10 Budget-Friendly Things To Do In Portsmouth With Kids
The New Hampshire Seacoast is a wonderful place to spend time with kids. The beautiful natural surroundings and rich cultural history mean that there is always plenty to keep kids entertained without breaking the bank. Whether it’s exploring tide pools or taking in an outdoor movie, some of the best things to do in the Seacoast are under $5/person.
- Prescott Park. This 10-acre waterfront park, free to the public courtesy of Josie F. Prescott, a lifelong resident of the City of Portsmouth, is home to 40 formal garden beds, several sculptures, and acts as the headquarters for the Prescott Park Arts Festival, the Gundalow Company, and the Players Ring theatre. City staff offer free garden tours in the summer every Friday starting July 16, at 11 am and 1 pm, beginning at the Liberty Pole. The Arts Festival offers a variety of quality outdoor arts entertainment, including movies, musicals and nationally touring artists. With a suggested donation admission ranging between $5 – $10 per person, the Arts Festival offers an affordable night out with the family. Plus, you can bring in your own food and drink to have a picnic!
- The Children’s Museum of NH is well worth the short drive to Dover. Admission is $11 per person for adults and children over 1 year of age, but be sure to check their website for upcoming discounted or free admission days. You can also check your local library for free museum passes. Whether your kids are passionate about dinosaurs, building machines, or gardening, there’s something for every kid to enjoy at the Children’s Museum.
- Strawbery Banke Museum brings 300+ years of American history to life through dozens of historic buildings on their original foundations, heirloom gardens, hands-on traditional crafts, and engaging costumed roleplayers sharing the experiences of those who lived and worked in the waterfront neighborhood of Puddle Dock. Keep an eye out for Tuesdays on the Terrace, Strawberry Banke’s popular outdoor concert series ($5 per person, kids under 3 free)—each Tuesday evening from 5:30 to 7 PM, a variety of local musicians perform on the open-air stage, including kids’ music and magic night. While admission is a little pricey ($19.50 per adult), the museum offers a Family admission that includes 2 adults and all children under 18 for a total of $48. Military families take note: free admission is offered onsite for US Military and families, and individual veterans. Spend a couple of hours wandering the 10 acre museum campus with your kids and take a trip into the past, experiencing what it would have been like to live in the Portsmouth of old.
- Albacore Park. The USS Albacore is a research submarine, designed by the U.S. Navy to test experimental features used in modern submarines. Today, the Albacore has been preserved and is open to the public. Look through the periscope, explore the control room, engineering spaces, and bunkrooms, and hear first-hand stories from crew members about their journeys at sea. Admission runs from $4-9 per person, with a discounted rate available for families ($20 for 2 adults and up to 2 children). Tours are self-guided, and not suitable for children under 2 or those with mobility issues for safety.
- Head to the Urban Forestry Center to take a walk on one of their trails. The Goodwin Trail winds through beautiful scenery where you can check out a tidal salt marsh and plentiful birds, wildlife, and wildflowers. Make it a learning experience by walking the Tree Identification Trail, which winds through the Mixed Deciduous Forest, Northern Hardwood Forest, Saltmarsh Wetland, Red Pine Plantation, and Blue Spruce Plantation.
- Odiorne Point State Park. Just 10 minutes outside of Portsmouth, Odiorne Point State Park features sweeping views of the ocean and rocky shore, and explorers can uncover evidence of the park’s military history. Kids can have fun for hours poking around in tide pools, followed by a picnic at one of the park’s picnic areas. Admission ranges from $2 – $4 per person.
- While you’re at Odiorne Point, take in the Seacoast Science Center, a non-profit marine science education organization located within Odiorne Point State Park. Here kids can learn more about whales and marine mammals of the Gulf of Maine, and get up close and personal with the sea stars and hermit crabs at the tide pool touch tank. Admission runs from $5 – $10 per person.
- Take a free self-guided audio tour to learn about Portsmouth’s Black heritage, right from your smartphone. Visit Black Heritage Trail NH online to download the Geotourist app walking tour of the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail, which winds through 24 sites in downtown Portsmouth. Most of New Hampshire’s population of enslaved people lived in Portsmouth and surrounding areas, and the Black Heritage Trail aims to build inclusive communities by honoring the history of African Americans in our community.
- Visit the South Playground and Leary Field. With a baseball diamond, playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, and even a dog park, there’s something for everyone! Take in a baseball game at Leary Field or spend some time playing on the playground, picnicking, or shooting hoops. Just across the way, keep an eye out for the Little Free Library in Landon Park.
- Open a child’s saving account at Piscataqua Savings Bank! Help your kids get a head start on building strong financial habits with a savings account of their own. Kids can visit their own special teller line and open an account with just a penny – it’s never too early to start saving!