Hampton Beach, New Hampshire

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Mar 5th, 2003, 10:26 AM
  #1
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Hampton Beach, New Hampshire

Need a hotel recommendation that is reasonably priced in August of this year which is peak for this area. This is a lower budget vacation for us so we don't want to stay at the Ashworth by the Sea which is $150 - $200/night. The Hampton Beach Regal Inn on Ashworth Avenue is within walking distance to the beach and sounds nice but not sure if it is clean and pleasant looking. The Best Western in Seabrook looks family oriented but not sure how nice it is and it is much further from the beach. Would prefer somewhere that looks nice but doesn't have to be fancy. Also, could use day trip ideas from that area since we will probably only beach it one day. My boys are 5 and almost 8. We were thinking of going to York's Wild Kingdom and Amusement Park, but not sure if the rides will appeal to my oldest who is small for his age but a daredevil. We have done Storyland already so don't want to go there. Also, don't want to go to Santa's Village since it is too far from the area we plan to stay in. Any advise would be appreciated. I have heard mixed things about this area. Some say it is nice others say it is dumpy.
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Mar 5th, 2003, 11:06 AM
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I am from the "Hampton Beach is dumpy" camp. I think it is a rundown meat market. If you are bringing small children, I think the State Park Beach is WAY BETTER and CLEANER than the "downtown" beach. Can't think of any accomodations there- I always used to daytrip there as a child with my parents.

If you want to go to York,Maine why don't you stay closer to that area? Nicer hotels, better beaches, and much more value for the dollar. York Beach area is more family oriented. If you specify on your price range, I might be able to suggest some places to stay in that area.

I would think that York's Wild Kingdom would be fun for children of all ages (it certainly is for my 25 year old child/husband). Even if your little one isn't into the rides, the critters and games will probably keep him interested.

You could always go to WaterCountry in Portsmouth for waterslides- that will probably give your little daredevil his fix.

Happy Planning!
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Mar 5th, 2003, 11:45 AM
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I agree with Melissa; forget about Hampton Beach and head for York. Short Sands Beach is a little more upscale than the Long Sands Beach, but both are much better than Hampton and more convenient to Ogunquit (walk the Marginal Way) and other sites along the coast in that area. There's a lighthouse between the two beaches that your kids can explore, and a great ice-cream place there too. there's also a playground at Short Sands. I would stay in the Short Sands area.
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Mar 5th, 2003, 11:50 AM
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Since I'm from New hampshire, I hate to admit it, but Hampton Beach is pretty honkey tonk, a mix of bikers and home boy types cruisin' the strip. The beach itself is actually pretty nice, but very crowded. There are a lot nicer places to go - as you head north, the area rapidly improves, and there are some nice NH state park beaches. Drive another 1/2 hour and you hit all the Maine beaches of York, Ogunquit, Wells, etc - all much nicer than Hampton. You should be able to find a decent motel on Rte 1 in Wells for about $100 a night within a 10 minute drive to the beach. For a little more you could stay at someplace like the Lafayette, which is right on the beach. As for things to do, rte 1 has some huge mini golfs, I believe there's a water park or two nearby.
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Mar 5th, 2003, 12:47 PM
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If you are set on Hampton Beach, the part of beach called North Hampton Beach is less honky -tonk - the beach is not as nice, but fewer bikers and tatoo parlors.
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Mar 6th, 2003, 05:02 AM
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Thank you for the feedback. I will definately look into the areas you all suggested. I'm glad I hadn't made a reservation yet. We only take one vacation a year, and I want it to me nice. How about Old Orchard Beach? That was also recommended to me by someone I know. We would be coming from Connecticut and would like to keep the travel time to under 3 hours. So that's probably about as far up in Maine as I would want to go. Also, I'm sure the water at the beach is still very cold in August so I want to find a place that has a heated outdoor pool.
Thanks again for the great advice.
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Mar 6th, 2003, 05:04 AM
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Reply to Melissa - I would like to keep the price of the hotel around $100/night. I would go up to $115/night or so, but not much more.

Thanks.
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Mar 6th, 2003, 05:39 AM
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Let me ask, gluegirl, what it is you want in a beach and why you have chosen New Hampshire/Maine in search of one. You do know that the water, even in August, is ice-cold up there? And more of the pretty sand beaches are down in Mass., while the beaches further north tend to have rather dark, damp, flat sand. Don't get me wrong, I love the Maine shore, but to me that means going up where it's rocky to climb around the rocks and "mess" in the tidal pools. But when I want a sand beach, I head for Cape Cod or, at the furthest north, the Cape Ann area north of Boston.
 
