Scenic Drives in the Seacoast Region of New Hampshire.
Colonial New Hampshire Seacoast Ride
(Approx. 40 miles )
Start your ride in Portsmouth, one of the greatest port cities of the 18th and early 19th century, which still has a working waterfront, along with a vibrant and historic downtown.
Take Rt. 1B, which begins in Portsmouth’s historic district, over the causeway to New Castle. This narrow route winds around the island, past the grand Wentworth-by-the-Sea and two early military fortifications, Fort Stark and Fort Constitution; the latter of which was the site of the first aggressive act of the American Revolution.
When Rt. 1B connects with Rt. 1A, turn south through Rye and North Hampton to Hampton; along the way you’ll find Odiorne Point State Park and a series of State Parks with oceanfront beaches. In Hampton Beach, take Rt. 101 to Rt. 1 through Hampton Falls and Rt. 84, one of the region’s earliest roads. It will take you through Kensington to Rt. 150 and Exeter, one of the four original towns in colonial New Hampshire and the state capitol during the Revolutionary War. From there, follow Rt. 27 along the original 18th century route back to Hampton.
The American Independence Byway
Length: 21 miles
Communities: Exeter, Hampton Falls, Hampton, Kensington
Highlights: Classic New England Villages, Colonial architecture, sweeping ocean views, fresh seafood, apple orchards, farmers markets, and the American Independence Museum, where you’ll see one of the three original Purple Hearts awarded during the American Revolution as an original Dunlap Broadside copy of the Declaration of Independence.
The American Independence Byway is a State Scenic & Cultural Byway that winds through the heart of two of New Hampshire’s four original towns — Exeter (1638) and Hampton (1639) – and two of the smaller towns that were later divided from them—Hampton Falls and Kensington. The 21 mile roadway loop, which takes about 1 hour to drive, affords sweeping views of fields and woodlands, marshes and the Atlantic Ocean; as well as a sampling of life and architecture from colonial days to the present at every turn.
The New Hampshire Coastal Byway
Length: 18.5 miles
Communities: Portsmouth, New Castle, Rye, North Hampton, Hampton, Seabrook
Highlights: Enjoy sweeping ocean views, fried dough at Hampton Beach, boat tours from Rye Harbor, the Seacoast Science Center at Odiorne Point State Park, historic forts and mansions, living history at Strawbery Banke Museum, summer concerts at Prescott Park, abundant culinary options in Portsmouth and some of the best craft beer anywhere from breweries up and down the corridor.
The New Hampshire Coastal Byway follows NH Routes 1A & 1B 22 miles from Seabrook to Portsmouth. The Byway connects ten units of the State Park system as well as numerous local and private parks and recreational attractions. Historic structures along the route trace the history not only of the region but the country as a whole. The Byway overlooks the sandy beaches and rocky shores of the Gulf of Maine and the ecologically rich Hampton Seabrook Marsh. Last but not least, it carries U.S. Bicycle Route 1 and the East Coast Greenway through New Hampshire.
The 18.5 mile Byway takes about an hour to drive if you don’t stop—but why wouldn’t you stop when there’s so much to take in? Stroll the boardwalk in Hampton Beach, enjoy the blooms of Fuller Gardens, take a deep sea fishing excursion from Rye Harbor, explore tidepools and old forts at Odiorne Point State Park, and top it off with a summertime concert at the Prescott Park Arts Festival and an unmatched range of dining options in downtown Portsmouth.