New Hampshire’s  most popular (and virtually only) beachfront community has infused generations of New Englanders with loving memories of cotton candy and fried clams, penny arcade games, and sunburns on the sand. Sure it’s cheesy—but that’s part of its allure. There’s virtually no end to the people-watching on a 90-degree August day, and no end to the crowds either.
If you prefer a more picturesque seaside experience, the little town of Rye is your ticket. In fact, Rye more closely resembles the Hamptons of Long Island , with seaside mansions and inns facing the waves and a picturesque downtown that is one of the oldest in New Hampshire. An excellent state park offers a quieter beach.
On the other side of Hampton, Seabrook has the dubious distinction of being home to a nuclear power plant that spurred widespread opposition by the Clamshell Alliance, starting the No Nukes movement in the 1980s. The plant is still open (and open for tours), but the protest led to a nuclear freeze on future plants in the United States. If you mention the name, be prepared for controversy, as the nuclear issue is still a divisive one for many in the area.