Free summer events and activities for families

Summer fun doesn’t need to cost a thing if you know where to look. Here’s a New Hampshire-wide sampling of this summer’s free activities and events for kids and families

Free Hampton Beach events

  • June 12-August 28: Head to Hampton Beach for free fireworks every Wednesday night, starting June 12 at 9:30 p.m. and running through August 28, weather-permitting.
  • June 20-22: Watch master sand sculptors at work as they compete in the 19th annual Hampton Beach Sand Sculpting Festival.
  • August 12-16: If you’re visiting Hampton between in mid August, then you’ll love the annual Children’s Festival, complete with a magic show, parade, games and crafts – all for free.
  • Ongoing: Don’t miss free concerts over on the Hampton Beach Seashell Stage, which are held at the stage on weekend evenings and select weeknights throughout the summer.
  • July and August: On Monday nights in July and August, check out a free family-friendly movie on the beach, near the Hampton Beach playground area.

Free Portsmouth and seacoast area events

  • June 6, July 4, August 1: Step back in time with the American Independence Museum in Exeter for Revolutionary Story Time, which takes place on the first Thursday of each month from 2-4 p.m. The program, designed for kids ages 3-5, includes stories and music for the first 30 minutes and afterwards, there’s playtime including crafts, colonial games, and period dress-up.
  • June 8: Portsmouth hosts its 41st annual Market Square Day on Saturday, June 8. This all-day free event in historic Portsmouth’s downtown area is filled with music, games and other family-friendly activities, plus an opportunity to learn more about the many community organizations and businesses that call the area home.
  • June 15: 2019 marks the 39 years for the Somersworth International Children’s Festival, happening on Saturday, June 15 (locations are at Memorial Drive and Noble Pines Park). Entertainment includes a craft center, petting zoo, bounce houses, kids stage, world cultures area, bubble and paint stations and more.
  • Saturdays: All summer long, free outdoor concerts take place on Saturdays from 5-9:30 p.m. as part of Summer in the Street in Portsmouth. Look for the stage on Pleasant Street.

Free Merrimack Valley area events

  • June 21-23: Don’t miss Concord’s 45th Annual Market Days Festival where much of Main Street is closed off and the streets are filled with music, vendors, food and other entertainment. Admission is free.
  • June 22: The Hooksett Library invites everyone for a free Touch-A-Truck event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition to cars and trucks, there will be face painting, refreshments, games and a photo booth.
  • July 5 and 21: Grab a blanket, snacks and your family and head to Abbie Griffin Park in Merrimack for the popular Movies in the Park. On the big screen this summer: “Ralph Breaks the Internet” on Friday, July 5, “Mary Poppins Returns” on Sunday, July 21 and “Incredibles 2” on Tuesday, August 6.
  • July 11-14: It’s family-friendly fun north of Concord at Grimes Field in Hillsborough where the Hillsborough Fest and Fair is taking place. Attendees can enjoy carnival rides, entertainment, activities for kids, lawn tractor pulls, 5k road race and a variety of food. The Saturday fireworks spectacular is one of the premier fireworks displays in New Hampshire. The Hillsborough Hometown Parade is Sunday. Admission is free as are many of the event activities but there is a nominal fee for parking.
  • July 11: Manchester’s popular Trolley Night event will be held on Thursday, July 11. From 5 to 8 p.m., a trolley loops in and around downtown, stopping at arts and cultural institutions, all of which offer free admission for the evening. Among family-friendly trolley stops, visit the SEE Science Center, Studio 550, the Millyard Museum and NH Institute of Art. Most venues have special events and promotions planned specifically for the trolley night.
  • Ongoing: If you are fortunate enough to live in Concord when the temperatures soar, cool off for free at any one of the city’s many public swimming pools. Locations of public pools include White Park and Rollins Park. Bring ID for free entry. Non-residents pay a small fee.
  • Ongoing: For ongoing fun, check out Summer Fun in Nashua. From June through August, there are numerous events including movies, theatre and concerts at Greeley Park on Concord Street in Nashua. Signature events include: Fairy Tale Festival on July 20 and Wheels & Wings on September 14.
  • Tuesdays: The Derry Parks and Recreation Department kicks off summer with its annual Summer Concert Series on June 11. Concerts take place every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in MacGregor Park, located next to the Derry Public Library, through August 13. Go to the website for the full schedule.
  • Saturdays: If you need to find a cool place to take respite from the sun, then don’t miss Free Admission Saturdays at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester. On the second Saturday of each month, New Hampshire residents can visit the museum free of charge from 10 a.m. until noon.

Free White Mountains events

  • June 8: In Littleton, it’s Pollyanna Glad Day on Saturday, June 8. The free event is an opportunity to celebrate author Eleanor Porter’s eternally cheerful character. Stop by the Pollyanna sculpture and rub her high-top shoe for luck. The all-ages festival takes place on the Littleton Public Library lawn.
  • June 15: The Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm in beautiful Tamworth is opening up its doors to NH residents for free on Saturday, June 15. Plan to visit with farm animals, tour the historic grounds, partake in daily farm chores and much more.
  • August 3: The Attitash Blueberry Fest, taking place on Saturday, August 3, includes a craft fair, live music, games and contests, including a pie-eating contest.
  • Tuesdays: In North Conway, take in a free outdoor movie at Settlers’ Green on Tuesday evenings throughout the summer (July 23, July 30, August 6 and August 13). Family-friendly movies are shown on a 16-foot movie screen with outdoor lawn chairs provided for the first 30 guests.
  • Saturdays: Love Curious George? Make sure to visit the Margaret H.A. Rey Center in Waterville Valley and check out the open tours and free story times on Saturday mornings.

Other free events you wont want to miss

  • June 1: The first Saturday in June is New Hampshire Fish and Game’s Free Fishing Day. Residents and visitors are invited to fish any body of water (both fresh or saltwater) without a fishing license.
  • June 22-23: If your kids love rocks, minerals and playing in the dirt, then you might want to head to the 55th Annual Gilsum Rock Swap on June 22-23. Kids can pan for minerals as well as view beautiful gemstones and handmade jewelry.
  • July 4: Celebrate the Fourth of July at the Enfield Shaker Museum at its annual Patriotic Sing-A-Long and Pie Sale. Admission is free, but you will have to pay for slices of pie.
  • July 20: The Loon Center in Moultonborough is holding its 42nd Annual Loon Festival on Saturday, July 20. The Loon Preservation Committee works to preserve the Common Loon and its habitat in New Hampshire through research, education and management activities. Attendees can learn about these marvelous and mysterious birds and how you can help protect them.
  • August 2-4: Soar to new heights at the annual 38th Annual Suncook Valley Rotary Hot Air Balloon Rally, happening at Drake Field in Pittsfield. In addition to more than a dozen hot air balloons, there’s a craft fair, 5k road race, food vendors and helicopter rides.
  • August 23-24: If your family loves wildlife and the great outdoors, then you’ll want to head to Colebrook for the 28th Annual North Country Moose Festival. There’s a street fair, car show, kids area and carnival, moose calling contest and much more.
  • Thursdays: Pack a picnic lunch and head to Colburn Park in Lebanon where you can enjoy free children’s entertainment every Thursday. Starting at noon, performances include children’s theater, music, storytelling and more. The free weekly event runs from June 27 through August 8.
Categories: Family-friendly things to do