When many people think of the seacoast they often think of warm sunny days. Yet in New Hampshire, the cloudy days can be just as amazing. Recently, I was lucky enough to spend a day out on the ocean. I took some time to visit several state parks during my visit. Stopping at Wallis Sands, I took the time to admire the waves and the surf. I also stopped at Rye Harbor, and explored the history of the Isle of Shoals. At Jenness and North Hampton I took time to slow down and take in all the details. I had a great time walking across the beaches, and watching the waves come in. As I explored, I realized that no matter what the weather brings, New Hampshire State Parks are a great place to make memories.
A slight drizzle met me as I arrived at Wallis Sands State Beach. There was only one other car in the parking lot, and as I walked in, the park was deserted. The ocean was rough like there was a storm off the coast. It was dark, and the waves were large, and coming in quickly. To the far left, they crashed up against the rocks, sending bursts of water into the air. I walked along the soft sand, the waves breaking restlessly against the shore. They rolled up the beach, before retreating. During the summer Wallis Sands is a busy place. I can recall passing the beach and seeing many people, yet today it lay quiet. I walked along the beach enjoying the solitude. Wallis Sands is a perfect place to come to walk across the beach, to watch the waves, or let the kids play. Families that come here will find something for everyone. Wallis has a nice beach area, which is complete with a large parking lot. Behind the beach there is a large field to play or relax in. The park has bathrooms and changing rooms and a snack bar. Wallis is a great place to enjoy the shore, while still being close to many modern amenities.
Rye Harbor State Park is a small gem tucked into a corner off of Route 1. It is a beautiful park that offers scenic views while paying homage to New England’s past. On a clear day, the wide open point offers views all the way to the Isle of Shoals. The park offers bathrooms and a picnic area for visitors as well. Rye also has a large granite monument dedicated to John Smith. It features brass plaques that speak to our past that included fishing, settlement and exploration. It serves as a great short history lesson for visitors. It is a sturdy monument, skirted on either side by granite benches. It is a perfect place for reflection. I took a minute to sit, and gaze out towards the isle of Shoals, and the open ocean. Getting up I skirted the rocky beach, heading for the jetty. The openness of Rye point gives visitors a view of the ocean on three sides. The breeze kicked up, and the smell of saltwater filled my nose. I made it down to the stone jetty, and watched as the restless ocean crashed into the structure. Waves came in quickly, slamming into the granite blocks, before receding in white curtains of foam. Rye is the perfect place to stop for a quick history lesson or a picnic. Rye Harbor is a small park with a lot to offer all visitors.
Leaving Rye, I continued my way down the coast. Many of these parks are close together, giving you a great opportunity to ride along the rocky coast, looking out towards the Atlantic. I stopped at Jenness State Beach, to see how the surf was coming in down there. With convenient beach adjacent parking, it is easy to get from the car down to the water. Jenness is a moderately sized sand beach that has full restroom facilities. Located near the middle of our seacoast, it is a great place take a walk or stop for lunch. The waves were strong here, breaking a bit before the beach. The waves crested, the smaller remnant rushing the sand near my path. I watched them as I felt my feet sink into the wet sand. It wasn’t a perfect day by any stretch, yet the foggy and drizzly day had its own type of beauty. The water was a steely gray, matching the sky above it. It was the type of weather where you can bundle up and watch the tide come, enjoy nature or people watch. Even on a rainy day you can enjoy this pristine beach tucked into the coast.
With its dark gray sand and rocky border, North Hampton State Beach is a textbook New England beach. Like Jenness, North Hampton Beach offers parking that allows for quick beach access. As I walked the beach, I made my way over a jumble of rocks to reach the smooth sand. For others there are also entrances with stairs that make it much easier to get to the water. Making my way along, I paused to take pictures of rocks that had been thrown up across the sand. Buried deep in the sand, the tide moves around them, creating swirls and lines. North Beach is a great place to bring children as well. With its wide open spaces, there is plenty of place to swim and explore. North Beach is a great stop along our seacoast. No matter if you are looking for a place to bring the kids, or a place to walk along the beach quietly, North Beach is the perfect place.
New Hampshire’s coastlines strong character quickly makes up for its size. I had a great day, driving across the coast, exploring our State Parks. They all had common elements, yet each park has its own unique character. Some offer a peek into our past, while others serve as recreation areas for all. No matter what you are looking for there is a state beach here waiting. Rain or shine, places like Wallis Sands, Rye Harbor, North Beach and Jenness offer a chance to make memories for all.