The Seacoast of New Hampshire is an hour drive from 3 airports; Boston (BOS), Portland (PWM), and Manchester (MHT). Each airport has rental car services, however, check with each airport for additional options. If you are coming from Boston, you will have more choices available to you, such as C&J Bus & Amtrak.
To get started with planning your itinerary, check out the sites below as well as upcoming Freecoast Events.
Most importantly, drop us a line and a Freecoaster will be in touch to help you make the most of your visit.
478 Central Ave, Dover, NH 03820
Don’t count Dover out for a great cup of coffee! Possibly the best latte on the Freecoast is right here at Flight. From carefully sourced and freshly roasted beans to highly trained baristas, it’s hard to go wrong. They also make their own artisan bagels.
79 Daniel St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Expertly crafted coffee, with beans roasted right on site. It's both quiet and comfortable which makes it a great place to plug in a laptop and work.
D Squared Java
155 Water St, Exeter, NH 03833
Absolutely flawless artisan coffee and tea to impress even the biggest snob. And great desserts too! Grab your favorite drink and take a walk through the shops of historic downtown Exeter, or along the Squamscott River.
Colby's Breakfast & Lunch
105 Daniel St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
A traditional and friendly breakfast joint where everyone can get their favorites. It's a small place, so best for groups of 4 or fewer. Thick-cut cinnamon swirl french toast and plate-sized pancakes are their specialties, but the egg and meat dishes are wonderful as well (the huevos rancheros are a personal favorite).
The Friendly Toast
113 Congress St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
A quirky and unusual spot with lots of vintage flair. Rated one of the top breakfasts by Esquire Magazine, Best of Boston, Taste of the Seacoast, and Good Morning America. Choices here are more varied than your average diner—they make their own bread and feature bizarrely delicious combinations like New Hampshire's Finest: scrambled eggs with local goat cheese, asparagus, scallions, and bacon. Also try the unique DGGC: a grilled cheese made with their own cayenne cheddar bread, cheddar and american cheese, olive-garlic spread, and a strawberry-habanero sauce.
The Big Bean Cafe
118 Main St, Newmarket, NH 03857
Hands down the best muffins you'll ever have! They serve some pretty substantial and creative breakfasts here at reasonable prices, too.
238 Indian Brook Road, Dover, NH 03820
This small local chain boasts both healthy and indulgent breakfast and lunch options. Plenty of space for groups, easy parking, and a friendly atmosphere.
The Children's Museum of New Hampshire
6 Washington St, Dover, NH 03820
A great place to spend a rainy or blazingly hot day with the family. Check the event calendar for homeschool groups, fairs, and classes. The adjacent Henry Law Park contains a brand new playground and splash pad for sunny days as well (open seasonally).
14 Hancock St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Half of downtown Portsmouth is a living museum featuring buildings from the past four centuries of Portsmouth history. Buy a ticket for a guided tour or grab a cup of coffee at the Figtree Kitchen Cafe in the visitors center and look out at the antique architecture—houses date back to the late 1600’s and include many revolutionary landmarks. In the summer, enjoy events like garden tours, beer tastings, and kid's educational programs. In the winter, the central "Puddle Dock" field transforms into an ice skating rink!
Las Olas Taqueria
Exeter, Hampton & Wells ME
Another local chain, Olas serves up quick and delicious burritos and other Mexican favorites. Dedicated to using fresh, local ingredients, you won't find yourself missing Chipotle! (Though there's a few of those around too if you do.)
421 Central Ave, Dover NH
Lexie's is a local favorite, and it isn't hard to see why! Right in downtown Dover, Lexie's serves up creative burgers and crispy fries with a special flare. The daily specials are always a great choice, as are the super-thick milkshakes. Lexie's also has locations at the marina in Newington (summer only), Portsmouth, and Exeter.
Earths Harvest Kitchen & Juicery
835B Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Tucked away in an unassuming strip mall, this is a great spot for a healthy lunch. Options for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free diets, as well as locally sourced meat for omnivores- all freshly made from scratch.
