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What we love about the beaches in New Hampshire is that there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a wide sandy beach where your kids can build sandcastles, a wild surf beach where you can surf year-round, or something in between — New Hampshire has it.
First, we have New Hampshire’s Seacoast beaches. A lot of people are surprised to learn that New Hampshire has a coastline. It’s only 18 miles long, but we pack a lot of scenic beaches into that area!
From fun and busy Hampton Beach to calm Wallis Sands, New Hampshire’s Seacoast beaches are a perfect side trip from Portsmouth or a day trip from Boston or Portland, Maine.
Then there are New Hampshire’s lake beaches — many of them appropriately in the Lakes Region, but you can find nice lakes all over the Granite State. Lake Winnipesaukee brings you numerous options like Weirs Beach and Ellacoya State Park, but don’t overlook the beaches of Lake Sunapee or White Lake.
If you’re planning on visiting New Hampshire’s beaches frequently, or even exploring different corners of the state, we highly recommend picking up a NH State Parks Season Pass. We love New Hampshire’s state parks and a season pass is excellent motivation to visit more of them!
There are passes for individuals, families, and non-residents, plus there’s an individual Seacoast Parking Pass that covers part of Hampton Beach State Park and Wallis Sands Beach.
All right — let’s take a look at the 13 best beaches in New Hampshire!
This post was most recently updated in May 2023.
Table of Contents
New Hampshire Beaches Map & FAQ
Above you can see the map of New Hampshire’s beaches, with the ocean beaches concentrated along the short stretch of the Seacoast.
Honestly, all of them. NH is a phenomenally family-friendly state and you’d be hard-pressed to find a kid-unfriendly beach.
Weirs Beach on Lake Winnipesaukee is free to visit — you’ll just have to pay a small fee for parking.
Hampton Beach is the big kahuna of New Hampshire beaches — long, wide, home to soft sand. Hampton Beach has long been New Hampshire’s most popular seaside destination, with the fun and active beach town to match!
If you enjoy New England beach experience with good kitschy fun, complete with a lively boardwalk atmosphere, fun shows, and shops, Hampton Beach is the place for you. For better or for worse, prepare to be entertained; it’s great fun for the whole family.
The beach itself is arguably the best beach in New Hampshire. If you have little ones, they can swim, run along 13 miles of coastline, and build some pretty impressive sandcastles with the soft powdery sand while you spend the day relaxing and sunbathing. Bathhouses are on site.
Regularly touted as one of the cleanest beaches in the U.S., this is by far the largest and most popular New Hampshire beaches. The beach is a part of Hampton Beach State Park, which features picnic area shelters so you can eat away from the sand, with a parking lot nearby, clean showers, and restrooms.
During the summer months, Hampton Beach has lifeguards on duty. As with most state parks, there is a nominal parking fee per vehicle, and NH residents over 65 are admitted free to any state park. Season passes are available. Dogs are not allowed on Hampton Beach.
Located in the picture-perfect coastal town of Rye, Jenness State Beach is perfect for strolling, picnicking, and playing in the sand. It’s also a great swimming beach as the Atlantic waters are pretty calm, making it one of the best New Hampshire beaches for families.
This is also THE beach location for surfers, so if you happen to catch one riding the waves, it really brings the NH beach scene to life!
The beach is open on the weekends in the off-season, but during the summer months you can come here every day. With a bathhouse, restrooms, and lifeguards on duty in the summer, this is definitely one of the top NH beaches for people wanting to avoid the Hampton Beach crowds.
Just across the road, you’ll find a variety of places to eat and load up on beach gear. There’s a restaurant, pizza house, a coffee shop, ice cream, and a surf shop.
Metered parking is available. With only about 65 spaces, be sure to get here early during the high season to claim your spot! Having said that, Jenness is one of the quieter beaches in New Hampshire.
Part of Jenness Beach is owned by the town and part is a state park, which makes going with your dog a bit tricky. On the portion within the state park, dogs are prohibited during high season but allowed on leash during low season. On the part owned by the town, dogs are allowed off-leash from sunrise to 9am and 7pm to midnight from Memorial Day to Labor Day, except for Saturday when they’re prohibited from 9am to 9pm.
