Why not “park it” at your favorite Seacoast area playgrounds now that the weather is nice? The best thing about playgrounds is that they require little to no planning on your part, and can open up a world of play possibilities for kids ages 1-12.
Playgrounds each have their own personality. It’s important to pick your playground wisely. How long you want to stay? How far are you willing to drive? Are you looking to combine lunch, swimming, hiking, or other activities with your playground adventure?
Here’s our Guide to the best playgrounds of the Seacoast!
For a Beach Day!
- New Castle Commons, New Castle
The panoramic views alone will captivate you! Choose from two play structures, run around in a large, grassy area, and bring a picnic. Then walk down to the small, sandy beach and dip your toes in the water. The park has an entrance fee ($4 per adult), and there is a bathroom and plenty of parking. This venue is perfect for younger children who might not be up for a long day in the sun. Bonus: Tour a lighthouse and watch boats sail by all day long! There are no bad views in the town of New Castle!
The swings and playground are located in an enclosed, sandy area adjacent to Short Sands Beach. Park your car in the metered lot and wander over when the sand gets too hot or the kids are tired of playing arcade games. There are bathrooms and changing facilities, and you can sample snacks from several eateries. Bonus: If you are really motivated, walk down to York’s Wild Animal Kingdom, check out the amusement park area for free and pay to go on the rides you want!
Fort Foster, Kittery
The historic war fort is the seaside backdrop for a fun-filled family day. Admission for non-residents is $10 per car but is well worth the price for clean restroom facilities, picnic tables, barbecues, playground and several sandy beaches. Dogs are welcome on leash. Kittery is filled with history and Fort Foster is one of our fave spots to enjoy it!
Splashin’ Around: Water Play at Seacoast Parks
- Peirce Island, Portsmouth
There are two playgrounds on Peirce Island just around the corner from Prescott Park. Parking is free, and non-residents pay just $4 for an adult and $2 per child for the use of the Portsmouth Outdoor Pool and changing areas. Bonus: In the mood for lobster? Walk down to Geno’s Chowder & Sandwich Shop for fresh lobster rolls. The town of Portsmouth has tons of playgrounds in each neighborhood!
Planet Playground, Exeter
A wooden structure, Planet Playground offers a variety of slides, tunnels, and a splash pad in the warmer months. The playground also has benches for adults and tennis courts. Admission to the Daniel R. Healy Outdoor Pool is nominal, ($4.75 per adult) for non-residents. Check out our Neighborhood Guide for the town of Exeter for more parks.
- Henry Law Park, Dover
This popular playground is situated in perfect proximity to the Children’s Museum, The Noggin Factory, and Lickee’s & Chewey’s if you want to make a day of it! A splash pad is centered in the park between climbing structures, slides, and swings. A large model boat offers a fun exploring option. Picnic tables are scattered throughout the adjacent field with views of the river for a relaxing lunch break. Your family may be lucky to spot the Dover Mounted Patrol trotting through the area and the horses are always happy to stop for a visit with the kids!
Take a Hike!
- Stratham Hill Park, Stratham
There are two separate playgrounds at this Seacoast park: one for older children at the main entrance and one for toddlers on Jack Rabbit Lane. Miles of hiking open up adventures to children, bikers, and dogs alike: this park is central to the life of the town of Stratham. For a detailed map, click here. Bonus: Pizza in the Park is held every Thursday night from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.!
- Odiorne State Park, Rye
Odiorne State Park offers plenty of attractions for the whole family. Admission for adults is $4 and children are $2. Trails expand for miles and picnic tables and a playground overlooking the ocean set the scene for a perfect family beach day or an easy nature walk. Seriously, one of the best playgrounds of the Seacoast! While on site be sure to check out the Seacoast Science Center which offers free events all summer long sure to spark your child’s curiosity in science and sea life! The town of Rye is a great spot for kids and their families.
Out-of-the-Norm Seacoast Parks & Playgrounds
Sometimes it pays off to venture beyond your neighborhood playground to check out some extra special playgrounds that are worth a little extra driving time!
- Moharimet School Playground, Madbury
An extremely popular playground among Durham locals, this elementary school’s play area features elaborate wooden climbing structures nestled in wood chips and picnic tables for snack time. One attraction setting this playground apart is the two wooden zip lines designed perfectly for mini adventurers!
Tendercrop Farm, Dover
While you may not find your typical swing sets or slides here the farm offers activities to entertain your children year round! In the spring and summer months, the property sets up several bouncy houses, a silo for your kids to step in and sing their lungs out, and a really fast slide constructed out of corrugated drain piping. In the fall, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and farm animal visits offer the perfect fall excursion. To warm up in the winter, shop in the store then let your kids bomb around in the greenhouse where rubber tires and hay bales are pose as play structures. Best of all, this seasonal entertainment is FREE! But while visiting the farm be sure to check out the lovely store next to the farm showcasing local meats and fresh produce, a decadent bakery, and unique gifts.
Sawyer Park, Kensington
This 30-acre property is a Seacoast treasure with playtime activities for all ages. Admission is free and besides a huge playground, the park includes basketball courts, ball fields, a skate park, and restrooms. Local moms praise the cleanliness of the entire park as well as the size of their bathrooms (big priorities when carting around little ones!) Profits from Eastman Farm and 5% of sales from their store support this amazing park. The farm prides itself in the model of sustainability it’s creating. The store offers daily homemade specials, grab-and-go family favorites like macaroni and cheese and chicken pot pie. You can even grab a local brew or wine to enjoy when the kids are in bed after the fun-filled day!
- Moseley Woods Park, Newburyport
Located just over the border into Massachusetts sits a magical (and some rumor haunted!) 16-acre estate of sprawling trails for hiking and horseback riding, picnic tables, restrooms, and a spacious pavilion that hosts a series of concerts throughout the summer. The playground features a zip line and a huge dinosaur skeleton to explore. The park is dog-friendly so your pooch can tag along for the family outing. The woodland setting provides an idyllic nature adventure but be sure to bring bug spray!
What’s your favorite Seacoast area playground pick, and why?