I remember spending a week here back in the 70s when my sister rented a cottage for the summer, but I really got to know the location when I moved to New Hampshire in 1999. Now my family and I have this as our primary local beach spot.
Hampton beach is perfect for young children. There is good sand and the water is calm with a long shallow incline into the ocean. Alex loves running back and forth as he tries to escape incoming waves, a great place to frolic and have fun. Besides the sunbathing there are a lot of options available to keep the older crowd entertained.
Easy access to the beach from US Route 95 to NH Route 101 East will deliver you directly to the beach front. There is quite a bit of parking right on the beach in extended lots but these will fill up during the height of the season. There are overflow lots off the beach if you cannot find a spot. Parking is paid via ticket Kiosk in the lot.
If you are at the beach you must eat some beach food! To start go to Blink’s Fry Doe for fried dough. You will get a long strip of dough that you can put any number of toppings on to your liking. I recommend the cinnamon and sugar or simply plain butter. Absolutely delicious and so much better than what you would get at your local county fair.
Next is pizza and this nothing like what you will find in Boston or New York. “Beach Pizza” is baked in rectangular sheet pans and has a thick but crunchy crust. The sauce is very sweet, tangy and what gives the pizza its characteristic flavor. You can get your slice with no cheese or with a single piece of provolone on top. I recommend you go topless. There are two competing purveyors of this gastronomic delight; Cristy’s and Tripoli Bakery. Unfortunately neither of these are right on the beach, but they are worth the few extra minutes drive to sample. There are additional locations at nearby Salisbury beach that are a two minute walk from the water and doors away from each other. If you are in the mood for a sit down seafood dinner the iconic location is the Sea Ketch restaurant overlooking the beach. You will find good seafood and lobster and great beach views. If you want a little bit better quality food and lower prices try these places in neighboring Seabrook, New Hampshire: Brown’s Seabrook Lobster Pound, Markey’s Lobster Pool or Eastman’s Dockside Dining.
There are many late afternoon / early evening activities to take in after your sunbathing and swim. 80 free concerts throughout the summer in many music styles from Jazz to Oldies to Rock puts everyone into a beach party mood. The concerts are at the seashell stage on the beach.
In addition to the concerts there are weekly fireworks shows every Wednesday at 9:30 PM and monthly special events.
In June there is a sand sculpture exhibit where you can marvel at true artistic creators as they sculpt their temporary masterpieces.
July has a Miss Hampton Beach competition and August brings a talent show. The big end of summer attraction is the long running Seafood Festival held in early September the weekend after Labor Day. The main street in front of the beach is closed to vehicular traffic and the resulting pedestrian walkway gives safe access to the food court and attractions. There is live entertainment, a lobster roll eating contest! and fireworks at night. Admission ranges from $5 to $10 depending on what day of the festival you go and children under twelve are free. If you are in New England the seacoast area make a stop.