Wallis Sands State Beach
For those that love their NH beaches smaller and quieter, Wallis Sands Beach is a fantastic Seacoast beach. Located in Rye and part of Wallis Sands State Park, this is another great sandy beach for families.
Scenic and well-maintained, Wallis Sands offers gorgeous oceanfront views with a spacious shoreline. There are lifeguards on duty during the day from Memorial Day through Labor Day, with a shower room and changing areas.
A convenience shop with your normal beach staples, including a snack shop, towels, and beach toys is on site. But it’s not all sand, there is a stretch of grass, a great place for a game of frisbee or a comfy spot to set out a blanket and watch the Isles of Shoals a few miles offshore.
When you’ve had your fill of the beach, it’s fun to explore the tiny town of Rye with its unique stores, restaurants serving local cuisine, and gorgeous vacation homes. Don’t miss the viewpoint along Route 1A for a panoramic view of Wallis Sands.
Beach parking is available for a small fee per vehicle, with the exception of NH residents 65 and up. Since this is a state park beach, dogs are not allowed for most of the year and can only enter the park on-leash after it closes for the season.
Odiorne Point State Park
Located about five miles north of Rye, Odiorne State Park encompasses 18 miles of spectacular rocky coastline. Picnic lovers can enjoy fantastic views of the North Atlantic. Explorers can discover evidence of a military past with the remnants of a military fortification.
While the Odiorne beaches are a mix of pebbly beaches and sandy beaches, they’re some of the best public beaches in NH for water activities such as boating and fishing, along with biking, hiking, and leisurely nature walks. There are seven distinct habitats to explore within an hour’s walk! In the colder months, the cross-country skiing here is pretty great.
Also located within the park is the Seacoast Science Center. It offers fascinating exhibits relating to the natural history of Odiorne and the surrounding seacoast area.
Our top recommendation is to bring a picnic and enjoy it in the heart of the park.
There is a small entrance fee into Odiorne Point State Park ($4 for age 12+, $2 for kids 11 and under), with a separate fee if you want to visit the Science Center ($12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $10 for kids 3 to 11, and kids under 3 are free). We highly recommend visiting the center as there is a lot to learn about the natural and human history of the area.
Pets are not permitted, even during the off-season.
North Hampton State Beach
Don’t be fooled by the name — North Hampton State Beach couldn’t be more different than its southern neighbor. Located about 3.5 miles north of Hampton Beach, where the wall begins, this is one of the best beaches on the Seacoast for families and people who want a quieter atmosphere. The sandy oceanfront coastline is perfect for picnicking and swimming, with a bathhouse and clean restrooms on site.
The main part of the beach is wide and sandy, with some rocky areas in certain parts. If you can take advantage of visiting this beach in the off-season, do it! It can get pretty crowded during the high season.
North Hampton Beach is usually open on the weekends year round, then daily during the summer months from June through September. There’s no parking fee, but metered parking is available.
Pro tip: get to this beach early to snag one of the coveted metered parking spots! Also, lifeguards are on staff during the high season.
Note that pets are prohibited year-round at North Hampton State Beach.
About two miles south of Hampton Beach, Seabrook offers a quieter respite from the crowds with a grand expanse of sand dunes. While this beach may be off the radar for the average tourist, locals know it well and there are lots of vacation homes here.
In fact, access to this beach is easiest for residents and vacation home renters because parking is pretty limited. Public parking with a restroom is on Route 1A, but it is a bit of a walk across the highway and down side streets to reach the shore.
Still, if you can swing renting one of the stunning vacation homes, it’s a beautiful, relaxing beach and a great play day for the kids. Families return to Seabrook every year to enjoy the ocean swimming and strolling the two miles of soft sand.
Since this is more of a residential area, fireworks, alcohol, open fires, and motor vehicles are not allowed on the beach. We know, live free or die, but that keeps Seabrook pristine.
