Place Category: Beach Towns
Rye, New Hampshire was the first settlement in what is now the state of New Hampshire. It was originally called Pannaway and was established by David Thompson in 1623. The town is the only one in New Hampshire to include off-shore islands, four of the Isles of Shoales. The other five islands in the 9-isle grouping belong to the State of Maine.
The beach area on the mainland is 8 miles long, and is a popular east coast beaches place for walking, swimming, beachcombing, and whale watching at Odiorne Point, Wallis Sands, Jenniss and Rye State Parks and State Harbor. In addition, there are marine research facilities with daily boat transportation available to the Shoals Islands.
Star Island is the largest of the Shoals Islands. It is the largest of the New Hampshire Islands and has been the site of the Oceanic Hotel and Conference Center for over 100 years. The conference center operated by Star Island Corporation is loosely associated with the Unitarian Universalists and the United Church of Christ. The Star Island Corporation since 1915 has owned the island and the hotel. Staff consists of around 150 young adults known as Pelicans. Boat service is provided out of Rye. An interesting day trip is a visit to John Smith’s monument on the island and to the Tuck Monument. Various activities take place on Star Island including swimming, kiddie care, and sunset watching in addition to the informational conferences and seminars.
White Island, Seavey and Lunging Islands are private owned and have no public facilities.
Odiorne State Park was the site of the original fishing village and was also used as a military fort. Facilities for swimming and boating are available here. Wallis Sands is a fee beach open during summer season with a small store, and a public bathhouse, including shower facilities. Also at Odiorne State Park is the Seacoast Science Center, hands on learning center for children and families which showcases the history of this region of New Hampshire, both environmental and cultural. Each year over 60,000 visitors get the opportunity to view the unique natural history of the New Hampshire seacoast on site. Environmental events world wide are brought closer to home through exhibits and trained guides who are available to answer questions.
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There are numerous restaurants in Rye, mostly specializing in seafood. Whale watching tours leave daily from the harbor. Both bed and breakfasts and regular hotels, mixed with grand old visions of colonial style houses are available by reservation. Saunders at Rye Harbor, open all year round is a favorite local choice for wedding receptions, and celebrations as well as fine dining while enjoying the view of the Rye Harbor. Paul’s Carriage House is more casual dining with a selection of burgers, pasta and of course, the catch of the day. Service on the water is available. Ray’s Seafood Restaurant has been in business more than 40 years and also is near Rye Harbor. The menu features lobsters fresh caught by the restaurant owners.
Arbor Inn Bed & Breakfast, Rock Ledge Manor, Rosewood Inn at Rye and Ships Inn at Rye Beach all provide accommodations to anchor your stay at Rye. Rye Beach New Hampshire should be on your list of east coast beaches to visit.