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Hilton Park at Dover Point

Sailsat Hilton Park/

It’s not just for picnickers, tourists and boaters. Why not pull over on that busy commute and walk around this riverside park? Be careful near the river. We once got caught in the swirling eddies by the Sullivan Bridge in a small boat and barely made it back to shore. The scenery is dramatic and the picnic area is well kept.



Name: Hilton Point Park
Location: Route 4, Spaulding Turnpike on the Dover side of the Piscataqua River where it meets Great Bay.
Rules: No garbage dumping, no swimming, dangerous currents, no alcoholic beverages. Park opens at 6am, closes at 8pm with no overnight stopping. Do not remove wildlife, rocks trees, shrubs or grasses.
Fees: No charges.
Facilities: Plenty of parking, picnic area with shelters, boat launch, fishing areas and pier, historic marker.
Dogs: Allowed on leash.

The two bridges spanning the Piscataqua tend to dominate this riverfront park. Locals, it seems, rarely visit the spot which is among the most scenic in the region. Commuters zip by between Dover and Portsmouth, but Hilton Point is worth stopping by.

It is one of the most historic spots in New Hampshire. While David Thompson was establishing the state’s first European settlement at Rye, two brothers named Hildon received a patent to set up a fishing company here. Since Thompson left and the Hilton’s stayed, this is technically the oldest continually occupied spot in the state.

Hikers need not fear the treacherously swift tides here, but boaters should beware. Cut off by the highway, this spot makes for a short U-shaped walk, but a lovely one. From the Hilton monument, walk down to the fishing pier, around to the boat launch, under the highway and along the river into Great Bay by the picnic area and back. We like to expand the walk by parking across the river in Newington, NH and walking across the Sullivan Bridge to the Hilton Park and back. 

Picnic area on River side of Hilton Park, Dover Point (c)

Hilton Park at Dover Point, NH /

Hilton Point 1623 historic marker /

CONTINUE Hilton Park Walk

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