (I mean, they have a Golden Retriever as the bat boy! No, seriously, they do.). They have awesome and unique food concessions and there simply isn’t a bad seat in the entire place. Did I mention that you can pretty much park at the front door? Check the schedule for fireworks, giveaway days and the Kids’ Club perks. You can even have your kids’ birthday party there! Honestly, going in the summertime is just as much fun and sans hassle. Just go buy tickets. Go. So fun. You’re welcome.
What’s your favorite pre-tourist activity? Share with us in the comments below!