Portsmouth, NH, Names & Numbers

Getting There

Charts: NOAA 13283, 13285, 13274SC, 13278, 13286

When approaching the mouth of the Piscataqua River, use caution, as the current is very strong and the channel is plied by a large number of commercial ships and recreational boats. If new to the area, you may want to time your arrival to coincide with slack tide.

From the south and east, the approach is clear of obstructions as long as you keep at least a mile offshore to avoid rocks and ledges. Pick up the G “1” Fl G bell at Gunboat Shoal and head north to R “2KR” then proceed northwest to R “2”.

From the north, be careful to steer clear of the numerous ledges that extend offshore of White Island. You are safest by keeping well offshore and heading for R “2KR”, then proceeding northwest to R “2”.

Follow the well-marked channel approximately 3 nautical miles and you’ll come to the downtown Portsmouth area and Prescott Park Municipal Docks. If you wish to continue upriver to, be aware that there are 4 bridges between Portsmouth and Great Bay. The Memorial Bridge (Rte. 1) is a lift bridge with a closed vertical clearance of 21′  (MHW). The second bridge is the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge (Rt. 1 Bypass), another lift bridge with a closed vertical clearance of 8′. The third bridge is the Piscataqua River Bridge (Interstate 95), which has a vertical clearance of 134′. The fourth bridge is the General Sullivan Bridge, which has a vertical clearance of 45′.

Dockage, Moorings & Service

  • Prescott Park Municipal Dock (603-431-8748): Conveniently located in downtown Portsmouth.Can accommodate 22 boats up to 55′ with 5′ maximum draft. Hourly rates and overnight stays available. Reservations recommended. No fuel or credit cards. Dinghy dock available.
  • Marina at Harbor Place (603-436-0915): Transient slips on the north side of the Memorial Bridge, with quick access to downtown Portsmouth. Floating docks with 18’ MLW; 24-hour security, showers, laundry. No fuel.
  • Wentworth Marina and Resort (603-433-5050): Large, full-service marina, spa/resort, restaurant and golf course on New Castle Island and Little Harbor. Sells gas and diesel (see website for current prices). Pool, tennis courts, laundry, toilets, showers, ice, cable, WiFi, courtesy shuttle to downtown.
  • Great Bay Marine (603-436-5299): Full service marina on Great Bay with haulout, storage, repair, a launch ramp, transient slips and moorings. Sells gas and diesel.
  • Portsmouth Yacht Club (603-436-9877): Private club offering reciprocal privileges. Carries gas and diesel.
  • Kittery Point Yacht Club (603-436-9303): Private club offering reciprocal privileges.

Marinas & Service in Kittery, Maine

  • Badgers Island Marina (207-439-3810): Located on the east side of the Memorial Bridge, Badgers now includes Kittery Landing Marina and offers transient slips and easy access downtown Portsmouth.
  • Island Marine Service (207-439-3819)
  • Kittery Point Wharf (207-439-0912): Located on Pepperell Cove, next to Frisbee’s Supermarket. Offers transient moorings.


  • When anchoring in the Piscataqua, remember to account for the river’s swift currents and use appropriate ground tackle.
  • A well-protected anchorage in 8′ to 10′ of water with good holding ground is located in Pepperell Cove, on the south side of Kittery Point.
  • Many other good spots to anchor can be found upriver inside the Piscataqua and inside Great Bay.
  • A dinghy dock is located at Prescott Park (see above under “Dockage”).


Launch Ramps

  • Pierce Island: Large ramp with ample parking on southern shore of Pierce Island. Good deep-water access to the harbor. Fee required. Strong currents can make launching a challenge.
  • A small launch ramp on the harbor is located on Kittery Point, in Maine, behind Frisbee’s Supermarket. No onsite trailer parking.
  • Another Piscataqua River boat ramp is located along Route 103, at Traip Academy on Williams Avenue. This ramp is paved and features limited parking.

Boat & Kayak Rental


  • Cabot Street Market, Portsmouth (603-436-0028 )
  • Hannaford’s Supermarket, Portsmouth (603-436-6669)
  • Frisbee’s Supermarket (207-439-0014): On Pepperell Cove, on the Kittery side of the river, Frisbee’s is the oldest family store in America, and sells basic groceries, beer and wine. It also offers convenient dockage for patrons.

