New England Day Trips: Hampton Beach, New Hampshire


Patrick Sweeney, News Editor

This is the first in a series of six articles highlighting one town in each New England state. You will find tips on how to enjoy yourself for the day without the fear of spreading the coronavirus. This will focus on the seaside town of Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. For more information on Hampton Beach, how it is handling COVID-19 and to view the Beach Cam, please visit this site: h​ ttps://

In the time of the coronavirus, people cannot get together with others in-person. However, there are still opportunities for people to get out without having to come into contact with others. Families can go on day trips to explore different areas of the region. New England is a wonderful place to explore that has many hidden gems. Many people around the country have been feeling stressed out during the lockdown. Going on small day trips with immediate family will provide an escape from the stress of everyday life. It will also provide quality time spent with family and the opportunity to learn more about the region we live in. Day trips prove to be cost-effective options for families. The only factor families will need to worry about is paying highway tolls and parking fees.

Hampton Beach, New Hampshire is a small coastal town located in the southeastern part of the state. It is roughly two hours and ten minutes from Holyoke. Families who enjoy car rides will enjoy the drive. Families can expect to be traveling on Interstate 91, the Mass Turnpike, Interstate 495 and Interstate 95 to reach Hampton Beach. There are also alternate routes for families to take to avoid highway tolls. Take Interstate 91 North, get off at exit 27 and follow Route 2 all the way until it merges with Interstate 495. This interstate will eventually merge with Interstate 95, which leads to the beach. Families will be guaranteed a nice ride, regardless of which route they take. Once you reach the beach and see the water tower, roll down your windows and smell the salt air coming off the marsh. This gives the ultimate vacation vibe.

Hampton Beach, New Hampshire has a variety of attractions for families to enjoy. Once families reach the beach, they can do one of two things: They can find a spot to park their car or they can just explore the area by driving. Hampton Beach has over 10 large parking lots available throughout the summer. Last season, according to an article from, “Private parking lots will be allowed to operate at full capacity” and that “any available on-street parking like on the side streets will be marked residents-only.” Families who want to venture out of their car need to make sure they are following the appropriate coronavirus precautions. Masks and social distancing are required at Hampton Beach. Families who feel comfortable going in public have many options. To start off, they can walk on the beach itself. The beach is over a mile long, which provides for a fun day of walking, hunting for shells and playing in the water. Families can walk on the north or south side of the beach. The north side provides a scenic route of the shops on Hampton Beach’s iconic Ocean Boulevard, ranging from the Surf building to the Ashworth hotel. Families will reach the area near Boar’s Head at the end of their walk. There are many rocks and large boulders for children and adults to explore. There are also various tide pools at this end of the beach, perfect for young children to wade and play in. Not interested in navigating through rocks and boulders? The southern end of the beach takes walkers all the way to the bridge leading from Hampton Beach into the coastal town of Seabrook, New Hampshire. Walkers will also be able to view the Sea Shell Bandstand from this walk as well as various condo complexes, the Hampton Beach Casino and restaurants. Once done with their walk, families will have many options to shop on the beach. Keep in mind that some stores might be closed or have different time schedules due to the coronavirus pandemic. Stores on the boardwalk include Mrs. Mitchell’s Gift Shop, where families will find everything from postcards to beach toys. Another option right next to Mrs. Mitchell’s is Zac’s Barn. Collectors of antique postcards and books will be thrilled at the eclectic items for sale here, from sports memorabilia to an array of hand lotions and soaps. Families are guaranteed to find a fun place to shop on Hampton Beach, from candy stores to T-shirt shops. There are also two arcades at the beach, Funarama and Playland. Be sure to check for coronavirus restrictions before entering.

For some, getting out of their car and exposing themselves to the pandemic is too risky. Families can drive around Hampton Beach and still have a wonderful experience. They can drive on Ocean Boulevard and might even be able to snag a parking spot for a glimpse of the sparking Atlantic. They can also explore various side streets throughout the town. Families who enjoy looking at beach cottages will be delighted at the number of quaint cottages scattered throughout the beach. They might even get a wave from one of the locals! Once families have explored the entire town, they can take a drive on the coastal route along Route 1. This route stretches all the way from the end of Hampton Beach until Rye, New Hampshire. There are many beautiful homes and mansions that line this route, many of which have coastal-inspired styles and varying architectural designs. It is truly a beautiful, calming ride that is guaranteed to impress. Families can dream of living in one of these homes with the water right across the street.

Dining out has proven a challenge for many in this country. Some feel extremely comfortable dining at a restaurant, while others prefer getting take out. Both options are available for families at Hampton Beach and the surrounding community. There are various fast food restaurants scattered throughout the beach, such as Sal’s Pizza, which would be the more convenient option for families looking to do take-out since it has no dining area. Families can get their pizza and eat it as they walk on the boardwalk. They can also find a nice bench to sit on overlooking the ocean. There are sit-down restaurants, such as Sea Ketch, which serves entrees from lobster rolls to salads. Sea Ketch has options both to eat on-site (they had a bar outside during the height of the summer season last year) or get take out. Families looking to get something to eat off of Hampton Beach have many options in the surrounding area, such as in Seabrook. They can go to McDonald’s in Seabrook, which proves a fan favorite with young children. There are also many Dunkin’ establishments in the area. Whichever one might choose, there are many great restaurants on and off the beach. Families who do not want to leave the beach or dine out can bring their own lunch from home and enjoy a picnic on the beach, Remember to bring a beach blanket to sit on and some toys for the little ones.

Some families might want to relax after a long day at the beach. The Sea Shell Bandstand is a venue that offers nightly free concerts to residents and visitors alike in the summer months. The concerts begin in June and last until around Labor Day. The concerts are usually held in the bandstand itself. However, due to the coronavirus, things look different. According to the Hampton Beach official website, “s​hows that would normally be on the Main Stage are being held on the south side of the Sea Shell Stage, or the ‘southern stage.’” Visitors will be able to enjoy music ranging from the ‘50s to the present. On Wednesdays, fireworks are held after the concert ends. Keep in mind that concerts usually end after dark, so that might pose an issue for families who are traveling home at night. Before leaving the beach, families should take advantage of the immaculately clean restroom facilities and outdoor shower options on the beach. They are located at the north and south end of the beach and at the Sea Shell Bandstand in the center of the beach. All facilities have been renovated in the last 10 years and they contain interesting artwork from local artists.

Hampton Beach is a beautiful seaside town right in our backyard. Families will have an enjoyable ride to the beach. They will enjoy walking on the beautiful beach and exploring various stores. There is also a diverse restaurant scene at the beach, satisfying any appetite. Lastly, there are entertainment options that take place every night. This day trip will give families a break from the harsh reality of everyday life. They can leave all of their worries behind and just enjoy the day. Small, safe trips like these are going to get us through these difficult times. We should take advantage of them. As Dea Vita once said, ‘A break from everything is much needed every once in a while.”