5 Fantastic Free Summer Activities for Toddlers on the Seacoast


Summer is an amazing time for toddlers to explore the outdoors, soak up the sunshine, and stimulate their creativity. The best part is that, here on the Seacoast, you don’t need to break the bank to do it.

From splash pads to playgrounds, here are five fantastic free activities to enjoy with your toddlers this summer:

1. Nature Walks

Take your toddler on an exciting summer adventure in one of the many local parks and nature reserves the Seacoast has to offer. For my 3 year old, a few of his favorites are: The Urban Forestry Center in Portsmouth, Stratham Hill Park in Stratham (bonus points – there’s also a playground here!), and River Run Trail and Bridle Path in South Berwick. You could even turn it into a scavenger hunt, creating a list of items for them to find like pine cones or flowers. You’ll find a list of stroller friendly trails here, which are the perfect place to take adventurous toddlers to start.

2. Beach Trips

How lucky are we to live so close to the ocean? With my toddler, we typically head to the beach first thing in the morning before the sun gets too hot and the crowds get too vast. For free parking, we typically head to the north side of Jenness Beach. We stay for just an hour or two, and I always make sure I pack some snacks and a few beach toys. This duration negates the need for lugging a bunch of stuff to spend the whole day. He gets his energy out and I enjoy some time in the sand as well. That’s what I call a win-win – truly one of the best toddler summer activities around.

3. Playgrounds

Such a classic summertime activity that never seems to get old. Whether your kid is into swings, zooming down the slide, or climbing the jungle gym; playgrounds offer so much for toddlers to explore and play. We like to pack a picnic or snack and head to the playground in the morning, before the older kids get out of school. Some of our favorites for toddlers here on the Seacoast are Planet Playground in Exeter, Maple Haven in Portsmouth, and Sawyer Park in Kensington; but you can find a more comprehensive list here. Sometimes the simple things are the best!

4. Library Storytime

For those days when it’s just too hot to enjoy spending time outside, many local libraries offer free storytime sessions specifically tailored for toddlers. We tend to frequent the Portsmouth and Exeter libraries for these in the summer. We make a whole morning of it, picking out some new books to take home (and returning any from previous weeks) and spending some time in the playrooms with the train sets. A library morning is one of the best toddler summer activities, whether it’s a hot day or a rainy one.

5. Splash Pads

For my toddler, nothing gets him more excited on a hot day than a trip to a splash pad. These water playgrounds have fountains and sprinklers that lead to hours of entertainment, without having to worry about them constantly at a pool. Our favorite free ones are in Dover at Henry Law Park, and Aqua Land at the Newmarket Rec. You’ll find a great list of Seacoast splash pads here.

Summer is such a magical time for toddlers to explore, play, and create lasting memories. These five activities can hopefully help you keep your toddlers entertained without spending a dime. So whether you head out for a sun filled morning at the beach, or take to the air conditioned library, there’s no shortage of fun to be had on the Seacoast this summer!

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Hi - I'm Emily! Born and raised on the Seacoast, I left to spend some time in Boston and Denver but a few years ago found myself longing to come back home. I love the Seacoast for all it has to offer - hiking, the beach, awesome restaurants. I now live in Exeter with my husband, toddler, newborn, cat & dog. Before kids I worked for a software company and now I spend my working hours as a Realtor. I'm obsessed with all things home renovations, DIY & flipping. In my free time you can find me out for long walks with our dog, going to a hot yoga class, or transforming an old piece of furniture into something I love. I'm passionate about focusing on all the positive aspects of parenting and am excited to share that here.


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