Ocean Boulevard on Hampton Beach provides patrons with a variety of restaurants that cater to tourists and serve mainly American fare. Fresh from the ocean, the seafood dominates the menu at these establishments. The neighborhood offers something for everyone, from bar hopping down the rowdy pubs of Ocean Boulevard to enjoying fine dining farther inland.
Famous for its large outdoor patio, the North Beach Bar and Grill has a full bar and expansive menu. Select the crispy coconut shrimp, accompanied by a tangy dipping sauce. Locals gravitate to the flavorful scallops. Wrapped in bacon and served with a maple syrup garlic sauce, these please even the pickiest of eaters. For more seafood, try Bernie's Beach Bar. You'll feel like you've been transported to a tropical paradise. The Tiki-themed decor and fruity drinks with umbrellas delight families and barflies alike. If you're hungry, the lobster rangoon and conch fritters provide a hearty meal for two.
The charming Purple Urchin serves family friendly fare in a laid-back environment. Kids go for the mac-n-cheese or chicken fingers, while adults savor the swordfish pasta or clam chowder. Feast on the steamed lobster, the best in the area — the massive lobster takes up an entire plate.
For live music, head down to the Hampton Beach Casino. Located on the boardwalk, national acts perform April through November. Dance the night away on the large dance floor and enjoy some of the finest talents in the nation.
Originally inhabited by Native Americans, the area saw its first European settlers in the early 1600s. Pioneers farmed the salt marshes and fished the Atlantic. In the 18th century, the fishing business boomed. Lobstering, clamming and fishing became the focal point of the area's economy. Fisherman who flocked to the area needed housing, and the first of many hotels went up along New Hampshire beaches. Local businessmen realized the potential for recreational hotels, and the area blossomed into a tourist destination.
The Tuck Museum in Hampton consists of memorabilia, monuments, and buildings dedicated to preserving the history of the New Hampshire beaches and the rest of Hampton. Families enjoy checking out old postcards and letters describing the neighborhood in its early days.
On Hampton Beach, visitors marvel at the Sand Sculpture Competition, held every year in late June. The amazing sculptures would look more at home in a museum than they do on the beach.
Visitors to New Hampshire beaches find driving to be the easiest form of transportation. Connected from Highway 101 East, Route 1A runs up the entire 18-mile coast. Available metered parking off the highway provides sightseers with the chance to catch a sunset or beautiful inlet when the mood strikes. You can try to find a metered parking spot close to the beach, but you'll need good luck, as spots fill quickly. Readily available parking lots provide overflow parking. During busy season, lots will charge between $20-$30 for a single day.
New Hampshire beaches do not provide public transportation to Boston. You can catch a Greyhound or C&J bus from nearby Exeter if you want to make do without a car. No bike lanes exist, and take care while biking the main roads. The beaches host many pedestrian-friendly attractions within blocks of each other. Taxis don't canvass the streets for customers, you'll have to call one for a ride. Uber doesn't operate here.
The cost of living near the New Hampshire beaches lies lower than that of Boston, attracting residents who want to live near Beantown without the big-city price tag. The standard one-bedroom
apartment costs around$1,120, and gas runs 4 percent higher than the national average. Wander down to the local pub for a beer, and prices range drastically from summer to winter. Expect to pay around $7 during the summer months, and closer to $4 in the winter.
Shoppers in New Hampshire Beaches find several high-value tourist shops lining the streets on the boardwalk of Ocean Boulevard of Hampton Beach. Visit Mrs. Mitchell's Gift Shop, a tradition for more than 50 years. As Hampton's largest gift shop, novelty souvenirs and t-shirts delight visitors. Be sure to pick up some homemade fudge before you leave.
Music fans can spend hours in Rock Palace, browsing its wide variety of rock memorabilia. Chat with the friendly owner, who is helpful in tracking down old concert footage and vinyls. Check out the rows of obscure footage from concerts and special recordings.
If you want to go in the Atlantic Ocean, swing by Cinnamon Rainbows Surf Co. Buy a new swimsuit or try your hand at surfing in a lesson led by the friendly staff. Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned veteran, you can spend an exciting afternoon on the beach catching waves.
While no groceries are available directly off the beach, Hannaford Grocery Store sells fresh food just minutes away. Locals swear by the deli platters and fruit baskets. The outstanding selection provides several options for tourists as well as residents. If you enjoy farmers markets, a short drive takes you to the Seacoast Grower's Association market in nearby Exeter. Patrons can stock up on fresh fruits and veggies and sample the homemade bread from area vendors.
Five stunning parks located on the beaches allow residents to commune with nature and take in the spectacular views. You can enjoy these activities year-round, but due to the lack of tourist business off-season, many of these state parks either close or cut down on staffing in the winter. You can still visit most of the beaches during the winter months, but those with children will want to keep an eye to the skies. Local weather can quickly and drastically change. The remote locations and lack of staff members means you have to fend for yourself in case of emergencies. New Hampshire beaches do not permit dogs, and some of the parks charge a small fee upon entrance.
The most well-known beach, Hampton Beach, was established in 1933 and has grown into a major tourist destination over the years. Families love the beach for its cleanliness and safety. Take a dip in the salty waters or sunbathe on the sand. A favorite of exercisers, Odiorne Park sports miles of walking trails in the 135-acre seaside area. Hike through the rocky shoreline, woodlands and salt marshes. Check out Wallis Sands for miles of sandy shoreline, or visit North Beach for its grassy picnic area. Get away from the crowds at Jenness beach, where you can take in the spectacular views in a more tranquil environment.
The Hampton Beach State Park Fair occurs annually in mid-June. Locals flock to the festival for the food and carnival rides. Kids love the petting zoo, and adults can grab a frothy pint from the refreshment stands. A fantastic fireworks display caps off the day's festivities. Parking rates sky-rocket during events, so locals prefer to park at metered parking a couple blocks away and walk to the fair.