The Hippo


May 31, 2020








 Is the ocean for you?

Get a variety of atmospheres and activities, all within driving distance, from the “hub of craziness” of the strip and Hampton Beach main area right off Route 1A to the more removed and quieter setting of Wallis Sands State Park.
Hampton Beach State Park, Hampton: Bustling beach good for swimming, fishing, picnicking and RV camping. Plenty of shops and restaurants to check out as well as regular live performances at the Sea Shell Stage and a fireworks show every Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. on the beach, top of C Street. Metered parking is available ($15 per vehicle for the parking area at South Beach) as are five bathhouses. Daily lifeguard hours through September.
North Beach, Hampton: Sandy beach good for swimming, surfing and picnicking. Metered parking is available, as is a bathhouse. Daily lifeguard hours through August. A note for surfers: North Beach has clear markings of where it’s OK to surf. When in doubt, head to a surf shop along Ocean Boulevard to point you in the right direction.
Wallis Sands State Park, Rye: Scenic beach with views of the Isles of Shoals, good for swimming and picnicking. Amenities include a concessions store, bathhouse and grassy area for picnics. Parking is $15 per vehicle. Lifeguards on duty through September.
Jenness State Beach, Rye: Quieter beach good for swimming, surfing and picnicking; metered parking is available for 67 cars. Bathhouse is open and lifeguard hours continue daily until the end of August. 
North Hampton State Beach, North Hampton: Family beach good for swimming and picnicking. Metered parking is available, as is a bathhouse.
Pool time
Concord  Pools
Garrison Park on Hut)chins Street, Keach Park on Newton Avenue, Kimball Park on North State Street, Merrill Park on Eastman Street, Rollins Park on Bow Street, White Park on White Street, Rolfe Park on Community Drive in Penacook.
Cost: Free for Concord and Penacook residents. Non-residents can purchase a family season pass for $113 for all seven pools.
Nashua Pools
Rotary Pool on Cleveland Street (wading pool for young kids), Crown Hill Pool on Burke Street, Centennial Pool on Sargents Avenue. Wading pool at Greeley Park and splash pad at Sandy Pond on National Street.
Cost: Free for Nashua residents
Specials this summer: A “dive in” movie will be held at each pool during the summer. It’s the only time floats or tubes are allowed in the water; head to the pool at night to float and watch a family-friendly movie on a big screen.
Manchester Pools
Dupont Pool on Mason Street, Hunt Pool on Maple Street, Livingston Pool on D.W. Highway, Raco Theodore Pool on Head Street.
Cost: Pool access is free for all. Pools open daily from 1 to 4:45 p.m. and 6 to 7:45 p.m. Manchester residents only (photo ID required) from 1 to 3 p.m. and 7 to 7:45 p.m.
Liquid Planet Water Park
446 Raymond Road, Candia, 483-2200,
If you’re looking for: A water park experience focused on families with kids.
Things to do: Spray ground with interactive toys; ziplines; body slides like Trevor’s Time Warp and Haley’s Comet; Crater Lake old-fashioned swimming hole.
Eat and explore: Dine at the Lunch Pad for pizzas, hot dogs, subs and sandwiches; The Milky Way Cafe for snacks, drinks and smoothies (now serving beer and wine for the 21+ crowd).
Tickets: Daily general pass is $25, daily junior pass (under 48 inches tall) is $20. 
Specials this summer: Rock ‘N’ Splash Saturday evenings in July and August. Enjoy the park after 6 p.m. for $7.
Water Country
2300 Lafayette Road, Portsmouth, 427-1111,
If you’re looking for: Water rides, slides, pools and more in an active atmosphere with people of all ages.
Things to do: Tube slides like Black Hole, Dragon’s Den and Racing Rapids; body slides like Double Dive Boggan and Triple Giant Slides; Adventure River; the Activity Pool for the whole family and Giant Wave Pool; kiddie attractions like Pirate’s Pool & Lagoon and Tahiti Tree House.
Eat and explore: Coastal Grill hamburgers, hot dogs and french fries; Wicked Chicken chicken fingers; Breaking Pointe Pizza; Surfside Treats pretzels, fried dough, Dippin’ Dots and more. After a day at the park, see restaurants and shops in downtown Portsmouth.
