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 13 at 9:30 p.m. and running through August 29, 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 18th annual Hampton Beach Sand Sculpting Festival (June 14-16).

  • If you're visiting Hampton between August 13-17, then you'll love the annual Children’s Festival, complete with a magic show, parade, games and crafts – all for free.

Free Portsmouth and seacoast area events

  • Portsmouth hosts its 41st annual Market Square Day on Saturday, June 9. 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.

  • Head to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye on Sunday, June 10 and celebrate World Ocean Day. Visitors can expect fun and educational activities that celebrate the important role the world ocean plays in our lives and grand opening of H2O Today, an exhibition organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

  • 2018 marks the 38 years for the Somersworth International Children’s Festival, happening on Saturday, June 16 (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 5-9:30 p.m. as part of Summer in the Street in Portsmouth. Look for the stage on Pleasant Street.

  • Celebrate New Hampshire's 230th birthday with free admission for Granite State residents at Strawbery Banke Museum on Sunday, June 17.

Free Merrimack Valley area events

  • Concord’s 44th Annual Market Days Festival will be held June 21-23. 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 12-15 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 Thursday, July 26. 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.

  • For ongoing fun, check out Summer Fun in Nashua. From June 2 through August 23, 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 14 and Wheels & Wings on September 15.

  • The Derry Parks and Recreation Department kicks off summer with its annual Summer Concert Series on June 12. Concerts take place every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in MacGregor Park, located next to the Derry Public Library, through August 14. Go to the website for the full schedule.

  • If you need to find a cool place to take respite from the sun, then don't miss Free Admission Saturdays at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester. On the second Saturday of each month, New Hampshire residents can visit the museum free of charge from 10 a.m. until noon.

Free White Mountains events

  • In Littleton, it’s Pollyanna Glad Day on Saturday, June 9. 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 10 to August 21). Family-friendly movies are shown on a 16-foot movie screen with outdoor lawn chairs provided for the first 30 guests.

  • The Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm in beautiful Tamworth is opening up its doors to NH residents for free on Saturday, June 16. Plan to visit with farm animals, tour the historic grounds, partake in daily farm chores and much more.

  • The Attitash Blueberry Fest, taking place on Saturday, August 4, 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 2, 2018) 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 54th Annual Gilsum Rock Swap on June 23-24. Kids can pan for minerals as well as view beautiful gemstones and handmade jewelry.

  • Calling all ice cream lovers! Head to the UNH Fairchild Dairy Teaching and Research Center in Durham on Saturday, June 23 for Meet Your Milk Day. The event gives the public the chance to see a working dairy farm that is representative of a typical New England dairy operation. Free New Hampshire-made milk and ice cream, wagon rides, tours, and visits with the UNH milking cows and calves are the highlights of the day’s activities.

  • The Loon Center in Moultonborough is holding its 41st Annual Loon Festival on Saturday, July 21. The Loon Preservation Committee works to preserve the Common Loon and its habitat in New Hampshire through research, education and management activities. Attendees can learn about these marvelous and mysterious birds and how you can help protect them.

  • Soar to new heights at the annual 37th Annual Suncook Valley Rotary Hot Air Balloon Rally, happening August 3-5 at Drake Field in Pittsfield. In addition to more than a dozen hot air balloons, there's a craft fair, 5k road race, food vendors and helicopter rides.

  • 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 28 through August 9.

  • If your family loves wildlife and the great outdoors, then you’ll want to head to Colebrook for the 27th Annual North Country Moose Festival happening August 24-25. There’s a street fair, car show, kids area and carnival, moose calling contest and much more.

Categories: Summer Essentials