|Map My Ride Route|
Who: Experienced bikers for entire route. All others for portions of the route.
What: Scenic Bike Ride
When: Sunrise or early morning.
Where: New Hampshire's short, but beautiful, seacoast
Why: Fun, Beauty, Exercise, Adventure!
|Picture from Odiorne State Park Website|
If you're taking the ride during the very busy summer season, I suggest that you start as soon as the sun rises to avoid traffic. Once the traffic begins, the ride becomes more difficult as you have to navigate countless cars (and car doors) which can be challenging if you're not an experienced biker. Off season, it will probably be fine to start a little later.
We began our ride a bit late at Hampton State Park which opens at 8am. It costs $15. to park for the day. You can park about a half mile up the road earlier for a cost of $12. for six hours (the fee starts at 8am even though you can park earlier). The first leg of the journey brings you by Hampton's tourist hotspots, then you pass a number of local beaches as you ride through North Hampton and Rye which is a bit less busy and a bit more hilly. After that you pass Odiorne State Park, a large grassy park with picnic spots, a public bathroom, seascoast science center, and many trails. Odiorne has a short paved bike path that would be great for a bike ride with young children. After Odiorne you travel away from the shore for a short while until you take a right down to the historic hotel, Wentworth by the Sea (a great place to stay) and onto Castle Island. Take a right to visit Castle's Island's beautiful seacoast park. Then as you get closer to Portsmouth wind down the side roads to get off the main path and see many beautiful little seacoast homes and vistas. Once you arrive at Portsmouth's downtown, you can choose from numerous wonderful eateries for breakfast. We chose one of our favorites, Popovers.
Dotted throughout the ride there are small shops, restaurants, beaches, lookouts, and bathrooms so you don't have to worry too much about packing a lot, or places to rest. We just brought water and sunscreen with us. If your companions ride at different speeds, share the map and create meet-up spots along the way.
Finally, end your journey by jumping into Hampton's cold, and sometimes powerful, wavy waters, and then enjoy an end-of-the day dinner at one of the many wonderful seafood restaurants in the area. One that we've enjoyed is the Tuna Striker Pub.