3 Seacoast Nature Walks Where You Can Dip Your Toes in the Water


Summer is here and my family hiking priorities have changed. After a walk in the heat, the kids and I just want to wade in some water to cool down. Here are three awesome family-friendly Seacoast nature walks where you can dip your toes in the water!  

Doe Farm in Durham, NH

This sweet trail system meanders through woods and fields to Moat Island in the Lamprey River. The trail is easy and hiking length can vary since it there are lots of offshoots to explore. A straight shot to the island is about a mile. On the island there are two picnic spots complete with tables, benches, fire pits, and even a rope swing at one! Watch kayakers pass by as you wade in the river. Also, this is kid and dog friendly. I recommend using the free All Trails app to avoid getting turned around (think google maps for hiking). This site has free parking but no bathroom facilities.

Sitting by the river
I relax on a bench by the river. Dexter the dog wen swimming.
Picnic Table by river
Picnic Tables on Moat Island at Doe Farm Trail in Durham.

WM Gonic Trails in Rochester, NH

Waste Management owns and manages the land surrounding their Rochester facility. While this might not sound like the most enticing location for a nature trail, it’s absolutely beautiful! Take a stroll on the well maintained Gonic trails to Locke Falls (upstream from the dump if you’re concerned about water quality). These beautiful falls are gorgeous and a local spot for swimming, fly fishing, and photography. Continue on the yellow trail along the river and you’ll be rewarded with other offshoots to the water where kids (and parents) can wade in the cool stream. I go there year round so for more information check out my posts here and here. There is a trail sign and map at the free parking lot on Rochester Neck Road. Also, this is a kid and dog friendly trail, but there are no bathroom facilities at the trailhead.

play by river
My kids enjoying wading in the Isinglass River on Gonic Trails.
walking on stones in river
My son wades in the water on Gonic Trails.

Great Bay Discovery Center in Greenland, NH

One of my favorite kid-friendly nature walks is the boardwalk loop trail at the Great Bay Discovery Center. Kids are easily moved along the trail by the many attractions along the way – play boats, wigwam, painted animal tracks, and binocular viewing station. However, many don’t know that also located on the property is water access at the kayak boat launch. My children love dipping their toes in the water, throwing rocks, and sometimes spotting horseshoe crabs! To access the water, from the stairs down to the boardwalk trail, instead of following the trail to the left, turn right and head down the boat ramp access. This trail is perfect for kids and is stroller and wheelchair accessible. Dogs are not allowed. 

Kids play at Great Bay
My friend and I let our toddlers play in the water at Great Bay Discovery Center.
cooling down in great bay
My son cools down in the water at Great Bay Discovery Center boardwalk hike.

Get Outside and Be Safe!

These treasured trails have been staples to my family since the birth of my first child. They are close, family-friendly, and all give the opportunity to wet your toes! Remember, always practice water safety with young children and bring proper flotation. I hope you can cool down with these Seacoast nature walks where you can dip your toes in the water! 

For more Seacoast Nature Walks check out previous posts and remember to practice social distancing on the trails and shoreline.