Parenting during the pandemic hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m one of those moms who really can’t stand the clutter, the noise, the jumping on the furniture. My coping mechanism for household chaos was always to get my 2 and 4 year old out of the house as much as possible – children’s museum, playdates, parks, and trails but in March 2020, almost all of that was taken away. Plus, now I was teaching full time remotely while trying to balance mothering my toddler and preschooler. Help!
Getting Outside Turned to Routine
I found a routine: breakfast, pack up, and go…to a trail. It worked. From 9 am to noon, for four months, the kids and I spent our day slowly meandering a local trail. They climbed rock walls, filled pockets with nature treasures, and dipped toes in the water. There were no more early morning messes and no more boredom. Outdoors, we got along better, the siblings stopped bickering, and I was calmer and happier. Eventually, daycare and preschool reopened and I was able to go back to masked, in-person teaching, but we kept the routine for weekends. Hike in the morning, home in the afternoon. The family-friendly Seacoast hikes and nature walks saved my sanity.
Documenting Seacoast Hikes and Nature Walks
I made an instagram page to keep track of the Seacoast hikes I tried. Some of the hikes I did with my kids, others with my dog, and many were solo – little reboots for my mental health. The list of hikes grew, and now in less than a year I’ve documented 64 Seacoast hikes. I’ve learned that this list gives local moms peace of mind when they are looking for a new hike – a place to watch a short video of what the trail looks like, get information about mileage, parking, stroller accessibility, and cost. Recently, followers (mostly Seacoast moms), asked me for a map – where they could get a snapshot of all the trails I’ve visited. No problem!
Writing a Trail Guide: Seacoast Hikes and Nature Walks
Seacoast Hikes followers also asked for a trail guide. I could do it, I thought. After all, I’m a writer. But writing a large trail guide seemed daunting and could even be overwhelming to the reader. So I decided to do it in pieces. Recently (June 1), I released the first volume: Seacoast Hikes and Nature Walks: Volume 1. The trail guide is an ebook – viewable on free apps through your phone. There are ten Seacoast walks with detailed trail descriptions, difficulty level, parking, dog friendliness, and more. My hope is that moms like me can find sanity in taking their kids out for a mile loop on the Winnie the Pooh Trail or a break for themselves with a solo walk the four mile perimeter of Stratham Hill Park. The book is available for $4.99 wherever ebooks are sold (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, and more).
An Incentive to Hike
My hope in creating the list ten Seacoast hikes is that families tackle the list in the book together. As an incentive, there’s a completion patch and sticker for anyone who completes them all! Are you curious about the ten I decided to feature? Here they are the ten family-friendly Seacoast hikes and nature walks in volume 1:
10 Seacoast Hikes:
- Gonic Trails: Rochester, NH (1.5 miles)
- Mount Agamenticus: York, ME (2.3 miles)
- Great Bay Discovery Center Boardwalk: Greenland, NH (0.7 miles)
- Adams Point: Durham, NH (1.5 miles)
- Winnie the Pooh Trail: Barrington, NH (1.0 miles)
- Odiorne Point State Park: Rye, NH (3.0 miles)
- Stratham Hill Park: Stratham, NH (4.1 miles)
- Stonehouse Pond: Barrington, NH (1.4 miles)
- Wagon Hill: Durham, NH (1.7 miles)
- Little Harbor: Portsmouth, NH (1.5 miles)
These trails and the many more I’ve explored on the Seacoast have helped my children and I develop a strong sense of place to the Seacoast outdoors. What’s more, is that my children find contentment in these natural places and ask to visit them regularly.
Have you hiked any of these family-friendly Seacoast hikes and nature walks? Looking for even more? Check out some of my previous posts about Seacoast hikes with water, nature walks with toddlers, and even sledable trails. Happy Hiking!