Geography of Rockingham County, New Hampshire

Rockingham County, located in the southeastern corner of New Hampshire, is a region characterized by its diverse geography, rich history, and vibrant communities. From the rocky coastline of the Atlantic Ocean to the rolling hills of the interior, the county boasts a variety of landscapes, including beaches, forests, rivers, and lakes. Its climate, rivers, lakes, and other natural features contribute to the county’s unique character and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation, tourism, and agriculture. This comprehensive overview will explore the geography of Rockingham County, including its physical characteristics, climate, rivers, lakes, and more. Check climateforcities to learn more about the state of New Hampshire.

Physical Geography

Rockingham County is situated along the Atlantic coast of New Hampshire, bordering Massachusetts to the south and Maine to the east. The county’s landscape is defined by its coastline, which stretches for over 30 miles (about 48 kilometers) along the Gulf of Maine, as well as its inland areas, which feature rolling hills, forests, and fertile valleys.

The southern part of the county is characterized by its sandy beaches, rocky shorelines, and tidal marshes, while the northern part is dominated by the foothills of the White Mountains and the Great Bay Estuary. The county is also home to several rivers, including the Merrimack River, Exeter River, and Lamprey River, which flow through the region’s valleys and provide habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife.


Rockingham County experiences a humid continental climate, characterized by four distinct seasons with warm summers and cold winters. The region’s climate is influenced by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, which moderates temperatures and brings moisture-laden air masses.

Summer temperatures in Rockingham County typically range from the 70s to the 80s Fahrenheit (around 21-30°C), with occasional heatwaves pushing temperatures into the 90s Fahrenheit (around 32°C). Humidity levels can be high during the summer months, especially along the coast.

Winter temperatures are cold, with daytime highs often in the 20s and 30s Fahrenheit (around -6 to 1°C) and nighttime lows dropping below freezing. Snowfall is common during the winter months, with average annual snowfall ranging from around 30 to 40 inches (about 76 to 102 centimeters).

Coastal Areas

Rockingham County’s coastline is a major geographic feature, with sandy beaches, rocky shores, and tidal marshes providing habitat for a variety of plant and animal species. The county’s coastal areas are popular destinations for beachgoers, boaters, and outdoor enthusiasts, drawing visitors from across the region.

Hampton Beach

Hampton Beach is one of the most popular beaches in New Hampshire, known for its wide sandy shores, lively boardwalk, and scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean. The beach offers opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, beachcombing, and water sports, including surfing, kayaking, and parasailing.

Hampton Beach is also home to several events and festivals throughout the year, including the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival, Sand Sculpting Competition, and Hampton Beach Volleyball Tournament, which attract thousands of visitors to the area.

Inland Areas

In addition to its coastline, Rockingham County is home to several inland areas, including forests, hills, and river valleys, which provide habitat for a variety of plant and animal species and offer opportunities for outdoor recreation and tourism.

Great Bay Estuary

The Great Bay Estuary is a large tidal estuary located in the northern part of Rockingham County, fed by several rivers and streams, including the Lamprey River, Squamscott River, and Exeter River. The estuary is an important habitat for migratory birds, fish, and other wildlife, and is protected as part of the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Visitors to the Great Bay Estuary can explore the area’s scenic beauty and diverse ecosystems by hiking, birdwatching, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. The estuary is also home to several conservation areas and nature preserves, including Adams Point Wildlife Management Area and Lubberland Creek Preserve, which offer opportunities for outdoor recreation and environmental education.

Agriculture and Land Use

Agriculture is an important industry in Rockingham County, with the region’s fertile soils and favorable climate supporting a variety of crops and livestock. The county is known for its dairy farms, apple orchards, and vegetable farms, as well as its horse farms and equestrian centers.

In addition to agriculture, Rockingham County is also home to several conservation areas, state parks, and recreational areas, which protect the region’s natural and cultural resources and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and tourism.


Rockingham County, New Hampshire, is a region of diverse landscapes, rich history, and vibrant communities. Its humid continental climate, characterized by warm summers and cold winters, provides ideal conditions for outdoor recreation, agriculture, and tourism. With its sandy beaches, rocky shorelines, and scenic inland areas, Rockingham County offers a wealth of opportunities for beachgoing, boating, hiking, and exploring the great outdoors. Whether you’re lounging on Hampton Beach, hiking in Great Bay Estuary, or visiting a local farm or orchard, the county is sure to captivate visitors with its natural beauty, charm, and sense of history.