Exeter Neighborhood Guide for Families

This information is thoughtfully provided by our sponsor, realtor Mollie Ruffner. Contact her (mbruffner@gmail.com) for more about the wonderful town of Exeter and see her full contact information and bio at the bottom of this post.

Exeter is a charming and historic town situated along the Exeter and Squamscott River. It is conveniently located 30 minutes from Manchester, 20 minutes from Portsmouth, and under 1 hour from Boston. Exeter is in close proximity to beaches and the mountains — you can have the best of all worlds! It’s a wonderful town for families with children of all ages. 

Why Moms Love Exeter

Exeter has a beautiful, walkable downtown filled with cafes, locally-owned shops, restaurants, art galleries and more. There are lots of parks, family-friendly events, concerts, festivals and parades. And of course, a great school system.

Exeter Neighborhood Guide for Families
Exeter Neighborhood Guide for Families
Exeter Neighborhood Guide for Families
Exeter Neighborhood Guide for Families

Photos by Jimmy Wilson, used with permission. 

Playgrounds, Parks & Attractions

The “Purple Dinosaur Park”, located on Front Street in the “Uptown” neighborhood, is great for little ones and toddlers. Planet Playground is the Seacoast area’s largest wooden playground, complete with a Space Rocket structure. We even have a gorgeous outdoor pool open during the summer! Swasey Parkway is ideal for a stroll along the Squamscott River, with plenty of room for bike riding and picnicking. There are several other smaller parks and playgrounds, as well as a great public library downtown.

Childcare & Schools

There are a lot of different childcare centers to choose from, whether you want day care, preschool, or both. We now have a full service YMCA in town. In addition to so many amenities, Exeter is well known around the world because of the prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy.

Exeter is part of the SAU16 school district. Each town in the district has their own elementary school and then they merge to attend CMS in Stratham and then Exeter High School. Specifically, Exeter has 2 elementary schools. Main Street School is grades K-2 and Lincoln Street School is grades 3-5. According to U.S. News, Exeter High School ranked 9th within NH.

Exeter Neighborhood Guide for Families Map

Shops & Restaurants

Downtown has been going through a renaissance of late, with the addition of several new restaurants, cafes, retail shops, and art galleries. It’s a lovely place to stroll on a warm night and there are several great spots for any kind of outing you’re looking for.

My favorite dinner spot for a date night is Otis.  For a night out with the kids, I would recommend Sea Dog, Station 19 and The Thirsty Moose. For a quick lunch I love the Green Bean and Laney and Lu! And the kids LOVE Stillwells Riverwalk Ice ream located near Swasey Parkway.

Photos provided by TEAM Exeter by Raya on Assignment. Used with permission.


The town Recreation Department offers many athletic opportunities and activities for all ages, and the local non-profit arts & culture organization TEAM hosts multiple festivals, art walks, and free concerts throughout the year. We’re also lucky to host a farmers’ market on Thursday afternoons from May to October. There is always something going on in Exeter!

Exeter Neighborhood Guide for Families
Mollie Ruffner
Ruffner Real Estate LLC
185 Water Street
Exeter, NH 03833
Office: (603)-772-6675
Cell: (603)-770-6840
Fax: (603)-218-6205
Exeter Neighborhood Guide for Families

Mollie Ruffner was born and raised in the Exeter area and earned a B.S. in Business Management. She enjoys traveling, cooking, spending time outside and gardening. Mollie, her husband Scott and their children (ages 3 and 10) reside in Exeter so obviously they love it!

Mollie is the Principal Broker at Ruffner Real Estate LLC. She has been with Ruffner since 2006 and is licensed in New Hampshire and Maine, is experienced in residential, commercial and land sales and rentals. Mollie is a member of the Northern New England Real Estate Network, the Granite State South Board of Realtors, the Maine Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. She has also been awarded the Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI), a nationally known and highly acclaimed designation. 

Reach out to Mollie for any questions about Exeter!