Where to Eat

Things to See & Do

  • Strawbery Banke Museum (603-433-1100): If you’re interested in American history, you owe yourself a trip to Strawbery Banke Museum. Through its restored houses, exhibits, historic landscapes and gardens and interpretive programs, Strawbery Banke tells the stories of the many generations who settled in the Portsmouth from the late l7th to the mid-20th century, and the many changes the city has seen.
  • The Portsmouth Center (603-436-8433): Housed in the former city library, the Portsmouth Center is a gateway to the historical, cultural and artistic venues of greater Portsmouth. It also serves as an exhibition site for showcasing the art and history of the region. The building includes large information panels on each of Portsmouth’s historic houses, museums, landmarks and performance venues. The side galleries are filled with rotating exhibits, and the center’s theater hosts continuous showings of “Welcome to Historic Portsmouth,” a film on Portsmouth’s 400-year history.
  • Prescott Park: Located at the edge of the Piscataqua River and across from Strawbery Banke Museum, Prescott Park was donated to the city of Portsmouth around the turn of the century by two sisters, Josie and Sarah Prescott. The popular waterfront park features extensive flower gardens, including large demonstration beds where many varieties of flowers are shown each summer. The park also is the site of one of New England’s most popular outdoor summer events, the Prescott Park Arts Festival, which during July and part of August presents a musical and dozens of performances by musicians and theater groups. Since 1974 the festival has drawn more than millions visitors for productions from “Annie” to “The Wizard of Oz.”
  • Fort Constitution Historic Site: One of 7 forts built to protect Portsmouth, Fort Constitution on New Castle Island is a National Historic Site and is open to the public.
  • USS Albacore Center (603-436-3680): Built in Portsmouth in 1953, the USS Albacore served as the prototype for today’s modern submarine fleet. The center offers year-round guided tours of the most advanced U.S. Navy submarine built before the atomic era.
  • The Music Hall (603-436-2400): This 900-seat theater is the oldest in New Hampshire and presents live performances of music, theater and dance interspersed with films. Saved from destruction in the 1980s, The Music Hall is considered a cultural bastion of Portsmouth and the Seacoast.
  • Portsmouth Harbor Trail: Whether you opt for a guided tour of Portsmouth or do it on your own, this handy guide will give you all the info you need to appreciate the city’s numerous historic sights.
  • Portsmouth Harbor Cruises (800-776-0915): Offers tours of Portsmouth Harbor aboard a vintage 60-foot Deltaville Deadrise.
  • Isles of Shoals Steamship Company (603-431-5500): Offers cruises to the Isles of Shoals and tours of Portsmouth Harbor, as well as weddings and educational field trips.
  • Portsmouth Kayak Adventures (603-559-1000): Located in downtown Portsmouth, PKA offers guided kayak trips of the Piscataqua and other local waterways, as well as kayak rentals.
  • Seacoast Science Center (603-436-8043): Located at Odiorne State Park, just south of Portsmouth, the center features interesting, educational exhibits and programs relating to the marine world of the Northeast. The center and its staff, “strive to provide exceptional learning experiences in the natural sciences through dynamic and innovative programs and exhibits,” which include everything from outdoor concerts to nature walks to summer camps. The center is open 7 days a week, 10:00 a.m.-5:0 p.m., April 1-October 31. Winter hours are Saturday through Monday, and on most NH/ME/MA school vacation days._Admission: $4 for ages 13 through adult; $2 for children 3 to 12. Kids 3 and under free.
  • Odiorne Point State Park (603-436-1552): Comprising 330 acres of coastal land laced by wooded trails and bounded by a rocky shoreline, Odiorne Park features picnic facilities, a launch ramp for small boats and kayaks, biking and hiking trails and even old WW II sub-spotting bunkers. Admission is $4 for adults; $2 for children ages 2 to 11.

Where to Stay

General Information

  • Portsmouthnh.com is an excellent source of local information, including a virtual harbor tour.
  • The Portsmouth Center (603) 436-8433): A gateway to the city’s many cultural and historic venues.