Portsmouth Farmer's Market
Most towns have their own summer farmer's market, and one of the larger ones is at the Portsmouth City Hall on Saturday mornings. Live music plays as you shop through the rows of prepared food, craft, fruit, veggie, meat, and cheese booths. Portsmouth Farmer’s Market is held from early May through early November.
Exeter Farmer's Market
Another favorite farmer's market is held on the Swasey Parkway in downtown Exeter on Thursday afternoons (2-6pm) throughout the summer. Aside from the great vendors, this location allows visitors an expansive lawn to sit and enjoy their fresh finds. And with a view of the river, to boot.
123 Dover Point Rd, Dover, NH 03820
Situated between downtown Dover and Portsmouth, this farmstand-turned-grocery store is pretty much all you need. Sourcing tons of local produce and their own meat, cold cuts, and bakery items, it doesn't get much fresher than this. Don't forget to grab some veggie scraps near the exit to feed the animals! And if your kids decide they don't want to leave, there are seasonal activities like a bounce house, summer BBQs, decorated hay bales, and some makeshift playground equipment (dried corn sandbox, anyone?)
North Hampton NH 03820
Applecrest has it all, if all you need is country living. There's a farm store with all sorts of locally grown and produced products, an ice cream stand, pick-your-own fruit groves, and cornhole!
CLOTHES & GIFTS
Route 1, Kittery, Maine
Everything from clothing to candles. Celebrate hitting the far end by popping into Yummie's for a little (or a lot) of candy. Other worthwhile non-outlet stops are Robert's Maine Grill for a fresh seafood lunch, and Kittery Trading Post for your outdoorsy needs.
Gus & Ruby Letterpress
29 Congress St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Cute gifts, thoughtful cards, and quirky housewares. Even if you're just browsing, you'll likely find something to make you smile. They also do custom letterpress invitations for those soon-to-be brides.
Just the Thing!
451 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
It's always fun to pop in and check out the ever-changing antique and handcrafted housewares at this downtown Dover shop. Surprisingly reasonably priced and varied, it's also a good spot to pick up gifts.
110 Congress St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
The coast is full of art galleries with constantly revolving wares from local artisans. The first Friday evening of every month is Art Round Town where the Portsmouth galleries stay open late, serve wine and snacks, and display new art for the month. One of our favorite galleries is Nahcotta which shows a wide range of local artists, as well as some nicely designed factory produced goods.
57 Market St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
42 Water St, Exeter, NH 03833
Cute and unusual women's clothing. Various dresses, coats, and jewelry for unexpectedly low prices, and no sales tax! Check out the bargain basement for the occasional amazing deal. One more location in Newburyport (MA).
64 State Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801
This kitschy Victorian mini-chain is quickly taking over downtown Portsmouth. Currently it consists of:
• Pickwicks Mercantile (and Pickwicks at the Banke)- a quirky houseware and gift store
• Lady Pickwicks- a women's clothing store
• Deadwicks- an ethereal emporium specializing in all things haunted and voodoo
• Fezziwigs- a vintage soda fountain with great food and desserts.
Each is thoughtful and unique. Check their website for hours and locations of each shop, and also for special events like candlelit and trolley tours.
**Accepts DASH, BCH, and BTC**
328 Central Ave, Dover, NH 03820
An unexpectedly cool place for a drink and some asian fusion bar food. The tap list here doesn't disappoint and neither does the ambience. Long-time New Hampshirites will remember this location as the old Barley Pub, but the refreshed style seems to be attracting newcomers as well.
Old Ferry Landing
10 Ceres St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Take a walk down (pedestrian) Ceres Street to the decks for an (in)famous Jimmy Juice. If OFL is packed, try the River House or Harpoon Willy's—a back alley connects all the waterfront bars. Expect big crowds on summer weekends, especially around sunset.
