That's what we did a couple of weekends ago when we took a 90-minute drive to Hampton Beach, NH. Since early March is still the "off season" for sun-loving beach goers, it's the best time to walk the beach with no crowds.
Going off-season to any beach area means there's no driving around looking for where to park. Not only are the parking lots uncrowded now, but they're all FREE. Try this in mid-summer and you may never get to the beach until mid-day for lack of a parking spot.
Hampton Beach is a state park and while the beach is "free" the in-season parking isn't Free. But, if (like us) you're a NH resident, 65 and over, then, you can park Free in a designated parking area, even during peak summer season.
Chances are that even with that Free parking we would steer clear since Hampton Beach is not only a popular tourist destination, but also the busiest beach community within NH. Ocean Boulevard, the main street along the beach, includes a boardwalk, souvenir shops, eateries, seasonal hotels, and the Casino Ballroom, a boardwalk favorite since 1899. The Ballroom hosts many national acts, but wasn't open during our visit. Many other places were closed as well, like the eatery shown below.
In 2011, this beach was named one of four "Superstar" beaches in the US for having had perfect water quality testing results in each of the previous three years.
Brrr describes the water temperature which was 38 degrees, but that didn't deter these surfers. Yes, they were all wearing wet suits this early in the season.
Of course, no beach visit is complete without the foods. Our meal choices were fried claim strips, onion rings, and New England clam chowder (pronounced chowdah around here). It's not the healthiest meal, we know, but when in Rome . . .
Here's something that distinguishes a NH beach from the ones we knew in NJ . . .
That's right — ROCKS — and lots of (very) large ones.
This was a fun trip, which would have been even better with less wind and warmer temperatures.