Dover Neighborhood Guide for Families

This information is thoughtfully provided by our sponsors, realtor Carol Gruen. Contact her ( for more about the wonderful town of Portsmouth and see their full contact information and bios at the bottom of this post.

Dover NH has a unique appeal and is especially popular with younger folks and young families. There are plenty of activities, places to enjoy, great parks and green spaces. Bonus: it’s more affordable than coastal areas. Dover is a comfortable and safe place to call home, and it keeps getting better! Plenty of new development is underway downtown yet the historical and architectural charm remains. The business community is thriving, accessibility and walkability is prevalent. Amidst it all,the cultural, arts, and music scene flourishes.

Dover is located an easy distance from Portsmouth, Durham (where UNH is), the border of Maine, and a short drive to both the New Hampshire and Maine coasts.

Dover NH
Dover NH
Dover NH
Dover NH

Seasonal photos of Dover graciously provided by Josephine Anes Baran

Why Moms Love Dover NH

Moms love Dover for its great parks, good schools and walkable areas. It’s easy to feel connected to the people around you in this town! Plus, it’s got a nice mix of landscapes: from the center of downtown to the sprawling lands of local farms, Dover is diverse and beautiful. 

Playgrounds, Parks & Attractions

If you’re looking to get outside, there are some wonderful local Seacoast parks right in Dover. Climb the tower in Garrison Hill Park for spectacular views any time of year. In the winter, it’s great place to go for sledding.

Henry Law Park has a playground, plenty open space, and a Summer splash park. This central park boasts a ton of activities: from the Sunday farmers’ market (there’s another one on Wednesdays at the Chamber of Commerce) to the Cocheco Arts Festival throughout the summer! You can even reserve a table at Dinner and a Movie for a fun night out. 

Located a stone’s throw from Henry Law Park is New Hampshire’s beloved Children’s Museum. Popular with children 0-80, this great museum has weekly classes, amazing exhibits, character visits and even a model Gundalow!

In the same area as the Children’s Museum and Henry Law Park, you can find the Dover Indoor Pool and a Skate Park. Downtown Dover NH is quite a happening place, particularly for families.

On a hot summer day, be sure to visit the Jenny Thompson Outdoor Pool. Open to the public, it’s the perfect place to cool off on a hot day. Not so hot? The Dover Ice Arena is right next door!

Since fall in New England is such a big deal, you can expect lots of fun at the annual Apple Harvest Day Festival in early October. Join your neighbors in a 5K, eat delicious fall food and listen to music with your whole family.

Stephan Kjellander - Dover NH
Dover by Stephan Kjellander, click for more details.

Childcare & Schools

If you’re looking for traditional Seacoast preschools, Dover and surrounding towns have several options. If you’re looking for childcare centers, you’re in luck as well. 

For elementary school, students attend Horne Street, Garrison or Woodman Park. All Dover students attend Dover Middle School and then go on to Dover High School alongside students from Barrington and Nottingham. Dover also boasts the Dover Regional Career Technical Center where students can acquire hands-on learning in fields like Welding, Cosmetology, Fire Science, Animal Science and Automotive Technology, to name a few. 

Dover NH is clearly a center for education of all types. From a specialized program at Bellamy Academy to private options at places like Portsmouth Christian Academy and St. Thomas Aquinas High School, there are so many programs from which to choose. 

Shops & Restaurants

Dover has so many options for shopping and eating! For shopping, troll along Central Avenue and adjacent streets and poke through a variety of shops and boutiques.

Favorite Shops:

  • In Just The Thing, you’ll find unusual antiques and household treasures.
  • Noggin Factory Toys on Washington is the place to go for kids. There’s an extensive selection of interactive, fun, and educational toys and even lots of space for play (pro tip: go there in winter!).   
  • Red’s Shoe Barn is THE place for shoes for the entire family. They send out great coupons, too!   
  • Philbricks is great for all your ski and cycling needs.     
  • Spinning Yarns has a great selection for knitters, with an incredibly knowledgable and helpful staff.
  • Three Sisters Cake Shop and Cake Vegan Bakery are our top picks for special event baking!


These shops and restaurants are just the tip of the iceberg. Dover is full of entrepreneurs! A great place to explore is the Washington Street Mill Building. It’s where you’ll find incredible bakers Three Sisters Cake Shop and Cake Vegan Bakery as well as Terra Cotta Pasta Company and the headquarters of Vida Tortilla.  

Additional Activities

Dover’s Public Library is an incredible resource for local families. Whether it’s the weekly story time or the chance to get discounted museum tickets, you can count on this local Seacoast library to serve its families. 

Tendercrop Farm at the Red Barn is also an essential stop in Dover NH. Not only do they sell local eggs and meat but they are a super fun place for kids to play! From farm animals to corn mazes, there is always something fun going on.

Whether you want to go fishing, hit up a nearby Seacoast brewery, see some incredible Christmas lights during the holiday season or simply walk around and enjoy the scenery, Dover has so much to offer!

Carol Gruen Realtor Dover NH
Brick and Barn Real Estate Logo
Carol Gruen
Brick & Barn Real Estate Group
155 Brewery Lane, suite 103
Portsmouth, NH  03801

With a personal motto of “going the extra mile”, Carol is known for her dedication to her work and her clients, approachable style, and high integrity.

Her real estate savvy is built on a strong business career including corporate finance, fund-raising and event planning for non-profits, and an MBA in Marketing from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, where she lived prior to moving to the Seacoast area.

Her real estate success is built on a combination of service excellence, partnerships, and the simple fact that her clients enjoy working with her. Carol’s memorable smile reflects her positive attitude, while her thorough approach ensures all the bases are covered, making the most complex situations pleasant, do-able, and seamless.

Having lived several years in other parts of the country, Carol appreciates the beauty, quality of life, and values of this vibrant community we enjoy here on the Seacoast of New Hampshire and Southern Maine. Carol is licensed in both states, and you will enjoy working with her if you are buying or selling residential real estate. Carol recently achieved her National Association of Realtors GREEN DESIGNATION.  

When she is not working, Carol can be found bike riding through the area, kayaking or paddle boarding on the scenic waterways, enjoying the local music & arts & food scene, or walking through the region’s historic neighborhoods.

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Allison’s mission in life is to notice the extraordinary in the ordinary. Her commitment to see beyond what’s in front of her was fostered by her degree in Philosophy and Theology from Boston College. Allison’s a book nerd and credits her parents and inspiring English teachers for her love of reading and writing. She went on to earn her Master in Pastoral Ministry from Boston College and then taught high school for several years, both in New England and San Francisco. After moving from San Francisco to Boston with her engineer husband, she began teaching yoga and working as a social media marketing consultant. Now a Portsmouth resident, she spends most of her days with her three daughters (she does not have enough arms) and does her best to find the bliss amidst the endless snacking, dance parties and tiaras. With all the beautiful chaos in her life, she’s grateful to have her partner-in-crime (husband Charlie) and fellow movie quote enthusiast alongside her. Her passion for writing first drew her to Seacoast Moms as a contributing writer, and her desire to connect moms of the Seacoast with businesses who serve and interest them led her to become SM’s owner. Being able to write about the ordinary grace present in motherhood, while interacting with incredible Seacoast business owners is a dream come true.