Great Island Common
Great Island Common
4.5
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Duration: 1-2 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles61 reviews
Excellent
43
Very good
13
Average
4
Poor
0
Terrible
1

NHjo
Saco, ME12,236 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Friends
We went on a warm and foggy day in late February when the park was practically empty -- such a change from the other seasons, especially summer. It had a stark and beautiful simplicity. It was so foggy that we couldn't see much of the ocean, and the only sounds were the mournful cries of the seagulls and the invisible container ship's foghorn. Great Island Common is remarkable in any kind of weather, though.
Written 28 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Maurene_K
Dover, NH11,899 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Solo
On a warm June day with fair weather, I went to Great Island Common to enjoy the outdoors near the ocean without going to a beach. It was a welcome break from all the spring rain.

There is a gate attendant from mid-May to late September.
The fees have risen considerably in the past few years. The revised 2023 fee schedule was:
Free - New Castle Residents & Accompanied Guests
$15.00 - Per Vehicle
$7.00 - Senior (65+) & Veterans
$150.00 - Bus or Trolley
$75.00 - Small Bus
Non-Resident Seasonal Passes are available
Fees are collected until 6:00 PM.

This is a good place for a picnic at one of several picnic tables scattered around the park. There are other places to sit as well.

The park also has a playground and a fishing pier. There’s an open space in the center of the park for frisbee, flying a kite, sunbathing, etc.

The roadway around the park is also a good place for walking, running/jogging, or riding a bicycle. It’s on pretty level terrain.

There are numerous parking spaces along the roadway. Many directly face the ocean; some face more toward the entrance to Portsmouth Harbor and Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse in New Castle and across to Fort McClary State Historic Site across the harbor at Kittery Point as well as Wood Island Life-Saving Station and Whaleback Lighthouse in the waters off Kittery, ME. On a clear day, one can see out to the Isles of Shoals.

I’d been here dozens of times before. On this visit, I took a walk, had a picnic snack, watched the passing marine traffic, gazed out to the ocean, and looked toward each lighthouse for awhile.

Since Portsmouth is a working port, one will likely see the tugs from Moran Towing escorting some type of freighter or tanker into or out of the harbor. Since navigation past the entrance/exit of the harbor is difficult, a pilot from Moran Towing must also be onboard steering the vessel.

In season, the M/V Thomas Laighton will pass by on its way out to sea for an Isles of Shoals cruise and back.

Over near the closest point to Whaleback Lighthouse, there’s an outdoor sculpture of an artist with his painting on an easel. The painting is all open. One can use that opening as a frame for a photograph of Whaleback or of a passing craft or of the family.

There is also access to New Castle Beach from the park.

TIP: Bring your picnic lunch, camera, binoculars, sunscreen, and insect repellent for a perfect day. Beach-goers will want all their beach gear.

The reason for the delay in submitting this review was due to a months-long loss of my ability to post photos with my reviews and some health issues.

If you found this review useful, please click the THUMBS UP to indicate HELPFUL.
Written 3 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

S & J
Dover, NH14 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Friends
What a beautiful spot! Went there for a picnic and couldn't be happier. Lots of seating, grill pits, clean, and beautiful. Great Island Common is a wonderful spot to visit any time of year. Highly recommended.
Written 30 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

NHjo
Saco, ME12,236 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022 • Friends
The summer crowds are gone and it’s very serene and quiet. The weather is in the 70s, we could see lots of jet stream art in the sky, and even the gulls are calm. But winter’s coming.
Written 3 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

NHjo
Saco, ME12,236 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022
How things change in a year. Their parking/entry rates went up and they're even charging a fee for seniors when it used to be free. No surprise in these times, and it's worth paying more to get in because it really is a great park in an outstanding location. The views of the ocean, two lighthouses, the opposite Maine coast, and the Isles of Shoals are wonderful. When I went, there were two different large school groups for what were most likely end-of-the-school-year outings, so it wasn't as peaceful as usual but everyone (thankfully) left after lunch.
Written 15 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Paula
194 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021 • Family
Such a beautiful park and the view is just stunning. We enjoyed relaxing here and walking around during a hot summer day! Highly recommend.
Written 28 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CK2000
New York City, NY301 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
We stopped here to stretch and enjoy the vistas at this park. The parking was $10 and well worth it to the extent those fees support the park. There were trees and some picnic benches. We walked along the edge to a concrete pier where we saw the lighthouse in the distance. If we had more time, we would have visited the beach.
Written 1 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JtCtyWmn
10 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021
We took about 10 steps out of the car and had to leave - I can't even describe what the horribly pungent smell was. Not fishy. Possibly flowering trees but blossoming Bradford pear trees smell on the order of fishy.
Written 18 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

NHjo
Saco, ME12,236 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021
LOVE this place -- the magnificent views, the beach, the lush grounds, the benches and picnic tables -- it's a gorgeous setting. There's always a breeze off the ocean, and it's a great place to set your lounge chair down under one of the large canopied trees on a warm summer day and read, or just enjoy the view.
Written 15 May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

WilsonP
Lancaster, NH558 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021 • Couples
Very nice park next to the ocean with plenty of open space!

Grills available. super views of the ocean and a couple lighthouses. Nice beach.
Written 25 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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GREAT ISLAND COMMON: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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