Dogs are allowed at Seabrook Beach but must always be on a leash. Note that from Memorial Day to Labor Day, dogs are only permitted before 8am and after 6pm.
Now that we’ve gone through the best Seacoast beaches, let’s move on to New Hampshire’s lake beaches! New Hampshire has a short coastline but is rich in lakes, and these calm bodies of water provide some of the best swimming in the Granite State.
Weirs Beach is set along the western shore of Lake Winnipesauke. A mecca for great kitschy fun for the family, adults and kids alike can indulge in arcade games, bumper cars, a drive-in theater, and more, making this one of the best NH beaches for families with young kids.
If you are more of a water activities person, Weirs Beach also offers opportunities for boating, canoeing, kayaking, and even scuba diving. The water at one end of the beach is calm and shallow, has lifeguards on duty from Memorial to Labor Day (weather permitting), and a nearby playground.
Cruises are available daily if you’re keen on exploring the rest of the lake. While they offer both lunch and dinner cruises, the lunch cruises are more family-friendly, with options such as hot dogs and pizza. Don’t miss a mailboat cruise on the M/V Sophie C, which tops our list of the best things to do in New Hampshire.
Near the beach are several shaded picnic tables and a bathhouse. Weirs Beach has two public parking areas with kiosks where you can pay to park by the hour, with no limit, so you can stay at the beach all day! Note that dogs are not permitted on the beach but can enjoy the boardwalk on a leash.
Read More: Our Ultimate Guide to Weirs Beach, NH
White Lake State Park
Located in Tamworth, straddling the edge of the White Mountains and the Lakes Region of NH, the beach along this glacial lake has some of the best swimming in the area. White Lake isn’t flashy, but those who know it know that it’s something special.
The lake is surrounded by beautiful mountains and lush greenery, Mount Chocorua peeping up along the edge. There’s a well-maintained footpath around the lake, perfect for a leisurely stroll. Wildlife such as beavers and loons make their home here, with plenty of trout in the lake for fishers.
Another nice thing about White Lake is that no motorized boats are allowed, which keeps the atmosphere all the more tranquil. Canoes and paddleboat are available for rent, and a small store sells snacks. While White Lake gets some day trippers, it’s a popular campground as well.
While the park is open daily for recreational activities, lifeguards at the beach are staffed only during the summer, and the season ends in late September. Admission to White Lake State Park is $5 for adults and $2 for kids. Dogs are permitted in the off season but prohibited from May 1 to October 31.
Mount Sunapee State Park Beach
Located along Lake Sunapee near Newbury, you also might hear this beach referred to as Newbury Beach. There’s lots of water recreation to be had with kayak and canoe rentals, and a boat launch for non-motorized boats.
The scenery at Mount Sunapee Beach is lovely with lake houses tucked into forested hills in the background. This makes it one of the best family beaches in NH.
With camping, hiking, swimming, a playground, a bathhouse, a general store, and picnic areas, it’s perfect for all. Lifeguards are on duty in the high summer season. There’s also a ski resort nearby during the colder months and a few camping spots about a mile from the beach.
Because it’s a state park, there’s a small fee of $5 for adults and $2 for kids, plus an additional parking fee if you are carrying a boat trailer. Keep in mind there are capacity restrictions at this beach, so be sure to come early on a summer weekend day. This place can and does sell out. Dogs are not allowed on the beach.
Ellacoya State Park Beach
With its pristine shoreline and gentle waters, Ellacoya is among the safest of the New Hampshire beaches, with lifeguards on duty during the high season. It’s located on the southwest shore of Lake Winnipesaukee, not far from Weirs Beach but a world away.
Spend the day sunbathing, splashing in the calm waters, or paddling further out with the blue Ossipee and Sandwich mountains as a backdrop. A small boat launch is available for kayaks and canoes, and it’s a great base for paddling to Governors Island, home to some of New Hampshire’s most expensive real estate.
Families will love the nearby playground and shaded picnic pavilions (great for those hot days). While there is a campground, it’s not among our favorites, as it’s more of a big open space with few trees or separation between campsites.