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Mar 6th, 2003, 05:41 AM
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Woops, sorry, just read that you are coming from Connecticut and you do know about the cold water. Still suggest you consider going a tad further north and having your children learn about a different kind of shore -- esp. if you find a place with a heated pool, where they can do their swimming.
 
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Mar 6th, 2003, 07:02 AM
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Old Orchard Beach is Maine's version of Hampton Beach - it's somewhat honkey tonk, lots of biker types. It's probably the LAST place I would go in Maine. As for nice beaches, there are some very beautiful white sand beaches in Maine especially from York to Kennebunk. The best balance between nice beach and inexpensive motels is probably Wells. It's true the water is chilly, but by August the water is usually bearable.Also consider the Footbridge Motel in Ogunquit, near the Wells town line. This is a nice, clean motel on rte #1, its a 10 minute walk to the nicest beach in southern Maine.
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Mar 6th, 2003, 10:23 AM
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Cassandra,
Thanks for your post. I'm looking at the Maine/New Hampshire coastline since York's Wild Kingdom came highly recommended as a place to visit with small children. There is a lot do in New Hampshire for activities so figured we could make a vacation out of it. My little quy (almost 5) said he wanted to go to the beach for our vacation and make a sand castle with me. I figure that would last part of one day and then everyone would be ready to do something else. Will definately check out The Marginal Way and Lighthouse. I think the boys would like that. My older son wants to go on rides. Would you recommend Canobie park in New Hampshire over York's Wild Kingdom? My husband and I like educational sightseeing spots. So trying to find a mix of things to meet everyone's needs. I'm sure we will go to Kittery and do some shopping, play some mini-golf, play in the pool at the hotel. We don't have a pool at home so a nice heated outdoor pool is important.

Zootsi - Thanks for your post as well. I did call the Footbridge motel for rates. They are closed right now but will hopefully get back to me.

I would like to look into that Short Sands area that BuzzyJ recommeded. You had some great suggestions. Thanks. Any hotel recommendations in that area? Is that Oqunquit? We want to spend no more than $100 - $120/night.

Thanks for all your help. This is the best vacation advice I have gotten!
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Mar 6th, 2003, 10:59 AM
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Hi again: kids never think the water is cold, and in August I think you'll be fine. You might check with the York Chamber of Commerce about places to stay; time is getting short, and I can't think of any specific names. Ogunquit is the next town up from York. On Rt. 9 (I think), on the way to Kennebunkport (after Ogunquit and Wells) there is also the Rachel Carson national park--your kids might like that as well. And there are lots of things to do right on Rt. 1 in Wells. Be sure to get off the beaten track and explore on the roads close to the shore...
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Mar 7th, 2003, 07:14 AM
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I grew up spending my summers in York beach and would highly recommend it for your family. I am familiar with both Hampton Beach and Old Orchard Beach, and agree with previous posts that the beaches arent that great. In my opinion these areas or over devloped and very commercial. Too many shops align the boardwalks which makes teh area visually unpleasant. You will be much better off in York Beach. I live in Washington, DC now but my family still summers there. I will be up a few times this summer. If you have any questions about York, let me know. I know the area inside and out.
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Mar 7th, 2003, 08:56 AM
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CapHill: I wanted to recommend to gluegirl a place, the name of which escapes me but you will probably know. It's on the way to Kennebunk, near the Rachel Carson reserve I think; it used to be a working farm, with many many acres and trails leading to the ocean. There's lots for kids and adults to do, the entrance fee is a donation, it's a big yellow home, I think. Do you know the name of it? There are signs along the trails identifying animals, trees, flowers, etc.
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Mar 7th, 2003, 10:52 AM
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You must be thinking of the Laudholm Farm Trust off of route 1 in Wells, Maine. 207 646-1556
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Mar 7th, 2003, 11:41 AM
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That's it! Thank you. OK gluegirl, there's something else to do!
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Mar 7th, 2003, 05:51 PM
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D40
 
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Thanks for the ideas everyone! We may need to extend our trip! Strawberry Bank in Portsmouth, NH was just recommended to me yesterday by my son's teacher. Is that something a 5 and almost 8 year old would like or would they be bored? I'm sure my husband and I would like it. She said it was like Sturbridge Village in Massachussets which I recently heard is much larger. I went years and years ago myself to Sturbridge Village and hope to check it out with the family some weekend. Anyway I thought I would ask. The hotel brochures have been coming in and we will have to decide soon. I threw out all the ones for Hampton Beach though. So glad you all set me straight. It's been a productive week in the planning process.
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