Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is the quintessential New England maritime port, situated where fresh water from the Piscataqua River mixes with the saltwater of the Atlantic. The city is the third oldest in the nation, with almost 400 years of history behind it, including centuries of prominence in America's shipbuilding and shipping industries. Beyond its history, however, Portsmouth attractions offer visitors an authentic, affordable New England experience, without any pre-fabricated atmosphere. What Portsmouth tourists will find is a vibrant artistic pulse in a city that has not forgotten its past. While known now for its eclectic restaurants, shops, arts, and theater, Portsmouth remains tied—heart and soul—to the sea. The nearest major airport to Portsmouth is Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, about 35 miles away.
When To Go
Located at the northern end of New Hampshire's seacoast, Portsmouth attracts visitors year-round, with festivals and outdoor events. Summer is the most popular time to visit, with its warm temperatures and water activities. Many people also go in the fall for changing leaves and pleasant weather. Winter brings snow and chilly days, but seasonal events keep things lively. Spring is the least popular time to visit because of rain and cool weather.
high season: June to mid--October
high season: June to mid--October
low season: January to March
shoulder season: April to May, mid-October to December
Weather InformationPortsmouth experiences four distinct seasons. Summer is warm and pleasant, with high temperatures averaging 77 to 88 degrees and occasional thunderstorms. Fall brings comfortable days (average highs of 50 to 72 degrees), cool nights, and colorful foliage. Winter can be cold and snowy, with high temperatures averaging 34 to 39 degrees. Spring sees a rise in temperature (average highs of 46 to 68 degrees) and rain, with sunny days sprinkled throughout the season.
Crowd InformationSummer is the most popular time for visitors, especially families. Fall also gets busy, attracting couples, seniors, and tour groups, because schools are in session and leaves are changing. Winter events draw a large crowd, including First Night and the Snowflake Festival in December, and the Winter Wine Festival from mid-January through February. Events attracts visitors year-round, including the Chowder Festival and Market Square Day in June, and the Americana Festival in July.
Closure InformationMost hotels, shops, and attractions remain open year-round. However, the historic house museums, water parks, and activities like kayaking, charter fishing, whale watching, and cruise boats, close from mid-October through June.
When to SaveWith an increase in demand, summer is the most expensive time to visit. Hotels offer lower prices in winter and shoulder seasons, and many shops have sales in late winter and early spring.
When to BookVisitors with flexible travel plans can take advantage of low last-minute airfares to one of the surrounding airports. However, those with a set schedule should book flights at least three weeks in advance to obtain lower prices and ensure availability, especially for travel during the high season. Last-minute lodging is available most of the year, but book at least two months in advance for visits during the high season to ensure availability in one of the downtown hotels.
Information provided by the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce