40 Things to Do in Portsmouth, NH with Kids

Set your sights on summer fun with the top things to do in Portsmouth, NH with kids!
Set your sights on summer fun with the top things to do in Portsmouth, NH with kids!
5/5/24 - By Tara D

Portsmouth, New Hampshire is one of our favorite destinations for a short New England getaway, with plenty of things to do with kids. As a seacoast city just over an hour's drive from Boston, Portsmouth is a hot spot in the summertime. And with good reason: the Prescott Park Arts Festival brings world-class live entertainment to New England at affordable prices all season long. The lush gardens in Prescott Park and across the street at the Strawbery Banke Museum are gorgeous oases in the summer months.

Portsmouth is full of fun things to do all year long. Read on for our favorite things to do in Portsmouth, NH with kids. And check out Day Trips and Weekend Getaways from Boston (including) Best Summer Day Trips from Boston) for more places to explore with the family!


Image of Strawberry Bank - Things To Do in Portsmouth NH
Explore on of the top things to do in Portsmouth at Strawbery Banke. Photo courtesy of the Strawbery Banke Museum.

Things To Do in Portsmouth - Museums and Family Attractions

1. Strawbery Banke Museum

Be immersed in four centuries of American history at Strawbery Banke Museum, an outdoor living history museum that’s actually a whole neighborhood. 

2. Seacoast Science Center

Check out the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, only a 10-minute drive from Portsmouth, to explore Touch Tanks and wildlife from the Gulf of Maine.

3. American Independence Museum

 Go back in time at the American Independence Museum in nearby Exeter, where children can try on Colonial clothing, play Colonial-era games, and explore how children lived in our country's earliest days.

4. Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail

Take a guided or D.I.Y. tour of the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail to explore an often overlooked aspect of the region's history.

5. Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse

Visit the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse in New Castle to climb the 44 stairs and seven ladder rungs to the top for stunning views.

6. Portsmouth Public Library

Drop in to the Portsmouth Public Library for a children's program or just to relax with a good book.

7. Bowl-O-Rama

Head out for some candlepin bowling at Bowl-O-Rama (you might even be able to snag a free game coupon while you're at Lexie's Joint). 

Image of parent and child at Children's Museum of New Hampshire
There's lots of hands-on fun at the Children's Museum of New Hampshire. Photo courtesy of the museum

8. Children's Museum of New Hampshire

Only 12 miles from Portsmouth you'll find The Children's Museum of New Hampshire. The short drive is well worth it!

9. Warner House

Pretend to be the guest of one of Portsmouth's most influential 18th century families as you tour the Warner House

10. Water Country

Experience the thrill of Water Country's water slides.

Things To Do in Portsmouth - Where To Eat

11. Cafe Espresso

Try lunch at Cafe Espresso, where the service is friendly and the gluten-free options are bountiful (and delicious). 

12. Popovers on the Square

Stop into Popovers on the Square for a delicious breakfast or lunch that will please any palate. There's an extensive kids' menu as well as many options that adults will love.

13. Flatbread Company

Visit the Portsmouth outpost of the Flatbread Company for handcrafted pizzas that the whole family will love.

14. Roundabout Diner

The massive menu at the Roundabout Diner has something for everyone. It's a true crowdpleaser with a cool vintage feel.

15. The Friendly Toast

Channel Elvis through The Friendly Toast's ridiculously good "King Cakes" (can also be made gluten free) while you admire the kitschy-chic decor. And when you get back to Boston, reminisce about your trip at the Friendly Toast's Cambridge or Boston locations.

16. Lexie's Joint

Stop in to Lexie’s Joint for a specialty burger and fries that are better dressed than a fashion icon.

17. River House Restaurant

Ask for a seat on the patio and take in the view while you enjoy your dinner at the River House Restaurant. 

18. Anabelle's Ice Cream

Cap off a perfect day in town with a scoop of fresh, creamy, award-winning Annabelle's Ice Cream

Image of Pierce Island pool - Things to do in Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth has some extraordinary outdoor spaces for families. Pierce Island pool photo courtesy of the City of Portsmouth

Things To Do in Portsmouth - Outdoor Activities

19. Prescott Park

Stroll the waterfront and take some fun pics at Prescott Park

20. South Playground

Play at South Playground and Leary Field, where Portsmouth celebrates the 4th of July. 

21. Ride the Gundalow

Sail the Piscataqua River aboard a traditional gundalow (launches from Prescott Park).

22. Portsmouth Trolley

Sometimes little legs need a break from walking, so hop on the Portsmouth Trolley to see the sights without getting too worn out.

23. Pierce Island

Explore salt marshes, tidal pools, rocky cliffs, and meadows or go for a swim in the outdoor pool on Pierce Island (accessible by car and boat). 

24. Four Tree Island

Walk across the pedestrian causeway from Pierce Island to Four Tree Island for picnicking and stellar views of the Portsmouth harbor. 

25. Odione Point State Park

Visit Odiorne Point State Park to hike the trails and catch beautiful views of the rocky shore.

26. Isle of Shoals Steamboat Company

Hop aboard the Isles of Shoals Steamboat Company for a trip out to Star Island, a Portsmouth Harbor Tour, or a Tour of the Isles of Shoals

27. Little Harbor Loop Trail

Perambulate along Little Harbor Loop Trail, the 1.5 mile waterside path that connects the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion Historic Site, Creek Farm and Portsmouth Conservation Land. 

28. Albacore Park

Explore Albacore Park, home to the USS Albacore, a submarine prototype with the motto, "Forerunner of the Future".

29. Urban Forestry Center

Go snowshoeing or leaf-peeping and learn tree identification on the grounds of the Urban Forestry Center.

Things To Do in Portsmouth - Seasonal Festivities and Live Shows

30. The Music Hall

See some of the biggest names in music or catch a flick in The Music Hall's gorgeous Historic Theater. 

31. Christmas in Portsmouth

Have yourself a vintage little Christmas. 

32. Portsmouth Chowder Festival

Taste some wicked good chowda during the annual Chowder Festival

33. Prescott Park Arts Festival

Watch a movie under the stars, see music greats perform, or enjoy live theater during the Prescott Park Arts Festival, all summer long. 

34. Portsmouth Fairy House Tour

Experience the magic of miniature at the (ironically, the world's largest) Portsmouth Fairy House Tour in September. 

35. Candlelight Stroll at Strawbery Banke

Rediscover the joys of simpler times during Strawbery Banke’s annual Candlelight Stroll.

36. Music Hall Loft

Get a bite to eat and settle in for an evening of intimate entertainment at the Music Hall Loft.

37. Puddle Duck Pond

If you find yourself in Portsmouth in the winter, don't miss a twirl around the Puddle Duck Pond outdoor ice rink. 

Image of G. Willikers toys - Things To Do in Portsmouth 
Head to G. Willikers for a keepsake to remember your trip to Portsmouth! Photo by Dana S. Whitney via Flickr

Things To Do in Portsmouth - Where To Shop

38. RiverRun Bookstore

Discover a good story in the RiverRun Bookstore.

39. Sheafe Warehouse Gallery

Browse works by New England's finest artist at the New Hampshire Art Association's Sheafe Warehouse Gallery in Prescott Park (summer months). You might even catch an artist at work on Saturday afternoons. 

40. G. Willikers Toy Shop

Find a New Hampshire-made toy at the family-run G. Willikers Toy Shop on Market Street. 


Top: Gundalow adventure photo is by Michael Sterling.


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