Ten Fun Things to Do in Dover NH
- Explore the seven rivers of the Piscataqua basin.
- Check out handcrafts, informational displays, food booths, entertainment, and more at Apple Harvest Day, held the first Saturday in October.
- Sample some of the area’s diverse ethnic cuisine — from traditional New England seafood to Chinese, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Thai, and more.
- Explore Dover’s original 1675 William Damm Garrison House, part of the Woodman Institute Museum—the city’s hidden treasure.
- See how pottery is made at Salmon Falls Stoneware.
- Listen to live concerts featuring nationally known performers at the Cochecho Arts Festival on Friday nights during summer.
- Take a walking tour of Dover’s historic downtown and Riverwalk.
- Shop for one-of-a-kind gifts, antiques, art, and unique crafts.
- Enjoy the many hands-on exhibits at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire.
- Get a bird’s eye view of Dover and surrounding communities from the top of Garrison Hill. Climb to the top of the Garrison Hill Tower for an even more spectacular view.
Outdoor Activities in Dover NH
Dover’s climate captures the full spectrum of four seasons.
However, its proximity to the ocean tempers both the summer heat and winter cold.
The greater Dover area features magnificent parks, trails, towers, views, hikes, and access to the water and has more than 150 acres of richly equipped parklands, three rivers, a 73-acre pond, and a year-round program of activities and events.
Rising to a 298-foot elevation overlooking Dover, the Garrison Hill Park and Tower has provided visitors and residents alike with a bird’s eye view of Dover and its surrounding communities for more than 100 years.
The park’s facilities include colorful climbing equipment for children, a covered picnic pavilion, and an observation tower. From the tower, a replica of the original 1913 structure, visitors can enjoy breathtaking, panoramic views from the White Mountains to the Isles of Shoals five miles out into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Cochecho, Bellamy, Piscataqua, and Salmon Falls Rivers run through and around Dover, offering both scenic vistas and recreational opportunities. For visitors who are approaching Dover by boat, head straight up the Cochecho River to downtown Dover and dock at George’s Marina, a full-service marina including dock slips, a nearby restaurant, and service and repair of all types of craft.
You’ll even find a state-of-the-art skate park right in downtown Dover for inline hockey, rollerblading, and skateboarding.
Sports enthusiasts of all ages enjoy Dover’s many parks. Hilton Park is a beautiful historic state park on the Piscataqua River, offering a playground, picnic area, boat launch, and grills. Visitors to the Willand Pond Recreation Area can enjoy the 73-acre pond in all seasons. A trail takes foot travelers along the pond’s northeastern shore, and the pond is ideal for fishing and boating in the spring through fall and ice-skating and ice fishing in the winter.
Visitors travel from far and wide to walk, snowshoe, and cross-country ski through Dover’s natural areas. Bellamy Park (on Bellamy Road) features magnificent woodlands, grassy open spaces, wooded trails, spectacular views along the picturesque Bellamy River, and a first-class disc golf course.
The Bellamy Wildlife Management Area (on Old Garrison Road) is a hunter’s paradise teeming with wildlife and an extensive network of trails that cross both field and forest to wind along the shores of the Bellamy River. The nearby Bellamy Wildlife Sanctuary (off Bay View Road) is a haven for many creatures, including several endangered bird species. A one-mile, looping path takes walkers along the shores of the Bellamy River.
Visitors also can enjoy the newest addition to the Dover Park system: Cochecho Park, located off Sixth Street along the Cochecho River. This 20-acre protected area offers a network of trails for walking and winter sporting activities.
More walking and running trails can be found on the grounds of the Strafford County Farm, located in the rural northwest corner of the city. Both the Bluebird Trail and Cathy Shiro O’Brien Cross-Country Trail, named for the native Dover Olympian, follow the edge of the Cochecho River.
Both trails lead past the historic marker commemorating the site of the old asylum, the burning of which triggered the passage of landmark legislation to protect the rights of the infirm.
Golfers marvel at the New Hampshire golf scene. The Cochecho Country Club, a magnificent 18-hole private course, is just two miles from downtown Dover. The Links at Outlook public golf course in nearby South Berwick, Maine, offers 18 championship holes built in the Scottish tradition. The Oaks Golf Links, a course situated on 270 gently rolling acres of bentgrass resembling the Heathland in England, is another charming 18-hole public course located in Somersworth, as is Sunningdale Golf Club, a 9-hole course.
For outdoor enthusiasts planning to spend some time in the area, the Old Stage Campground accommodates tents, trailers, and RVs with three-way hookups. Ayer’s Lake Farm Campground and Cottages offers waterfront, wooded RV and tent sites. Canoe rentals are available on site.