7 Hobbs Rd, North Hampton, NH 03862
One of New Hampshire's newer breweries, Throwback combines farm fresh ingredients with delicious and unique beer. While you can grab cans at most farmers markets and many local grocery stores, the experience of going to the farm and drinking a fresh pint is worth it. The food menu is seasonal and ever-changing, and the outdoor seating is perfect for brunch or a sunset drink.
Earth Eagle Brewings
165 High St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
One of the Seacoast's best new trends is the nanobrewery, and Earth Eagle is the best of the best. Their tap list changes week to week, but usually features some beer drinker's beers and some odd, possibly fruity, possibly herby, creations that can please even the wine drinkers in the crowd. Grab a few tasters and a seat by the open garage door for a unique Seacoast experience.
106 Penhallow Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801
New England Tapas sound intriguing? Matt Louis is the multi award winning chef behind this unique local fave. The menu changes seasonally but some favorites are always available, like the fried pickle chips and the pan seared chicken thighs. The cocktail and beer lists are also extensive and creative.
56 Market St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
This brewpub carries many Smuttynose beers, but also brews its own and features other local brews and ciders. Locally sourced ingredients and fresh beer…it's a crowd pleaser.
Black Trumpet Bistro
29 Ceres St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Look no further for an award-winning meal (the head chef/owner consistently gets nominated for various titles, and is a James Beard semi-finalist). The menu focuses on being locally inspired and artful. If you don't have a lot of cash to burn, the bar upstairs has a view of the harbor and a great drink list. There is also a shop next door called Stock & Spice where they sell their own spice blends and other local ingredients so you can recreate your favorite dishes at home.
La Festa Brick & Brew
300 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
This friendly neighborhood pizza joint serves up slices, specialty pies, baked pasta, salads, craft beer, and the crowd favorite cinnamon knots. Great for groups and kids.
The Black Birch
2 Government St, Kittery, ME 03904
Seasonal small plates menu and ever changing beer list make this place a crowd pleaser, or a great choice for a date night. Being right over the border into Maine means they can source craft beers that wouldn't be possible to import to New Hampshire. Everything from the ingredients to the decor is thoroughly thought out, and it shows. Please note this is not a kid-friendly restaurant.
Flatbread Pizza Company
138 Congress St, Portsmouth, NH 03804
This local chain is a favorite for families. Kids love watching their pizzas get baked in the giant wood-burning oven, and grown-ups enjoy the fresh, organic ingredients (both on the pizzas and in the salads) and the laid-back atmosphere.
Brown's Lobster Pound
407 NH Highway 286, Seabrook, NH 03874
A no-nonsense lobster eatery. Choose your lobster, find a bench and feast. And as another plus, it's a BYOB establishment! Land lovers are welcome as well, although the real focus is on the seafood.
Beach Pea Baking Co
53 State Rd, Kittery, ME 03904
Just over the bridge in Kittery sits this unassuming bakery which makes some truly delicious breads, cakes, and pastries. Grab some chocolate chip cookies for tonight and a loaf of crusty bread for tomorrow.
La Cascade Du Chocolat
109 Water St, Exeter, NH 03833
Life-changing chocolate. Whether you're a purist or looking to try something unique (Moroccan spice white chocolate bar for me!), pop in to this little chocolate shop. The chocolatiers will gladly guide you toward something unique and amazing.
Stillwells Riverwalk Ice Cream
190 Water St, Exeter, NH 03833
A quintessential North Atlantic ice cream shop boasting around two dozen flavors. Grab a scoop and take a stroll through Swasey Parkway which follows the Squamscott River.
Annabelle's Natural Ice Cream
49 Ceres St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Ben & Jerry, eat your heart out. Annabelle's is the hands down winner. Grab a cone and eat it on the benches overlooking the tugboats.
The Music Hall
28 Chestnut St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
A historic theater featuring music, movies, plays, author talks, comedy shows, film festivals, and more. Going to see a show at the Music Hall is a truly unique experience, and there isn't a bad seat in the house.
