Want to try out a new beach? Find one near you with our SKC Seacoast Beach Directory!
It’s summer! Time to pack up the car, kids and coolers and head to one of the many beautiful beaches our seacoast has to offer! Find your favorite or try out a new one! Each beach has its own unique characteristics like “good seaglass hunting” or “great wave riding”, or for those of us with young kids, “close proximity to clean bathrooms!” Slather on the sunscreen and get out there!
Welcome to the beaches of New Hampshire! All beaches are located along the coastal route of 1A and offer their own unique charm and personality. A couple rules apply to all: pets are not permitted in the park during the summer season and all are Carry-In/Carry-Out beaches.
Driving north along Rt. 1A, here are the beaches in geographical order:
Seabrook Beach (Seabrook NH)
This beach has few non-resident parking spaces, but if you’re lucky to grab one, you’ll enjoy the expansive beach and beautiful sand dunes ala Cape Cod. No public restrooms or services.
Hampton Beach State Park (located on Rt. 1A over the Hampton bridge towards Seabrook)
Provides year-round recreation, with Atlantic ocean-front facilities situated along miles of sandy beach. Parking is available ($15 per auto) in the adjacent large lot. Activities in the park include swimming, fishing, picnicking, and RV camping with full hook-ups in the campground. The Ross Avenue bathroom is open year-round, from 8am-10pm, weather permitting.
Hampton Beach (on the Boulevard, Hampton NH)
Located across the street from the “Hampton Strip”, Hampton Beach offers an expansive beach with many amenities. The Seashell complex includes a playground, band shell amphitheater, public information services, comfort station, and first aid. The strip is great for family entertainment and offers food stands, restaurants, gift shops, convenience stores and several arcades. Metered parking (quarters or Parks tokens only, $1.50 per hour) is available on the street along the strip and further along the ocean front (from Haverhill Street to the Marine Memorial offers “Park & Pay” meters), as well as several paid parking lots.
Hampton Beach State Park (Residents Only, Hampton NH)
Located along Rt. 1A in between Hampton Beach and the North Hampton State Park beach, this beach is open to Hampton residents only with available parking in a small lot (Hampton resident sticker required). This beach offers fun tide pools and rocks for climbing and investigating during low tide. There are no bathroom facilities at this location.
North Beach (“The Wall”, North Hampton NH)
A great location to watch the surfers and swimmers. Amenities at the beach include a bathhouse/restroom. Metered parking is available. Parking meters are located along Route 1A and accept quarters or Park tokens (which are available for purchase at this location). Across the street are two food options, The Secret Spot (take-out) and North Beach Bar & Grill (full-service restaurant). *Note: during high tide, the water leaves little beach exposed.
North Beach State Park (across from the Beach Plum, North Hampton NH)
A great family location and its sandy beach is ideal for swimming and picnicking. Amenities at the beach include a bathhouse/restroom. Metered parking is available, as are free limited spots for cars with North Hampton resident stickers). Across the street is the Beach Plum restaurant offering picnic table lunch/dinner dining and giant ice cream cones.
Jenness Beach (Rye NH)
Jenness is another family friendly beach with plenty of amenities. The beach parking lot has spaces for 67 cars (metered parking) but also offers a parking lot behind the Dunes Motel (prices vary) and free spaces along 1A (if you get there early enough!). Across the street is a large convenience store and small restaurant to get snacks, beverages or lunch.
Cable Beach (Rye NH)
Cable Beach is a small beach at the end of Cable Road (off of Rt. 1A). Parking is free along Rt. 1A (be prepared to walk if you don’t get there early). There are no bathroom facilities at this location.
This beach is a popular with people of all ages. There are always games of volleyball, wiffle ball and Frisbee going on, as well as being a great spot for skin boarding and swimming. Across the street is a convenience store and a take-out restaurant serving lunch fare and ice cream. Portable restrooms located at the beach entrance. Parking in the lot is for Rye residents only (with parking sticker) and parking is free along Rt. 1A (get there early or be prepared to walk!).
