Hampton Beach, NH is a popular vacation spot for a lot of New Englanders. During July and August the boardwalk is packed with people and cars. Hampton Beach is a peninsula surrounded by marshland, which means the tourist area is very densely populated. Subsequently, this is the major perk of vacationing here: all of the cottages are within walking distance to the beach and the boardwalk – you’ll never have to get in your car.
Walking the Boardwalk
On a busy summer’s day, people cram the sidewalk roaming the boardwalk while the street is packed full of cars trying to find parking. Even with all this congestion, it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of Hampton Beach; there are so many stores and restaurants on this strip that crowds are not an issue.
The ocean side of the boardwalk (Ocean Blvd.) has more shops and restaurants, so it is the more crowded side. There are so many unique boutiques crammed into this tiny area, they range from your standard souvenir stores to tattoo parlors to art galleries. Also along this boardwalk is one of the main entrances to Hampton Beach State Park.
This is one of the few places that has public bathrooms on the boardwalk. Keep that in mind as you pass by it. The beach is great, the water is always a bit cold but it’s a clean, enjoyable beach.
Another point of interest is the carnival games located near the Casino Ballroom. They’re expensive to play, but have some decent prizes.
Food on the ‘Walk
There is a lot to choose from when it comes to food in Hampton Beach. Most of the food selections revolve around seafood or fried treats, but there are many restaurants and shacks to grab a bite.
Make your choice: Do you want to get take out and sit somewhere along the beach? Or do you want the whole dine-in experience? Hampton Beach has some great pizza, seafood and fried dough take out. A popular restaurant for dining-in is The Purple Urchin
The Purple Urchin serves burgers, wraps, seafood and steaks and normally their food is good. The last time I went, however, I ordered swordfish from their specials. It looked really appetizing when I got it, but it was rubbery and tasted like it was previously frozen (or very overcooked, either way it was not good).
Even though the food wasn’t that great, they do have some great ocean views. The drinks are pretty good though, at night The Purple Urchin has a hopping bar scene.
After you’ve eaten, take to the streets. There are so many shops where you can find a unique gift or cool trinket. Or start a night of bar hopping, there are more than a few interesting venues to grab a few beers. The best part of Hampton Beach is its walkability, so take full advantage of that.