This trip is bound to satisfy Mom and the kids alike. Start the day by dropping by the Seacoast Science Center (located within the park); holding sea stars, browsing their aquariums, and learning about marine life. Then, walk the trails around the Odiorne Point State Park looking for signs of spring, exploring the old military bunkers and rocky shoreline. Finish the day with a trip into nearby Portsmouth for a tasty treat that both mom and the kids will love!
Odiorne Point Trip Info:
Parking: Use the main lot off of Rt 1A/Ocean Boulevard in Rye, NH. There are parking spaces designated for the Seacoast Science Center behind the building (bear left when you enter) or you can park in the large main lot.
Fees: The State Park is open (weekends only) beginning May 7th and admission is $4 for adults; $2 for children ages 6-11; children ages 5 and under and NH residents age 65 and over are admitted free. The Park opens for the season full-time on May 28. Admission to the Seacoast Science Center is $10 (Ages 13-Adult), $8 (Seniors & Military), $5 (Ages 3-12) and FREE for members and kids under age 3.
Trail Maps: Odiorne Point State Park Trails Map (pdf) | Seacoast Sceience Center’s Map for Odiorne Point State Park (pdf)
Suggested loop: Here is a suggested loop that is approximately 2.5 miles along the northern end of the park:
Before exploring the miles of walking trails along the coastline start your family outing with a quick visit to the Seacoast Science Center. The kids always love to see the wide variety of fish, crustaceans and anemones living in the aquariums here. The indoor touch tank even allows them to hold sea stars and hermit crabs (as well as catsharks and skates if they’re brave enough). A huge humpback whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling is a good conversation starter too! Our kids are bit too a young to fully appreciate all the exhibits here but there are interactive learning opportunities for all ages and the center offers a variety of programs year-round.
After exploring the Science Center, grab your trail map, stroller and head out for a nice long walk along the coast. You may be tempted to go right to the playground and grassy fields right next to the parking lot but I’d recommend following the paved bike path northward to explore the network of trails on the upper end of the park. This will bring you by some old military bunkers, small beach areas and rocky shoreline on that are less-often used.
Besides the refreshing ocean breeze, you’ll observe many reasons why this is a great park to visit in spring. When you walk up the paved bike path the maple trees towering over the trail are budding with that vibrant green/yellow color that signifies new life and reminds you of the warm days ahead.
Keep following the paved path all the way down to Frost Point Road (or Heritage Trail). The trails are flat/wide double track and easy to navigate with a stroller. When you turn right onto Frost Point Road you’ll enter a tunnel of trees and become surrounded by budding green foliage and early blooming flowers.
As you continue down the trail you’ll notice the mounded earth/hill on your right where Battery Seaman was constructed by the military back in the 1940s. The military structures were quickly built to house personnel, armaments and supplies. Massive concrete casements, often called bunkers, were constructed and camouflaged with thick vegetation. While some of the tunnels have been filed in, you can still walk though parts of battery seaman investigate.
Further down the trail, a huge patch of forsythia blooms with magnificent yellow flowers that radiate spring warmth and brighten up the day. Your view will then start open up and you’ll get a glimpse of the deep blue sea ahead. The trail comes to an open grassy area on Frost Point with a rocky breakwater pier straight in front of you.
This is a great spot to stop for a picnic and walk down to the water and explore some of the small tide pools. On the left-hand side there is a beautiful secluded beach area that is usually not very crowded (on a mid-week day you may even have a beach to yourselves)! When it’s warm enough we like to let the kids dip their toes in and splash around here for a while. There are a few small rocky tide pools in this area too if you wanted to turn over some rocks and looks for sea creatures at low tide.
Straight across from Frost Point you can see Fort Stark Historic Site (which happens to be another is one of my favorite seacoast parks). You can also get a great view of the light house. Many people also choose to walk about onto the rocky breakwater pier for better ocean views (use caution as rocks can get slippery especially during stormy weather).
When you’re ready to keep going – head back down Frost Point Road towards Battery Seaman. This time, bear left and walk on the opposite side to merge with Battery Seaman Trail. Stay left, walk past the salt pond and into a woodlands area (Sugar Maple Trail) until you come back out to the ocean at the Founder’s Monument.
There are more magnificent views from here and a few granite benches to sit and take in the view for a while. There are also some old stone pillars and rock walls along Columbus Road (another connecting trail) and it’s spectacular to walk through the tunnel of giant oak trees along this path. From the Founder’s Monument you can also follow the Monument Way trail along the shoreline all the way back to the Science Center and main parking lot.
There are many other interesting features of this park to explore such as the Drowned Forest, gun mounts, Battery 204 (and more). We like to reserve a little time to make the short drive over to downtown Portsmouth to get a tasty treat, walk around and browse the shops! Don’t forget to get something extra special for Mom!