Tickets: General admission is $38.99, $26.99 for juniors under 48 inches and seniors over 65 years old.
Specials this summer: Live radio broadcasts with Z107 will be onsite every Thursday from 2 to 5 p.m.
Pick a port
5 major ports to suit your visit to Lake Winnipesaukee
Wolfeboro: Active port with beachside boardwalk items for sale like costume jewelry, T-shirts, hats and sweatshirts as well as upscale unique shops. See the 80-foot Abenaki Tower overlooking the lake and Ossipee Mountains or head to Carry Beach, open to the public for swimming and picnicking. Board Molly the Trolley at Town Docks to visit the Wright Museum, New Hampshire Boat Museum and Wolfeboro Historical Society. 
Meredith: Enjoy upscale shopping from clothing to books to artwork. Stop by Mill Falls Marketplace to shop, dine and walk the scenic grounds with views of the lake. Also see Leavitt Park public beach, Stoneham Island wildlife preserve and the American Police Motorcycle Museum.
Weirs Beach: Good for families with children. Head to the public beach, ride go-karts, see a drive-in movie, visit Daytona Fun Park for bumper boats, climbing wall and batting cages or Funspot with arcade games, indoor mini-golf and 20-lane ten-pin and candlepin bowling. Stroll the boardwalk for ice cream and cotton candy or take a ride on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad.
Alton Bay: Alton Town Beaches are free admission, open for swimming and picnicking. Hike the popular Mt. Major for spectacular views or dine lakeside at Shibley’s at the Pier.
Center Harbour: Quieter port with artisan shops and Keepsake Quilting, known worldwide for its quilts and fabrics. 
NH’s 10 largest lakes 
According to
Winnipesaukee 44,586 acres
Squam 6,764 acres
Umbagog 4,532 acres
Winnisquam 4,264 acres
Newfound 4,106 acres
Sunapee 4,090 acres
Moore Reservoir 3,490 acres
Ossipee 3,091 acres 
Wentworth 3,017 acres 
Massabesic 2,900 acres
State park lakes
In addition to your local lake, most of which have beaches open just to residents, visit a lake in a state park to swim, fish, canoe, picnic and more.
Silver Lake State Park, Hollis: Spans 80 acres with a 1,000-foot beach. The popular 34-acre Silver Lake is good for swimming, fishing and boating. Kayak rentals are available by the hour. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 6 to 11, free for those age 5 and under and state residents over 65.
Bear Brook State Park, Allenstown: With over 10,000 acres, enjoy 40 miles of trails to marshes, bogs and ponds, two archery ranges, and a museum complex housing the New Hampshire Antique Snowmobile Museum and Old Allenstown Meeting House. Also located in the park is Bear Brook Camp, on the National Register of Historic Places, one of the most complete and intact camps still in use in the country. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 6 to 11, free for those age 5 and under and state residents over 65.
Clough State Park, Weare: 900-foot beach on Everett Lake that features amenities such as playing fields and a large picnic area. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 6 to 11, free for age 5 and under and state residents over 65.
Pawtuckaway State Park, Nottingham: A very popular state park, on Pawtuckaway Lake. Features a large sandy beach, playground, lookout tower, two boat launches, hiking trails to scenic overlooks and marshes, wildlife such as great blue herons and beavers, cabins for rent and Pawtuckaway State Campground. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 6 to 11, free for age 5 and under and state residents over 65.
Wentworth State Park, Wolfeboro: Located on Wentworth Lake, the 50-acre state park is good for swimming, fishing and picnicking. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 6 to 11, free for age 5 and under and state residents over 65.
Ellacoya State Park, Gilford: 600-foot beach on the southwest shore of Lake Winnipesaukee has views of the Sandwich and Ossipee mountains. Good for swimming, picnicking and RV camping. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 6 to 11, free for age 5 and under and state residents over 65.
