While I’ve pretty much lived in New Hampshire my whole life, I’ve never been a skier. Ice skating is pretty much the only winter activity I enjoy besides staying inside and planning trips to Florida. I’m not an expert ice skater or even an avid ice skater by any means, but there’s something magical about ice skating outside on a beautiful winter day (or night!). Unfortunately I don’t get a chance to do that very often, but I hope to go ice skating more this winter. I grew up in a small town that only had an outdoor ice skating rink and I loved skating there! That’s why I’m glad I’ve found five outdoor ice skating rinks here on the Seacoast where I can skate.
135 West High Street
Donations accepted for cost of skating and rentals
I’m fortunate that there’s a outdoor ice skating rink within five minutes of my house in Somersworth, which is run by the local Lions Club. They actually have two rinks-one is outdoor pond that is frozen over and the other smaller DIY backyard rink one that is perfect for kids trying skating for the first time. My daughter and I have enjoyed some fun afternoons skating on the smaller rink. There’s enough room for me to do some full skating strides while keeping an eye on her as she tries to get the rhythm of skating down.
Strawbery Banke Museum
14 Hancock Street
Fees for skating and skate rentals
Recently, I attended an outdoor ice skating event at the Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond. It’s a beautiful setting with houses of Strawbery Banke around the pond and the views of Prescott Park and the Piscataqua River across the street. In the middle of the rink is an seating area with a small fire pit so skaters can take a break and warm up. And there are indoor bathrooms that you can use before and other skating. You just can’t wear your skates into the bathrooms.
10 Old Piscataqua Rd
Fees for skating and skate rentals-Cash only
Churchill Rink at Jackson’s Landing is a semi-enclosed outdoor ice skating rink just off Route 4 in Durham. Since it’s semi-enclosed, it offers the best features of indoor rinks and outdoor rinks. It’s also right next to a playground so your kids can take a break from skating to go on the playground. From the both the playground and the rink, you can see views of Great Bay. And there are also indoor bathrooms in the skating rink.
270 Portsmouth Avenue
Stratham Hill Park has both a manufactured NiceRink® and a naturally made skating pond. I haven’t been ice skating at Stratham Hill Park yet, but I’ll have to check it out.
South Main Street
This outdoor ice skating rink hasn’t opened yet, but the City of Rochester’s Web site says it’s free to use if you bring your own skates. I’m excited to try it when it’s ready!
The downside of most outdoor ice skating rinks is that their availability is entirely up to Mother Nature. The weather has to be consistently cold for a certain period of time to make sure the ice is solid to skate on. But when you’re out there skating, you want it to be a little warm so you can enjoy your outdoor ice skating experience. While getting the perfect circumstances for outdoor ice skating can be tricky, being outside and gliding around the rink on a beautiful winter day is an amazing experience.