Hampton Harbor

Hampton Harbor

Hampton Harbor and Hampton River Marina

Hampton Harbor, a busy, deep-water State of New Hampshire harbor facility, is located approximately five miles north of the Merrimack River and about seven miles south of Rye Harbor at the south end of Hampton Beach, directly across the street from Hampton Beach State Park. Hampton Harbor is an easy walk to and from the busy Hampton Beach Boardwalk and the many hotels, restaurants and attractions on the mile-and-a-half long sandy beach, though it has ample, mostly paved vehicle parking available for visitors for a modest, $5 fee per day.

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Deep Sea Fishing and Whale Watching at Hampton Harbor.

The State facility is fundamentally a commercial fishing port, populated mostly by lobstermen, a number of “six-pack” charter operators (deep-sea fishing boats licensed for six passengers), several large deep-sea fishing “party boats” including the Yellow Bird operated by Yellow Bird Deep Sea Fishing, as well as the Northern Star, the Big Rock, and the All In, operated by Al Gauron Deep Sea Fishing & Whale Watching.  


The 60-foot Yellow Bird takes a maximum of 30 passengers on ten to twelve-hour fishing cruises departing at either 5:00 or 7:00am, and returning at 5:00pm daily.



The day-long Al Gauron_fishing trips generally depart at 7:00am and return at 5:00pm most days, though half-day mackerel fishing, striped bass and haddock bottom fishing trips are generally back at the Harbor by noon.  Al Gauron’s half-day Whale-watching cruises also last four hours, and depart Hampton Harbor at 8:00am.  Reservations are always recommended, though walk-ups are often accommodated.


Al Gauron also offers single and double kayak rental packages in the adjacent Hampton- Seabrook Estuary that include life-jackets, rods, bait and annual fishing licenses for local and out-of-town visitors. Learn more here. 


The State of New Hampshire Hampton Harbor facility itself is capably managed by veteran Harbor Master Kevin Hanlon, and has a launch ramp (usable at most stages of the tide) and the only diesel and unleaded fuel pumps on the river.

Portsmouth Fish Pier

Hampton Harbor Activities

The following is a list of unique and interesting kid-friendly attractions and places in Portsmouth where you will be among many other families.

Portsmouth Tugboats
Strawbery Banke

Other Hampton Vendors

The Harbor is the home of Smitty’s State Pier Lobster Pound, the Swell Oyster Company (fresh, locally farmed and harvested oysters to go), Captain Bob’s Lobster Boat Tours, and fully Coast Guard-certified Hampton Beach Parasail and Paddleboard, pictured from right to left below.  Click on any of the images for more information.

Al’s Luncheonette, also known as Ute’s (pronounced Uta’s) may look like a hole in the wall, but it’s a popular hole in the wall, and the dozen or so cars parked outside from 5:00am until about 1:00pm daily are a testament to the remarkable popularity of this inexpensive, and let’s say unpretentious, lunch counter.

Cruises near Portsmouth

The M/V Thomas Laighton on the Piscataqua River
The whale watch and Star Island ferry boats berthed at Rye Harbor on a cloudy morning in Rye New Hampshire

The M/V Thomas Laighton (above left) offers cruises of the Harbor, Great Bay and to the Isles of Shoals, ten miles from downtown Portsmouth and six miles off the Maine and New Hampshire seacoasts, departing from Market Street (across the street from the Sheraton).

The M/V Heritage  Narrated Portsmouth Harbor cruises on the 60-foot M/V Heritage, departing from Ceres Street, in the heart of downtown Portsmouth (next to the tugboats, an easy walk from the Sheraton Portsmouth). 

Granite State Whale Watching. Narrated, daily four- to five-hour whale-watching cruises on the 56-foot, 85-passenger M/V Granite State, berthed at right in top right image, departs from picturesque Rye Harbor, a short drive from downtown.  Highly recommended.  Ample all-day parking is $5.

Uncle Oscar Isles of Shoals Ferry. narrated, daily ferry service aboard the 56-foot, 49-passenger M/V Uncle Oscar (berthed next to the Granite State right image above) departs from Rye Harbor.  Ample all-day parking is $5.  Our Highest Recommendation.

Hampton Lobster Pounds

The Rundlet-May House, built in 1807 is one of the most important Federal style mansion museums in the region, and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1976

John Langdon Mansion, built in 1784, is a restored, eighteenth-century mansion, and the home of shipbuilder John Langdon, a Revolutionary War leader and a signer of the United States Constitution.  The home was visited by President George Washington in 1789, and is an easy walk from downtown Portsmouth hotels, two blocks from Market Square.

John Paul Jones House, built in 1758 and now owned and operated as a museum by the Portsmouth Historical Society, was the home of American Revolutionary War naval hero John Paul Jones, from 1781-82 

The Jackson House,  Jackson House, built in 1664, is the oldest surviving wood-frame house in New Hampshire and a National Historic Landmark.

Strawbery Banke Events

Fairy House Tour Autumn at Strawbery Banke; not just the girls, who regularly arrive in fairy costumes.

Candlelight Stroll Christmastime at Strawbery Banke, fun for the entire family.

Beaches Near Portsmouth

Hampton Beach

Rye Beach

Jenness Beach

Wallis Sands