Fish happy
Some basic angling information from New Hampshire Fish and Game Department
Before you hit the water: The first thing you need before casting a line in fresh or salt water is a license. Mark Beauchesne, advertising and promotions coordinator for New Hampshire Fish and Game, said obtaining a fishing license is quick and easy — just fill out the form at and instantly get the license. Both residents and non-residents need to get a license, except for those age 16 and under, who can fish free. For freshwater fishing, residents can purchase a one-day or season-long license. Non-residents can purchase one-, three- and seven-day licenses as well as season-long ones. For saltwater fishing, it’s only $11 for residents and non-residents.
Know the rules: When it comes to rules for fishing in the state, it all depends on which body of water you’re in. “There’s different species, different ponds, different rivers and streams. Each body of water has its own unique management,” Beauchesne said. Since speed limits and length of open season vary, anglers are responsible for knowing the rules of the water. Do your homework before heading out by visiting the New Hampshire Fish and Game headquarters in Concord, town websites or local fishing tackle shops.
What to bring: One thing people often overlook before heading out fishing is having proper and up-to-date gear with them. “Gear should be in good shape … don’t want to pull grandpa’s out of the closet because it’s probably not going to work that well,” Beauchesne said. Once you have the gear, make sure you know how to use it before heading out. Take the time to check that everything is working. Sunscreen, bug spray and wind protection are always good to have, along with a pair of needle-nose pliers or something to remove the hook from fish. “It needs to be taken or released quickly,” he said, so make sure you know what to do once you’ve hooked one. Regardless of experience level, make sure to always have a life jacket on while out on the water.
Find a place to go: A good place to start is always a local lake, especially if you’re a new angler. If looking for a new place or body of water with a specific type of fish, check out’s guide of suggested fishing locations. Not ready to take on a boat as a first-time fisher? Try shore bank angling so you can stay on land while getting a feel for the rod, reel and other equipment. See the website for shore bank guides across the state. 

Make A Splash
Aquatic fun at the beach, pool or water park

By Allie Ginwala

 Here in the Granite State, there are plenty of ways to cool down in the summer months. 

New Hampshire is home to about 1,000 lakes and ponds and 18 miles of ocean coastline, not to mention water parks with slides, rides and lots of splashing, and, in cities, easy to access public pools. 
But with so many options, how do you choose between a salty dip in the ocean after a run along the beach and an afternoon picnic and kayak trip around the lake? 
The Hippo has your guide to finding the aquatic venue that best suits your hot summer day desires.
Hit the ocean waves
While there are many types of water to enjoy in the state, Amy Bassett, public information officer for the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation, said a beach on the ocean provides an experience unlike any other. 
“It’s important to get that experience of hearing the waves crash,” she said. “When you can sit on the sand and close your eyes and listen to the crashing of the waves or hear the kids playing or the seagulls overhead, that’s a unique experience.”
Along the coastline are five state park beaches — Hampton Beach State Park, North Beach, North Hampton State Beach, Jenness State Beach and Wallis Sands State Park — each with its own vibe and activities.
“We’ve very fortunate in New Hampshire to have 18 miles of coastline to take advantage of, and it’s close, so to get the experience of the ocean and have it in our backyard,” she said.
If the sounds of the waves and gulls aren’t enticing enough, the ocean is a good spot for all ages and interests, making it an ideal setting for a group outing.
“The beauty of the ocean is it applies to all different age groups for different reasons,” Bassett said. “Older folks can sit in the sand or stroll down the beach while younger crowds get to throw a frisbee or jump into the waves.”
Stay occupied all day in the sand and water or perusing local shops and restaurants. The scale of the coastline makes it feasible to visit multiple beaches in one day, with maybe 20 minutes of travel in between.
“There’s a social aspect, there’s a recreational aspect and there’s just the relaxation,” Bassett said. “It’s [ocean] a location that works for anybody, whereas I don’t think inland beaches are the same.”
Stay cool at the pool
Whether it’s the convenience, affordability or added supervision, there are plenty of reasons not to cross public pools off the list of water fun this summer.
“I think when folks are looking at public facilities all over the state [they see] that [public pools] do provide some level of supervision and lifeguards on site,” Concord Parks and Recreation Director David Gill said. 
Though some natural bodies of water have lifeguards, they are often limited by time and day of the week. At public pools, lifeguards are a must. 
“I love going to the lakes and the river too, but for families, especially with young children, it’s important the pool has a lifeguard,” Gill said.
