Let the historic Ashworth by the Sea hotel be your gateway to the beloved beach towns of Hampton Beach and Rye Beach, New Hampshire.
Teeming with sun-bleached clam shacks, sugary-scented fried dough stands, cacophonous arcades and the sun-worshipping families who love them, Hampton Beach, New Hampshire is a truly authentic seaside playground. Beckoning with 18 miles of coastline just about an hour’s drive from Boston, it’s been the perfect place to forge unforgettable New England vacation memories for over a century.
While the town’s biggest claim to fame might be the largest sandy beach in all of New Hampshire, its three-mile boardwalk is definitely Hampton Beach’s postcard-worthy calling card. A throwback to the 1950’s, this is where kids can play all manner of carnival games or see for themselves exactly how saltwater taffy is made. Other treats include free nightly concerts at the Seashell Stage, a once-a-week fireworks display and Monday night movies on the beach. Every August there’s a children’s festival, and the locals bid farewell to summer on the weekend after Labor Day with a vibrant seafood fest. These are just a few of the Hampton Beach traditions that have kept generations of vacationers returning year after year.
Back to the beach for a second. As mentioned earlier, it’s the only sandy beach in New Hampshire and one of the few that’s free to use, which means parking is almost always at a premium. Once you hit the sand, though, the water makes it well worth the trip. It’s calm enough for youngsters to cavort safely at in the shallows, but with just enough roll to keep Boogie Boarders and body surfers interested.
Once you’ve had enough of the sand, sun and surf – at least for the day – there are plenty of other ways to soak up the sights and sounds of Hampton Beach. Head to Ocean Boulevard to feast on fried seafood or see how you look with a Henna tattoo. Get your palm read, try to shatter the local Skee Ball Record or recapture your glory days at the batting cages. For some, just watching people do all of these things is the popular sport of choice.
Just north of Hampton Beach are the lush lawns and private drives of Rye Beach, whose Gatsby-esque mansions and oceanfront cottages show the rest of us how the other half vacations. If you’re the seafaring type, head to Hampton Harbor, where you can charter a boat for a deep-sea fishing trip or whale watching adventure.
Once cooler weather arrives, a large portion of Hampton Beach and Rye Beach battens down for a long winter’s nap. The lion’s share of shops, hotels and restaurants shut down operations for a well-deserved rest, but there’s still enough to do for those who find romance in the idea of winter on the New England shore. In fact, we think this is the perfect time to visit the Ashworth by the Sea hotel. During these months, Hampton Beach is refreshingly tourist-free, meaning it’s practically yours and yours alone.
If you’re arriving by car, getting to Hampton Beach is a breeze:
From Boston and points south:
Follow I-95 North to New Hampshire exit 2 in Hampton. Bear left after the toll plaza onto Route 101 East toward Hampton and proceed 5.4 miles. Turn right onto Route 1A South/Ocean Boulevard, the "main drag" through Hampton Beach.
From Maine and points north:
Follow I-95 South to New Hampshire exit 2 for Route 101 in Hampton. Stay left to merge onto Route 101 East. Turn right onto Route 1A South/Ocean Boulevard, the "main drag" through Hampton Beach.