Rockingham County, located in the southeastern corner of New Hampshire, is a region of diverse geography, rich history, and vibrant communities. From its picturesque coastline along the Atlantic Ocean to its rolling hills and fertile valleys, Rockingham County offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage. In this comprehensive exploration, we will delve into the geography, climate, rivers, lakes, and other notable features that define Rockingham County.


According to Paradisdachat, Rockingham County spans an area of approximately 795 square miles (2,059 square kilometers) and is situated along the coast of New Hampshire. It is bordered by several other counties, including Strafford County to the north, Hillsborough County to the west, and Essex County in Massachusetts to the south. The county’s eastern boundary is formed by the Atlantic Ocean.

The geography of Rockingham County is characterized by its diverse landscape, which includes sandy beaches, rocky shorelines, rolling hills, and fertile valleys. The region is part of the New England Upland, a geological region of low mountains and hills that extends across much of New England. The coastline features several picturesque harbors, estuaries, and islands, including the Isles of Shoals, which lie several miles offshore.

The county seat of Rockingham County is the city of Brentwood, while other notable communities include Portsmouth, Exeter, Hampton, and Derry. These towns and cities offer a mix of historic architecture, cultural attractions, and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike.


Rockingham County experiences a humid continental climate, characterized by four distinct seasons with relatively cold winters and warm summers. The region’s climate is influenced by its coastal location, with the Atlantic Ocean moderating temperatures and bringing maritime influences to the area.

Summers in Rockingham County are typically warm and humid, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit (around 24 to 28 degrees Celsius). Heatwaves are common during the summer months, with temperatures occasionally exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius). Coastal breezes provide some relief from the heat, especially in communities near the ocean.

Winters in Rockingham County are generally cold and snowy, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-20s to low 30s Fahrenheit (around -4 to 0 degrees Celsius). Snowfall is common, particularly in the inland areas of the county, where several inches of snow can accumulate throughout the winter months. Along the coast, snowfall is usually less significant due to the moderating influence of the ocean.

Spring and fall are transitional seasons in Rockingham County, with mild temperatures and changing foliage making them pleasant times to visit. Spring brings the blooming of wildflowers and the greening of the landscape, while fall showcases the vibrant colors of changing leaves and the harvest of agricultural crops.

Rivers and Lakes:

Rockingham County is home to several rivers, streams, and lakes, which provide valuable habitat for fish and wildlife and support recreational activities such as fishing, boating, and kayaking.

The Merrimack River is the largest river in Rockingham County and forms part of the county’s western boundary. It is one of the major rivers in New England and is known for its scenic beauty, historic significance, and diverse ecosystems. The river offers opportunities for fishing, boating, and sightseeing, as well as birdwatching and wildlife viewing along its banks.

In addition to the Merrimack River, Rockingham County is also home to several smaller rivers and streams, such as the Exeter River, the Lamprey River, and the Squamscott River, which meander through the countryside and provide habitat for fish, wildlife, and vegetation. These waterways offer opportunities for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking, as well as scenic beauty and wildlife viewing.

While Rockingham County does not have many natural lakes, it is home to several reservoirs, ponds, and estuaries that provide recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. These include Great Bay, located along the coast, which is an important estuary and habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.

Parks and Recreation:

Rockingham County is home to several parks, nature reserves, and outdoor recreation areas that offer opportunities for hiking, picnicking, wildlife viewing, and more. These include:

  • Pawtuckaway State Park, located near the town of Nottingham, which features hiking trails, campgrounds, and picnic areas, as well as opportunities for fishing, boating, and swimming.
  • Odiorne Point State Park, located near the city of Portsmouth, which offers hiking trails, a sandy beach, and picnic areas, as well as opportunities for birdwatching and tidepooling along the rocky shore.
  • Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge, located along the coast, which protects habitat for migratory birds, waterfowl, and other wildlife and offers opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, and photography.

These parks and reserves serve as valuable natural resources for residents and visitors to enjoy, providing opportunities for outdoor recreation, education, and conservation in a protected setting.

Historic Landmarks:

Rockingham County is rich in history and is home to several historic landmarks and sites that showcase its cultural heritage and significance. These include:

  • Strawbery Banke Museum, located in the city of Portsmouth, which preserves and interprets the history of the region through its collection of historic buildings, exhibits, and living history demonstrations.
  • Exeter Historical Society, located in the town of Exeter, which features exhibits and artifacts related to the town’s history, including Native American artifacts, colonial-era documents, and Civil War memorabilia.
  • Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, located in the town of Hampton, which is a historic entertainment venue that has hosted concerts, dances, and other events since the early 20th century.

These historic landmarks and sites provide opportunities for visitors to learn about the rich history and cultural heritage of Rockingham County and its role in shaping the history of New Hampshire and the United States.


In conclusion, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, offers a wealth of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and cultural heritage for residents and visitors to enjoy. From its scenic coastline and historic towns to its rolling hills and picturesque rivers, the county’s geography reflects the diverse ecosystems and rich history of the region. Whether exploring the Merrimack River, hiking in Pawtuckaway State Park, or touring the historic sites of Portsmouth, Rockingham County has something to offer for everyone. With its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and rich cultural heritage, Rockingham County is truly a gem of southeastern New Hampshire.

Geography of Rockingham County, New Hampshire
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