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New England isn’t exactly a region known for its beaches, especially since the weather is rarely rain-free or warm enough for a day out on the sand. However, for those few wonderful months of summer sunshine, the place to go is definitely the New Hampshire Seacoast. This is where you’ll find the softest sand, the best waves, and the best boardwalk area at Hampton Beach.
Though camping on the beach isn’t really an option when you book an RV in Rockingham County, the next best thing is camping at Wakeda Campground in nearby Hampton Falls. Many of their sites have full hookups, or you can just get electricity and water and use the dump stations to empty your tanks. There’s also WiFi, a convenience store carrying camp supplies, and laundry facilities to get your clothes clean. If you’re looking to meet fellow campers, they even have a pancake breakfast event on the weekends that’s perfect for mingling.
The campground also offers an array of recreational activities, ranging from 18 holes of miniature golf to arcade games to a jungle gym set up for the kids. Additionally, there’s a dog park, making this one of the most pet-friendly campgrounds near the New Hampshire Seacoast.
For a nice day out on the beach, there’s nowhere better in New England than Hampton. It’s clean, the sand is quite a bit softer than in Maine or Massachusetts, and there are plenty of activities. You can always curl up with a good book under an umbrella, but there’s also the option of surfing, parasailing, or kayaking if you’re looking for something more adventurous when RV camping at Wakeda Campground. An easy day trip to take with your rental RV involves driving up the coast from Hampton Beach to Portsmouth; Route 1A runs adjacent to the beach for about 15 miles, making for a very romantic sunset drive.
Just up the coast is the town of Portsmouth, which also has some great kayaking spots along the mouth of the Piscataqua River. Tidal currents are strong, but you’ll have fantastic views of the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, the defunct Portsmouth Naval Prison, and the newly refurbished Wood Island Lift Saving Station - a turn of the century Coast Guard outpost. Plenty of parking for launching your kayak is available at Odiorne State Park on the south side of the river. A more family-friendly idea is to take a trip to the waterpark just outside of Portsmouth. The park offers several waterslides and swimming pools to splash around in, perfect for a hot summer day.
However, if hiking or backpacking is on your itinerary, you must take a trip into the White Mountains. Mount Washington is only about two hours' drive from the campground, and hiking to its summit is a point of pride for many New Englanders. There are several different trails of varying difficulty to reach the top, so choose the one that fits your fitness and experience level.
Hampton Beach is definitely the closest town when you get a rental motorhome near Wakeda Campground. It’s fairly small and primarily serves tourists, but during the summer months, you’ll find plenty of great food along the boardwalk, including delicious lobster rolls and fried dough. There’s also a small grocery store on the south end of the beach if you’d prefer to pick up supplies and cook back at the RV campground. There are only a few attractions in Hampton Beach, but if you’re interested in ecology and wildlife, stop into the Explore the Ocean World Oceanarium. The hands-on museum takes a look at crabs, starfish, and other creatures native to the New Hampshire Seacoast and presents them in a way that is easy to understand and fun for kids.
Wakeda Campground is also halfway between Portsmouth and Newburyport, Massachusetts, making day trips easy when you’re camping with an RV in the area. Newburyport has a long and storied past as one of America’s early maritime centers. To learn more about it, visit the Custom House Maritime Museum, which is full of interesting artifacts salvaged from shipwrecks. Portsmouth has an even more outsized importance in maritime history, being one of the busiest ports and shipbuilding centers in colonial America. It’s home to the U.S.S. Albacore Museum, a decommissioned submarine that you can poke around in and see just how tight the crew quarters really are.
Just over the border in Kittery, Maine is some fantastic outlet mall shopping offering great deals on clothing, outdoor gear, and home furnishing. Kittery also has a few breweries worth checking out if you want to make a day trip of it. Kittery’s quiet streets are also one of the best places to take a cycling adventure if you’ve got your own wheels or a guided tour if you don’t.