He described the atmosphere at Concord’s seven pools as places for kids and families, with more activity in the pool and less lounging in the sun.
Nick Caggiano, superintendent of Nashua Parks and Recreation, thinks visiting public pools is great for residents who want to enjoy the water all summer without breaking the bank.
“The pools are free to Nashua residents, and the parking is free,” Caggiano said. “The water quality is very good, and the lessons we offer are very affordable. For a lot of residents who can’t afford to go on vacation, the pools are the vacation for the kids when they’re out of school for the summer.”
Caggiano said the pool gets a mixed age demographic, with plenty of kids looking to play with their friends and adults coming for a dip or some exercise. (Nashua pools have periods of adults-only swim so the grown-ups can enjoy the water without all the splashing).
“Then there’s the sun worshippers that are there to hang in the sun, listen to the music, read a book [and] jump in for a quick dip,” he said. “For the kids, the young people, it’s a social time too because they have their friends from the neighborhood.”
With multiple pools to choose from in both cities, residents have taken advantage of the easy fun, with 160 to 300 people visiting the Nashua pools each day and thousands swimming in Concord every summer.
“We do a daily attendance at all the pools and over the season have 30,000 to 35,000 coming in and out at different hours,” Gill said. 
Concord pools are open seven days a week and are free for Concord and Penacook residents. 
“I think it’s a great benefit for the quality of life. [The pools are] well-used and appreciated in the city,” Gill said.
Each of Concord’s seven pools is located within a city park, near playgrounds, ballfields or grassy areas for additional non-pool fun, and Nashua’s three pools are all located near playgrounds or other activity areas.
“Most are located near a park complex, so a lot of families take advantage of the day and use the adjacent playground, have a picnic — they make a day of it,” Caggiano said. 
Water park wonders
If you’re willing to navigate through crowds of water enthusiasts of all ages, keep the day’s activities exciting and diverse at a water park with everything from slides and splash pads to snack shacks and wave pools.
“I remember as a kid what I loved was the diversity of what a water park would offer,” said Brent Beckett of Brand One Strategies and Solutions, which does marketing and promotions for Liquid Planet Water Park in Candia.
“You’re at the beach and you’ve got the ocean and the sand … it’s not really changing,” he said. “Where at a [water] park you can go down one slide, zipline ... It’s just a multitude of activities that make it exciting.”
With a valhalla of water rides and games to burn plenty of energy and keep kids occupied, Beckett said, Liquid Planet’s “wheelhouse is the young family,” who like the setting a water park provides. 
“When I go around and talk to families one of the things I hear from the parents is they love the contained environment,” he said. “It’s relaxed, it’s clean, but they [parents] can also enjoy a day. They can sit in a shaded lounge chair and their kids are right there.” 
Lorraine Petrini, sales and marketing manager at Water Country, said Water Country is a central location for those looking to be near New Hampshire’s coast for the day or longer. 
“Portsmouth is a great area to go to the beach and downtown Portsmouth and then here, so there's lots of things to do in the area,” she said.
Destination: lakeside
Not only does New Hampshire have ocean access, it also has plenty of lakes — 959 that are greater than 10 acres, according to That includes Lake Winnipesaukee, the state’s largest by a long shot (44,586 acres, compared to the next largest, Squam Lake, at 6,764 acres, according to 
Spending a day on a lake as big as Winnipesaukee holds myriad possibilities for boating, fishing, kayaking, paddle-boarding, swimming, dining, strolling, shopping and sightseeing. Trying to fit in everything the lake has to offer could be overwhelming, says Amy Landers, executive director of Lakes Region Tourism Association. 
“It’s really [about] taking a look at what you want in your day,” she said. “What are you picturing? Do you want a quiet beach or things for the kids to do?”
What larger lakes like Winnipesaukee, Squam and Winnisquam have over smaller lakes is the opportunity to do things on a larger scale (longer boat rides! bigger boats!) and to have a nice dinner on the water or go shopping in the same area where you spent the day water-skiing. 
“With a lake like Winnipesaukee, one of the benefits is there are several different ports,” Landers said. 
The five major ports are Weirs Beach, Meredith, Center Harbor, Wolfeboro and Alton Bay. 