There is a small fee to use the beach (once again, $5 for adults and $2 for kids) and it is one of the smaller beaches in NH, so arrive early, especially on the weekends. A clean bathhouse, changing area, and snack shop are also on site. Pets are not allowed from May 1 to October 31.
When you’re ready for a little adventure, nearby Gunstock Mountain Resort offers scenic lift rides, a mountain coaster, ziplines, and Segway tours. Or if you get a rainy day, head up to Funspot for a day of arcade games and bowling.
Read More: Fun Things to Do in Lake Winnipesaukee
Echo Lake State Park
Located in the White Mountains near North Conway, this beach is indeed small, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in stature. Lake beaches just don’t get prettier than this. It almost feels like you’re in a painting.
Tucked nicely under the 700-foot Cathedral Ledge, this is the perfect spot to relax after hitting any of the various hiking trails nearby. The area is flat, making for an easy hike, with more a challenging trek as you go up to Cathedral Ledge and White Horse Ledge.
Both hiking and biking trails are available and offer spectacular views of the lake and the Saco River Valley.
Echo Lake is great for families because the beach waters are calm and relatively shallow, and there’s even a roped-off area marking where the waters go deeper. During the high season, lifeguards are usually on duty. Picnic areas are available.
As it is a state park, there is a small admission fee ($4 for adults, $2 for kids), with season passes available. This is another New Hampshire State Park with limited parking, so we recommend getting here early on summer weekend days and holidays. Note that dogs are only allowed in the Cathedral Ledge and White Horse Ledge areas and only from November 1st to April 30th.
Wellington State Beach
Located in the adorable town of Bristol in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, Wellington State Beach packs a lot of value into its offering. This is NH’s largest freshwater swimming beach on the shores of gorgeous Newfound Lake, among the deepest lakes in the Granite State. Hiking trails and picnic areas offer amazing views.
Wellington Beach is great because it offers the perfect mix of sandy beach, shade trees, and clear water. Fishing and kayaking here are a joy in the serene waters. The beach itself offers a well-maintained restroom and bathhouse with hot showers.
Amenities include a snack bar offering cold drinks and ice cream. Kayak rentals and a small shop with souvenirs and beach gear are available.
Tons of trees provide ample shade, with plenty of activities to be had including volleyball and horseshoe courts. But the great thing about this state park is the views of the Cliff and Belle Islands. The sunsets can be pretty amazing, too.
Wellington State Beach is one of the more popular lake beaches in New Hampshire, so come during a weekday or arrive in the morning. This is also a state park, so a nominal fee is charged for admission ($5 for adults, $2 for kids). Dogs are not permitted on Wellington State Beach.
Allen Albee Beach
Albee Beach rests nicely on the northwestern shore of Lake Wentworth near the town of Wolfeboro. This is a small, family-friendly beach surrounded by trees. It’s the ideal destination for those who seek a less-crowded time in the sand — or perhaps a break from nearby Lake Winnipesaukee.
The water is shallow and the lifeguards are friendly. Here you’ll find charcoal grills, picnic tables, and well-kept restrooms and showers. Relax in the sand while you work on that tan. In our opinion, it’s one of the best NH beaches on a lake.
You’ll see lots of locals here, as the beach is mostly reserved for residents, their families, and guests. As such, you’ll need a beach pass to park here. Dogs are not allowed on Albee Beach.
As an aside, if you happen to love golf, there is an 18-hole championship golf course just a 9-minute drive away, Kingswood Golf Club.
More Summer Fun in New Hampshire:
- Best Outdoor and Indoor New Hampshire Water Parks
- Things to Do on Lake Winnipesaukee
- Best Boat Rentals in Lake Winnipesaukee
- Ultimate Guide to Weirs Beach, NH
- Things to Do in Portsmouth, NH
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- New Hampshire Fall Foliage: When and Where To Go
- 30 Unforgettable Things To Do In The White Mountains, NH
What’s your favorite beach in NH?