Wallis Sands State Park (Rye, NH)
Wallis Sands offers oceanfront swimming, views of the Isles of Shoals, and a sandy beach that families especially enjoy. Beach amenities include a store that sells a variety of items, food, and drinks; and a large bathhouse with hot and cold showers. The park has a grassy area with picnic tables, but fires are not allowed. The parking lot can accommodate 500 cars ($15 per auto).
Great Island Common (a.k.a Newcastle Common, Rt. 1B, New Castle NH)
The town-owned Great Island Common, a 31 acre ocean side park is open to residents without charge, and to non-residents for $3 per person (youngsters and retirees are less). The Common is ideal for outdoor sports activities, picnicking, family gatherings, and swimming. Ample parking and toilet facilities are available on the “Common” as well as swings, and other playground equipment for the youngsters. Adjacent to Great Island Common is New Castle Beach. Site has expansive views of Piscataqua River to Kittery with views of three lighthouses, river traffic. Alcohol and boat launching not allowed at any time. The park is available for party rentals.
Massachusetts (as far south as Newburyport)
Salisbury Beach State Reservation (Salisbury MA)
Salisbury Beach is one of the state’s most popular ocean beaches, stretching 3.8 miles along the Atlantic Ocean. This 521-acre park offers swimming, boating, fishing, and camping, and is very popular with trailer campers. Facilities include a 484-site campground with renovated bathhouses, an extensive day-use parking lot ($9 per auto), three new comfort stations with boardwalks over the dunes, and a new playground and pavilion area. The facility also has two boat ramps on the Merrimack River at the campground’s southern edge.
Salisbury Beach (Boulevard, Salisbury Beach MA)
A portion of Salisbury Beach is also accessible from the Boulevard entrance, although parking is a bit limited and one can expect to pay $10 for lot parking. This area is also adjacent to the many food vendors (fried seafood, fried dough and beach pizza!) as well as the amusement park and arcades.
Plum Island Beach (Newburyport MA)
Sandy beach and dunes adjacent to Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Small paid parking lot at end of Fordham Way.
Sandy Point State Reservation
Sandy Point is at the very southern tip of Plum Island, a classic Atlantic Ocean barrier island. The 77-acre park is among the state’s most beautiful and popular coastal beaches. It is also an important nesting area for the piping plover, a threatened species, and the least tern, a species of special concern in Massachusetts. Passive recreational activities include walking, beachcombing, fishing and birding. Access is through the abutting Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.
Maine (as far north as Ogunquit)
Scenic sandy beach with gentle surf in York Harbor. Parking is limited to York residents only (you must have a purchase a parking sticker from the town) for this small beach off Route 1A at the entrance to Harbor Park. Portable restrooms are available at Harbor Beach Road. Lifeguards on duty end of June to Labor Day.
Long Sands Beach (York ME)
As the name implies this is a long sandy beach with designated surfing area. Metered parking is available along Route 1A for the entire length of beach. Restrooms available at the Bathhouse near Oceanside Ave. Lifeguards on duty end of June to Labor Day.
Short Sands Beach (York ME)
Sandy beach with gentle surf. Metered parking in the lot off Rt 1A. Showers, changing area and toilets. Easy to walk to shops and amusements adjacent to beach. Lifeguards on duty end of June to Labor Day.
Ogunquit Beach (Ogunquit ME)
Soft white sand and warm surf. Popular with families. Accessible by trolley and several parking areas. Restrooms and snack bars. Considered one of the prettiest 3.5 miles of peninsula beach in the country. Lifeguards.
Footbridge Beach (Ogunquit ME)
Beachgoers walk over footbridge to get to this less crowded section of beach. Snack bar and restrooms. Lifeguard patrolled.
Moody Beach (Ogunquit ME)
Nestled between the popular Ogunquit and Wells beaches, Moody Beach is just over a mile in length and offers beautiful sand and frequently good surf. It is primarily classified as a private beach although there are public accesses at 4 points along this stretch. There is public parking at the south end of Ocean Avenue. Restrooms are available.