When planning a trip to Maine, it’s easy to overlook the smaller, less famous towns that dot the New England landscape. However, one such town that should not be missed is Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Nestled between the Piscataqua River and the Atlantic Ocean, Portsmouth is a charming seaside town that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or a nature lover, Portsmouth has something to offer you. So, why not take a detour on your visit to Maine and discover the charm of Portsmouth, New Hampshire?

A Brief History of Portsmouth

Founded in 1623, Portsmouth is one of the oldest cities in the United States. It played a significant role in the nation’s early history, serving as a strategic military and trading post. The town’s rich history is evident in its well-preserved colonial buildings and historic sites, which offer a glimpse into life in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Historic Sites to Visit

Strawbery Banke Museum

One of the must-visit historic sites in Portsmouth is the Strawbery Banke Museum. This outdoor history museum spans 10 acres and features more than 30 historic buildings dating from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Visitors can explore the restored buildings, watch live demonstrations of traditional crafts, and learn about the people who lived and worked here over the centuries.

Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse

Another historic site worth visiting is the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse. Built in 1878, this iconic lighthouse offers stunning views of the harbor and the surrounding area. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse for a small fee, and guided tours are available on select days.

Outdoor Activities

Aside from its historic sites, Portsmouth also offers a wealth of outdoor activities. The town’s coastal location makes it a popular destination for water sports, while its numerous parks and green spaces offer plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and bird watching.

Prescott Park

Located on the banks of the Piscataqua River, Prescott Park is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The park features beautiful flower gardens, walking paths, and picnic areas, as well as a waterfront stage that hosts live music and theater performances during the summer months.

Odiorne Point State Park

For those who prefer a more active outdoor experience, Odiorne Point State Park offers hiking trails, a rocky beach, and a science center with interactive exhibits about the local ecosystem. The park is also a popular spot for bird watching, with many species of birds spotted here throughout the year.

Food and Drink

No visit to Portsmouth would be complete without sampling the local cuisine. The town is home to a vibrant food scene, with a wide range of restaurants, cafes, and breweries to choose from.

Portsmouth Brewery

As New Hampshire’s first brewpub, the Portsmouth Brewery is a must-visit for beer lovers. The brewery offers a selection of craft beers brewed on-site, as well as a menu of pub-style food made with locally sourced ingredients.

Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Cafe

For a taste of the local seafood, head to Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Cafe. This popular restaurant serves a variety of seafood dishes, from classic New England clam chowder to creative specials like blackened swordfish tacos.


With its rich history, beautiful natural scenery, and vibrant food scene, Portsmouth, New Hampshire is a charming and worthwhile detour on any trip to Maine. Whether you’re exploring historic sites, enjoying outdoor activities, or sampling local cuisine, you’re sure to find something to love about this quaint New England town.

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