Things To Do In Portsmouth

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Al Gauron Deep Sea Fishing & Whale Watching?s three boats ferry up to 60 passengers out into the Atlantic?s cobalt waters during fishing excursions, and up to 150 while whale-watching. The fleet also escorts passengers across the ocean on evening fireworks cruises.

Al Gauron?s sea-seasoned team takes fishermen miles offshore on 2-, 4-, and 8.5-hour deep-sea fishing trips that have yielded fish up to 20 pounds in the past. Anglers have even been known to catch up to 100 mackerel on four-hour trips. The fleet can also make 12-hour fishing-marathon trips in order to give anglers a chance to fish in waters that are farther out.

For close encounters with humpbacks, finbacks, minke whales, and giant sharks, the ships sail up to 40 miles offshore on five-hour whale-watching trips. All information the crew gathers from the whales, such as pod size and each whale?s sweater size, is given to the Blue Ocean Society in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

1 Ocean Boulevard
Hampton Beach,
NH
US

Paramotor Tours sends adventurers skyward on the wings of motor-powered paragliders. Nationally certified pilots adhere strictly to FAA safety regulations as they strap in for tandem flights, lifting thrill seekers to heights of up to 8,000 feet. To help ensure smooth takeoffs and landings, each glider boasts several safety features, including reserve parachutes, GPS navigation, and a pause button. Adventurers who wish to pilot their own glider can sign up for a solo-flying course, available on select days.

Rte. 1
North Hampton,
NH
US

Paintballers sprint, strafe, and army-crawl across Birch Hill Paintball's battlefields, seeking refuge behind overturned barrels or inflated edifices as they seek out opponents. The venue features four distinct battlegrounds, letting players outflank adversaries in an urban setting, skulk stealthily through a sandy junkyard, or obscure themselves behind the trees, fences, and elephantine ant hills of a wooded battlefield. Players without their own paintball guns and other munitions can rent all necessary gear directly from Birch Hill, which hosts simulated warfare on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

76 Birch Hill Rd
York,
ME
US

For the past several decades, Bowl-O-Rama has been carefully tended to by the Genimatas family. Over its history, the alley has retained much of its original 1950s charm but, as co-owner Dale Genimatas says, "We are always updating and doing new things." Dale operates the alley with her husband and sister-in-law, who she says have been involved with Bowl-O-Rama their entire lives. Dale began working at the facility in 1979 and has since seen it grow to include a total of 28 candlepin lanes, computerized scoring systems, and a food-and-beverage kitchen where chefs bake hand-tossed pizzas and appetizers that include chicken tenders and cheese sticks. Throughout the year, the family hosts open-bowling hours and special events, closing only on Christmas Day to let the pins celebrate with their families. With each weekend comes the return of cosmic glow bowling, and each year brings annual fundraisers such as the Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl-A-Thon. "It's a very electric environment," says Dale, reflecting on the scores of players and benefactors that come together each year to support the organization.

599 Lafayette Rd
Portsmouth,
NH
US

Before they journey down Dr. Von Dark's Tunnel of Terror, riders sit facing each other aboard a two-person tube. But they won't actually see one another for long, since the aptly named doctor has designed a 300-foot jaunt whose twists and 40-foot plunge unfold in complete darkness.

The pitch-black tunnel is just one of many heart-pounding attractions at the more than 26-acre Water Country that have helped make Water Country the Parenting NH Magazine's Family Favorite Award for Best Water Park in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Additionally, visitors can dash down the 422-foot-long Racing Rapids slide, navigate a quarter mile of waterfalls and caves along Adventure River, or float in a wave pool with 700,000 gallons of water. Water Country likewise caters to youngsters with giant tipping buckets and a 40-foot-long pirate ship complete with slides.

During full days of sliding and splashing, guests can rest at one of the park's shaded cabanas and enjoy an array of tasty snacks and sweets from nearly 10 food options scattered throughout the park, including stands specializing in Dippin' Dots and fried dough.

2300 Lafayette Rd.
Portsmouth,
NH
US

When they hear the churning Atlantic surf lapping at the edge of the store, located directly across the beach in Rye, just outside the metro area, the trained staffers at Summer Sessions don't just hear the ocean—they hear the call to adventure. To that end, they equip customers with wave-taming equipment ranging from surf- and skimboards to standup paddleboards. They purchase new boards from Rusty, Riviera, and Costa Rican Customs and wetsuits from Rip Curl and O'Neill each season, ensuring that customers can learn using their own gear. In addition to housing a coffee shop and convenience store, Summer Sessions also maintains a stable of rental boards and, on special demo nights, lets visitors test out its stock of boards to find a fit from varied lengths and styles.

The team members' commitment doesn't end with gear. They also help new beach-goers ride their first waves, guiding students of all skill levels into the water to teach basic surfing or paddling mechanics. Coaches also lead camps for children and adults and always maintain a ratio of one teacher to every five students to allow proper individual instruction.

2281 Ocean Boulevard
Rye,
NH
US