Free summer events and activities for families

Summer fun doesn’t need to cost a thing if you know where to look. Here’s a New Hampshire-wide sampling of this summer’s free activities and events for kids and families

Free Hampton Beach events

  • Head to Hampton Beach for free fireworks every Wednesday night, starting June 17 at 9:30 p.m. and running through August 30, weather-permitting.

  • Don't miss free concerts over on the Hampton Beach Seashell Stage, which are held at the stage on weekend evenings and select weeknights throughout the summer.

  • On Monday nights in July, check out a free family-friendly movie on the beach, near the Hampton Beach playground area.

  • Watch master sand sculptors at work as they compete in the 17th annual Hampton Beach Sand Sculpting Festival (June 15-17, 2017). On June 17, you can even receive a free sand-sculpting lesson from a master sculptor. To participate, you must sign up the day of the lesson in person outside the Chamber Office near the Sand Sculpture event.

  • If you're visiting Hampton between August 14-18, 2017, then you'll love the annual Children’s Festival, complete with parade, games and crafts – all for free.

Free Portsmouth and seacoast area events

  • Portsmouth hosts its 40th annual Market Square Day on June 10, 2017. This all-day free event in historic Portsmouth’s downtown area is filled with music, games and other family-friendly activities, plus an opportunity to learn more about the many community organizations and businesses that call the area home.

  • 2017 marks the 37 years for the Somersworth International Children’s Festival, happening on Saturday, June 17, 2017 (locations are at Memorial Drive and Noble Pines Park). Entertainment includes a craft center, petting zoo, bounce houses, kids stage, world cultures area, bubble and paint stations and more.

  • All summer long, free outdoor concerts take place on Saturdays from 5 to 9:30 p.m. as part of Summer in the Street in Portsmouth. Look for the stage on Pleasant Street.

Free Merrimack Valley area events

  • Concord’s 43rd Annual Market Days Festival will be held June 22-24, 2017. Much of Main Street is closed off and the streets are filled with music, vendors, food and other entertainment. Admission is free.

  • It’s high-flying fun on July 6-9, 2017 north of Concord at Grimes Field in Hillsborough where the Hillsborough Balloon Festival and Fair is taking place. Besides hot air balloons there are amusement rides, food, a special kids area, sky divers and more. Admission is free as are many of the event activities but there is a nominal fee for parking.

  • Manchester's popular Trolley Nights event will be held on July 20, 2017. From 5 to 8 p.m., a trolley loops in and around downtown, stopping at arts and cultural institutions, all of which offer free admission for the evening. Among family-friendly trolley stops, visit the SEE Science Center, Studio 550, the Millyard Museum and NH Institute of Art. Most venues have special events and promotions planned specifically for the trolley night.

  • If you are fortunate enough to live in Concord when the temperatures soar, cool off for free at any one of the city’s many public swimming pools. Locations of public pools include White Park and Rollins Park. Bring ID for free entry. Non-residents pay a small fee.

  • The splash park at Dupont Pool on Manchester's west side is also officially open now for summer 2017. (Click here to check out a complete list of public pools and other places to go swimming.)

  • For ongoing fun, check out Summer Fun in Nashua. From June 3 through August 24, 2017 there are numerous events including movies, theatre and concerts at Greeley Park on Concord Street in Nashua. Signature events include: Fairy Tale Festival on July 15 and Wheels & Wings on August 5.

  • The Derry Parks and Recreation Department kicks off summer with its annual Summer Concert Series on June 13. Concerts take place every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in MacGregor Park next to the Derry Public Library through Aug. 15. Go to the website for the full schedule.

Free White Mountains events

  • In Littleton, it’s Pollyanna Glad Day on Saturday, June 10, 2017. The free event is an opportunity to celebrate author Eleanor Porter’s eternally cheerful character. Stop by the Pollyanna sculpture and rub her high-top shoe for luck. The all-ages festival takes place on the Littleton Public Library lawn.

  • In North Conway, take in a free outdoor movie at Settlers’ Green on Tuesday evenings throughout the summer (July 11 to August 22). Family-friendly movies are shown on a 16-foot movie screen with outdoor lawn chairs provided for the first 30 guests.

  • The Attitash Blueberry Fest, taking place on Saturday, August 5, includes a craft fair, live music, games and contests, including a pie-eating contest.

  • Love Curious George? Make sure to visit the Margaret H.A. Rey Center in Waterville Valley and check out the open tours and free story times on Saturday mornings.

Other free events you wont want to miss

  • The first Saturday in June (June 3, 2017) is New Hampshire Fish and Game’s Free Fishing Day. Residents and visitors are invited to fish any body of water (both fresh or saltwater) without a fishing license.

  • If your kids love rocks, minerals and playing in the dirt, then you might want to head to the 52nd Annual Gilsum Rock Swap on June 24-25, 2017. Kids can pan for minerals as well as view beautiful gemstones and handmade jewelry.

  • Pack a picnic lunch and head to Bolburn Park in Lebanon where you can enjoy free children’s entertainment every Thursday. Starting at noon, performances include children’s theater, music, storytelling and more. The free weekly event runs from June 29 through August 10, 2017.

  • If your family loves wildlife and the great outdoors, then you’ll want to head to Colebrook for the 26th Annual North Country Moose Festival happening August 25-26, 2017. There’s a street fair, car show, kids area and carnival, moose calling contest and much more.

More fun things to do this summer

The best playgrounds in NH

Here's a roundup of some of our favorite outdoor playgrounds in the Granite State

New Hampshire picnic spots

Grab a blanket and head to one of the state’s best outdoor dining spots

Where to pick your own peaches in NH

Peach picking season is generally pretty short and lasts a couple of weeks in August and September so don't delay!

Where to go if it rains

Here’s a list of some of our favorite educational centers, museums, and indoor play areas.

Ideas for one last summer getaway

Before the lazy days slip away, get your fill of family fun
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