“They have dock space and activities so once you’ve tied up your boat you can walk or shop or dine … and those ports are probably more accessible because there’s more dock space and more to do once you get to the port,” she said.
Smaller ports include Moultonborough, Tuftonboro, Alton, Gilford, Melvin Village and Laconia. With quieter atmospheres, Landers said, those ports are good for swimming or even just anchoring in a cove to fish off the boat or enjoy lunch. 
Wildlife-lovers and hikers can head to the smaller ports to visit Loon Preservation Center & Markus Wildlife Sanctuary in Moultonborough, with upland forests, marshes, a pond, streams and over 5,000 feet of undeveloped shoreline; to Tuftonboro to hike Bald Peak, or to Gilford for beautiful views in the Belknap Mountains and mountain biking, hiking and skateboarding at Gunstock Recreation Area.
“There’s a lot of ways to be out on Winnipesaukee, whether you have your own boat or rent, [and] the M/S Mount Washington has daily cruises,” Landers said. “There's also the mail boat that goes out and they deliver mail to the islands on Winnipesaukee.”
In the Lakes Region, you can still have a large-lake experience with a more relaxed feeling if Winnipesaukee seems overwhelming. 
“Winnisquam is a much quieter lake, a great size for canoeing, paddleboarding…,” Landers said. 
It also offers some of its big sister’s amenities, like rentals and public beaches and “opportunities for people to meet and kids to swim and get to know each other.” 
Check out public beaches at Ahern State Park and Bartlett Beach in Laconia for swimming, fishing, walking trails and picnic areas. 
A look at local lakes
For some, planning and packing for a long drive to a large lake may not be the most appealing way to get some fresh air and water. Fortunately, there are all sorts of options when it comes to local lakes, from town beaches to state parks. 
“There is something for everyone when it comes to our lakes and ponds,” said Andrea LaMoreaux, vice president of the New Hampshire Lakes Association, a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting New Hampshire lakes through education and advocacy.
“There are approximately 1,000, [so] you don’t have to go very far,” she said. “We have a lot of smaller, hidden, tucked away ponds and lakes.”
The size of the water body doesn’t necessarily tell you what is available at any given lake, LaMoreaux said. Lakes both big and small vary with choices for a calm, peaceful and serene setting or lots of activities and commotion.
Baboosic Lake in Amherst offers opportunities for swimming, volleyball, grilling, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding and has a local-lake atmosphere, according to Amherst Parks and Recreation Director Craig Fraley.
“It’s more accessible, easier to get to, and it offers a lot of the same amenities that some of the bigger pieces of water have,” Fraley said. “And if weather changes you don’t feel like you're stuck there because it’s very close by.” 
Goffstown Parks and Recreation Director Rick Wilhelmi echoed that sentiment.
“I just think any time you have a body of water that close to you it’s a great way to relax, cool off, enjoy the beauty of having that lake right there instead of driving many miles to get the same feeling,” he said. 
A number of local lakes’ boat launches, including at Glen Lake in Goffstown, are state-owned, which means anyone can use them.
“There are a lot of opportunities to get a boat into the water if you’re looking to do that,” LaMoreaux said. 
LaMoreaux urges families to spend some time in or at least close to water this summer. She referenced studies that have shown the mental and physical benefits of getting outside near a body of water.
“We’re so busy and plugged in all the time,” she said. “Lakes are a place for our families to get together, have fun, get some exercise and really relax.”
As a way to encourage kids and families to get out on the water, New Hampshire Lakes Association created the Lake Explorer Quest Program (see for more details). The goal is for families to explore three lakes or ponds by canoe, kayak or paddleboard while practicing safe boating (let someone know where you’re going, always wear a life jacket and check the weather before you go) and preventing the spread of invasive species (inspect, clean, drain and dry your vessel before and after boating). Those who get out on three bodies of water can get a patch and certificate displaying their accomplishment.
“I think we have some of the cleanest and healthiest [lakes] in the country,” LaMoreaux said. “If you’ve never been out of New Hampshire you just assume all lakes are like this, and that’s not the case.” 
As seen in the July 30th 2015 issue of the Hippo. 

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