34-Life’s A Beach – Hampton Beach SP, Rye Harbor SP, and the NH State Beaches

At just 12 miles in length, New Hampshire’s seacoast is pretty short.  But what it lacks in quantity, it makes up in quality.  Almost the entire coast is state park or state beach.  I had only used my bicycle to visit just a few parks this year so I decided to make up for it by visiting all the beaches at once – by bike.  A warm Saturday in October was just the right way to do it.  I parked at Wallis Sands and headed south.

Some of the scenery southbound.

The whole coast was like a painting.

Getting from one end of the state to the other doesn’t actually take very long.  So I decided that southbound I’d just go non-stop and then take my time northbound when my lane was facing the beach.  Good plan.  After a flat tire slowed things down a bit, I was in Hampton Beach ready to head north.

Is it real or not? Come and find out!

Welcome to Hampton Beach!

More Hampton Beach

The beachfront had just undergone a multi-million dollar facelift and looked terrific.  he beach is wide and clean – definitely the largest of the state’s beaches.

One of Hampton Beach’s new permanent residents.

The Seashell Stage of the Oceanfront Pavilion. One of the multi-million dollar improvements to Hampton Beach SP.

Continuing north brings you to North Beach, then North Hampton Beach.  Both were narrower and parking was limited (although not a problem on a bicycle) but both were popular with surfers when I visited.

Several beaches were more popular for surfing than swimming today. This was at North Beach.

I think the most popular beach for the surfing set today was Jenness Beach, just another mile or two further north.

There were lots of Quebec cars in the parking lot here.

Jenness Beach

A few more miles north brings you to Rye Harbor State Park, which doesn’t feature a beach at all but instead an attractive picnic area on Ragged Point outside Rye Harbor with great views of the Isles of Shoals.

The Isles of Shoals were visible from Rye Harbor SP, although you can’t make them out in this picture.  This park doesn’t feature a beach but has a nice picnic area.

Finally I biked my way back to the car at Wallis Sands, which, now that the fog had cleared, had become suddenly popular.

Wallis Sands Beach

A heron getting a meal near Wallis Sands.

I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs about Odiorne Point State Park how in my opinion this area has tremendous potential for bicycles.  It’s already quite popular with road bikers and I’m convinced that with just a few improvements and bike lanes it would be a perfect family biking destination, too.  Today’s expedition only reinforced that opinion.  Happy travels!

How might you end your day on the coast?

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