The Seacoast Region is the southeast area of the U.S. state of New Hampshire that includes the eastern portion of Rockingham County and the southern portion of Strafford County. The region stretches 13 miles along the Atlantic Ocean from New Hampshire’s border with Salisbury, Massachusetts to the Piscataqua River and New Hampshire’s border with Kittery, Maine. The shoreline is generally very rocky and rough in nature, although a few sandy beaches have been created using jetties/groins, particularly in the towns of Rye and Hampton. The Seacoast Region stretches as far west as Epping. Portsmouth, the largest municipality, and only city, in Rockingham county serves as the cultural and commercial hub of the region. Portsmouth has numerous historical landmarks and tourist attractions including Strawberry Banke, the Moffatt-Ladd house, the John Paul Jones house, and the Portsmouth children’s museum which moved to Dover in 2010. This was the first area of the state to be permanently settled by Europeans in the early 17th century.
Straddling the maritime border New Hampshire shares with Maine are the Isles of Shoals – White, Seavey, Lunging, and Star. From Portsmouth, they are a short ferry ride out into the Gulf of Maine and also make up the Seacoast Region.
Coastal town and cities
- Hampton Falls
- North Hampton
- New Castle
Tourist attractions in the region
- Hampton Beach
- The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover
- The Music Hall in Portsmouth. Built in 1878, it is the state’s oldest theater. Hosts several concerts and events throughout the year.
- Odiorne Point State Park and the associated Seacoast Science Center
- Star Island, seasonal conference center and hotel located 7 miles out to sea
- The Strawbery Banke outdoor history museum of Portsmouth
- The USS Albacore, once the fastest submarine in the U.S. fleet, now beached in Portsmouth and open to visitors
- Water Country, New England’s largest water park
- The Wentworth by the Sea, a grand old hotel previously fallen into disrepair but now completely renovated
- The Whittemore Center, a multi-purpose arena in Durham. Home to the nationally ranked University of New Hampshire ice hockey teams, as well as various concerts and events.
NH Route 1A runs along the ocean shore, while U.S. Route 1 runs in a parallel direction slightly farther inland. During the high tourist season, these highways are crowded with day tourists and seasonal renters. Slightly farther inland, Interstate 95 carries most of the through traffic north into Maine while NH Route 101 carries New Hampshire’s east-west traffic between the Seacoast Region and the inland portions of the state.