Written for NH Women Magazine
Even though this summer may still look different from ones in the past, we are so fortunate to live in New Hampshire and are able celebrate its uniqueness and beauty. Here’s a list of activities to try this summer.
Note: Please follow COVID-19 guidelines for each activity.
Clam Digging and Shellfishing – Seacoast
This is a great pastime for families. To participate in this activity, you must be a New Hampshire resident and obtain clamming and oyster licenses. To purchase a license, visit nhfishandgame.com. You can find available sites by going to this website: https://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/marine/coastal-access.html
There are various areas along the coast where you can participate in this activity. You can make stops along the coast, Great Bay and Hampton/Seabrook estuaries, and the Little Harbor/back channel areas of Portsmouth. Please check the NH Coastal Atlas webpage to get the most up-to-date information on openings and closures. You can find that information by visiting: https://www4.des.state.nh.us/CoastalAtlas/Atlas.html.
Hiking at the Massabesic Wildlife Sanctuary – Auburn
Lake Massabesic is a beautiful area to bring the family and enjoy the serenity and peacefulness of this area. Used as the water source for Manchester, the beautiful body of water is protected to preserve the health and vitality of its ecosystem and water. This map shows where walking/hiking is permitted: https://www.nhaudubon.org/wp-content/uploads/MAC-map-2018-Update.pdf. At the sanctuary, there is a 3.75 mile trail marked as the Yellow Trail with the Battery Point Loop extension and the Red Trail. You will also see areas for dog walking, field trails, and more. Lake Massabesic also has an active sailing season and it’s fun to watch the boats with your family.
Bayventure Grab-n-Go Kits at the Great Bay Discovery Campus – Greenland
Great Bay Discovery Campus’s Bayventure grab-n-go is a free outdoor activity for kids and families. It’s intended to help kids learn more about the wildlife and nature at the beautiful Great Bay estuary. There is a different kit each week with fun activities and/or crafts for kids in grades 1-6 to participate in. According to the website, feature topics include Project Feederwatch, Outside with Owls, Animal Adaptations in Winter, and more. For the most up-to-date information, we suggest you visit the Great Bay Discover Campus website at https://www.greatbay.org. To learn specifically about this program, visit https://www.greatbay.org/60561-2/.
Great Island Common – New Castle
A beach, field, grilling areas, and a playground! What more can you ask for? Great Island Common in New Castle is a gorgeous location overlooking the ocean and comprises 32 acres of seaside green space and beach. Families can spend an entire day enjoying the sun and sea breezes. You can see two lighthouses, Maine, and water as far as the eye can see. There is an admissions fee from the Town of New Castle and it is open from 9AM to 9PM daily. Enjoying walking, playing, sightseeing, and more at this slice of heaven right in our backyard. To learn more about pricing and any closures during COVID-19, please visit https://www.newcastlenh.org/great-island-common.
Half-Day Guided Wildlife Kayaking Tour – Androscoggin River
Northern New Hampshire is an absolute treasure of wildlife and natural beauty. Many companies and organizations have family-centered activities throughout the year to get you and your family outside and enjoy all the state has to offer. One that stood out to us was the half-day guided wildlife kayaking tours on the Androscoggin River from Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center in Gorham. The tours run at 8:30am or 12:30pm and bring you through a quiet area of Androscoggin’s watershed. On their website, they list participants as young as five years old, but we always suggest calling to find out all appropriate safety information. For more information, visit their website at https://greatglentrails.com/halfdaykayak.
Bird Watching at the Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge
Located 12 miles northwest of Mount Washington, this area was designated the First Important Bird Area in New Hampshire in 2004. According to the US Fish and Game website, “This area, including Cherry and Little Cherry Ponds and the surrounding complex of wetlands and swamps, has long been known for its high quality habitat and rich, diverse assemblage of wildlife species, particularly birds. In 2004, the Pondicherry area was designated the first Important Bird Area in New Hampshire for its rich variety of breeding and migrating birds.” (April 14, 2021 – https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Silvio_O_Conte/about/nh.html). According to the Audubon website, hunting is allowed here, so check in advance at the seasons for safety reasons.
Also according to the Audubon website, “The ‘laughing’ call of Common Loon is a true north woods sound at Pondicherry. More than 15 species of warblers nest here including Mourning, Blackburnian, Palm, and Canada. Some of the other breeding birds here are Wood Duck, Ring-necked Duck, Ruffed Grouse, American Bittern, Broad-winged Hawk, American Woodcock, Black-billed Cuckoo, Black-backed Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, Blue-headed Vireo, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Veery, and Hermit Thrush.” (April 14, 2021 – https://www.audubon.org/news/birding-new-hampshire)
Tide Pool Exploration at Odiorne State Park – Rye
This is a great spot to experience tide pool exploration with your family. Check the tide schedule using a website such as https://www.usharbors.com/harbor/new-hampshire/portsmouth-harbor-nh/tides/ to ensure you get to the area about an hour before low tide. We have also researched and found there is what’s called a sunken forest or “Drowned Forest” there at very low tide. This sunken forest will expose tree stumps that researchers say are between 3,500 – 4,000 years old. Examples of the types of trees are white pine and hemlock. You may also get to experience periwinkle snails, crabs, and lobsters! Visit the Seacoast Science Centers website for indoor exploration activities as well by going here: https://www.seacoastsciencecenter.org/.