Players' Ring Theater
105 Marcy Street, Portsmouth, NH o3801
Portsmouth has many theater stages, but Player's Ring is perhaps the most professional and varied. Situated in an intimate and historic theater in Prescott Park, the low wood beams and brick walls may make you feel like you're about to discover the next Shakespeare.
Prescott Park Arts Festival
Throughout the summer, the PPAF runs a variety of events, from food festivals to movies and concerts in the park, and even multiple music festivals. Their calendar features a different event nearly every night in July and August, and occasionally throughout the rest of the year. Events are generally affordable and open to all.
Isles of Shoals Steamship Company
315 Market St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Cruise around on one of the Steamship Company's tours around the Portsmouth Harbor or head out to a guided visit to the legendary Isles of Shoals. Special cruises feature local music and food, and the boats can also be chartered for private parties.
Art 'Round Town
Portsmouth's art walk is the first Friday of every month. Explore around a dozen galleries (depending on the season) within quick walking distance. A great way to explore Portsmouth while drinking free wine and being inspired by gorgeous work. Nahcotta and 3S Artspace, in particular, can't be missed.
The Seacoast Repertory Theatre
The Seacoast Rep boasts a wide range of programming from Broadway classics to hot new works, film screenings, and special programs for kids and adults.
**Not only do they accept DASH and BCH, but they host a public bitcoin vending machine by their box office which offers DASH, BCH, BTC, and LTC**
Pocahontas Road, Kittery, ME 03905
Located on Gerrish Island in Kittery Point, Fort Foster offers three small but sandy beaches, an extensive trail system, a playground, restroom facilities in season, picnic areas with grills, and old military fortifications to explore.
The park features an excellent view of the entrance to Portsmouth Harbor, including Whaleback Light, Portsmouth Harbor Light, and Fort Constitution. Unlike most beaches on the Freecoast, the main beach and the trails at Fort Foster are dog friendly.
50 Recreation Dr, Barrington, NH 03825
Rent a canoe or kayak and relax and enjoy the beautiful pond on a sunny day.
New Hampshire's 17 miles of coastline feature what have been ranked as the cleanest beaches in the US. As a general rule, they get more crowded the further South you go. Hampton Beach features a bandshell with constant festivals throughout the summer season, while Jenness Beach is a favorite for low-key sunbathers and surfers.
Bike Ride Down 1A
One of the perks of being on the Seacoast, aside from the gorgeous views, is the relatively flat terrain. Use your own bike or rent one from a local shop, and take off to New Castle Island, around Odiorne Point, or just down the road for a fresh lobster dinner.
The Great Island Inn3 Walbach Street, New Castle, NH 03854
This six-unit apartment style hotel is walking distance from New Castle beach and a quick drive to Portsmouth. Each unit boasts a full kitchen (no toaster ovens here) and a full sized stacking washer/dryer for those sandy beach clothes. There is a shared patio if sitting out and grilling is more your style. In the morning, head down to Henrys' Cafe for a homemade cinnamon bun or egg sandwich. If you're looking for home away from home, this is it.
The Hotel Portsmouth
40 Court Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Looking for something unique downtown? The recently renovated Victorian Hotel Portsmouth mixes ornate details with modern amenities. The Lark Hotel group also operates the smaller Ale House Inn, another updated historic hotel on the other side of town. The local charm is undeniable in either of these local landmarks.
The Port Inn
505 US Highway 1 Bypass, Portsmouth, NH, 03801
If you can't (or don't want to) stay right downtown, there are many cheaper options surrounding the Portsmouth Traffic Circle. The Port Inn is surprisingly nice. Really! It doesn't look like much from the outside, but it's clean, quiet, and very well maintained.
100 Deer St, Portsmouth, NH 03801
If you've seen one Residence Inn, you probably don't need a description here. This one and the Hampton Inn across the street are part of the recent Portwalk development and are still looking shiny and new. Coffee and restaurant options on this block alone include BRGR Bar, The Green Elephant, Dos Amigos/White Heron, and Row 34, with many many more just a quick walk away. If being right downtown is important to you, these two are your best bets.