Rye is becoming a “suburb” of Portsmouth as Portsmouth sees a growth explosion in recent years. Rye has the longest coastline of any NH town, but surprisingly 65% of the town is marsh or wetlands. It prides itself in being a semi-rural town, with residents supporting preservation and restoration efforts. There are approximately 5200 residents, with its own elementary and middle schools. Rye students attend Portsmouth High School. The town of Rye has a micro-local scene, which can be defined by beautiful beaches — Odiorne Point State Park, Jenness Beach, Pirate’s Cove Beach, & Wallis Sands Beach. It is a wealthier town, with beautiful estates secluded in wooded bliss or beachfront seasonal million-dollar cottages.

Walking, Biking or Driving

All of the above! Take a walk along the longest stretch of beach in NH, or take a bike tour of Rye, stopping at Odiorne Point State Park and the Seacoast Science Center. Driving is the primary mode of transport here, but never disappoints with so much to see! Ocean Boulevard, Washington, Pioneer, Wallis & Sagamore Roads are the major roads in the area. Generally, little traffic exists other than during summer tourist months, where Ocean Boulevard (and beach parking!) and Lafayette Roads experience heightened volume.

The Scene

While seasonal cottages and homes along Rye Beaches vacate in the winter, this town is a great option for year-round living. Its proximity to Portsmouth, private neighborhoods, great schools, and growing local markets, restaurants, shops & activities all make it a must-see. Summer Sessions Surf Shop, Petey’s Summertime Seafood Bar & the Carriage House are local staples along Ocean Boulevard. Catch a whale-watching or fishing boat out of Rye Harbor, or take a scenic drive from Ocean Boulevard to Sagamore or Wentworth Road for some fresh fish at Seaport Fish or ice-cream at The Ice House. Odiorne Point State Park is home to the Seacoast Science Center, which offers a mini-aquarium experience, with a touch pool and small sea animals to view. It also is home to “Music By The Sea” summer family concert series every summer. Rye Airfield is a skate park offering fun for all ages as well.


Rye was founded in 1623, with the first permanent settlement at Odiorne Point. The town name was chosen by the Jenness Family, who were the only ones of the founding families to come from Rye, England. Interestingly enough, Rye was the first transatlantic cable communication site connecting the US and Europe (and hence how Cable Road & Cable Beach got its name). Rye also has 4 of the 9 Isles of Shoals, which are steeped in history. Stories of the Isles of Shoals range from pirate treasure and murder to it being a Victorian era resort destination of artists and writers.