The Seacoast: Places to Explore


Hampton Beach

Hampton Beach, from Route 27 to where Route 1A crosses the causeway, is an authentic seaside amusement center—the domain of fried-dough stands, loud music, arcade games, palm readers, parasailing, and bronzed bodies. An estimated 150,000 people visit the town and its free public beach on the 4th of July, and it draws plenty of people until late September, when things close up. The 3-mile boardwalk, where kids play games and see how saltwater taffy is made, looks like a leftover from the 1940s; in fact, the whole community remains remarkably free of modern franchises. Free outdoor concerts are held on many a summer evening, and once a week there's a fireworks display. Each August, locals hold a children's festival, and they celebrate the end of the season with a huge seafood feast on the weekend after Labor Day.

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